Watercolor Framing: Secret Tips and Tricks 2023

Framing watercolor paintings requires a thoughtful approach, as certain treatments can detract from their quality and value, while the right choices can enhance their appearance and showcase them in the best possible light. To assist you in selecting the ideal custom framing treatments for your watercolor paintings, our experience will guide you through the process in this article.

black flower sketch

Choosing the right frame for your watercolor painting

Choosing the right frame for your watercolor painting can be overwhelming, given the many options available. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a frame:

  • Material: Wood, metal, and plastic frames are all popular options. Consider the material that best complements your painting’s style and aesthetic.
  • Style: Frames come in various styles, from traditional to modern. Choose a style that complements your artwork and the room where it will be displayed.
  • Color: The frame color should complement your painting’s colors and not overpower them. A neutral-colored frame is often the best option.
  • Size: The frame should be proportionate to your painting’s size. A frame that is too small or too large can distract from the artwork.
  • Cost: Frames can be expensive, but there are affordable options available that still provide a professional look.
  1. Simplicity is the key. Choosing the appropriate custom frame to showcase a watercolor painting can be challenging, as there is a risk of overpowering the artwork with the framing choices. Frames that are too ornate or colorful can detract from the painting’s beauty and compromise the final aesthetic.

A loud, attention-grabbing framing selection is likely to draw the viewer’s eye away from the painting and towards the frame. Therefore, it’s best to opt for frames with simple, clean lines or small patterns. The objective is to support and enhance the watercolor painting, not to overshadow it with a flashy frame.

  1. Use the one-third method for proper frame sizing. An oversized or undersized framing treatment can reduce the impact of a watercolor painting. If you’re unsure about how to approach this sizing issue, consider utilizing the one-third method. This commonly employed and effective technique maintains that the perfectly sized frame should equal approximately one third of the painting’s total surface area.
  2. Lighter matting is preferable. Most watercolor paintings are matted in lighter, neutral shades since these works have a delicate composition. Vivid or bright mats can diminish the overall appearance of the artwork, and darker or colorful ones may deter potential buyers. Ultimately, the most appropriate matting options for watercolor pieces are various shades of white, cream, and soft, light-colored hues.

If a significant percentage of your artwork is white, consider utilizing a double mat. You could use a light-colored outer mat and a darker-hued inner one that complements a specific shade within the work of art. This creates a cohesive look and draws attention to the watercolors in the painting.

  1. Factor in extra overlap when framing. Most artwork requires a small overlap onto the artwork of ⅛ inch on all sides to secure the paper within the frame. However, the watercolor paper has a tendency to wave, so it is recommended to have a larger overlap to prevent the artwork from falling through the mat opening.

Choosing the right glass for your watercolor painting

Glass not only protects your painting from dust and moisture but also helps to enhance its colors and details. Here are some types of glass to consider for your watercolor framing:

  • Regular glass: This is the most affordable and widely used option for framing. However, it does not provide protection against UV rays and can reflect glare.
  • UV-filtering glass: This glass protects your painting from harmful UV rays, which can cause discoloration and fading over time. It is ideal for paintings displayed in rooms with direct sunlight.
  • Anti-reflective glass: This glass minimizes glare and reflection, allowing the viewer to see the painting’s colors and details more clearly. It is ideal for paintings displayed in rooms with bright lighting.

Mounting and securing your watercolor painting in the frame

Properly mounting and securing your painting in the frame is crucial to prevent it from shifting, sagging, or warping over time. Here are some tips for mounting and securing your watercolor painting:

  • Hinging: This involves attaching the painting to the mat board using archival tape or hinging tissue. This allows the painting to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Mounting board: Use a pH-neutral mounting board to prevent the painting from touching the glass and protect it from moisture.
  • Backing board: Use a sturdy backing board to support the painting and prevent it from bending or sagging.
  • Secure hardware: Use D-rings or sawtooth hangers to securely attach the frame wire to the frame.

Tips for hanging your framed watercolor painting

Hanging your framed watercolor painting requires careful consideration of the room’s lighting, decor, and layout. Here are some tips for hanging your painting:

  • Hang the painting at eye level, with the center of the painting at around 60 inches from the floor.
  • Consider the room’s lighting and position the painting to avoid glare or reflections.
  • If hanging multiple paintings, space them evenly and consider their sizes and colors for a cohesive display.
  • Use a level and measure to ensure the painting is straight and centered.

Framing alternatives for watercolor paintings

While traditional framing is the most popular option for watercolor paintings, there are alternative ways to display your artwork. Here are some framing alternatives to consider:

  • Floating frames: These frames allow the painting to appear as if it is floating within the frame, without a mat board or glass.
  • Canvas wraps: This involves stretching the watercolor painting over a wooden frame and stapling it to the back. This creates a frameless, minimalist look.
  • Clip frames: These frames hold the painting in place with clips or magnets, without the need for a mat board or glass.

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