Saturday, December 2, 2017

My Favorite Framing Supplies

Most often you will find me of a morning, sipping my coffee and writing away at blog post, planning a blog post or doing social marketing.  These posts are most often motivated by my most recent artwork, fresh off the easel or a new Etsy Shop listing.  I guess my literary juices get flowing best as the caffeine reaches my brain receptors.

This has been my morning ritual for a number of years and I am pretty much a creature of habits.  Recently, this routine has been somewhat stifled as it seems that I have encountered some some sort of Bluetooth interference at most of the local McDonald Restaurants.  This interference is between my iPad and the wireless keyboard.  It just will not work most mornings.  I never had a problem before, but now I can rarely use my keyboard during what is my most creative time.   It is extremely frustrating and I guess I'm going to have to contact McDonald's Corporate Office to try to get to the bottom of of my technological snafu.  So here I am, at nearly 7 pm struggling to pen coherent sentences so that I can publish a new blog post.

I hope you will suffer with me because I feel this blog has some really good information that might be useful for new artists.  I personally have noticed an increase in the number of new artists that come up to me and ask me about where I get my supplies of matte boards, cellophane bags, d-rings and hanging wire.

Finishing off your artwork properly is almost as important as the creation of the artwork.  You can't expect to fetch the highest price, impress the juror and a juried art show or get the attention of a gallery director if you have not taken the time to finish your masterpiece properly.

So, I'm going to provide a link and a little information about a number of my favorite framing and finishing off supplies that I use.

1st....Is the all important D-Ring.  Do yourself a giant favor and do not use those screw eyes on the back of your canvases.  They are just canvas punctures waiting to happen!  D-Rings are much neater and less damaging.  They lay flat to the canvas and hold your artwork very securely.  We attach the D-Ring about 1/3 way down and screw it directly into the canvas itself.  This allows me to switch frames out easily without having to rewire them for vertical or horizontal orientations.   I like ordering D-Rings from Amazon.  I can get a package of 100 medium size rings for about $10. 

D-Rings for Hanging

2nd.... is the hanging wire.  You can purchase small spools at the most stores in the picture hanging section, but I paint a lot and I absolutely hate the strand wire that isn't coated.  The strands always stick out and cut you as you try to twist the wire to secure it to the D-Ring.  I love this spool of coated wire I purchased back in 2014.  850 feet of pure loveliness.  The strength is good for all my hanging needs and the vinyl coating is the best.  This is also an Amazon purchase and while it is an investment at $30 it is well worth it.  You will have enough wire to hang your creations for many years.

Hanging Wire by the Spool

3rd....Black Finishing Fabric....This is a tip that I'm not sure you will find anywhere else.  I started covering my canvases with brown shipping paper to give it that finished off look that you get when you having a piece professionally framed.  The problem with paper is that it tears easily and when you are an artist, you know that you are often "schlepping" artwork from one gallery or event to another.  You are going to put a large tear in that paper at some point and time.  Paper wasn't a real solution.  An artist friend of mine said that she started using the upholstery fabric that is used as the black liner under sofas and chairs.  I ordered about 3 yards in a bag for what I remember to be $10-$11 dollars.  It came folded with large creases and was relativity thin but as I used it for the first time, I was reminded of  another product that we actually already had several large rolls of in our shed.  That was the weed block landscape fabric that you can buy at the nursery or home improvement store. It is strong and looks great attached to the backs of my canvas.   Here is a picture that I took off of Amazon to show you what I am talking about.
4th....Mounting Strips-the next important art supply that I use is for mounting my sketches and color pencil works to the matte board.  Any artwork that is on paper needs to be securely attached to the cut matte board and you don't want to use regular tape.  Tape will damage the artwork and contains acids that will discolor and destroy the paper after a few years.  These acid free archival mounting strips are the perfect solution.  I cut one strip into 4 pieces and attach the artwork into the plastic strip with the sticky part facing upward.  I then can lay the the matte board down over the strips.  They are hidden from view but are there holding your art securely in place.

Mounting Strips for prints

5th....Matte and Backing Boards w/ Cello Bag- This is great deal on Amazon.  I love that you get the whole set for right at $2 each.  You just can't beat that.  You can find this price in both Black and White mattes and the smaller sizes are even less expensive.  I keep an inventory on hand of 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10 & 11 x 14 mattes in my studio.

Mattes, backboard & cellophane bag

6th....Cello Bags in Greeting Card Size-  I love putting my art on magnets, stickers and greeting cards.  I find it enjoyable putting it all together and feasibly it makes sense because you can actually sell enough of these smaller, less expensive items to really add up.  I also love that I have things I can use as marketing tools and give away as gifts.  Here is the link for the greeting card size resealable cello bag.

Greeting Card Cello Bags- Resealable

7th....Adhesive Tape Glider- I love this tape applicator.  It really is more like a strip of glue than tape and does a great job.  There was a bit of a learning curve when it came to loading each new roll but I now have that pretty well mastered.  I use this on my greeting cards, attaching the mattes and back boards on my pencil artwork and to attach the black landscape fabric to my canvases.  I buy the refill rolls at Michaels or Hobby Lobby always using a coupon for my purchase.  I go through a number of rolls a year so I make sure I always have 2-4 rolls on hand or I start to get a little nervous.
Adhesive Tape Applicator Gun

I hope you found this blog helpful.  Leave a comment if you have questions or just wanted to let me know you appreciated the information. You can check out my artwork on my website at

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