How to Measure a Picture for a Frame: Simple Steps for Precision Framing a cherished photo is a brilliant way to preserve memories, beautify your surroundings, and exhibit your artistic taste. However, one major aspect of this creative process is accurately measuring the picture for its perfect frame. It might see
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How to Measure a Picture for a Frame: Simple Steps for Precision

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Framing a cherished photo is a brilliant way to preserve memories, beautify your surroundings, and exhibit your artistic taste. However, one major aspect of this creative process is accurately measuring the picture for its perfect frame. It might seem like a simple task, yet a few important steps need to be followed to avoid common pitfalls and choose the right frame to complement your photo.

Start by deciding on the desired framing style for your picture, selecting from a variety of designs including borderless, matting, and shadowbox formats. The chosen style influences the measurement technique employed, dictating the required details such as the picture's dimensions, and the dimensions of its matting and mounting areas. It's vital to be precise at this stage to guarantee the ideal fit for your photo, ensuring its safety and showcasing its full potential.

With the framing style in mind, grab a measuring tape, a straight edge, and a pen or pencil for making notes and markings. These tools will aid in ascertaining the correct dimensions, avoiding mishaps like achieving a tight fit or an unintentional crop of the image.

Understanding Picture Frame Sizes

When it comes to selecting a picture frame, understanding the different sizes is very important. In this section, we'll discuss three key aspects: External Size, Internal Size, and Mounting Sizes. By grasping these concepts, you'll be well on your way to framing your photos and artwork perfectly.

The external frame size refers to the entire frame's dimensions, including borders and edges. This measurement is crucial when considering the available wall space or surface area for displaying your framed picture. To determine your frame's external size, start by simply measuring the width and height of the outside edges. Here's a table that highlights some common external frame sizes:

External Frame Size (in inches) Width Height
4x6 4 6
5x7 5 7
8x10 8 10
11x14 11 14

Remember, these are just examples, and custom frame sizes can be crafted to fit your specific needs. It is also important to remember that you need to enter the size of your artwork into our website and the sizes are calculated starting from the inside. The external frame size isn’t detailed on our website during the design process as it is based on the important measurement – the size of your artwork, and then the selections you make.

Internal Frame Size

Internal size, also known as inside dimensions, is the measurement of the space within the frame where your picture will be placed. This is the space where the glazing, prepared artwork and backing board will fit. It's important to ensure that the internal size matches your prepared artwork, including any mounting, with a small tolerance for fitting purposes. To find the ideal internal dimensions for your picture, measure its height and width. Keep in mind that bespoke frames can be made to accommodate unconventional sizes.


Mounting plays a significant role in both aesthetics and protection for your artwork. In addition to creating visual separation between the artwork and the frame, mounting prevents the picture from touching the glazing directly, which can cause damage over time. The mount can be cut to fit exactly around the picture or have a varying width depending on the desired appearance. Here is a bulleted list to help you choose matting dimensions:

  • For smaller frames (up to 11x14 inches), a mat width of 1.5-2 inches is recommended.
  • For medium-sized frames (11x14 to 20x24 inches), opt for a mat width of 2-3 inches.
  • For larger frames (20x24 inches and above), a mat width of 3-4 inches is advised.

Essential Tools for Measuring

In this section, we will discuss items needed to accurately measure a picture for a frame. Acquiring the proper measurements is an important step, so make sure you have the right tools to get the job done. We'll be focusing on two main tools: the types of tape and frame calculators.

Types of Tape

The most used tape for measuring is a retractable metal tape measure. Its flexibility allows it to easily conform to the edges of the artwork, making it a great option for measuring. It often has both metric and imperial units to cater to various preferences. However, there are alternatives depending on the situation:

  1. Metal ruler: A rigid option, suitable for measurements on flat surfaces and providing a straight edge for aligning your artwork or frame. Not ideal for measuring the perimeter of irregular, curved, or textured art.
  2. Flexible sewing or tailor’s tape: A soft tape made of cloth or plastic, which is excellent for measuring pictures with irregular shapes or curved edges. Be cautious as these tapes may stretch over time, leading to less accurate measurements. We certainly do not recommend using any cloth or paper based measuring tape.
  3. Laser measure: A convenient tool that uses a laser to measure distances; however, its accuracy may be reduced for smaller pictures and frames.

Note: When measuring your artwork, please remember to read our measuring advice for helpful tips.

Frame Calculator

A frame calculator is a useful digital tool designed to simplify the entire process of selecting the perfect frame size. After inputting your artwork’s measurements, it will provide you with the appropriate frame size and suggest optional mounts.

This tool is an excellent resource for amateurs and professionals as it eliminates guesswork and potential errors. Frame calculators can be found on our picture frame and mounts page.

Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring Your Picture

Measuring the Picture

To measure your picture accurately, follow these simple steps:

  1. Lay the picture flat on a clean surface to prevent any damage.
  2. Grab a tape measure or ruler and ensure it's in good condition.
  3. Measure the width of your print from one side to the other, making sure the measurement is in millimetres. Make sure you measure what you want to see and include/omit any borders that you do/do not want to include.
  4. Measure the height from top to bottom, keeping it consistent with the width measurements.

Pro tip: Measure the dimensions twice to confirm the accuracy of your measurements, and write them down.

Accounting for a Mount

Including a mount can enhance the aesthetics of your framed picture. To measure for a picture mount, you still need to measure the image size of your artwork that you want to see artwork, our website will make the calculations for you. Follow these instructions:

  1. Determine your desired mount width by considering factors such as composition, style, frame width and colour.
  2. Leave our website to calculate the frame size adjustments based on the image size entered and the mount border widths selected.

