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.
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.
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.
The lip is the part of the frame that holds the art and other framing contents in place.
The interior height of the frame where the contents will be placed.
The amount of the frame lip that will overlap onto the contents placed in the frame.
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.