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Framing Advice

Framing Advice page by Sophie Appleton.

Dear Customers,

The paintings I sell are unframed and it can be a bit daunting on choosing the right frame. I get a lot of questions about which frame to buy for your new watercolour painting so I have dedicated a page of my web site to advise on this topic. (Copyright of all images, paintings, and other creations by Sophie Appleton remains with the Artist Sophie Appleton).

Most of the 12" X 9" paintings I sell look best in a bigger 14" frame with a card insert.

I would advise taking your painting with you when shopping for a frame. To prevent your painting getting damaged use the layers of cardboard which I package the painting in and place all of them behind the picture. Then wrap the whole thing in cling film. This will mean that you will not bend or damage your painting while shopping, and the cling film will prevent getting dirt on the painting or any rain drops which would smudge the ink detail. You can then hold up your actual painting against different coloured frames in the shop to see which you prefer. Looking in caterlogues or the internet for frames will not be as good as actually holding your picture next to it.

This textured 12'' chunky wooden frame looked great with the 'Fluffy Chicken Trio' painting.

This painting is size 12"x9" it is in a white 14'' frame with a 12'' white card insert. The Range, Wilko, Ikia, Asda, Tesco etc all sell frames which fit my paintings so no need for expensive professional framing costs.

Take a 30cm ruler with you when you go shopping for your frame, so that you can measure how much of the actual image might be cut away if your preferred insert is smaller. (Inserts are the inside card frames which usually come with the frame or you can buy these separately with different thicknesses).

A shop bought white insert can be seen in the photo selection, it has a black sticker in the bottom left corner of it.

This Owl painting is in a cream and gold speckled frame. I lay the glass from the frame over the picture and used a pencil to lightly draw around the glass. Only about 1cm each side was cut away for it to fit perfectly. Remember to very lightly draw the pencil line with very little pressure on the pencil, because if you change your mind about position, then a pressed down pencil line can dent the soft watercolour paper permanently.

Generally it is all down to personal choice, my own choice is to have a bigger frame with a card insert rather than a smaller frame cutting into the actual image. Most of my paintings are size 12" X 9" (305mm X 229mm).

I have a couple hanging in my own home and I bought white chunky wooden frames from Wilkos, they cost me around £5 each. A simple white frame can show the vibrant colours of the painting to its best.

If you do buy a bigger picture frame, and you prefer some colour behind the art work, you could buy a sheet of coloured card from an art shop to place behind your painting.

This photograph of the poppy painting has dark green card behind it. Cut the coloured card to the size of the glass. You don't need to glue the back ground card to your watercolour painting as the glass pressing against it will hold it in place. I sometimes double roll one tiny bit of sellotape in a loop and place it in between the painting and background card to make it more secure, it is less permanent than glue or double sided tape for moving it about until it is centered.

This painting of kittens went in to a girls bedroom. Sparkly silver card bought from an arts & crafts shop was placed behind, and it looks great with the silver frame.

For a 14 year old boy this 'Cool Zebra Zest' print looks great in his room with a black frame to make it more masculine. The frame was from wilko's for £6 and it said the inside card insert was A4 size which fits all my art prints of paintings perfectly. My art must be cool if an xbox gaming mad teenager likes it !

This watercolour painting has been cut down by one inch on the length only to give an even gap all the way round and then placed onto the frame with no card behind. The actual back of the picture frame itself was a textured brown which suited the picture. 

These two sea side paintings were put into old second hand frames. Some charity shops sell lovely picture frames, you can remove the original picture and then use the frames.

This fancy photo frame does not distract from the colours on this miniature painting because it is cream, which allows the colours to jump out on there own.

If your still unsure about framing your painting yourself then take it along to a professional framing shop where they will take care of all your unsure decisions for you, helping you choose the background colour, frame type and size etc. This 'Emerald Giraffe' print was framed by Contacus in Hinckley, Leicestershire. They used a simple black frame with a 'V' grooved mount to show off the beautiful colours of the art work. 

The minature paintings or ACEO as they are known, can be placed in photo frames with a card inset inside. This size card insert can usually be found in art shops or professional framing shops.The miniature paintings are 2.5"x3.5" or 64mmX89mm

Why not have three ACEO size in one frame.

Or have two ACEO in one frame.

The miniature ACEO size paintings also look good unframed on mini easel stands. These easels were purchased from eBay for £2 each.


Finally, if you want your watercolour painting to last for generations to come then do not hang it in a steam filled area like next to a kettle or shower, or directly above a radiator.

Hope this helps, With thanks

Sophie  :-)

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