How To Frame Fine Art Properly

Every artist places great importance on the esthetic value of his or her work. Other concerns such as substrate, painting materials, and durability of the work are secondary considerations. The artist might have spent weeks, months, or even years to create a piece of art depicting a specific idea or concept in the most accurate way possible. He may have spent countless hours working on the piece to ensure that it meets the criteria required by a show, owner, or event. It is therefore critical for the piece of art to retain its esthetic value while being transported from one location to another. Under no circumstances should the masterpiece be exposed to any form of damage while being shipped to the owner, event, or gallery. Before undertaking any art transportation attempt, you need to know how to frame pieces of fine art safely using the right materials.

Important Considerations In Framing Fine Art

The following factors will determine how you frame the artwork for safe transportation:

  • How fragile the artwork is.
  • Its weight.
  • Its dimensions.
  • Its construction.

It would be important to consider the effects of stretching or rolling the canvas. For example, a canvas may be cheaper to ship if it can be rolled but will not arrive in its original conditions when it is eventually unrolled.
The weather will also be an important consideration while framing an artwork for safe transportation. If transportation is done in cold weather, it is important to make provisions for reducing shock on its painted surface.
A piece of fine art attached to a rigid surface or board will need to have its surface and corners well protected from effects of vibration and weight of other objects stacked above it. Ideally, nothing should be allowed to come into contact with the painted surface including the materials used to frame the artwork.
Your framing should aim fulfilling the following conditions:

  • It should support, cushion, and insulate the piece of fine art.
  • Provide protection from impact and puncture.
  • Create a sealed environment from outside elements and moisture.
  • Enable safe lifting and moving.

Framing Materials

Most frames or cases for artwork before transit are made of plywood, aluminum, or fiberglass. Plywood has a few advantages over the other types of materials since it comes with a high strength to weight ratio and provides good humidity buffering. It is also less expensive than other materials.
Backboards can also be used on the reverse of a piece of fine art to reduce the risk of puncturing, vibration, or bending. The backboard should have pieces of foam attached to it in order to avoid the chances of a canvas painting coming into contact with the crossbars of the frame or casing. The dimensions of your paintings will determine the amount and size of framing materials you will need.
Laura Shoefie is a freelance author and visual artist. When not painting or working on her own pieces, she writes about other artists’ pieces, or gives advice about topics like art framing and transportation.