My National Parks Poster Framing Project


For over 100 years, people all over the world have enjoyed America’s beautiful National Parks. From the very first park at Yellowstone to the newest, Indiana Dunes, millions have spent time exploring and making memories in these vast natural environments. Many remember their time at the park with a souvenir. A vintage poster is a lovely option that lets you display memories of your trip in your home or office. With the help of my team members at American®Frame, I created DIY custom framing treatments worthy of my favorite National Park posters.
National Parks gift shops across the country carry a variety of framable artwork, but I was partial to these stunning reprints of posters by the Works Progress Administration. Between 1935 and 1943, the New Deal agency created 1,400 posters to celebrate the National Parks. There are only 41 of these originals left and some of them have been lost to time forever. With the help of Ranger Doug, a company dedicated to procuring, protecting and reproducing these posters, they’ve found a new life. The company meticulously searches for the posters and recreates them using the same silk screening process used back when they were first made.
Sometimes, when a poster can’t be located, it has to be recreated from black and white photographs. This is the case for the Great Smoky Mountains poster we framed. Since there hasn’t been an original poster located yet, the company had to guess which colors to use. They tried their best to match the colors but weren’t completely sure that they chose correctly. The colors they did choose, however, made for a visually interesting and fun framing treatment.
With both the Great Smoky Mountains and Volcanoes National Park posters, we wanted to stick with a double mat treatment. But the mat and frame colors were up to us. Should there be consistency with frame colors? Should they be different? These are questions that go through everyone’s minds when framing pieces intended to hang on the same wall. After seeing the pieces side by side, we decided that letting the posters really be the star of the show was the best option. For the Smoky Mountains poster, we chose a neutral wood frame (AF206 Natural Maple) with two mats in colors complementary to those in the poster. We went with 8425 Sea Green mat board with 8464 Matte White on top. For the Volcanoes National Park poster, we opted for the same frame along with a Pale Mauve mat with the same Matte White mat on top.
These choices allowed each piece to look unique, but still have a cohesive feel that tied them together and made sense when hung together. The final pieces showcase the unique locations but keep a consistent feel.  Using double mats offers a bit more dimension within the frame treatment than a single mat, and can highlight a particular color within a work of art.
For help choosing the right frame and mats for your custom framing project, call, email, or chat with our in-house framing experts.