Our Frame of Mind

A collection of tips, framing techniques and artist insights.

Add Flair with Frame Stacking

Frame stacking, or using a frame within a frame, is exactly what it sounds like – using multiple picture frame mouldings together in one frame treatment. You might choose this treatment if you wanted an extra-wide frame for an oversize piece of art, or to add drama to your frame treatment. It’s also an easy way to add extra color, texture, and depth to your work. Here are some creative ways to experiment with frame stacking from the framing experts at American®Frame.

A Float Frame and a Wood Frame
This type of frame stacking draws the eye to two places — the art and the frame surrounding it — by layering a float frame and a standard frame. It adds width to the entire framing treatment without overpowering it. It’s a sophisticated way to display photographs but requires that the inside frame be wood for the effect to work.

A Metal Frame Inside a Wood Frame
Stacking a metal frame inside a wood frame, or vice-versa is an easy way to add a pop of color or texture to your frame treatment. In this display, the inside frame acts like a liner, accenting your artwork or adding space between the work and the frame. For this type of treatment, ensure the “R measurement,” or rabbet depth, of your outside frame is greater than the height of your inside frame. Then, frame your art in the inside frame as normal, and add the outside frame. If your outside frame is wood, we recommend using a point driver to secure it, instead of spring clips.

Layer Frames of the Same Color
Sticking to one color can also create extra visual interest. Just choose frames that are the same color in different size profiles. For example, AF206 and 206 are both natural maple frames with different heights. You can stack these frames together to create a wider natural maple frame. Your outside frame rabbet depth just needs to be greater than the inside frame height. Frame your artwork in the inside frames as normal, and secure it into the outside frame with either spring clips or a point driver.

When ordering a stacked frame treatment, use our framing engine to order your inside frame first to accommodate your artwork with or without mats. While in the framing engine, note the outside frame dimensions under the preview of your frame design. You’ll use these to order your larger outside frame. After you add the inside frame package to the cart, order the outside frame, using the outside frame dimensions from the inside frame. We recommend the mounting board and acrylic be the same size as the inside smaller frame to help keep your artwork secure and protected.

If you’re planning on frame stacking, please leave a note in the ‘Order Instructions’ box at checkout to let us know your intentions. That way, we can make sure the frames will fit inside each other correctly.

Have questions? Our expert framers are happy to help. Give us a call. Or, stop by our Maumee, Ohio showroom and we’ll show you the techniques in person.

January 2, 2019
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