The Art of Picture Framing
Building a frame is the all-important first step in getting flat artwork onto the wall, but it doesn't stop there. Cutting the mat cleanly, securing the package of glass, mat, and backer board into the frame, and installing hangers are just as crucial.
Skip the trip to the framing store: You can do all of these steps easily at home with just a few simple tools to help along the way.
Cutting the mat
Mat board plays both functional and aesthetic roles in a frame: It spaces the artwork away from the glass, and provides a bit of visual breathing room between the artwork and the frame. You can cut the mat with a standard razor knife, but a simple and affordable push-style mat cutter (below) creates crisp, accurate bevel cuts, lending a professsional touch to your framing job. Back up the cut with a self-healing cutting mat that protects your workbench, prolongs the cutter, and provides a smooth, clean surface for cutting.
Securing the package
Yep, professional framers call the stack of the glass, mat, artwork, and backer board "the package." Depending on how often you intend to frame items, you can invest in a tool that does the job with speed, or get it done with tools you probably already have around the shop.
With the back of the frame looking almost as good as the front, give your frame a secure hanging system. As with many things, simpler is often better. A wire hanger makes a great choice because with one nail or hook in the wall, the frame becomes essentially self-leveling. D-rings screwed into the frame provide solid anchor points for the wire. Be sure to choose a wire gauge rated for the weight of your frame.