View Full Version : Options for framing pastel painting without unpainted edges

02-10-2019, 08:34 PM

I recently finished a small still life on half of a 9x12 sheet of paper. I like how it turned out and would like to frame it. However, I didn't leave any unpainted paper around the edges of the paper. Will this be an issue? I'm new to pastel so I'm not sure how framing works.

Thank you!

Donna T
02-12-2019, 09:46 AM
Hello and welcome to Pastels! I think most of us try to make sure we paint beyond the edges that will eventually be framed so you're in good shape. If we mat our work we don't want any areas of unpainted paper or board to show once it's framed. Even if we choose to use a frame without a mat we usually want our painted image to go all the way to the edge so that the frame overlaps the painted area. I usually indicate the image area very lightly with a pastel pencil when I start a painting and make sure I paint over and beyond those lines at least a half inch, usually more. This allows a little wiggle room when the mat is laid on top. If your subject matter needs a little more breathing room on one side or another it's nice to have that space. Just make sure to leave enough space for the painting to extend behind the mat, ie. don't trim a 4x6 in. painting to 4x6 in. but leave at least a half inch or more extra all the way around. That's just my method; everyone has their own preferences for what works best.

02-15-2019, 08:06 PM
Unless you definitely want a mat, it is pretty easy to frame a fully painted piece without one. You can use spacers between the glass and the painting, or frame it in direct contact with the glass, my preferred method, using the technique on this page:


They used the incorrect name for it, but the technique has been time tested for over 100 years.

Not recommended with plastic glazing. Regular glass looks very good. If you use anti reflective glass such as Water White AR from Groglass, the coated stuff not the frosted variety, they really come to life when framed that way. The color and intensity is every bit as nice as it is without any glass. In some ways they look even better. An added bonus is that you won't have any pastel dust floating around in the air gap like you will with spacers or mats. I would not recommend this type of framing unless all of the paper has been covered with pastels. You don't want plain paper touching the glass due to the chance of mold or fungus growth. There is something about the pastel particles that for me and many other pastel painters, stops the mold growth other than in tropical climates where you would get mold / fungus no matter how you framed it.