Here is all that you would possibly need to know about picture frames
The picture frame is the outer border of pictures. Picture frames were originally of an architectural nature and were only used for altarpieces and other church paintings. They were partly made of wood, partly of marble, more rarely of metal. The wood was painted, first partially and later completely gilded, while the marble was initially painted and gilded, also provided with coloured decorations, and after the end of the 16th century was generally kept white. In the 16th century the picture frame was increasingly used for general decorative purposes and the earlier architectural character was gradually abandoned. The Baroque art of the 17th century and the Rococo art of the 18th century preferred only gold frames with rich, lavish woodcarving ornaments. In many parts of Europe, black and brown picture frames were still in use at the same time, some with narrow gold strips on the inner sides.
Today the picture frame is a mass product and is manufactured industrially in large series. The dominant materials in the production of modern frames are wood, aluminium and plastic. Frameless picture holders are also widely used. These consist only of a glass pane, which is attached to the rear wall with metal clamps.
To increase the effect of pictures and to protect the picture, passe-partouts are often used in addition to the frame.
What may look like a simple item, picture frames are a rich topic. So, to help you choose the best picture frame as a gift, here is a list of topics that cover almost everything you would possibly need to know about picture frames.
Acrylic glass/artificial glass
It looks like real glass but is made of plastic. Its exact name is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). For simplicity's sake it is also referred to as acrylic glass. But why use artificial glass when the original is so good and cheap? Above all, to save weight. Large picture frames often weigh a lot even without a glass lid. If heavy normal glass is added, it gets really heavy.
The other advantages are also important: Acrylic glass is very break-proof - and it has blunt edges, so that the risk of injury is very low. For this reason, kindergartens, schools, other public institutions and households with children like to use acrylic glass.
Picture frames made with aluminium strips came into fashion in the 20th century. Since then, they have lost none of their charm. There are many reasons for presenting pictures in aluminium frames. First of all, the material has its own cool appeal. It is usually matt and light grey. But the surface can also be treated in a variety of ways. Anodising allows a completely different colouring, and there is also a whole variety of mechanical treatments available - from brushed aluminium to a special chemical surface treatment.
There are also pragmatic reasons in favour of aluminium. It is stable, but very light. Aluminium is therefore often the better choice, especially for larger picture frames. It is easier to handle.
If you want to hang picture frames in a very bright room with direct sunlight, the choice of anti-reflective glass is probably preferable to classic clear glass. Antireflective glass is frosted with a micro-etch, which means that light rays hitting the glass are scattered. They reflect in many different directions. The optical effect is that the glass has an anti-reflective effect.
But anti-reflective glass also has its disadvantages. If the image is not directly under the glass, lines in the image can be blurred due to the matting. This is because the glass loses its transparency the further away an object is from it. And the colours of anti-reflective glass are generally more matt than those of clear glass. Therefore, in a rather dark room without direct light irradiation, it is better to use clear glass.
They are expansive, lavish and often painted golden. In short, they cannot be overlooked. Baroque picture frames have their historical model in the historical epoch of the Baroque, which in Europe for nearly 200 years determined what could be considered beautiful. From about 1570 to 1770 a powerful tendency towards exuberant, overhanging ornamentation became fashionable. The word baroque comes from Portuguese and means "strange, and not round". An opposite to the Renaissance with its linear, rectangular stylistic features. During the Baroque period swinging forms rounded inwards and outwards were in demand: domes, groups of columns, gables and window crowning. The highlight of the Baroque period was the magnificent court of the French King Louis XIV. The play with forms became increasingly wilder and culminated in the late Baroque period, also known as Rococo. Carved and gilded shell ornaments were now the must-have, along with asymmetrical lines. Tables, chairs or sofas were given s-shaped curvy legs.
Because everything comes back and, better still, can be parallel to each other. At GJ Boon you will find some frames from time to time that remind of the Baroque period.
Biedermeier (1815 to 1848) still has a negative aftertaste, but this time period, which has been criticized for being bourgeois and backward, has some beautiful sides. Picture frames in the Biedermeier style are very tasteful. In those days, what was in demand were no longer gold or other metals, but above all, natural colours that did not include just dark tones. There were only a few ornaments. The typical Biedermeier frame consists of flat square strips. Its corners are accentuated by "corner cubes" in contrasting colours. This frame form was mainly used for the presentation of graphics. Various veneer colours were used and various types of wood with varieties such as cherry, birch, pear and ash, but also precious woods such as mahogany.
The striking thing about these rather simple frames was that the Biedermeier citizens thus set themselves apart from the aesthetics cultivated at the royal courts. This had never existed before. Painting and poetry also flourished in the Biedermeier period. For many arts and sciences in Europe it was a time of awakening with literary studies, folklore, natural science, and also philosophy.
Today almost all picture frames are removable frames. While it used to be more common to give large works of art their own custom frames, content and presentation are now more interchangeable. The picture frames are already designed so that you can easily remove the picture that is currently in the frame and replace it with a new one. Usually you remove the back, remove the picture and insert the desired new picture. In order for this to work quite simply, the manufacturers have come up with some clever constructions.
