What Are Bespoke Box Frames?
Box frames are used to display 3d objects and give depth to flat art. Work like oil on canvas, books, tiles and textiles are often display using box frames.
They’re more box shaped than traditional frame profiles and need a deeper profile to allow room for the art. Glass spacers are used to keep the glass or acrylic away from the art.
Special considerations are sometimes required to safely and reversibly hold the art in place.
Many framers mass produce box frames and pick one roughly the right size for the item. This often means lower quality frames and unbalanced presentation of your art. Every box-frame we produce is handmade and completely unique therefore the perfect size for the item you wish to be box framed.
How Are Custom Box Frames Made?
Any item we box frame for you will be framed with conservation in mind as we do not use any destructive fixing methods when it comes to your work. This means no glue, nails, staples or anything that could damage your art.
Box frames can have the following elements:
A strong wood is preferred to ensure the frame remains rock solid and keeps your work safe. Tulipwood is a good choice we regularly use for a balance of strength, budget and adaptability to finishes.
The frame will need to be deeper than the height of the work, to allow for the construction materials (glass, mountboard, subframe etc). This can be important to consider if you’re after a particular visual dynamic in the frame proportions.
Using more depth than strictly necessary is completely up to you for either small, large or deep box frames. We can advise on what suits your item best, but the decision is up to you. It is possible to build up the profile, pack out the back of the frame or fabricate a box frame in acrylic. We have recently completed several acrylic box frames for wedding dresses, which is always interesting. We have also undertaken box frames for football shirts, a series of paper bags, a set of beer pump icons, dried flowers, a school tie, resin cast baby feet, antique books, tickets, etc.
Most clients opt for a white, conservation paper wrapped glass spacer. This gives a clean, modern visual and adds space to the frame.
Glass spacers can also be hand-finished in the same range of options the main profiles. Custom finishing for the glass spacer can be very effective. The artwork can appear to blend into the frame or a sharp visual contrast can be achieved.
A mount board is often chosen by you to compliment the artwork.
The art then sits on top of the mount board and is attached differently in many cases. Some examples of the reversible fixing methods we use are Japanese Museum Tags, stitching and custom built support structures.
There are several options available to you regarding mount board: colours, thickness, aperture, double mount, triple mount, multiple aperture etc. All of these will be fully explained to you in your initial consultation. All mounts are cut using a dedicated Swiss-made computer-aided mount cutter.
Spacing around Art
A key consideration to make is how much spacing to leave around the artwork, before the edge of the frame.
How much space to leave depends on the size of the work and how it will sit with the chosen profile. As the under-mount creates the negative space, considering the under mount’s colour and material is also important. A common size to use might be 30mm around the art.
Another point to keep in mind is the spacing of multiple objects. It’s quite common for plaques or paper comments to be included with the object. Or there may even be a selection of several objects that need to be arranged for best visual affect.
Box frames can either be glazed with glass or acrylic (also sometimes called Perspex, Plastic or Plexiglas). They each come in a variety of options. There are 2 items to consider when it comes to glazing box frames:
If the art being framed is susceptible to damage from UV rays (paper artwork and textiles are particularly vulnerable) then UV protection is something you may like. Glass and acrylic range from around 50% protection right up to museum grade, 99.9% protection.
This is a simple upgrade that really sets off your work. It’s magic seeing it in person – you assume it’s possible to reach out and touch the art directly but it’s still fully protected. This is especially useful if there will be down lighting, or strong opposite lighting where the piece will be displayed.
If the box frame is particularly large, it will likely need a sub frame to make sure it stays fully rigid and protects the artwork. This can double as an effective hanging method by using a split batten on your wall. Just let us know if you’re interested in this hanging method and we can build the frame to accommodate this.
We can also create welded aluminium box frames. You can see the process in the video below.