Matting, Framing, and Hanging Your Photographs
Illustration by Richard Downs

Putting the frame, glazing, mat, and art together


Matting, Framing, and Hanging Your Photographs

with Konrad Eek

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Video: Putting the frame, glazing, mat, and art together

So once you have assembled your wood frame using an underpinner, and you can see this one was assembled the same way as that molding we have just demonstrated with. The next step is to put together the component parts within the frame. But before I do that I want to talk a little bit about the aesthetics that were involved in matching up this particular frame with the photograph and matting package. Decoratively this was going to be installed on fairly neutral tile, so we wanted something that wasn't too rich in color, but something that could sustain a detailed visual inspection.
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  1. 6m 2s
    1. Welcome
      1m 49s
    2. Using this course
      1m 19s
    3. Understanding why we frame
      2m 54s
  2. 25m 31s
    1. Visiting a professional framing studio
      6m 22s
    2. Working with a framer's vocabulary
      4m 16s
    3. Conversing with a framer
      14m 53s
  3. 50m 36s
    1. Selecting a mat
      5m 13s
    2. Deciding on the window size
      9m 27s
    3. Understanding standard vs. custom mats
      1m 46s
    4. Using a handheld mat cutter
      4m 11s
    5. Using a production mat cutter
      8m 37s
    6. Assembling the mat
      2m 5s
    7. Mounting art in a mat
      3m 25s
    8. Mounting the art with photo corners
      4m 51s
    9. Mounting the art with repositionable mounting adhesive (RPMA)
      6m 52s
    10. Exploring troubleshooting techniques
      4m 9s
  4. 32m 11s
    1. Selecting a frame
      5m 15s
    2. Understanding the kinds of glazing
      4m 14s
    3. Cutting glass
      7m 15s
    4. Scoring acrylic
      3m 52s
    5. Sawing acrylic
      4m 42s
    6. Keeping the glass clean
      6m 53s
  5. 46m 10s
    1. Assembling an easel back frame
      6m 21s
    2. Assembling a metal frame
      8m 33s
    3. Using a V-nailer to assemble a chopped frame
      7m 49s
    4. Putting the frame, glazing, mat, and art together
      12m 4s
    5. Using a band clamp for assembly
      6m 10s
    6. Reviewing alternative hanging devices
      5m 13s
  6. 13m 21s
    1. Prepping the show
      2m 26s
    2. Using a wall as a canvas
      6m 46s
    3. Hanging the show
      4m 9s
  7. 36m 2s
    1. Introduction to hanging tools
      8m 2s
    2. Using lasers for precision
      3m 18s
    3. Hanging on plaster and lath
      6m 42s
    4. Hanging on either drywall or panelling
      6m 56s
    5. Hanging on brick, stone, or steel
      7m 35s
    6. Lighting your work
      3m 29s
  8. 54s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Matting, Framing, and Hanging Your Photographs
3h 30m Beginner Sep 20, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Conversing with a framer
  • Selecting a mat and a frame
  • Deciding on window size
  • Using a handheld or production mat cutter
  • Mounting art
  • Cutting glass
  • Assembling frames
  • Hanging photographs in groups
  • Hanging photographs on different surfaces
Konrad Eek

Putting the frame, glazing, mat, and art together

So once you have assembled your wood frame using an underpinner, and you can see this one was assembled the same way as that molding we have just demonstrated with. The next step is to put together the component parts within the frame. But before I do that I want to talk a little bit about the aesthetics that were involved in matching up this particular frame with the photograph and matting package. Decoratively this was going to be installed on fairly neutral tile, so we wanted something that wasn't too rich in color, but something that could sustain a detailed visual inspection.

If you look at the molding, it's really quite ornate, you have got on the sides here some filigree work that matches in tone. This center area here, there is very delicate painting here. There is weathering where it appears as the paint has been weathered, giving this frame kind of an instant appearance of age. And one of the things I looked at in matching it up with this photograph, the hues in the lighter areas here, where the sun is striking the rock are echoed in these areas of the frame.

