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Artwork Mounting Supplies

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Our frames do not include mounting hardware as part of the basic frame price.

We offer the more common mounting hardware items separately.

We provide the following information outlining the steps required for the proper mounting of a stretched canvas painting (or stretched Giclee canvas print) to a frame that does not use glazing, i.e. protective clear cover in front of the artwork such as glass or Plexiglass.

MOUNTING SUPPLIES

  • Canvas offsets

    Canvas Offsets are the most common hardware choice for securing a canvas to a frame (e.g. Canvas Offsets, Frame Offsets, Z-Clips, Offsets) and are available in several standard sizes.

    Canvas offsets are selected based on the amount of "offset" between the back surface of the frame and the back surface of the artwork after it has been seated into the frame rabbet. The rabbet refers to the recessed area on the back inside edge of the frame where the artwork fits. It is recommended to only place a mounting screw into the frame with no screw into the stretcher.

Painting Frames Plus Mounting Supplies - Canvas Offsets
  • Mending Plates

    Mending Plates can be used in place of canvas offsets, but require that YOU bend the plates to the proper offset distance manually using a vice or two pairs of pliers. If you are using mending plates, we recommend using 4 hole plates whenever possible - two screws securing the plate to the frame with no screws into the stretcher. Two hole plates should only be used if your frame width is too narrow - one screw in frame and no screw in stretcher.

    Accurate measurements of the rabbet depth, canvas/stretcher bar thickness and rear protecting/backing cover (if applicable) are required to determine the correct canvas offset size or mending plate forming requirement. Also, depending on the frame thickness, screw length is an important consideration: Typical screw lengths for framing are 3/8", 1/2" or 3/4".

Painting Frames Plus Mounting Supplies - Mending Plates
  • Vapor Barriers

    When frames are newly constructed there is that possibility that the Off-gassing of chemicals (i.e. Lignin) from unsealed wood liners can discolor artwork over time. Vapor barriers can be used to seal unfinished wood liners.

  • Rabbet Felt

    Felt strips can be used to "minimized 'Rabbet Rub'... by lining the rabbet's inner surface with a cushioning material." [1]

Painting Frames Plus Mounting Supplies - Rabbet Felt
(Rabbet Felt Strip Installation Tutorial)

FITTING AND SECURING ARTWORK TO FRAME

  • Painting Surface Preparation

    "Dust the painting's surface using a soft sable brush to dislodge surface dust or dust particles." [1]

    One option of artwork preparation for framing is the installation of Edge Strips all around the painting. Edge strips are installed with a slight projection above the painting surface so that when the artwork is installed into the frame rabbet it does not actually touch the frame rabbet.

  • Frame Rabbet Preparation

    Dust the rabbet's inner surface to dislodge surface dust, dust particles and/or other potentially abrasive materials.

    When frames are newly constructed there is the possibility that the off-gassing of chemicals (i.e. Lignin) from unsealed wood liners can discolor artwork over time. Vapor barriers can be used to seal unfinished wood liners. (see Mounting Supplies - Vapor Barrier.)

    One option for minimizing "Rabbet Rub", i.e. damage to the artwork surface caused by abrasive contact with the frame Rabbet, is to add a cushioning material to the rabbet's inner surface. (see Mounting Supplies - Rabbet Felt.)

  • Fitting and Securing

    Be sure to have sufficient padding laid down on your work surface prior to placing an ornamented frame face down for artwork fitting.

    The canvas should easily insert into the frame rabbet, not requiring pressing into place. (i.e. no tight fit!)

    Ideally there should be some space between the artwork sides and the frame Rabbet all around. However, the larger the space the greater the chance that the artwork could shift position, resulting in damage to the painting surface.

    After the artwork has been fitted into the frame rabbet it can be secured using canvas offsets or mending plates.

Painting Frames Plus Mounting Supplies - Cross Section
  • Mounting screws should be secured into the frame or frame liner only - DO NOT secure screws into the stretcher bars.

    Canvas Offsets or Mending Plates should be spaced every 4 to 6 inches all around and should only exert slight pressure onto the back of the stretcher bars or backing board. (Important: NEVER use nails to secure an artwork to a frame.)

Painting Frames Plus Mounting Supplies - Cross Section Angle View
(Canvas Offset Installation Tutorial)

PROTECTIVE BACKING

  • Dust Cover

    The primary reasons for adding a backing board are:
    1. Protect the artwork from damage from behind.
    2. Prevent dust and dirt from getting behind the painting, between the the canvas and stretcher bars.
    3. Protection against fluctuations in humidity - more for artworks behind glazing such as glass or Plexiglass.
Painting Frames Plus Ready Made Frames Separator Graphic

References:

  1. Gayle F. Clements (Conservator Gilcrease Museum), Guidelines for Framing Canvas Paintings in Traditional Frames without Glazing, Part I, (Jan, 1994)

Bibliography:

  • Gayle F. Clements (Conservator Gilcrease Museum), Guidelines for Framing Canvas Paintings in Traditional Frames without Glazing, Part I, (Jan, 1994)
  • Gayle F. Clements (Conservator Gilcrease Museum), Guidelines for Framing Canvas Paintings in Traditional Frames without Glazing, Part II, (Jan, 1994)
  • www.cci-icc.gc.ca (Canadian Conservation Institute), Framing a Painting (Retrieved 4/1/13)
  • www.logangraphic.com, What is Conservation and Archival Framing?, June 19, 2011, (Retrieved 4/1/13)
  • www.artifis.com.nz (Artifis Art Framers), Conservation and Museum Level Framing, (Retrieved 4/1/13)
  • Smithsonian - Museum Conservation Institute, Caring for Your Paintings, (Retrieved 4/1/13)