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Here you will find lots of useful information to help you understand more broadly about what goes into framing you picture.

Frame: The frame is the structure that houses all the individual component that make up the completed framing job. Frames can be made from materials such as timber, aluminium, and plastic. Typically quality frames are made from timber in a vast array of profiles and finished, using compo to impress decorative designs, and further finished by gilding or painting. The hanging system is attached to the frame. For more information go to

Strainer or Stretch Frame:  The auxiliary support of a canvas painting is usually a wooden frame onto which the canvas is stretched. This holds the canvas under tension, thus reducing movement of the fabric and allowing the artist to paint on a flat support.

There are two common types of auxiliary support. Strainers are rigid frames with fixed corners. Stretchers are frames that have expandable corners, allowing adjustment of tension. Usually keys (small wooden triangles) are present in slots in the corner joins. In order to expand the stretcher, these are gently hammered further into the join, thus pushing the stretcher members further apart and expanding the dimensions of the auxiliary support. This keying out places the canvas support under greater tension. (ref

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Glazing: The glazing is designed to protect the framed item from environmental pollutants. Glass or acrylic sheet can be used and the choice of either depends on your specific requirements. Acrylic is used where there is a concern about glass breakage and the possibility of damage to the framed piece as a consequence. It is marginally lighter than glass however standard acrylic can be easily scratched. Acrylics have been made that are resistant to scratching. There are several types of coating or finishes that can be applied to the glass or acrylic. These include ultra violet (UV) filtering, non glare, and anti reflection. UV glass is recommended for conservation framing as it blocks most of the harmful radiation that is responsible for fading of pigments and the creation of harmful acids in some mat boards. For more information go to

Mat board: The mat board serves as a design element and a spacer between the glazing and artwork. Generally it is positioned over the artwork with the window edges just covering the art. They are made from wood pulp based product (cardboard) or cotton. Because these products can come into contact with the art the latter is seen as the better choice for conservation framing. Cotton mat boards do not degrade and leach harmful by products onto the art. Some mat board manufacturers are producing wood pulp based mat boards that offer a similar level of protection as cotton mat  boards. See also

Air Space: The air space has the function of separating the glazing from the item being framed. This function is vital because any moisture condensation that develops on the inside of the glass can be transferred to the piece if they are not separated, resulting in water damage, mold or mildew. It is important that photographs be separated from the glass because the photographic surface is particularly fragile and any moisture can cause the photo to stick to the glass. Art made using pastel or chalk should also be separated because of these mediums can easily smudge and transfer to the glass.

Mounting Hinges: Mounting hinges are used to attach art on paper or similar material to either the backing board or under mount and allow the art to expand or contract dependant on environmental conditions such as temperature and moisture. Hinging materials are usually quality pressure sensitive tapes (specifically designed for the purpose) or archival papers with water-based adhesive gum.

Backing Board: This is typically a thick cardboard or foam board used behind the mounted artwork to give it a 'back', add rigidity to the structure and provide a base onto which the artwork can be hinged or mounted. See also

Under Mount: This item is placed between the back of the art and the backing board. It is generally used in conservation framing and made from conservation grade mat board.

Dust Cover and Seals: Dust cover are generally used to close in the back of stretched canvas art. This prevents environmental pollutants and insects to settle in the space between the canvas and stretch frame. These pollutants can have a damaging effect on the artwork if left for long period of time. Generally it is made from foam core board and has an additional feature of protecting the back of the canvas from physical damage. Framed items with glazing often are sealed at the back to prevent the ingress of insects and pollutants.

Hanging System: This refers to a stapled nylon cord or a wire and two Dee rings screwed to the back of the frame. It is used as a mechanism to hang the framed piece on a wall.

'Bump-ons': These are two or more, small felt or rubber pads attached to the bottom corners of the back of the frame. These prevent the frame from touching the wall and allow air circulation at the back of the frame.