The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Framing Your Precious Memories

Framing our precious memories, our beloved artwork and memorabilia from sports events that have made a big impact on our lives, ultimately makes any space feel like our own. From decorating your home or office in style, through to preserving memories and avoiding future damage – there’s plenty to love about the good, old photo frame. 

But while they’ve been a staple for centuries, the same questions often pop up surrounding how to get the most out of these nifty products. So, we’ve compiled some of the top queries we receive, answering all your most prominent questions.

How much does framing cost?

The costs typically vary depending on what kind of look you’re opting for, the purpose of it and the overall size of the frame. It’s then crucial to consider any additional work that may need to be done, as well as the materials and the level of protection required.

Beyond this, there is a variety of options open for you to choose from, allowing you to opt for certain looks and borders, or mounting capabilities. However, depending on what you’re actually preserving and the nature of your space, frames will differ in specifications and the costs associated.

For instance, when it comes to mounting jerseys, it takes more work to create a custom frame – especially if there are additional components like plaques to be installed.

Framing artwork is a whole other level again, as specialised materials need to be used to protect the precious art. Conservation glass is a lot more expensive than regular glass, and specialised paper is required to seal it all up. On top of that, cotton mats are typically utilised, to avoid degrading the art – something cardboard mats tend to do.

Ultimately, the materials used to frame up your work will dictate how much the total job costs and explains why expensive artwork can attract a higher price tag to frame. In the end, the amount of custom work that is required will also dictate the total fee, especially if high-end materials are needed to deliver a tailor-made process.

What is a mount on a picture frame?

The term ‘mount’ floats around here and there, but it simply refers to mats – the phrase we usually adopt here in Australia.

This is the thin, flat paper or cardboard bordering that is placed inside the frame to help decorate your work or images and make them stand out effectively.

There are four main grades of mat:

  • museum board
  • cotton mat for high-end artwork
  • rag mats made of cotton fibres – which are also good for a general level of conservation
  • archival mat boards made from wood pulp (which is the highest quality paper available)
  • acid-free versions made from paper (but designed to stop acids ruining your images or artwork).

These come in a range of sizes and colours and can also be trimmed to fit. Custom shapes can also be cut to enhance the look of the result further.

What is block mounting?

This is an alternative process to framing, which acts as an affordable way to present your images or documents.

Essentially, the work is laminated and then pressed onto a piece of MDF board or foam care, which helps protect them from environmental conditions for the long-term.

How do you measure for a picture frame?

First, you need to decide if you are going to use a mat or not. If you plan to frame an image by itself, you can measure it up by hand and select a frame that is close in dimensions.

For the mat, you will need to think about how large you want your border. Mats come as single sheets of paper (or cotton at the higher end) and will need to be cut down to fit.

The first step is to select a frame larger than your photo or artwork, and then pick a mat to fit the frame, so that it can be tailored to accommodate the piece. 

You can use the figures below to help assist you with the proper frame and mat sizes you may require. Additionally, these are also the most common photo frame sizes, with or without a mat.

Frame size Mat opening Image size
8″ x 10″ 4.5″ x 6.5″ 5″ x 7″
11″ x 14″ 7.5″ x 9.5″ 8″ x 10″
16″ x 20″ 10.5″ x 13.5″ 11″ x 14″
20″ x 24″ 15.5″ x 19.5″ 16″ x 20″
24″ x 36″ 19.5″ x 29.5″ 20″ x 30″
30″ x 40″ 21.5″ x 31.5″ 22″ x 32″

What if my work or photo does not fit the standard size frames?

If you have an irregular or custom image that you want to be framed, you can have custom versions constructed and put together to suit almost any image, canvas or item of clothing.

Certificates of all different shapes can be preserved in frames, while memorabilia can be displayed with deep backs to hold medals; jerseys or even bulkier items, like shoes and trophies, can also be mounted. The sky is the limit.

The primary benefit of using a professional framer means you don’t jobs have to be left waiting either, as experts are generally able to complete the task in under seven days.

Can you get custom mats made? Or do they have to be square/rectangular?

You can have custom mats put together in any shape you require. This will support you in preserving your memories effectively, enhancing the end-result across the board.

Beyond that, the digital age means that mats can be cut by computer technology, which puts an end to time-consuming hand-cutting methods, all the while providing affordable access to custom mats.

Computer cutting also reduces the cost and time to put together double or triple mat frames. In some instances, the materials and time required in the past for high-end double or triple mat jobs were too prohibitive for most. New-age technology means there is more scale to complete these jobs rapidly and accurately.

How do you frame an autographed jersey?

Getting your sports jersey signed by your favourite player or even by the whole team who just won the grand final is a thrilling experience. Because of this, an article of clothing can quickly become a very important keepsake, and it’s likely you’ll want it to head straight to the pool room.

There is more to framing a signed jersey than just putting it behind glass, though. Here are some tips to ensure your jersey stays in pristine condition for as long as possible.

  • Ensure that you use UV protective glass in the framing process. This will protect the signature(s) and also prevent the garment’s colours from fading. When hanging, it is best to avoid sunny spaces as well.
  • When selecting your mat, make sure it is acid-free to ensure it doesn’t cause colour bleeding or damage to the jersey. You can use a double mat (two different layers and sizes) to make your jersey stand out. You can even match the mats to your team colours.
  • Plastic frames will work but will add a cheapness to an item that is meant to look priceless in appeal. Instead, look for solid wood options to give your prized jersey the finish it deserves.
  • Don’t over clutter. Adding a single plaque or team photo will add to the appeal, but trying to cram a plaque, multiple images, or teams lists in there will make it look way too busy.
  • Pin your jersey to the mat, don’t glue. There may come a time when you want to remove the jersey for wear, sale or re-framing and glue will damage the product.

Can you wash your autographed sports jersey? How do you clean it?

While it is best to not wash a garment repeatedly that has a signature on it, there are steps you can take to preserve the autograph. These include:

  • Let the ink set before you do anything. You can test this by using the light test; if it is shiny, then it is still wet. If there is no shine, then it is likely to be dry.
  • If the garment is iron-friendly, you can use your iron to help further set the ink. Put the garment on the ironing board with the autograph facing upwards and run an iron over it on the cotton setting.
  • Can you put your garment in the dryer? If so, run it through on the hottest setting for about 30 minutes. Make sure you check the garment’s tag first to avoid damage and shrinking.
  • If the item is leather, use resolene to help protect the autograph. If you can’t use the dryer, try air-drying the garment on the line.
  • If you must wash the garment, use only cold water. Be advised, even with fully set ink; repeated washes are going to degrade the signature over time.