Professional picture framing can be expensive. If you’re looking to save money you can always explore less costly options, such as picture framing kits or finding picture framing supplies on Gumtree for DIY picture frames and glass replacement. The trick to getting a professional-looking result is to cut the frame accurately and then securely join the corners. Read on to learn about the tools and terms you’ll need to be familiar with before you get started.
Picture framing terms
Frame moulding—strips of framing material used to construct the frame itself
Chamfered—bevelled or cut away to make a symmetrical sloping edge
Rabbet—recess in the back, inner edge of frame moulding
Matboard—often used to provide a surround for the picture within the frame
Foamboard—acid-free backing board
Points – pins that hold everything in the frame—they can be flexible or rigid
Picture framing tools & materials
If you don’t have the equipment required to cut precise angles in your frame moulding, you can buy ready-cut picture frame kits which come in standard sizes. Metal frames are typically easy to assemble because they have prefabricated corner connectors which can be screwed together.
As well as the frame moulding you’ll need matboard, foamboard and a quick-drying adhesive.
The tools you’ll need include a mat cutter and either a handheld point pusher which is hit with a hammer or a spring-loaded point pusher. The spring-loaded point pushers often have adjustable drive strength for hard or soft woods. The more expensive point pushers are magazine loaded so you don’t have to re-load every single point—a very convenient feature. You can use a staple gun, but it will be more difficult to be accurate and get a tight finish.
Picture frame glass replacement
Professional framers prefer rigid points because once installed they are very secure, but they do make it more difficult to change the picture or replace the glass. Replacing the glass yourself is not that difficult—all you’ll need is a piece of glass that’s cut to size.
Acrylics are becoming a popular alternative to glass because they are lighter, less fragile and easier to work with. Acrylics can be regular, non-glare or UV protective.
Be sure to check that the rabbet depth will accommodate the thickness of the glass or acrylic plus the picture and boards. A piece of glass or acrylic is not essential, but it will protect the picture you’re framing. Acid-free foamboards will protect against colour fading over time.
Picture frame lights
A special touch that highlights your framed art is the use of picture frame lights. These can be wall or frame mounted. There are lots of inexpensive battery-operated models available—these use LED lights, so the batteries don’t need changing very often.
Once you have mastered the basics of framing, you might like to take it one step further and invest in the tools used to chamfer timber. Using bevelling tools to create your own frame moulding will save you even more money. Check out Gumtree for everything you need to get started.