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Picture Frames Online: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Posted on Tuesday 9th March 2021   |   How To

Picture frames online: The ultimate buying guide

So you need something framing and are looking at picture frames online, but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we are here to help. This article will explain what you need to take into account when you are choosing, hanging and caring for your frames.

Stage One: Choosing your frame

There are a wide variety of things you need to take into account when you are choosing custom picture frames. Every custom frame that we sell is available in a variety of sizes which means you no longer need to try and shoehorn your picture into a frame that is too small, or even worse, trim off parts of your picture so that you can get it in.

Picture considerations:

  • How valuable is the piece you want to frame? Your choice of frame material may be affected by the monetary (and sentimental) value of your piece
  • What size is the piece you want to frame? If it is a large piece then you will need to think about the weight of the finished piece on your wall and the strength of the moulding
  • What medium is the piece finished in? The type of artwork, whether it is a digital photo or an oil painting for example, will affect your choice of frame and its component parts

Frame considerations:

  • What style of frame would work best for you? You no longer have to conform to the rule that says your frame should fit the décor of your room, you can choose whatever you like (as long as it goes with the piece you are framing) This way if you move house or redecorate there will be no need to change the frame!
  • What purpose do you want your frame to have? Is it going to be purely decorative or do you need it to protect the valuable artwork inside it?
  • Mount – to mount or not to mount that is the question! A mount is traditionally used to protect valuable art, but it can also set your art apart from an aesthetic point of view

Other considerations:

  • Safety - if you hanging your picture in a child’s bedroom or a schoolroom, then you need to take their safety into account
  • Budget – one of the most important considerations, after all you don’t want to be out of pocket
  • Delivery time – we offer a priority service in case you need your frame quickly

Custom Frames or Ready Made?

Custom frames

  • Can be manufactured by us to suit your artwork perfectly, whatever its size
  • Are available in a wide range of frame designs and mount styles for you to choose from
  • Come in a variety of high-quality materials, suitable for all types of framing projects

Ready-made frames

  • Are ideal for displaying standard size artwork and literature
  • Available in the most popular frame colours and designs
  • Are suitable for regular artwork changes

Stage Two: Buying your frame

Size and orientation are really important when it comes to buying your custom picture frame, especially if you are supplying us with the measurements. Correct measurements are vital as our framers will then make sure your picture sits inside your frame perfectly.

The most common sizes for picture frames are:

A Sizes

Metric Sizes

Imperial Sizes

3 x 5 inch


15 x 20 cm

4 x 6 inch


10 x 15 cm

5 x 3.5 inch

A3 Plus

20 x 25 cm

5 by 7 inch


20 x 30 cm

6 x 8 inch

30 x 40 cm

8 x 10 inch

45 x 60 cm

10 x 12 inch

50 x 60 cm

11 x 14 inch

12 x 16 inch

16 x 20 inch

20 x 24 inch

20 x 30 inch

24 x 36 inch

27 x 40 inch

When you enter the size of your picture into our made to measure frames page, you will need to provide the exact measurements – in mm, cm or inches.

If you want to convert your size from inches to inches, or cm to mm then please follow the instructions below:

  • Converting cm to mm: 1cm = 10mm so if your painting measures 15 cm across you would times 15cm by 10mm to get the answer = 150mm
  • Converting inches to mm: 1in = 25.4mm (to be precise), so if your painting measures 15 inches across you would times 15 inches by 25.4mm to get the answer = 381mm

It is important to remember that we make the frame to fit your picture, so the size you enter will not represent the actual height and width of the frame on the wall I.e., the external dimensions of the frame. If you do need the frame to fit a specific area, then please let us know that when you place the order.

Stage Three: What are you intending to frame?

The item you are intending to frame, will also have an effect on the frame you will buy, as follows:

Any artwork which has been completed on paper will be sensitive to its surroundings, so things such as changes of temperature, exposure to light and restriction of movement can all cause damage which will show as fading and wrinkling

To help prevent this happening we would recommend framing a picture using a mount and some type of glazing. Mounts help prevent your picture from touching the glazing, and so if you are framing an oil painting, for example, you need to ensure you order a thicker mount to take this into account. 

Mounts also allow the air to circulate, which prevents condensation from building, which can lead to mould and mildew developing over time. If your painting is on a thin piece of paper or card, then amount will also help strengthen this.

If you have an oil or acrylic painting that has been completed on canvas, then there is no need for you to frame it with glass or plexiglass. You should make sure, however, that the finished piece has been varnished to protect it from UV rays.

Digital prints and photographs can release a gas for a certain amount of time after they have been printed, and this can cause a deposit to build up on the back of whatever material they have been glazed with. To prevent this from happening, we would recommend that you leave at least a week between printing your photograph and placing it in a frame. 

Limited edition prints are expensive to buy and so should be treated carefully using conservation grade materials such as acid-free mounts and barrier boards. 

Stage Four: Frame Colour

When it comes to frame colour, there are lots of different things that you will need to take into account, including:

  • What colours are on trend? The Pantone colour of the year for 2021 is Ultimate Grey paired with Illuminating Yellow, for example
  • What colour will complement your existing décor? It is always a safe bet to choose a frame that coordinates with your existing wall colour and furniture
  • What colour would bring out the best in your artwork? You could match one of the colours within your piece, or pick a contrasting colour for a really eye-catching effect

As you can see, there are a lot of things to take into account when choosing a picture frame – whether you want a custom frame or cheap picture frames UK.  The team here at Frames are experts in picture framing though, and we are happy to help. Just email us at [email protected] or call us on 0208 015 1058 between 9am and 5.30pm Monday to Saturday. 

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