How Big is a “Large” Picture Frame?
We consider anything over A0 (841 x 1189mm) to be an oversized frame. These items often require special planning, materials and construction.
We regularly work with pieces several meters in height and width.
We have developed a speciality in oversize frames since moving to our new workshops. Our framers take particular pride in the unique challenges and manufacturing considerations & practise, in constructing these enclosures to conservation standard. The materials such as glass, acrylic, boards & profiles, all need stocking at these larger than usual size. Even the machinery needed is of a specialist nature.
The results are always spectacular. The increased weights of these frame materials and their inherent fragility, mean that the construction techniques have to be adapted and engineered for strength. The addition of a support frame is needed, and often cross bracing. Some of the largest works framed by us have been art canvases, with a glazed size of 2630 x 1765mm.
How Are Large Frames Made?
To achieve the required strength and account for the thicker glazing (discussed below) you’ll generally need a much deeper profile to house all the elements of the frame.
In addition a strong wood is needed to ensure the frame remains strong over the life of the frame.
To add extra rigidity we can also add spline joints to the corners of the frame. This is much stronger than the usual method of joining frames, which uses special framing pins and wood glue.
Splines involve creating interlocking sections of wood to add friction and a difference in grain directions. The splines can be made into a feature of the frame by using different woods or finishes to create contrast and add interest to this construction element.
If extra strength in the profile is required we can add steel angle brackets to the internal corners of the frame. We first create a routed out groove so the internal components (glass, mount, artwork etc) all site flush against the frame internal. Then add the angle bracket, screwed to the frame.
With oversized frames you’ll need thicker glazing. We use 4-6mm for large frames, depending on the exact sizes involved.
Glass is not recommended as to get the strength required at that size you need very thick glass. This makes the frame weight so much it can take 3 people just to lift it, in addition to special hanging techniques.
So acrylic is the usual method for glazing oversized frames.
String or wire will not have to strength to hold an oversized frame. There are several valid options:
2 Metal fixings, each using multiple screws are attached to the back of the oversized frame. 2 corresponding hooks are screwed into the wall, and the frame is hung on these.
Link Hangers / Museum Hangers
2 brackets, one on frame – 1 on wall. Joined with metal bone. Up to 100kg
Best for completely flat walls. Gives seamless, flush visual.
Subframes are essential for oversized work. They provide much of the structural stability, particularly if the main profile is thin.
There will likely be additional support struts to further maintain the rectangle shape of the sub frame. Up to 2 horizontal and 2 vertical support struts are used. These are of course behind the frame and never seen when the art is displayed.
To produce very large picture frames takes some large machinery. You can read more about the workshop on our Company page. Here are some highlights:
- 62 inch HP Giclée printer
- 1.5m laminator
- 1.7m Hotpress
- Special workshop setup for large framing
- Professional spray booth for finishing large frames