Note: Remember that the default option on our website if for the picture mount to overlap the edges of your image size entered by 3mm on each side to hold it in place.

Accounting for Frame Rebate

The frame rebate is the inner edge of the frame where the picture and mount sit. Understanding the frame rebate will help you choose the right custom picture frame for your piece. To frame rebate for each frame style is detailed on our website.

  1. Most Frames have a rebate of approximately 5mm to ensure the contents are held in place.
  2. Account for a small overlap of the artwork going into the frame. If you are framing without a mount, approximately 5mm on each edge of your artwork will be hidden behind the frame rebate. If you are framing with a mount, approximately 5mm of the mount will be hidden behind the frame rebate.
  3. Check frame specifications to ensure they accommodate the total thickness of your picture and mount.

Now you're all set for choosing or ordering the perfect custom picture frame to commemorate and protect your cherished picture!

Selecting the Right Type of Frame

When it comes to framing a picture, there's more to consider than just the dimensions of the artwork. Choosing the right frame can accentuate the beauty of your piece while keeping it well-protected. This section will guide you through selecting the best frame for your needs by discussing custom frames, standard frame sizes, and replacement frame considerations.

Custom Frames

Opting for a custom frame offers the most flexibility in terms of style and design. Custom picture frames can be made to fit your artwork's exact dimensions, ensuring a perfect fit. When selecting a custom frame, be sure to consider:

  • Materials: Frames can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and acrylic. Choose a material that complements your artwork and the room in which it will be displayed.
  • Colours and finishes: There's a wide range of colours and finishes available for custom frames, so you can match the frame to your artwork or room decor.
  • Mounting options: Depending on the type of artwork you're framing, there may be different mounting methods and materials available, such as archival-quality mats and UV-protective glass.
Standard Frame Sizes

Standard frame sizes are pre-made and readily available at most retailers. They come in a variety of dimensions and styles, making them a more affordable and accessible option for framing. However, standard frames may not accommodate the exact dimensions of your artwork. Some common sizes include:

Picture Size Frame Dimensions
A4 (210 x 297mm) 8 1/4 X 11 3/4"
A3 (297 x 420mm) 11 3/4 X 16 1/2"
A2 (420 x 594mm) 16 1/2 X 23 3/8"
A1 (594 x 841mm) 23 3/8 X 33 1/8"

To find the best fit for your picture, measure the length and width of the artwork and compare it to the standard frame sizes listed above. Please note, EasyFrame do not sell any ready-made picture frames. Everything we manufacture is custom-made to order.

Replacement Frame Considerations

If you're looking to replace a frame for an existing artwork, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Original frame dimensions: Make sure to measure the internal dimensions of the current frame, as well as the artwork, to ensure you purchase a replacement frame of the correct size.
  • Style and design: Keep in mind the original frame's style and design when selecting a new one to maintain continuity in your artwork display.
  • Preservation: Check whether the original frame provided any protective features, such as UV-resistant glass or acid-free matting. It's a good idea to maintain these protective elements in your artwork's new frame.

Finishing Touches and Protection

After measuring your picture and selecting the right frame, there are a few important steps to consider for finishing touches and proper protection of your artwork.

Choosing Backing Board

The backing board plays a significant role in the stability and preservation of your print. Selecting the appropriate backing material can help protect your picture from damage caused by moisture, dirt, and pollutants. Here are some popular backing board options:

  • Acid-free foam boards: These are lightweight and offer excellent protection for your artwork. They are moisture-resistant and can prevent yellowing over time.
  • Conservation grade backing board: This type of board is ideal for valuable or irreplaceable pieces since it offers superior protection and is made of archival materials.

Remember, always consider the artwork size when choosing the backing board to ensure a proper fit and protection.

Glazing Options

Another element to consider is the glazing that covers the front of your framed print. Glazing options help shield your artwork from harmful UV rays, dust, and scratches. Here's a comparison of popular glazing options:

Glazing Option Highlights
Glass Traditional choice; affordable and easy to clean but can be heavy and may cause glare
Acrylic Lightweight; durable; UV and shatter resistant; preferred for larger pieces
Non-glare Reduces glare but can cause slight image distortion
UV-protective Blocks up to 99% of UV rays; more expensive but offers the best protection
Consulting a Frame Designer Like Easyframe

In some cases, it may be wise to consult a frame designer for expert advice and guidance on the best way to mount and display your picture. This can help you to:

  • Select the right type of frame: A professional can assist in choosing the ideal frame to complement your picture and the surrounding decor.
  • Customise the mount: An experienced designer will be able to create a bespoke mount to suit your specific photo or artwork, ensuring the result is both visually appealing and well-protected.
  • Professional installation: For high-value, fragile or unusually sized pieces, a frame designer may offer a professional installation service to guarantee your picture is mounted securely and safely.

Following these tips will help ensure your framed photo is displayed to its fullest potential, allowing you to enjoy it for years to come. With some careful planning, the right frame and mount, and proper hanging techniques, you can create a stunning visual centrepiece for any room.

Easyframe specialise in offering a diverse range of frames that cater to your preferences and needs. With their extensive experience in the industry, they can provide you with expert advice on selecting the perfect frame for your artwork. Whether you're looking to purchase a frame or just seeking some guidance, you can easily reach out to Easyframe via phone at 01234 856 501 or email at They are always willing to chat with you, even if you're not interested in making a purchase.

Article Posted: 23/04/2024 12:33:22

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