High-quality custom frames are much more than just the outermost sides. They are an important element of the frame, but so are the matting, and the glass choices that go into putting the entire frame together. The outermost pieces can be in one of four styles, with many variations in each style. Hand carved gold leaf frames are usually wood, ornate, and most commonly used for large pieces, antique prints, old pictures, and centrally located artwork. Traditional frames are a bit simple, although they can have various textures and thicknesses.

Contemporary frames consist of straight lines, basic textures, and subtle colors. That allows the viewer to focus on the piece, rather than the frame. Playful frames, with great color and finishes, are the perfect complement for causal pictures and whimsical artwork. Matting is a common addition to contemporary and playful frames for depth and contrast. An important element in framing, mats can be used with any style of frame, depending on preference, subject, and desired effect.

French matting, for example, has lines or details along the perimeter of the piece. It is mainly see with still life paintings, or antique photographs. Most matting is not completed in the framing studio, as many picture framing experts are not artisans who have the skill to created matting designs by hand. Special inks are used, and colors are matched to each piece to create a stunning final presentation. Other matting options include colors, textures, and different materials, such as fabrics, thin wood, weaves, thick paper, cardboard, and linens.

The type of glass used in custom framing is also an important component in the project. The frame should protect the work from dust, dirt, pollen, fading, and other risk of damage. Standard glass will keep dust and dirt off a picture, and protect it from moisture. It will not, however, protect what is inside from heat and fading. The harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun can cause a picture, painting, flag, or document to disintegrate from heat, or cause colors to fade. Glass known as “Conservation Clear” can protect items from UV rays. Anti-reflective glass can reduce glare so the viewer sees the item inside the frame without glare or reflections from the lighting.

Museum Glass provides the highest level of protection for a framed piece. It is also virtually invisible. This type of glass is used for most museum quality frames, hence the name. The best way to see how all of the important elements of a frame will look together, and along with the item to be framed, is to bring the piece into a professional studio, such as Images and Details Custom Framing, for example. That allows the owner to select from different styles and options, as well as get expert advice from experienced framers.