View Full Version : 10/27/10 Product Info's Tip of the Week: Understanding Frame Measurements

Blick Art Materials
10-27-2010, 09:44 AM
Understanding Frame Measurements
Ordering a frame begins by making an aesthetic choice. However, making sure the frame is going to accommodate the artwork placed inside the space is another matter. One must be conscious of the artwork space inside the frame window as well asconsider the scale and proportion of the frame in accordance to the artwork itself.

Framing Terms
Frame Profile refers to the profile dimensions of the molding on a frame itself, as if one were to cut the molding in half and view the molding from the side.
There are three main dimensions to be mindful of; exterior depth, face width, and rabbet depth.
Exterior Depth is the measurement of the overall depth or thickness of the frame. It will determine how forward the frame sits from the wall. This measurement typically does not hinder how the frame can be used. Frames with a deep set exterior depth will create more dramatic detailing around the image itself.
Face Width is how wide the molding is from side to side. More modern, clean lined frame molding may be to 1 wide, whereas more intricate, formal frames can exceed in the upwards of 5. One should consider the overall dimensions of the frame itself in proportion to the space it will be hung upon.
Rabbet Depth refers to the space the artwork rests inside the frame. It is the interior depth of the frame. To ensure a proper fit, artwork should be less than the rabbet depth. If the art exceeds the depth, such as a stretched canvas, then one will need to work with alternative hardware to accommodate their materials.
Frame Sizing, such as 8x10, refers to the artwork size or the backside window space of the frame. Match up the frame size to the artwork size or the exterior cuts of the mat board, if the work is fitted with matting.

Frame Selection
Once one understands the measurement requirements of a frame, making a selection is mostly a matter of preference. However, there exists three categories of frames; Formal and Traditional Frames, Contemporary Frames, and Informal and Rustic Frames.
Formal and Traditional Frames offer ornate detailing and finish options. They tend to have wide, impressive wooden molding that make the statement for the piece. They are popular for accentuating oil paintings or stately pieces of artwork.
Contemporary Frames often are subdued, simple designs. Frames are commonly made out of metal for subtle trim that finish off a piece of work without overwhelming it. Common types of artwork include photorealism, progressive artwork, and prints from various printmaking techniques.
Informal and Rustic Frames offer a compromise between Formal and Contemporary frames in that they may be made out of wood or metal, have some detailing to compliment the artwork without dominating it. Informal and Rustic Frames work well for rural landscapes or more casual subject matter.

-Kristal F.
Product Information Specialist

For further assistance using art supplies, feel welcome to contact our Product Information Department at
1-800-933-2542 or e-mail us at info@dickblick.com (info@dickblick.com). Hours of operation: M-F, 8:00am-5:30pm CST.