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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.
Okay, so what I like to demonstrate for you now is the technique you'd use if you're going to hang a photograph on a wall that was plaster and lath. You probably won't run into this in new construction. The technique went out a long time ago. For those of you who have plaster and lath walls, you've probably had the joyous experience of trying to drive a nail into the wall and finding a cone shaped chunk flying out in between the spaces of the walls leaving a huge nearly impossible to fill hole. That's not a good thing. So we're going to show you a way to avoid that.
Before we move onto that, though, I want to talk a little bit about the aesthetic we consider in choosing the frame and matting that we use for these two pieces. You can see we have already hung the one, and this is its companion piece. They're in matched frames in mats. Our goal here was to put into pieces that would really accentuate this break front. It's a lovely antique piece that's been in the family for four generations, and we really wanted to highlight it here in the dining room.
So what we did is we picked a molding that reflected the era when this was made. It's more Victorian style. You can see the warm wood tones are kind of echoed, and this decorative motif fits well with the piece we're trying to highlight. Then we also selected two photographs that we felt visually played to the center. If you look here you see the strong diagonal line leads inward and the photo on the other side has another diagonal line leading inwards. Both those diagonal lines are sort of pointing towards the antique piece we're trying to highlight.
The other thing we did, too, was we wanted to sort of minimize the attention on the mats. So we tried to match the mat color is exactly as we could to the wall color. Then you get the wonderful image in kind of these soft warm tones, once again, that sort of echo the tones of the wood the central antique piece that seems almost float within the frame. So we have got a little ornate and then really simple. And I think it's a combination that works well for us.
We have made a mark to establish the vertical position of the work using our laser level, and now we're going to go from that mark to position the work. So we now where the top of the piece is going to be, but if you will think about it, that mark we made where the top of the frame is does not match where the hook belongs. You can see the wire is obviously well below the top of the frame. So the first thing we need to do is measure the drop we're dealing with from the top of the frame to where the wire is. So I'll take a wire at the approximate center and pull it up tightly with my finger and measure the distance from there to the top of the frame, and it's 4 & 1/8 inch.
So the hook part our wall mount needs to be positioned for 4 & 1/8 inch below the pencil mark we made based on the line the laser level threw from the top of the opposite frame. So that's the first to dimension we have in mind. We're going to come down from this mark we made 4 & 1/8 inch. That's our vertical dimension. We also need a horizontal position in order to accurately mimic what we did on the other side. You notice how centered that appears in that space? It appears centered because it's not.
Your eyes play some tricks on you and visual things happen, and one of the things there because there's a large piece hanging on that wall, that tends to push outwards. So we actually have that photograph is 2 inches off center towards the break front. If you look on this wall, we have got this lamp over here that's going to do the same sort of thing. So we're going to exactly mimic the positioning of that piece on this wall. So in order to that, we're going to measure the distance from the wall to the edge of a break front, and we have exactly 46 inches.
If we divided that in half, that will be 23 inches, but remember, we want to cheat it 2 inches this way, so we're going to make a horizontal positioning mark at 25 inches. So I am going to major across the wall, 25 inches. Now I am going to make a little mark here, and then I am going to go down for my vertical mark positioning mark that I made off the at top of the other frame, and notice here I'm burning an inch.
So I'll need to go down 5 & 1/8 inch from my horizontal mark, and then I'll combine those two marks in a little cross mark that will very exactly tell me where I need to position the hook part of the Wall-Dog. Once again, the Wall-Dog consists of two parts. You have this flat brass piece with a hook where the wire will go and then you have a self-tapping screw that goes through this whole in the Wall-Dog. So I am going to get my drill, and this drill has a nice feature on its screwdriver.
It has a little sleeve that slides out, and that sleeve allows me to position the screw and not have to use a hand to hold the screw. The screw stays in place without any help from me. That's gives me one hand from for the drill and one hand for the hook. Then I'm going to go back to my mark on the wall. I want to carefully position the base of the hook at crosshair and place the very center point of the Wall-Dog screw precisely in the center of that hole.
You can see how we got it started on the wall now. Then I'll just hold the hook part in place while I drive the screw the rest of the way in. So we have got that securely fastened now. The next step in hanging the work is to pick it up by the wire. You always want to pick up work you to by the wire or the base. Trying to pick it up by the top can damage the frame. So I have got it about the wire in the base, and I am going to turn my hand outwards so that I can feel the wall to find the hook and then I'll just slide the wire over the hook.
Find the hook and gently let it take the weight of the print and then also shift it back and forth until it's in rough alignment. I'll take my bubble level, place it on the top, and shift the print until it's perfectly level. And you can see we have ended up with exactly even prints with very comfortable spacing on both sides.
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