The best digital photo frames

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Digital photo frames can be bought online and in store. Small digital frames are cheap and are perfect for photos and a no-fuss approach.

Most bespoke framers have odd-shaped ready frames laying around or will be only too happy to make one up for you out of off-cuts.

Don’t be shy! Ask your framer to cut your digital photo frames. You will be able to choose from a wider range of mouldings and the frame will be finished to a higher standard than any off-the-shelf frame.

Framers are always looking for ways to get rid of old stock and will be happy to make a quick frame while you wait. Cheap custom frames like a small digital photo frame can be cut in under 5 min. Flexibility sits at the heart of the framer’s psyche, or at least it should. So ask your framer whether they have any off-cuts that might get the price down.

Many time during my years working as a professional framer I would suggest this option as a way of reducing costs if I felt that cost was a determining factor in whether the customer would pull out or go ahead with a job.

Picture framers depend on having a good rapport with their local community. They know that a happy customer is a repeat customer, and that bad reputation travels fast.

Rabbit skin glue

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Rabbit skin glue is a rabbit collagen (Animal protein formed from the process of boiling the skin) It was traditionally used to protect the canvas from the damaging effect of an acid called linolenic acid contained in Oil Paint.

Framing drawings

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Drawings are traditionally mounted, although today floating and surface mounting has increased in popularity. Paper should always be kept away from glass to limit acid damage.

Box framing allows for the attractive edge of hand-made watercolour paper to left exposed.

Framing watercolors without a mount

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Hand made watercolour papers have very attractive rough edges. Fine artists often chose to leave the edge exposed. Floating or surface mounting being their preferred choice.

To correct cockling in the paper (caused by water absorption as watercolour is applied) lightly spray the back of the paper with water and leave the paper under a large weight overnight. 

Choosing a frame for a painting

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Choosing a frame for a painting is an art. As soon as you think you know what you want as a frame the sooner you will be confounded when you actually try frame samples against your artwork.

Of course choosing a frame forĀ a certificate or a black and white photograph is easier. Black and white photographs dictate a more limited framing choice, basically to white, cream or black. Framing a certificate falls within certain norms of framing moulding choice. Usually a thin, black, gold or thin ornate silver frame will work well.

Choosing a frame for a fine artwork is more tricky. Each artwork requires original and unique framing solutions. It is also necessary to decide on what you are trying to say with your framing choice.

Is it a modern artwork, is it cutting edge, do you wish to make a large or more discreet statement about the artwork? All these questions will be answered as soon as you enter into a dialogue with the artwork by testing out mount colours and frames.

Of course it is also important to know where the artwork will hang. How you will transport it if it becomes too large to fin in your average car and lastly how much you wish to spend.

Framing photographs

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Black and white photographs usually demand either a black or white or silver frame. To introduce a colour into the frame or the mount only distract the eye and the viewer sight will be drawn towards the colour before the photograph and this is not good framing practice.

A good picture framer will be aware of how the viewers eye behaves when looking at an artwork. The last thing you want is the viewer to admire the frame and not the artwork! Although that can often be the case!!!

The coolness or warmth of the photograph will have to be balanced or countered with a white mount that is either warm or cool in tint. White mounts come on a complete range of tints from pink in the warm range to blue in the cool and it will be a matter of testing each one against the photograph to get it right.

Colour photographs can be framed in coloured frames. The quality of gloss or mat finish of the photograph will dictate the type of frame. Photographs can be framed in many individual ways by floating or surface mounting is not usual.

Canvas Stretching in Cambridge

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Stretching canvases is a skill that most art students in the past were very good at. As the cost of ready made stretched canvases has fallen, so has the general appreciation of the skill involved in stretching a canvas. In my day we made all our canvases and prepared the surface with Rabbit skin glue. Today of course there are Gesso primers that do the same job – its really not necessary to put Rabbits through such an ordeal any more!

Stretcher frame

There is no point in stretching canvas onto an unstable support. The first thing one has to do is to create a sturdy frame support.  There are several good wood moldings used by professional framers as support frames. They are strong enough to support the weight and tensions when stretching even the largest of canvases.  Large stretcher frames may need two cross bars to make them rigid enough. A stretched canvas when finished needs to be able to sit against the wall without any noticeable bending or distortion away from the wall. This is when the skill of the picture framer will shine through.

Stretching the canvas and measuring

The first thing one has to do is test the flexibility of the canvas. It may be the case that there is a ton of thick impasto paint and the canvas has no “give” in any direction. In this case a consideration to the brittleness of the paint is important. Oil paint takes a very long time to dry completely. Old oil paintings may crack if pulled in all directions when stretching. Fresh paint that is only touch dry will be less prone to cracking.

If the painting is long and thin in dimension, there may be more “give” on the long side depending on the canvas. When measuring the image size, this is important to take into account so that the painting does not wrap around the end edges. Usually an understanding is come to with the client as to exactly what they want. They may want the image to wrap around the edge anyway!

What I do then is lay the canvas flat on a work surface. I mark the size of the canvas, both its width and length. Holding one end of the canvas down against the work surface I pull the other end firmly and measure the distance it has moved from my mark. This distance is the “give” of the canvas. This is not taken as an absolute as canvas will stretch more in one direction than in two directions at the same time, but it does give one an idea of the general flex in the canvas.

Perhaps the most important things to do is check if the image on the canvas has parallel edges and will actually fit onto a oblong or square shape. This is often the case, so its always good practice to measure the image size along all sides looking for the shortest point and take that as a starting measurement.