Frames are a wonderful way to enhance artwork. If you want to know the right way to frame an oil painting, here is your quick how-to guide!

Should You Frame an Oil Painting?

You don’t have to. If you’d like to hang a canvas up as is, that’s a wonderful way to display your art. However, an oil painting shines when framed. With thousands of options available, you can find a frame that enhances your oil painting and draws attention to the subject.

Framing an oil painting also helps to preserve and protect your art. If you’ve invested in a work of art and want to enjoy it for years to come, a frame is a great way to help keep your art in great shape.

How to Frame an Oil Painting

It’s not as simple as buying a frame and popping it on! Here’s a small guide on how to frame an oil painting.

Ensure Your Painting is Protected

Before you frame your oil painting, it needs to be protected. Protecting your painting should be the first in your priorities.

To give your oil painting a protective coating, apply a varnish. Varnishing oil paintings will create a barrier that protects the paint from chipping or flaking off. As a bonus, it will also enhance the painting’s colors. It’s essential to pick the right varnish, as not any old varnish will suffice. Check with an art professional before you apply anything to your artwork. And if you’re able to contact the original artist, you can ask if a varnish is necessary and what varnish they recommend.

Let it Breathe

When it comes to hunting for the perfect frame, you should make sure that it doesn’t include glass. Oil paintings need to breathe, and glass will suffocate the art and possibly damage the paint. Glass will also diminish the dimensional qualities of oil paintings. If you still prefer your oil painting to be in a frame with glass, choose a frame with a spacer between the art and the glass. Keep in mind if you go this route, you may cause damage to your painting.

Match the Right Frame

When it comes to the frame, you don’t simply choose it. You match the frame to your original oil painting. The right frame for a beautiful oil painting should elevate the piece and present it in the best light.

Of course, there are no rules set in stone and the final choice comes down to your preferences. But here is a tip that can help you make your choice. The painting’s style can help choose the frame. An oil painting with a classical subject or period of art would suggest a gold or antique frame. An abstract piece would suggest a lighter, sleek frame so it doesn’t take away from the work. Traditional frames for classic landscapes, animals, and portraits are always a winning choice.

Choose a Spot with No Direct Sunlight

Prolonged sunlight is not a friend to oil paintings. It can cause the colors in your painting to fade, as well as warp or shrink the canvas or board. After you’ve found the perfect frame and are deciding on where to hang your painting, ensure you choose a spot where it doesn’t have direct sunlight beaming on it.

Place it In

After finding the right frame, the last thing you need to do is place your oil painting in! When adding in your art, remove the glass and backboard of the frame as they aren’t needed. Ensure there aren’t any sharp bits around the frame which may damage your art when inserted. Lay the frame down on a clean surface and gently place your oil painting within.

Ensure the painting is spaced right in the frame, and when it is, insert the frame clips to secure it in place. Check your painting is secure in the frame before hanging it up, and there you have it. You’re finished!

Enjoy Your Oil Painting for Years to Come

Hopefully this small guide helps you frame an oil painting the right way. I hope this also helps you enjoy your artwork to the fullest for years and years to come!

If you are in the market for some oil paintings to go in a frame, please take a look at my paintings! If you ever have a question about one of my pieces, feel free to contact me. Thank you for supporting your local Colorado artists!