How To Save Money When Framing Your Paintings

One of the biggest costs when exhibiting your artwork is the cost of the framing. High quality professionally made frames, which are exactly what you need, don’t come cheap.

There are however some things you can do to limit the cost of getting your work framed, and to get the most out of your outlay.

1)  TOP-TIP: Paint on standard size canvases – Unless I’m painting a specific commission of a requested size, I usually paint on standard size canvases. That is to say most of my work is painted on 36×24 inch, 30×12 inch, 24×18 inch, 16×12 inch or 14×10 inch canvases. Although framing these sizes still requires bespoke professionally made frames, it means that I can take frames off of paintings and use them on other works of the same size. This is a huge money saver!

2) For tip 1 to work, when you get your paintings framed ask that they be fitted into the frames using spring-clips, and not pinned permanently:

spring clip framing

Backboard fastened using spring-clips.

Framing back board

Loosen spring-clips to remove the back board and then remove the painting.

Oil painting framing

Spring-clips also work for paintings with no back board, such as oil or acrylic paintings on canvas.

oak frame painting

Simply loosen the screws securing the spring-clips and rotate to release the painting.

3) When you chose the colour of your frame mouldings try to pick a neutral colour, or a colour that works well with more than just one of your paintings. Common colours that work well with many paintings are black, white, cream, and natural wood colour. I do have frames that were made for specific paintings and that are different colours to these mentioned, but in time I usually paint a picture that these frames work nicely on. I have had blue, green and purple frames in the past.

4) If you have a frame of a certain size you want to use, make sure you cut the painting surface to fit that frame before you paint the picture. This is possible if you paint on board or MDF of course, less so if you paint on stretched canvas. It is however possible to have stretched canvases made bespoke to exact sizes, and this is usually cheaper than having to have a new frame made to fit a canvas. Try Jacksons Art who offer this service here –

5) Ask your framer if you can have some chevron frame samples to take home, that way you can try some of your most used frames types and colours on your new artworks, by balancing them on the top corners of the painting as it’s hanging on the wall or sitting on your easel. If your canvas, board or what ever surface you have used is accurately cut you can then simply ask your framer to make you up the frames you require to the size your require, without having to take another trip to see your framer with the painting in tow.

See if you can get samples of your favourite frames home to try against your artworks.

frame samples

Each chevron should have the exact identification number on the back.

6) Look after your frames meticulously. Frames can damage very easily, sometimes the tiniest knock can chip the coating or dent delicate woods. I store frames that are not in use in a lot of bubble-wrap, under my packing table, out of harms way. Most damage occurs when you transport your painting of course, so always leave the bubble-wrap on until you get them to their destination. Once on the wall paintings are usually out of harms way, but sometimes works in a gallery or on display do get damaged, this is usually slight damage and has to be accepted.

I hope you find this advice helpful, and happy painting.




7 thoughts on “How To Save Money When Framing Your Paintings”

  1. Great tips! I’m always shocked at how expensive it is to frame something, so this helps a lot. You’ve got a great blog here Chris, I’ve been reading in the background for a while now.

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