Common frame sizes

Need a way to visualise print and frame sizes?  Maybe these will help!

Common frame sizes for visual reference
Common print and frame size visual reference

(Tap the images for a larger view)

I found these common frame sizes while hunting around my local stores north of Melbourne, they seem to be the most common available sizes ‘off the shelf’.  The second image also shows common print sizes to show how they fit together.  

I’ve found some people are caught out by making prints a certain size and then expecting to find the perfect frame to match, the catch is most stores won’t stock every frame size, or may not have the finish or quality you want in a particular size, so if  you’re using off the shelf frames, consider choosing the frame before making prints to avoid being caught out.  Square and panoramic sizes are much more random, and not as common as the sizes I’ve shown here.  Off-the-shelf frames are typically available up to 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm), larger sizes or odd sizes will need custom made frames.

‘Off the shelf’ frame size tips

  • Consider choosing the frame first, this way the print can be sized for the frame and you won’t end up compromising with a frame that doesn’t work.
  • It’s still common for standard sizes to be specified in inches with metric equivalents.
  • A 2 – 3 inch border around the print usually works well, typically a matboard fills this space.  For larger prints you might need more.  You can refer to the images in this article to visualise some examples. 
  • Be creative and don’t be afraid to play with the proportions of frame & print.
  • Not all frames are supplied with a matboard & cutout.  The matboard helps support the print, keeps it off the glass, and creates a pleasing border to the frame. 
  • Without a matboard, the print would sit against the glass, potentially with strange surface effects or condensation damage over time unless it’s mounted to the backing and spaced from the glass.  A matboard helps avoid some of these complexities.
  • If the frame does not have a matboard, a matboard can be cut. Some art/craft stores sell the matboard and equipment for this, or they could be cut by a local framer.

Custom made frames

  • A customised frame made by a local framer can solve any fitment problems with odd sized prints, and are usually much higher quality than ‘off the shelf’ frames which are usually imported and made from cheap materials.
  • Custom made frames can also be much better for your artwork in the long run, so long as the right materials are chosen, in particular, the matboard and backing which come in contact with the artwork should be chosen from ‘safe’ materials if the artwork is intended to last.  Off the shelf frames often use cheaper matboard which can yellow over time, and mdf wood composites which out-gas and damage artwork.
  • A small plug….Ask me about your custom frame needs!

Handy size list

Common rectangular frame & print sizes.

standard print and frame sizes as a list
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