The deeper red tones here start to come out in some of these more weathered areas in the frame. The other thing too, we even have a reference to the green and some of the brush work around this little detail painting. So there are a lot colored tie-ins between the work and the frame, and then to further accentuate those relationships, I did a much more complicated matting package than we used from the student work from Quartz Mountain. If you look at the side of this, you can see that this is multiple layers. We started with a stucco mat in kind of an almond hue and then there's a spacer between that stucco mat and a suede mat underneath it, with a black core, and then yet another spacer between that and the artwork.

What this does is it serves to add depth to the work. It makes the whole matting package a little bit more substantial. And I think visually it draws the viewer's eye into the work very well. Another way we added space, if you look at our glazing package, we're working with clear glass, but we have added a spacer on the side of the glass, and this is just a black plastic strip that has an adhesive back you will fix directly to the glass. Here is a couple of samples of that spacer, you can see it comes in black and clear and a couple of different depths, and there is an adhesive backing here just you peel away the paper, and what I do is I'll cut it to size and then peel and stick.

And once again, you stick it to the glass. You do not attach it to inside of the frame. The other thing about using this as a spacer it's really affordable. Retail cost on this is less than a dollar a foot. So from here it's time to start assembling the package. Once again, I'm going to glove up as we do this next part. One of the things too, when you start to deal with a more decorative frames, as you put them together, sometimes they sort of develop a top and bottom where the frame looks better one-way up than the other.

In this case it's really pretty, even all the way around. So we don't have that issue, but I'm looking here, I see these two kind of darker weathered areas here are a little heavier than the ones up on the top. So I'm going to choose to make this bottom of my frame. So I'm going to turn this over with the bottom towards me. I'm going to take my glazing package. I'm going to go ahead and drop it in, and then I'm going to get my air once again, and I'm going to blow off any surface dust.

And particularly once you have those fixtures, watch the corners, because things tend to collect in the corners. Blowing off the surface of the mat, and then making sure I keep the bottom towards the bottom. I'm going to put the package together and then I'm going to turn it over and hold it in place and inspect it, and I don't see any visible dust or anything that's caught in there, so we were clean so far. A, at this point I can get rid of the gloves, and we're going to hold this in place using what's called a Framing Pointer. This is the tool right here.

It's kind of a glorified staple gun that shoots what are called framer's points sideways into the molding. And the points come packaged in strips are held together with adhesive, and as it drives each individual point, it's separated from the adhesive, and you can see the point looks like this. It's got a little bit--you notice a bit of the arrowhead there, and then it's got a little gap and then it's thick again. That little recessed area would go beyond the arrowhead with insertion that helps it hold, but the little gap towards the back, if for whatever reason you ever need to remove them, gives you something to hold on to, while you remove the framer's point.

You can adjust the depth that they fire in by changing the tension on the spring that drives in with this screw right here. The farther it's screwed in, the farther it will penetrate into the molding. When you're working with hardwood, such to oak and maple, you would generally want to screw that in a little bit farther. This particular molding is done on a fairly soft wood, so I don't think we're going to have problems driving the points. And then the point comes out right here, and so what we'll do is we'll position it in a corner, and I'll use to hold the front down with my thumb, and use these little guides on the back to make sure it's completely flat and then you just squeeze and pull it straight back, and you can see it's driven a point in.

And then I'll go to the opposite corner, hold it, make sure it's flat, squeeze and pull straight back, and you'd see we have inserted another point. And then I'll just go around and typically on a work that's of this size, 11x14, I'll put three points in on the sides, three points on the top, and three points along the bottom. Once we have got all the points in place, once again, I like to stop and inspect a lot, so I'll turn it back over, make sure nothing crept in there while I was doing that work, and it still looks clean.

