Frame Guide

So you've purchased an original or maybe a print, but now you need help finding the perfect framing option. I know it can be overwhelming with all the choices. So let's take the guesswork out of framing your new favorite piece of artwork. There's a lot of info here, so grab yourself a coffee and kick your feet up. Don't worry. I'll sum up the appropriate sizes needed for each look in the end.

Framing a Deckled Edge

My originals are not necessarily a standard size so let's go over a few things to consider. First of all, the paper itself is hand torn, so there will be variance in their actual size. However, they're all roughly 4x6". It's important to note that the painted surface will be slightly smaller. Because of my manual taping process; these sizes can vary. Typically, they're around 3.5x5.5". I offer all of my watercolor prints with this edge type, which also applies to those. 

Just the Frame

 (Shown: 5x7" frame, 4x6" deckled edge)
My favorite way of framing my originals is to allow the decorative torn edge to show. After all, it helps give it that extra 'lil bit of character. There are a couple of ways to achieve this look. One is without a frame mat to allow focus on the artwork itself. 
Your original will come mounted on a 5x7 backing board to help keep it safe during shipment. The plus side to this is that it can easily slip right into a 5x7" frame and give you this look. This is also how I package my 4x6" limited edition prints, so this option works well for those.

Using a Frame Mat

(Shown: 8x10" frame, 5x7" matboard, 4x6" deckled edge)
If you prefer to make more of a statement while still showing the deckled edge of your original or 4x6" print, that works too! You can achieve this look by purchasing a larger frame with a matboard opening suitable for a 5x7". 

Framing a Straight Edge Print

While the decorative torn edge look is neat to some, it's not for everyone. I get that. That's why I make sure to offer all of my prints a straight edge for a more traditional framed look. I should mention that I number, title, and initial along the bottom border of all my archival watercolor paper prints. The following info allows for the border to show this information. If you aren't interested in a visible border, my unstretched canvas option might be better for you. More about that is below otherwise;, if your preference is to cover the edge, I highly recommend talking to your local framing professional to discuss alternative options.

Just the Frame

(Shown: 4x6" frame, 4x6" straight edge)

Here is the straightforward method of eliminating the mat board to allow the artwork to shine without being overshadowed. This option is by far the easiest solution for any of you who are new to framing. You can also achieve this look with the deckled edge if you prefer to hide the rough edges.

Using a Frame Mat

(Shown: 8x10" frame, 4x6" matboard, 4x6" straight edge)

Another option is to use a mat board to enlarge the surface area your piece will take up. This will make a bigger impact when displayed on your wall. When done properly, this option won't take away from the artwork itself.

Framing Unstretched Canvas

Because my canvas comes unstretched, you can treat it just like any other print. The bonus is it's suitable to frame without glass, much like traditional canvas artwork. My canvas prints are borderless as a standard. So I number, title, and initial the back. I offer a 2" white border for stretching for an additional fee. This option is currently only available for 4x6" and 5x7". Contact your local framing for assistance with stretching and framing this option. Now let's cover the basics of styling your new canvas.

Just the Frame

(Shown: 8x10" frame, 8x10" unstretched canvas)

By far, the most straightforward look is to go minimalistic and skip the mat board. I used a basic frame for my guide just for an example, but you can get fancy with ornate frames. You'll feel like you have your very own gallery piece.

Using a Frame Mat

(Shown: 11x14" frame, 8x10" matboard, 8x10" unstretched canvas)

Here's an example of a simple frame with a matboard similar to the watercolor paper options above. If this is the look you're going for, I highly recommend using glass for protection. For a more advanced approach, you can talk to your local framer for a custom-cut matboard that has an offset. Meaning you can frame it above the center for that gallery look.

Framing Stretched Canvas

All my canvas prints come unstretched. Meaning you'll need to talk to your local framer to assist with this task. There are more than a few ways to frame a stretched canvas, but I'll cover the basics here.

Gallery Wrap

(Shown: 5x7" stretched canvas with 2" white border)

One of the ways to showcase a stretched canvas is a simple gallery wrap which is traditionally offered a few different ways. The most common is the image wrap, where the actual artwork wraps around the sides. The downfall is that you lose a lot of the image and usually the artist's signature. So make sure you select the 2" white border at checkout if you plan to stretch yours.

Floating Frame

 (Shown: 8x10" float frame, 5x7" stretched canvas with 2" white border)

The other popular option is to use a floating frame. These come in many styles and colors and are usually on the simple side for a minimalistic look. You'll need to select the 2" white border option at checkout. Make sure to contact your local framer to discuss stretching and framing for this option.

Framing Size Cheat Sheet

Okay, now that I've covered the basic options that work best for the paper options I offer, let's talk about frame sizes. I've put together this cheat sheet to help determine which size frame and mat board to use for achieving the looks we just covered. This guide won't apply to the canvas options as those all require a professional framer.

Deckled Edge (no mat)

5x7" 4x6"
6x8" 5x7"
9x11" 8x10"


Deckled Edge (with mat)

8x10" 5x7" 4x6"
8x10" 6x8" 5x7"
11x14" 9x12" 8x10"


Straight Edge (no mat)

4x6" 4x6"
5x7" 5x7"
8x10" 8x10"


Straight Edge (with mat)

5x7" 4x6" 4x6"
8x10" 5x7" 5x7"
11x14" 8x10" 8x10"


Of course, there are more size options available, as well as a multitude of frame styles. When selecting a frame and mat board, consider the colors of the artwork itself. It's essential that they complement the colors rather than overpower them. Make sure to wait for your painting to arrive so you can choose the appropriate color combo. If you have any further questions about framing that aren't covered here, I highly recommend connecting with a professional framer.

When you've finished framing your new artwork, please submit a photo to for a chance to be featured in my collector's showcase called Art In The Wild.