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Basic frame sizes

Frames with prints for visual reference

Trying to decide on a print or frame size?  Here are a couple of handy images to help visualise some common sizes.

(Tap the images for a larger view)

Some common print and frame sizes for visual reference

 

Frames with prints for visual reference

I looked at stores in my local area north of Melbourne, and the frame sizes shown above were available in various places.  The print sizes shown are standard print sizes.  The catch with using ‘off the shelf’ frames is that most stores won’t stock every size, or may not have the finish you want in a particular size, so consider choosing a frame before making a print, to avoid being caught out after printing.  Square and panoramic sizes are much more random, and not as common as the sizes I’ve shown here.  Off-the-shelf frames are typically available up to 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm), larger sizes or odd sizes will need custom made frames.

Beginner tips for fitting prints to ‘off the shelf frames’

Choosing the right frame size isn’t rocket science, but there are some things you might want to consider before getting started:

  • Consider choosing the frame first, this way the print can be sized for the frame and you won’t end up compromising with a frame that doesn’t work.
  • It’s still common for standard sizes to be specified in inches with metric equivalents.
  • A 2 – 3 inch border around the print usually works well, typically a matboard fills this space.  For larger prints you might more.  You can refer to the images in this article to visualise some examples. 
  • Be creative and don’t be afraid to play with the proportions.
  • Not all frames are supplied with a matboard & cutout.  The matboard helps support the print, keeps it off the glass, and creates a pleasing border to the frame. 
  • Without a matboard, the print would sit against the glass, potentially with strange surface effects or condensation damage unless it’s mounted to the backing and spaced from the glass.  A matboard helps avoid some of these complexities.
  • If the frame does not have a matboard, a matboard can be cut, some art/craft stores sell the matboard and equipment for this, or they could be cut by a local framer.

Custom made frames

  • A customised frame made by a local framer can solve any fitment problems with odd sized prints, and are typically of much higher quality than ‘off the shelf’ frames which are usually imported and made from cheap materials.
  • Custom made frames can also be much better for your artwork in the long run, so long as the right materials are chosen, in particular, the matboard and backing which come in contact with the artwork should be chosen from ‘safe’ materials if the artwork is intended to last.  Off the shelf frames often use cheaper matboard which can yellow over time, and mdf wood composites which out-gas and damage artwork.
  • But of course they are more expensive.
  • A small plug….If you’re in Melbourne I can arrange quality customised framing for you at a reasonable price 🙂 

Sizes in table format

Common rectangular frame & print sizes.  

Frame and print size table for common sizes

* The ‘A’ series sizes wouldn’t be very common in the US, like it is here in Australia and other countries.