As you may or may not have noticed, at I Heart Wall art, we offer the option to buy many of our art prints unframed. This means you get the choice of what frame you’d like to finish your piece off with – giving you control over colour, style and level of quality.
When it comes to framed art prints, a few little things can make a big difference in the look of the end result, as well as how long it’s going to last for.
We’ve pulled together a few tips to make sure your wall art print looks just as perfect when it’s up on your wall as it did in your mind.
Art mats – Everything you need to know
A mat is the name for the thick white card that comes in most frames. If you choose to keep it, you’ll end up with a white border around your artwork. For many pieces of art, that can really help enhance the look of the finished result. A nice mat can elevate a simple print to a true statement piece that demands attention.
A mat can also help with condensation by creating a barrier between your artwork and the glass of your frame. This will help preserve your prints so they’ll still be looking great in decades to come.
As a general rule, larger mats tend to look more traditional and work well for photo prints, particularly black and white wall art.
However, taking the mat away can also have impact. Have a look at both options and decide what effect you’re going for before you order your prints.
Remember, if you want a mat, it helps to research your frame options before ordering your print. If your mat takes your print down a size (for example, an A3 frame with a white mat may only leave room for an A4 size print), you’ll need to factor that in when ordering your art prints online.
If you’re buying large size prints (A1s or A2s, for example), you may end up looking at poster frames. These are available at many stores like Spotlight, Ikea, Kmart, Target and more.
Most poster frames will come with a mat already in them but it tends to be a mat with a thicker top and bottom. To get a premium look in poster frames, think about getting custom mats cut at your local frame shop instead. For around $30 each, you can get a mat cut as big or small as you like.
We love a 3cm thick mat – it perfectly frames larger prints while still giving the maximum impact of the print you love.
Choose the right picture frame quality level for your needs and budget
Perhaps unsurprisingly, if you’ve invested in a nice piece of artwork, you’ll want it to last a long time. However, skimping out and choosing cheap frames can un-do all your great work.
For example, choosing cheap frames with MDF backing can make it hard to get your prints sitting flat in their frames. (We offer foamcore backing for our larger prints as standard, to alleviate this problem).
MDF can also leach chemicals that over time, may turn your prints yellow.
There are a few quick tips can you can use to ensure your prints stand the test of time. You can buy foamboard at Spotlight and other specialist stores, which can help eliminate the problem of puckered prints.
If you are using frames with MDF backing, try flipping over the piece of paper that came with the frame. By using this as a barrier between the print and the MDF, you can help protect your artwork from those chemicals.
Use masking tape the whole way around your prints to try and keep them siting as flat as possible.
Glass or Perspex frames?
Your choice here may depend on your budget and lifestyle. Glass has traditionally been associated with better quality frames and will generally give a better result. However, if you’re planning to hang your prints in your kids’ bedrooms or the hallway they kick their football up and down, Perspex may be a better option. There are also in-between options like safety glass which are worth consideration.
Remember that if you’re planning to hang your prints in a place that receives lots of sunlight, using a UV protective glass might be a better option as it will help prevent discolouration in your prints.
If you're looking for advice for your art prints, remember you can contact our team for guidance and support - we're always happy to help make sure you pick the perfect piece of art you'll love for a lifetime.