Picture frames give a more finished look to an oil painting and helps define the boundaries of the artwork, as well as add value if you are looking to sell, as it appears as a ‘complete piece’. Using a a poorly chosen frame can ruin the appearance of an oil painting, whilst a well chosen frame can complement, emphasize and enhance the best features of the painting. Alternatively, many artists choose to hang their canvases without a frame, it really comes down to personal preference.
In this post we will outline the main ways to protect and also hang your oil paintings, so you can get the most out of your artwork and preserve it for the future.
Protecting your Oil Painting
Whether you decide to frame or hang a canvas, protecting your oil painting should be top of your priorities, no matter whether it is a collector’s piece or a personal piece of art.
- Protective Coating– Varnish both enhances colours in a painting, but also helps to protect from dust and other ‘unwanteds’ reaching the surface of the paint and damaging it. As well as this it creates an ideal barrier to prevent removal of paint/colour when cleaning. (N.B. it is essential you get the correct varnish for your painting to avoid damaging; consult an art professional before purchasing, and ensure the paint is dry before applying a varnish).
- Letting it Breathe- an important aspect of protecting an oil painting is to give it space to breathe, typically oil paintings are not displayed with glass in the frame to prevent incurring further damage due to the glass touching the paint, dust particles & condensation. If you really do wish to have glass as an extra ‘barrier’ you should ensure you use a spacer to prevent the painting and glass touching.
- Protecting from Sunlight – Colours in oil paintings can be affected by prolonged exposure to light. To ensure this does not happen, hang your painting away from direct sunlight and also not directly underneath indoor lights or too close.
- Cleaning- To remove dust from your oil painting, use a soft duster, and dust lightly. Also if you can vacuum behind the painting.
Framing your Oil Painting
There are many different materials, styles, colors and prices of frames being sold out there.
Before purchasing a frame, it’s always a good idea to make use of frame designing previews to test how the oil picture will look in the frame before buying.
The final choice of a frame really comes down to you and your own personal preference; what you think will look best with your painting, and how you think it will look where it will be hung.
What is key when hanging an oil painting in a frame is ensuring the frame you purchase is the correct size. To do this simply measure the height and width of your canvas/oil painting (standard frames sizes are determined in inches) and determine whether the frame size needed is conventional or whether you will be needing a custom made frame.
How to Hang an Oil Painting in a Frame:
You Will Need:
1 x Picture Frame (ensure correct size)
1 x Length of Picture Wire
2 x Mounting Rings
Frame Clips / Offset Clips.
Double Sided Tape
What To Do:
- Once you have found the right sized frame for your canvas, you should remove the glass & back board of the frame, as these are not needed when framing/ protecting an oil painting.
- Ensure there aren’t any sharp bits from around the frame which may damage the canvas when inserted.
- Lay your frame face down on a clean surface, and place your oil painting gently within.
- You will want to check you painting is spaced right within the frame. When it is insert the frame clips around the canvas (over stretcher, under frame) to secure it in place.
- Ensure the painting is secure in the frame. (N.B. Offset clips require screwing in so are more secure but also more permanent.)
- Next you need to make a dust covering. Leaving the painting/frame face down, take your double sided frame and lay around the sides of the canvas, on the frame.
- Remove the backing of the tape and cutting the craft paper to 2 inches bigger than the frame cover the frame and the back of the painting securing on the tape. (this will prevent dust getting through the back of the frame to harm the painting).
- Secure (screw) your mounting rings into the back of your frame around 1/4 the way down each side of the frame.
- Thread the wire through the first ring twice, wrapping any remaining wire around itself.
- Then Pull the wire across the back of the painting so it is not quite taut then repeat the threading process through the second ring.
- To hang, you need to ensure the hook you are looking to hang from can carry the weight of 2 x the painting + frame. Ensure the painting hangs flat against the wall.
Hanging oil painting without a frame
With modern art, you may choose to hang your oil painting without a frame.
Providing that the stretcher is solid and reasonably thick, then the oil painting can be wired to hang without a frame.
This unframed approach to exhibiting modern oil paintings means that the viewer focuses entirely on the artwork.
However bear in mind that with a picture frame the art is protected and likely to last a ot longer and remain vibrant throughout its life.
You Will Need:
2 x Mounting Rings
1 x Length of Picture Wire (roughly 6-8 inches, depending upon size of canvas)
What to Do:
- Turning your canvas over (ensuring it is on a clean surface) Measure out a point 1/4 of the way day either side of the back of the canvas along the stretch bars.
- Taking your screwdriver, carefully join a mounting ring at each point on the stretch bar.
- Next you want to thread the wire through the ring and around itself to secure, do the same with the other side, ensuring it is left with a little slack and tie off.
- Finally secure a strong hook to your wall (needs to be able to hold 2 x the weight of your canvas), and hang your canvas, being sure to check it is flat against the wall.
For a step-by-step guide to hanging a picture frame, take a look at Mark’s Tip infographic ‘How to Mount and Hang a Picture Frame.’
Back to List