Metal Frames: How to Place and Space Spring Clips

Installing spring clips in metal frames is an easy and essential task when assembling your treatment. The first question is quantity. How many clips you need depends on the size of the frame. In all cases, you need enough to hold the “art stack” securely against the frame’s rabbet and this usually means at least 2 per side, which is why our frames all come with 8 spring clips.

However, frames over 20” x 30” often require a third or fourth clip on each side to hold the work tightly in the frame.  Purchase extra clips on our website:

basic spring clip layout
Here is an image of basic spring clip spacing.

Placement is the next question our customers ask.  We recommend putting one spring clip near each corner on the top and bottom of the frame and, for larger frames, placing additional clips in the middle.

Installing spring clips is simple: press down on them lightly and slide them into the back of the frame, in the space between the art materials and the back of the picture frame.  If you do a lot of framing, Fletcher’s SpringMate spring clip tool makes inserting and removing spring clips even easier.  Watch our video tutorial to see the SpringMate in action:

use spring clip tool to push down on top of spring clip

push spring clip under the lip of back of the frame

TAKE NOTE: If using a Canvas Plus frame, you may have to add extra backing boards to your “art stack” before spring clips are effective because this frame has an extra deep rabbet of 1 11/16”.  However, you don’t have to order a full sheet of backing board.  Instead, cut strips of foam core just big enough to fill in the edges of the frame.  (We don’t recommend using corrugated cardboard because it emits a significant amount of acid.)

canvas plus frame has a deep rabbet
Here is a view of a spring clip in the canvas plus frame. See how the spring clip is no where near touching the acrylic and foam that we've placed at the top.

bend the spring clip to use with deeper rabbets
Even bending the spring clip so that it stands taller, will not allow the spring clip to reach the acrylic and foam and hold them into place tightly.

add additional pieces of foam to fill the rabbet
Here, we've added extra strips of mounting board to allow the spring clips to fit inside the frame's rabbet tightly, allowing the "art stack" to be pressed toward the front of the frame.

Spring clips are inexpensive, easy to install and remove, and very effective at holding your art stack securely in the frame.  Keep extras on hand and you’ll always be ready to frame.

Related articles:

The Summer Celebration of the Metal Picture Frame
History of Metal Frames on #AFchat
Aluminum Moulding: Precious Metals for Today’s Consumer
Help, I Can’t Find My Hardware
Do You Sell Extra Spring Clips?
Stacking Metal Frames: Framing Treatment Technique
Understanding, Using and Transporting Metal Frames
Are All Your Metal Frames from Nielsen? – Answer to Your Question
Oversize Metal Frame – Answer to Your Question
How to Special Order Nielsen Metal Frames

AubreyK | 7/4/2014 6:30:00 AM | 4 comments
G Whiffin
the frame are made of wood but you have the spring secure on the frame which rest on the glass so you can see the p/back front
10/11/2015 4:40:13 PM

G. Whiffin
spring clips to hold
glass in position ie picture frame to see f/back cigarette cards glass front & back
10/11/2015 4:33:32 PM

Yes, that is correct. But the problen can be correctible by using additional backing boards or by cutting 1 1/2 to 2 inch strips backing board and inserting until the spring clips are useable.
7/14/2014 1:29:40 PM

Is the Canvas Plus the only frame that has this issue with the spring clips not touching?
7/11/2014 12:52:57 PM

About this blog

Mike Cromly
So, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, with custom frame shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35+ years with the company. A natural teacher, he loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there. Working in the plant and improving our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man and Ohio State Buckeye fan. Mike's Twitter
For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs - A Good Frame of Mind or At Your Service

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