The next step we want to do is apply a backing paper to the back of the frame. The purpose of the backing paper is it will prevent dust from penetrating. If you have a house open up the windows, and it's a dusty day, wind could actually blow dust around these edges of the mat and in between the glass and the mat. We don't want that to happen. If you remember on the metal sectional frames, we did not put backing paper on, reason being with the metal sectionals, they are easy enough to disassemble if you do get a little penetration of dust like that, you can take it apart, clean it, put it back together real quickly.

These wooden frames, as you can see, these points are harder to remove, it's a more complicated process to disassemble. So hold the backing paper in place, I'm going to use an ATG gun, what this does is it dispenses essentially double stick tape, it's a very tacky double stick tape, and you just place this down, pull the trigger and draw it across the edge of the frame. And I'm keeping my double stick line about a quarter of an inch in from the edge of the frame. Then I'm going to turn the frame 90 degrees just because it's easier to be accurate with this if you draw it straight towards you.

It's the same thought process that we talked about when you're handling knives and making the cuts. That pulling motion straight towards yourself is one of the most easily repeatable motions that you can do accurately. And I'm going to set the ATG gun aside. I am going to get a roll of brown craft paper and make sure I have got clearance here, and I'm going to roll this paper tight and make sure it's tight on the spool and then I'm going to press it down on that first row of the tape and then I'm going to pull it towards myself under some tension, until it's all the way across the back of the frame here, and I'm going to go around the edges and press down on them, to make sure I have got a good tape seal, and I'm going to take the utility knife and just make a cut to get the roll free and set it aside.

And then I'm going to take this tool to do the final cutting on the paper edge. This tool holds the mat cutting blade. You can change the blade by unscrewing and screwing right here, and this serves as a guide where I'll fold the paper edge over so I have got a nice clean line there and then press that guide against the side of the frame, and with downward pressure just pull it towards me, and you can see it gives a nice clean cut, and you can see here we were exposing about 3/16 of an inch of the edge of the frame, that's why we wanted to make sure that we put our tape down about a quarter of an inch to the inside.

Ideally, if you do this right, you wouldn't have any of that stick tape exposed once you have made these series of cut. If you notice too, I turned it and got rid of the two long pieces first. Then it's easier to get rid of the short ones, because you can make a cleaner fold. And once again just fold it over and the pressure thing is interesting, because you're pushing in to keep it flush with the side, at the same time you're pressing downward to make sure you get a clean cut through the paper.

One consideration with this too, a couple of times with really hardwoods, with strong grain patterns like oak, every once a while the grain will grab your blade and kind of push you out sideways. So as I'm drawing through, I try to be aware of where my hand is, and if it starts to pull that way just lift it up, go back and start your cut and concentrate more on the sideways pressure. So once again here, we have got--I always stop and double-check, it still looks good. I'm reorienting myself to the top, so I know where to put the D rings, which we're going to attach to use with the wire.

So now I have got the top towards me, and what I have here are a pair of D rings, these are single hole D rings, you can see there is a little hole there for the screw to go in and then this part here is hinged so you can lift it away in order to ease the insertion of the wire. And then I have just got two wood screws here, they are pan head wood screws that I'm going to use to secure the D ring in place. One thing you need to think about is screw length and molding thickness.

If you have got a molding that's only a half inch thick, and you use a three quarter inch screw, you're going to have a really ugly screw heads sticking out through the molding. So I always double-check by holding my screw to the side of the molding and making sure it's not going to go too far, and I think we are okay there. As far as distance down, once again, about 25% of the distance and, in this case, what I'm going to use to make sure they're consistent, I'm just lining up on this little line in the Keyless Chuck part of the drill, and then I'm going to put the screw on to the drill and then just drive it into place. Repeat this over on the other side.

Once again, I'm using my powered screwdriver here kind of as a measuring device, setting that up in the same position, put the screw on the tip, and then I want these angle slightly up, so I'm going to loosen that a little bit, and I'm just going to establish that slight upward angle in both of them, okay. Then from here I go back in, and I'll attach the wire in the exact same way we did on the metal back sectional, that same double loop with five twists, and once the wire is in place, you have a finished frame that's ready for hanging on the wall.

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