Wood Frame Moulding

Wood Frame Moulding

Certain kinds of pieces do not usually need glass when framed, including paintings done in acrylic or oil paint (the former is usually waterproof; the latter needs to breathe due to the decades-long drying process), stained glass or tiles, and laminated posters. These kinds of pieces are still sometimes put under glass though, if for example they are framed using mats, or (in the case of oil paintings) they are kept in a carefully climate-controlled environment.

There are some examples in which the protective function of the frame is dispensed with, such as in Daniel C. Boyer's gouache The Three Sphinxes of the Metis in the Meadow of Louis Riel's Shameful Career, in which slits are cut all the way through the frame from the outside of the picture to its inside, and Boyer's The Distant Landscape allows for a figure inside the frame to raise and lower her arm by means of a brad attached through the backing, letting the sword she is holding move up and down in such a slit. In the case of Boyer's scented marker drawing Waiting for a Biscuit, a hole has been drilled in the frame to allow for the work to be smelled more easily.

The treatment of the back of the framed artwork varies widely, from usually nothing in the case of oils, to the frequent use of foam-core boards and other backing boards to provide support, or backing paper or "dust covers" to keep dust and insects out. While these are almost invariably simply functional, there are some examples of works in which they have been decorated (such as Daniel C. Boyer's After the Age of 50, The Angry God and His Rabbit Harem), with this being considered part of the artwork. The use of backing boards is common with watermedia and other art on paper. Usually paper dust covers will be inexpensive craft paper, but sometimes this can tear, so at least one website sells Black Tyvek as an alternative. Another common backing paper in use for archival-quality framing is the acid-free Lineco backing paper, with some citing the risk of tearing of craft paper.


When it was realized this method of producing a frame and the image within in one slab of wood was too costly, "a more efficient method was eventually developed which used mitred moulding strips. These strips were attached to a flat wooden panel which produced a similar result to the carved panel, but were more cost effective. This type of frame is known as an engaged frame. The early ones were made of simple wooden moulding strips attached to the outside edge of a wooden panel."

Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, most European frames were church-commissioned and largely unmovable as they were altarpieces and a large part of the church's architecture. The frames were ornamented with architectural elements mimicking the exteriors of the great cathedrals. However the Renaissance of 14th and 15th century Italy saw the rise of arts patrons extending beyond the church. Wealthy nobles such as the Medici family could now bring art and frames into their estate by commissioning allegorical, devotional and portrait paintings. This was the advent of the portable or moveable frame.

Under the reign of Francis I, France's first Renaissance monarch from 1515 through 1547, art came to the forefront of daily life and flourished along with picture frames. Many workers came from Italy to partake in the arts trade, including Leonardo da Vinci, whom "Francis convinced to leave Italy in the last part of his life. Frames were now designed by furniture builders rather than the artist, sculptor or architect as in the past. Books on furniture and interior design were published and in distribution to a wider market than ever before.

From 1610 to 1643, under the reign of Louis XIII in France, the influence of court and refinement takes center stage in frame designs. The profiles became thinner than their Italian predecessors, and continuous design such as egg-and-dart, ribbon and flow of leaves, and pronounced low relief corner designs appear. This paves the way for Baroque design in picture framing, and "Spanish, Flemish, and Italian influences were all at work to produce a curious intermingling and exchange of ideas."


"L"-style frames are a simple variety that are constructed with a single L-shaped border of wood, with the bottom part of the L, or rabbet, at the front of the frame to hold in the glass, object and backing, which are secured in from the back.

A photo cube is a special type of picture frame, often used to show members of a family, a vacation, or a timeline of someone's life.

Other styles are clip frames (not really a frame at all), box frames and shadow boxes. A digital photo frame is an example of the changing technology of the 21st century.

Macaroni Picture Frames are a popular craft project for children. Uncooked pasta in various shapes are glued to a frame in a pattern. Sometimes the entire frame is painted.

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