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Identifying the Parts of a Picture Frame

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Shopping for picture frames? The Victorian Frame Company will prove to be your online store of choice. We offer a wide array of choices and we are sure you can find one that fits the look you are going for.

When purchasing picture frames online, it can be helpful to have a working knowledge of the picture frame’s different components. Knowing this can help you make informed choices and can simplify the purchasing process.

Here are the 6 major components of a picture frame:

  • The frame. This refers to the decorative edges that are displayed along with the photo and is basically what the frame looks like. The frame not only holds the picture upright and in place but also provides the main visual effect. Some considerations include:
    • The material of the frame. The two more popular materials for picture frames are wood and metal. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Metal picture frames can feature elaborate filigree and are more durable. Metal picture frames also tend to have more vibrant colors. Meanwhile, wood picture frames are more organic, more “alive” so that exudes a welcoming warmth. Wood may warp over time if it is exposed to extreme temperatures.
    • The width of the frame. The width should be in proportion to the size of the photo. If the width is too wide, the picture frame can overpower the photo. A very wide frame can also be too heavy to hang on the wall. If the width is too narrow, it will not serve its purpose of directing the viewer’s eyes to the photo.
    • The design of the frame. Frames can have a contemporary, classic or vintage look. Antique picture frames can feature ornamentation, medallions and pearl beading. Contemporary picture frames can have simple and clean lines.
    • The color. When choosing the color of the frame, the main consideration should be how the frame will complement the photo. You also need to consider how the frame will fit the overall look of the room. The Victorian Frame Company can provide you with up to three color samples free of charge so you can check how well the color will work.
    • The shape of the frame. TheVictorian Frame Company offers a wide range of shapes. You can have oval, rectangular or round picture frames.
    • The width of the rabbet. Although the rabbet is not visible, it is an important to check that you have the right rabbet width. The rabbet is the space where you will be placing the photo, the glazing and the backing. If you plan to add several layers of matting, you need to check that you have enough rabbet width to accommodate all the layers you plan to put in.
  • The glass. The glass protects the photo from the elements – moisture, smudging, grime, dust and dirt. Ordinary glass provide adequate protection but will be prone to cracking and breaking. Museum glass provides a higher level of clarity and can also have UV-protective abilities so that your photo is protected from light-damage. Acrylic glazing is more durable that glass as it is less prone to breaking. However, acrylic is more prone to scratching if you are not careful with how you clean the surface. If you are planning to use an antique picture frame, you can also consider pairing it with convex glass.
  • Matting. This can be optional. The matting works to keep the photo from touching the glass. It also highlights and complements the photo. You can opt for one or more layers of matting. When you opt for the matting, you usually choose the most prominent color in the photo or a complementary color to it. You can also use the weighting technique, where the bottom edge is wider than the rest of the sides.
  • Mounting board. This is where you attach the photo. This keeps the photo steady inside the frame. There are a variety of mounting techniques that ensure that the paper can contract and expand without being distorted or warped. If you are concerned about preserving the photo, choose an acid-free mounting board (and the matting board, too). The acids can leech into the paper of the photo and cause discoloration and brittleness.
  • Protective cover. This prevents dust and dirt from entering into the frame. This is attached at the back of the picture frame with double-sided tape. The protective cover also works to minimize the effects of extreme temperature changes.