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Matting and framing is relatively simple, and doing it yourself costs less and is more rewarding than using a framing service. In this course, photographer and professional framer Konrad Eek describes the tools, techniques, and creative decisions involved in matting, framing, and hanging photographs.
The course begins with an overview of framing concepts, terms, and tools and then shows how to choose and work with the various components of a framed print: matboard, frame, glazing, wire hangers, and more. The course also examines the issues and creative options behind hanging an exhibit, whether in a gallery or in a home.
In this next demonstration, I'm going to show you techniques for hanging your art on either drywall or wood paneling. You use the same set of hangers and tools to accomplish it on either surface. The work we're going to hang for the demonstration are two pieces by Kevin Bubriski from his series of Portrait of Nepal. The first one we already have on the wall here, the second one is going to go in this space here. The pieces are both gelatin silver prints, and the frames are matching frames of black wood with a slight relief to them.
We chose a large white mat to play off the black and white. We're keeping it real simple. We wanted the extra width of the mat to generate a sense of scale. The black frames that are identical unify the works, and will make them work well together. The first step is to measure the space that we have to work with. So we're going to start at the edge of the wall we have already hung and measure from the side of that frame to the molding on the door here. Notice how the tape measure stays rigid through this whole span. This is one of the advantages of the larger tape measure that I mentioned earlier.
You can see our distance here, we have 48 inches. So there are 48 inches from the edge of that frame to this molding. The simplest way to hang this would be just to divide that distance by 2 and make a mark on a 24-inch center and center the work. I don't want to do that, though, because we have these two light switch plate covers here that add a little bit of weight to the side of the space we're working with. So, in order to avoid them kind of crowding things and making it look uncomfortable, I'm actually going to shift the work a little closer to the one we have already hung, and hang it centered 21 inches away from the edge of the other piece.
So, I'm going to make that mark now. Get my pencil. Measure over from the edge of that frame to 21 inches, and I'm going to make a little vertical mark right there at 21 inches. The next dimension we need to determine is the height that we are going to place our hook. We're going to place it on this line vertically, we've determined that. Next, we need to decide at what height we place it. I want to do these offset with this one slightly higher than this one, so it will lead you down the wall visually to some other artifacts that we have here in my living room.
So I'm going to start by measuring from the ceiling to the top of this frame, and you can see there from the ceiling to top of the frame, we have a dimension of 24 inches. I want to make my offset enough so that it is obviously intentional. If it's just the slight offset, people might think you are trying to mount them evenly and just got it wrong. So, we're going to make a 3-inch offset. So I want the top of this piece to hang at 21 inches. In order to determine where my mark will be in order to get the hook at the right place, I need to determine the drop from the top of this frame to where the hanging wire is.
In order to do that, once again I get my trusty tape measure, I pull this tight, and it's important, pull it tight at the center of the work. I pull it tight, and measure from the top of that wire to the top of the frame, and I get a dimension of 4 inches. It's important to pull it tight because the weight of the work when it hangs will pull that tight. So, once again, pull it tight, measure from the wire to the top of the frame, and you get a dimension of 4 inches. So we have got our crosswise dimension at 21, we want the top of this at 21.
We need to add 4 to that for the drop from the wire, so we're going to make our cross mark for height at 25 inches. That's 21 inches plus the 4 of the offset, and we make our mark at 25 inches down from the ceiling and 21 inches across. I'm going to use one of these brass hangers with a tool steel nail. These are great for either drywall or paneling. I'm going to position it on the wall with the hook part of the hanger right where I made my cross marks.
Remember, the wire hangs on the hook, so you don't put the nail there, you put the hook there. And then I am going to get my hammer and gently tap the nail into the wall. Notice how the hanger establishes the nail at an angle, and then carefully tap it all the way in and the hook will be tight on the wall. I'm then going to pick up the work, and it's important to remember you don't ever want to pick up framed work by the top center of the frame.
Ofttimes this part of the frame will not be strong enough to sustain the weight of the frame, and you can get things out of line and screw it up a little bit. So I'm going to lift by the bottom with one hand, and with my other hand, I'm holding on the wire in back, and I'm going to have the wire on my fingers and feel for the hook with my fingertips, find the hook, slip the wire over the hook, align this so that the weight is keeping it fairly square, get the bubble level, place it on the top and make sure it's completely level.
And for extra stability, I have some little rubber bumpers here. You can apply those to the bottom corners, they are adhesive, and I'm just reaching around back and sticking them on to the back of the frame. And then once again I'll double check it with the level, and you can see now that those are there, it's much more stable and stays where I have put it. And then the last thing we want to do, in case we have got our fingerprints on it, and I can see a couple of places here on the glass where I'm handling it, I have left a fingerprint.
It's all right to clean the glass on a framed print, but there is a certain way you need to do it. When I demonstrated cleaning glass as we were framing the prints, the glass is lying flat on a table surface, we sprayed the cleaner directly on to the glass. Once it is in the frame, you do not want to do that anymore. The risk being overspray can get between the edge of the frame and the glass, penetrate through that gap and actually soak into the matboard and discolor it. So, what you want to do is take--once again-- the same ammonia-free glass cleaner, spray it directly on the towel rather than on the glass, and then you can really control where it is.
So, I'm getting those couple of little fingerprint spots that I saw, looking over the rest of the work, it looks good. Since I moved around a little bit, I'm going to double-check level again, and now we're good to go.
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