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Measuring for Frames
We’re pleased to offer custom frames at reasonable prices. To help make your frame selection and ordering process as easy as possible, we’ve come up with the following guidelines which we hope are helpful to you. If at any point you’d like to speak with a Customer Service representative, feel free to call us (Monday-Friday, 10:00am-6:00pm EST) at 1-888-292-2323.

Frame Selection Advice

Selecting the right frame for a project depends largely on the piece that you will be framing. Taking into consideration the interplay and balance between color, shape, style and scale, a frame should take its cue from the artwork and follow its lead. The right frame will feature and enhance its subject rather than overwhelm or distract from it and this is achieved through a thoughtful coordination and selection process.

Anatomy of a Frame

Frame Size

When referring to a frame’s size, three sets of numbers are often discussed. Knowing what numbers you’re talking about is important, as they will impact how big your overall frame is, how much of your artwork is visible, and whether or not your glass, mat and artwork fit properly inside the frame.

Frame Size: Frames are most often referred to by their rabbet size. The rabbet is the opening on the back of the frame into which the glass, mat, and artwork fit. Almost all frames are marketed based on rabbet size, which is more generically and simply referred to as “frame size.” When you see an 8x10 frame for sale, it means the back side opening requires an 8x10 piece of glass. All frames in our store are categorized based on frame/rabbet size.

Outside Size: Frames are occasionally referred to by their outside size. When you look at the front of a frame and measure from outer edge to outer edge, of the frame this is an outside dimension. The two outside dimensions tell you how much space the frame will require on your wall, but they do not necessarily have any correlation with the rabbet size and therefore cannot reliably be used to determine what size glass, mat, or artwork will fit inside.

Sight Size: Frames are also occasionally referred to by their sight size. This refers to the size of the frame’s opening when viewed from the front. The sight size is the ‘view window’ - measured from the inner edge to the opposite inner edge - through which your artwork will be visible. While most frames have a ¼” rabbet on each side - meaning ¼” of your artwork will be hidden behind the frame on each side, or a total of ½” horizontally and ½” vertically - it’s not safe to assume that they all do. So the sight size does not necessarily predict the rabbet size and therefore cannot reliably be used to determine what size glass, mat, or artwork will fit inside.

Allowance:

When frames are made, they are cut slightly larger than the size desired rabbet size. This provides a little bit of extra space so anything that is the actual size (i.e. the glass, mat, and artwork) will drop into the frame without resistance. For example, an 8x10 frame is likely to have an actual rabbet or opening of 8 ¼ x 10 ¼.

Lip:

The lip is the part of the frame that holds the art and other framing contents in place.

Rabbet Depth:

The interior height of the frame where the contents will be placed.

Rabbet Width:

The amount of the frame lip that will overlap onto the contents placed in the frame.

When ordering a mat from our store...

  • Begin by selecting the size you need. All of our frame sizes are listed down the left-hand navigation bar when you click on “Frames by Size”.
  • Select the frame you want. Once you have selected a size, you will be presented with all of the frames available in that size.
  • Once you have selected a frame, you will be presented with a description of the frame. At this point, if you are ready to order, you will need to make two more selections:
    • Color: In the drop-down menu, select the color (finish) that you want. If the frame only comes in one color, the menu will only contain that one option.
    • Glass & Backing: In the drop-down menu, select the glass & backing combination that you want:
      • Regular Glass & Foamcore: recommended for pieces that are not of high financial or sentimental value and/or those that will not be displayed in direct sunlight or bright, sunlit areas
      • Non-Glare Glass & Foamcore: recommended for pieces that will be displayed in high-glare areas, our non-glare glass has a subtle matte finish and is best used without a mat
      • Conservation Glass & Acid Free Foamcore: recommended for pieces of financial or sentimental value and/or those that will be displayed in direct sunlight or bright, sunlit areas
      • Clear Acrylic & Foamcore*: offered for large frames, see below
      • No Glass, Empty Frame: recommended if you already have glass and backing
*For large frames (18x24, 19x19, 20x20, 20x24, 20x30, 21x21, 22x22, 22x28, 23x23, 24x24, 24x30) we do not offer glass due to the likelihood of breakage during shipment. Instead, we offer a high quality Clear Acrylic as an alternative.

Still a little unsure? Want some help?

Feel free to call us at 1-888-292-2323 for help over the phone. We’re here Monday through Friday from 10:00AM-6:00PM EST.