Thursday, May 1, 2014


I was recently asked about framing small panel paintings, specifically about 'floating frames' and how they work. A floating frame is designed to have the artwork installed from the front/finished side of the frame, therefore leaving the entire image exposed. 
I think they're kind of ideal for small paintings made on panels.

(Disclaimer: None of this information is original to me, I've merely learned from others, especially Carol Marine, and adapted to my liking.)

Similar to regular install-from-the-back frames, floating frames come in a variety of finishes and profiles. I'm a simple girl, and I really like these straight, black floating frames from Franken Frame
(This particular frame is item no. 2026 on their website. My panels are 6" x 6" so I order the frames at 6.25" x 6.25" to allow for the little space.)


(These frames come without any hardware, I added the wire and bumpers myself. Little known fact: one of my part-time jobs in college was a framing assistant at The Great Frame Up. :) )

Securing the painting to the frame couldn't be easier!
I use industrial strength self-adhesive black Velcro. It comes in rolls or sheets, and I've bought it at craft stores and hardware stores and, of course, it's available on Amazon

I cut the appropriate length strips (1/4" to 3/8" wide), and attach the hook (rough) piece to the frame;

and the corresponding loop (soft) piece to the back of the panel.

To install, just put the two together! Easy as pie! 

I usually put one hand up through the back side and lower the artwork with that hand so I can clearly see all the edges while lowering slowly onto the frame. A couple of firm pushes on the corners to make sure it's attached, and that's it!

Here's my little rotating display in our living room:

I love using the Velcro for a couple of reasons; one, it has some thickness so it lifts the panel away from the back of the frame a bit, and two, even though it's incredibly secure, it's not permanent! I can change out the art in my frames as often as I like, and have my 'For Sale' pieces displayed nicely. 

How do you frame your small panel paintings? Share your tips!


Diane Mannion said...

Thank you thank you for this information, Nora! Your work is wonderful, too.

Kara K. Bigda said...

GENIUS! I love the velcro. I'll be using this information in the future for my aquabord paintings. And thank you for the photos and resources. :)

Lee Ekland said...

Hi Nora,
Thanks for passing on the cool framing information. : )

Do you use the Velcro just for your own personal framing needs or do you sell your work framed this way?

I was just wondering about customer satisfaction with Velcro over the long run. For swapping out panels it sounds perfect.

I enjoy your work!

Nora Bergman said...

Thanks, all!

I have sold several paintings framed this way to friends and family members, and I think the industrial strength adhesive is extremely durable.
This velcro is tough! It takes a good amount of pressure to remove a panel when I want to - shaking or normal handling wouldn't budge it.
Of course, check it out for yourself - don't do anything you're not comfortable with. :)

Thanks for asking.

Unknown said...

I agree, industrial Velcro is tough! I hadn't thought to use it in this way. Thanks for sharing this tip and your beautiful work too!

Tamsen Armstrong said...

Thank you for the framing tip, Nora! I ordered some black and some maple floater frames from Franken and found them to be well made and beautiful, just as you say. I wonder if you have tried The Canvas Place yet. Their prices are a heck of a lot lower--even though they sell their frames in sets of 3. I just read about this site from Carol Marine's recent post and am curious if you have an opinion on the comparison between the two companies. I enjoy your paintings a great deal and admire your talent and sense of humor! Do you ever give workshops or private/group lessons? I live in the bay area, but I have family in the Portland area who I visit at least once in the summer. I would love to spend the day painting/learning with you.
Tamsen Armstrong

Nora Bergman said...

Thanks, Tamsen! I haven't tried The Canvas Place yet, but I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the tip!
And no, sorry, I don't teach - maybe someday when my boys are older - and when the idea doesn't sound! Thanks for asking, though - that made my day. :)

Anita HartCarroll said...

Nora, I love your art! I just finished Carol Marine's workshop and I'm looking for local art buddies to mutually encourage each other. I live in portland area. If you're interested, you can pm me on facebook! Anita HartCarroll.