As today almost every prefabricated frame is a removable frame, this designation would not really be necessary anymore. However, there is a special reason why it still appears occasionally: the manufacturer wants to emphasize that its frame is particularly robust and well manufactured and can therefore withstand many changes without showing signs of wear.
In the daily use of display frames, it has turned out that, above all, they must have three characteristics: Good workmanship, good stability and a simple way to change frame content.
Because in many shops display frames are used as stoppers in the truest sense of the word, not only does the customer ideally stop to take a look at the interesting offer that is currently being advertised, but it can also be a physical stop that stands in the way of the customer, because display frames can be massive constructions that confidently take their place on the sidewalk or in the pedestrian zone.
If you also consider that stores like to present themselves accurately, solid workmanship becomes all the more important. Display frames have been in business for years and must always look good. Because the contents offered can change quickly - just think of the daily menu of a restaurant - the display frame should also have a very simple and quickly exchangeable system. Folding frames are usually used for this purpose: Open the folding frame, pull out the old offer, insert a new offer, close the frame and the job is done within seconds.
Float glass, normal glass
Float glass, also known as normal glass or basic glass, is produced industrially on a large scale and then cut into sheets. Float glass production is an endless continuous process. The liquid glass melt is continuously fed from one side to a bath of liquid tin. The glass floats on the tin. This process has been used since the 1960s. Around 95 percent of all flat glass panes are produced in this way, primarily window glass, car windows, mirrors - and of course glass plates for picture frames. These are usually ground at the corners so that the edges do not cut. Sometimes the term mirror glass is also used for float glass.
The fold height is one of the finesses of picture frame measurement. Amazingly, the fold height and the fold depth are completely different things. The fold height indicates how deep the objects that are inserted into the frame may be. This is especially important for object frames: They are characterised by a particularly large fold height. A fold height of 9 millimetres is not unusual for object frames.
The fold depth describes the difference between the fold size and the light size. So the difference between the width and length available to the picture inside the frame and what you see outside of it afterwards. In practice, this is a measure that experts in particular need. And a completely different thing than the fold height described above.
The fold size indicates how much space is available inside the frame for the image - both in length and width. Even if the image size is specified as A4, the folding size leaves one to two millimetres more space. So the picture does not have to be squeezed into the frame, and thus has enough space.
Anyone who likes to redecorate knows it: frequent changes of picture frames and types of hanging can have unpleasant consequences for the wall. Dowel holes and nail holes have to be filled, possibly even wallpaper has to be reapplied. It is smarter and easier to fall back on gallery rails. They are fastened laterally on top at the wall. With special hooks are used to fasten threads to these rails with the other end again having hooks for the picture frames. These threads are as good as invisible and protect the wall. Gallery owners, photographers, artists and museums swear by it, because with gallery rails, new pictures of the most varied formats can easily be hung up and down again and again. Even heavy pictures hold up well if the rail is professionally attached.
The hangers are usually small, inconspicuous and hidden behind the picture frame, but they are just as indispensable as the mouldings or the glass of a frame (unless you only want to put your picture on the floor). But for everything that needs to be fixed to the wall, you will need a hanger. There are many different types, depending on the construction, size, weight and purpose of the picture frame: folding eyes, semi-circular hangers, poster and calendar hangers, zigzag hangers, heavy-duty hangers and wire hangers. This variety can be confusing - that's why we endeavour to take away your stress at this point: Many frames that we supply come with the matching suspension with hanger already installed. Nevertheless, it can be useful for you to know what hangers look like and what they can do.
Hardboard is often used for removable frames. They are also not unusual as picture carriers, for example when artists work with "oil on hard fibre".
Hardboard panels consist of pressed wood fibres. They contain wood, straw or bagasse. On one side they are mostly smooth, on the other they are roughened. They are made of cellulose fibre. A wet production process is used for normal fibreboards. There is a reason why you see sieve-like markings on the back of the hard fibre: water is pressed through it during production. These boards are also often used in interior construction to seal damp rooms, formwork, doors and packaging. With certain additives, hardboard panels can be made to become less sensitive to water, moisture and fire.
The metal look is trendy, even with picture frames and offers a relatively inexpensive alternative to real metals such as gold leaf and silver leaf. The thin leaves are meticulously applied to the picture frame like gold leaf and gently worked into it, for example with a soft cloth or brush. This can be done on stretcher frames, on wood of picture frames, but also on stone, porcelain, glass and paper surfaces. Metal leaf is not as noble as real gold. But it can give the same high quality effect.
The frame always covers a small part of the picture: three to six millimetres of the edge of the picture disappear behind a small projection. Thus the picture is kept in the frame and ends neatly with the frame bar. If there wasn't this projection in the border, then one would see the edge of the picture - the result is usually an unclean impression. This is why we speak of the light measurement: This is the image section that can still be seen in the frame - where light falls on it. If you have an image that shows an important detail at the edge, then the light measurement should deviate as little as possible from the image measurement - otherwise this part of the image may be hidden. Or you can choose the frame one size larger.
Mitre is a joint made between two pieces of wood or other material at an angle of 90 degrees, such that the line of junction bisects this angle. One speaks of mitring not only with picture frames, but also with all kinds of material parts, which form a corner connection with each other. For example, you also have mitre in window frames. Since a square shape is usually preferred, the workpieces are cut to come together at an angle of 45 degrees. This is referred to as the angle bisector, because the 90 degree angle, which is so important, is halved.
The 45 degrees create a diagonal in the two strips. They are made to fit exactly on each other. There are special mitre saws with fixed pre-set angles for this purpose. The mitre also has the advantage that the contact surface is larger than with a straight 90-degree cut. This provides more stability for the picture frame. And because the joint falls into an edge, it is less visible.
If picture frames are mitred, this means that they have been sanded particularly thoroughly at the corners and painted over several times. This makes the transition between the two strips even less noticeable.
If you want the best for your picture, you can use museum glass for the presentation. It is produced in an elaborate process with the surface having an anti-reflective layer. At the same time, museum glass also protects pictures from the damaging influence of UV radiation. Since the process is very expensive, frames with museum glass are not cheap either. But this investment is worthwhile for valuable works of art. Just think of how long pictures hang in a museum, for example - often for years and decades - and yet they are not affected by the ravages of time. The glass is as good as invisible thanks to the anti-reflective coating. It looks as if the frame has no glass at all. The colours appear unadulterated and vivid.
Beautiful pictures on the wall are already a great thing. But with object frames there are many more possibilities. Because not all memories are made of flat paper! For "three-dimensional" souvenirs, object frames are ideal.
The special feature is a large distance between the pane and the back wall of the frame. Spacer strips ensure that the glass does not fall into the frame. All kinds of objects can be placed in the gap created in this way - if they fit the size. The deeper the selected frame, the more space there is for thick objects. At the same time, the frame protects its contents from dust or other damage. What can be placed in object frames? For example, particularly beautiful shells and stones, but also watches, figurines, coins, hand-signed jerseys, baby bibs and socks, dried flowers, pieces of jewellery and homemade collages. The list is unending.
On the one hand, one can use a passe-partout to direct the view to the picture or work of art. It surrounds the picture and does not let it stick too tightly to the frame - one gets a more beautiful and better charisma of the work of art.
On the other hand, a passe-partout is also used for a better fitting of a picture. Because it often happens that a picture does not fit exactly into the frame and thus an ugly border is created between the frame and the image. With a passe-partout, the border is cleverly covered.
A further task of the passe-partout is the protection of the artwork from vapours from the frame wood. The passe-partout binds the pollutants and they do not reach the work of art or reach it in smaller concentrations. A perfect framing with a passe-partout creates an air chamber between the frame and the passe-partout. With this kind of correct framing a work of art can be preserved and protected.
The format specifications of a picture commonly refer to the picture size. In this respect, the picture size is almost the measure of all things. But be careful: picture size is not the outside size of the frame!
If, for example, a product description says A4, then the frame seldom has the outside dimensions of an A4 sheet. But it is meant to take a picture of that size. The outer dimensions can be much larger - just think of opulent baroque frames! The rare case where the outside dimension and the image dimension match can be found with frameless holders, such as clip frames.
Photo frames / Portrait frames
Photos make special demands on picture frames. One of them is that the frame should be comparatively small. The common photo formats, for example, are 7x10cm or 9x13cm. Sizes of 70x100cm are seldom requested as photo frames, because photo paper tends to become wavy with larger formats. Another detail of photo frames is that they often already come with a passe-partout, because a photo mostly looks better if there is some distance between the edge of the picture and the frame itself. Another common requirement is that there should also not be too much of space between the frame and the glass lid, so that the photo has a secure hold within the frame.
They are attached to the back of the frame and become completely invisible after the picture has been hung: metal sawtooth hangers. They are mostly used for small to medium picture sizes. They are available in different sizes - sometimes only one sawtooth hanger is attached to a frame, sometimes there are two. This depends on the size and weight of the frame and picture. The practical thing about this type of hanging is that if the picture frame hangs a bit crooked on the wall, you can easily find a new equilibrium point with the help of the teeth, into which the nail then simply "snaps". Two sawtooth hangers are mostly used in heavier picture frames. Here, too, the zigzag sawtooth hanger offers the possibility of fine adjustment without having to be a genius craftsman.
Actually, the term stretcher frame is misleading, because it is not a picture frame! It is a construction that makes it easier for the painter to draw on canvas. The canvas is drawn without folds onto a wooden rectangle or square, so that the painter only has to prime and can then start painting. Many stretcher frames are already primed, which makes the work even easier.
If you hang a picture with a stretcher frame on the wall, you will be showing an unframed picture. There are, however, special picture frames that are ideal for presenting pictures drawn or painted on stretcher frames. These are called the shadow gap frames.
Now that you are a half-genius with all the knowledge about picture and photo frames, you will find it easier to proudly buy a photo frame as a gift for someone lucky. You will have tons to tell them about everything frames. GJ Boon offers a fresh and ever-changing variety of photo frames. Have a look. You will find a frame to your liking.