Framing: Inspiration and Information

We get a lot of questions about framing - Is it necessary? What looks best? - so we've put all the information in one area to help get you started!

Choosing how to frame your piece is almost as important as choosing the artwork that you decorate your home with. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the terminology and the sheer volume of style options that are available.

The key things to keep in mind when considering framing is what style will best enhance the features you love about your piece, and accentuate its place on your wall and in your room, without stealing the show.

You may even find that your artwork is at its best without a frame!

Quick Tips:

1. If your linen liner has a small mark on it, try using a white pencil/crayon to gently blend away the stain before resorting to replacing the entire liner.

2. If you're calling for a frame quote, have on hand the depth of the canvas and UI (United Inches) measurement of your piece for faster results.

Example: If you have a piece of artwork that measures 30" x 40" the UI would equal 70 inches.

Floater Frames vs. Traditional Frames

Traditional Overlay Frame (left of top photo):

Characterised by a ledge that juts out (rabbet) and sits on top of the artwork, as seen in the bottom left photo.


  • Comes in a wide variety of styles to suit any taste and budget.
  • Can be used in conjunction with a floater frame as a "cap" (keep reading for more details on this)


  • May cause damage to edges if removed since the frame lays on top of the piece.
  • Reduces the area of the image by the width of the rabbet on all sides.

Floater Frame (right of top photo):

Characterised by it's "L" shaped profile, the floater frame rests underneath the artwork and its edge is typically placed a 1/4 inch away from the painting, appearing that the painting is floating within the borders of the frame, as seen in the bottom right photo. A more contemporary way to frame, you can also choose a wider relief, opting for 3/4 inch away from the image.


  • Poses no threat to damaging the edges of heavily textured paintings, as there is no contact with the paint.
  • Provides a contemporary looking, clean-lined finish to a piece without detracting from the artwork.
  • Does not reduce the area or crop the artwork by laying on top of it.
  • Less expensive than traditional frames.


  • Has less options of widths and styles than that of traditional overlay frames.
  • Can be "capped" with an overlay frame for greater variety, but will inevitability increase the cost.

Floater Frames


Far Left: Basic floater frame for regular stretch canvases

Second from left: Basic floater frame for deep stretch canvases

Floater Frame Styles


A sampling of the variety of styles and finishes available in floater frames.

Ranging from glossy, matte, metallic, wood, beveled, rounded or square edges.

Regular Stretch vs. Deep Stretch

(below, left) Maya Eventov 12" x 12" regular stretch

(below, right) Bob Arrigo 12" x 12" deep stretch (DS)

Pictured above, left: 3/4 inch width, regular stretcher

Pictured above, right: 1 1/2 inch width, DS stretcher

Due to different stretcher widths, frames also have to come in various depths in order to reduce the gap between the frame and wall.

Pictured above:

(top) The capped moulding is too short for a deep stretch floater and leaves too big of a gap exposed

(bottom) this capped moulding has a more suitable depth for a deep stretch floater frame and leaves less of a gap

To frame or not to frame



Regular stretched pieces by Marie-Claude Boucher with minimal texture

(left)Framed with a brushed black overlay frame

(right) unframed


Deep stretched 20" x 20" pieces by Mark Berens with moderate texture

(left) Framed with a Chrome metallic finish floater.

(right) unframed


Pictured above:

View from the side allows you to see the way a deep stretch canvas (bottom) looks more polished unframed than a thinner regular stretch canvas (top).

Full Frames


Choosing a full frame is the deluxe treatment for artwork.


The components of a full frame are the following (from left to right): Overlay moulding, Linen liner, fillet, basic floater frame


Left: This side view shows how each component is "capped" on top of one another to create one whole frame.

Right: View of how the full frame would look head on.


  • Best way to showcase a special piece of art
  • More versatile, you can mix and match components for the perfect look


  • It's easy to go overboard when a simpler framing option might accentuate your piece better
  • More components means higher cost



Narrow mouldings used as an accent. Fillets can be placed inside mat openings, or in the lip of frames or linen liners.

Linen Liners


It is often desirable to create a visual resting spot between the art and everything around it. This can be achieved by using a liner, a fabric (often linen) covered wood frame.

Seamed liners (above) have a break in the fabric where the corners are joined and are usually slightly less expensive than seamless liners (below), which do not.



Enhancers have a rabbet (the frame lip that rests on top of your piece) like a regular frame, but they also have an indentation on their outer edge for the rabbet of the cap moulding to sit upon.

Note: This component was not designed to be used alone as a frame. Their outside edge is unfinished and they are not structurally strong enough to support a piece on its own.


Enhancers add an extra embellishment to mouldings which look more structurally cohesive than a Fillet to the overall design of the frame.


Mat board has two core functions. Like linen liners, mat board provides an area for visual relief so the art could be viewed without the distraction of the nearby surroundings. Secondly, the depth of the mat also serves as a spacer to keep the glass from touching the face of the art.

These images (above) show the same print matted with three different colours. None of the choices is wrong, they are just different.


Dark mats tend to allow the light in the art to pop while a light mat usually intensifies the darker colours. A mid tone mat keeps both the light and dark details in the art more equal.

Mat Styles


Mats are now available in a variety of colours, patterns and textures, which allows them to act in a decorative roll. Mats even come in shiny metallic and suede!


If you want a more lush look for your print, you might consider a thicker mat. Above, the outer mat is 8 ply with a beveled edge, it is much more apparent in the photograph while the middle (beveled) and inner (straight cut) 4 ply mats are less obvious with their lower profiles.


Single Mat (see above)

When mats were first introduced to framing, they were all a single layer. Today it is much more common to use two or three layers.

  • Used most on high end art where the frame designs are simple and classic, not decorative.
  • Also used when matting vintage, classic or antique pieces as it helps them look authentic to their era.

Double & Triple Mat

When two or three layers of matting are used and cut so that they're all visible, you have an opportunity to use more colour or create more depth around the artwork.

  • To add one or more accent colours that can be used to help draw attention to the art by outlining it (top left and right).
  • Can add greater depth by using two of the same color for a more subtle look (bottom left and right).
  • Multiple mat layers should not be used if opting for non-reflective glass, the extra depth will begin to look cloudy

You can also create a transition from the paper to the mat as seen in the image below.

Mat with Fillet

Fillets, or narrow mouldings used as an accent as described earlier, are placed either inside the lip of a frame or more often in mat openings (below).

  • Create more depth than mats.
  • Emphasize multiple mat layers (below).
  • Finishes comparable to frames so they are useful to coordinate with the frame for a highly customized look.
  • Used to create illusion that matting is thicker that 8 ply (see section on proportions).

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Mat with Spacers

Spacers can be added between mat layers for extra depth (below).

  • Brings out inherent depth in the art, such as a landscape with perspective.
  • Adds actual depth to accommodate an object or art with sculptural relief.

Mat Border Proportions

One of the most important things when choosing a mat is deciding how much of the mat you want to see versus the image. Too little matting can look awkward. A new trend is to use very large matting around a smaller image.

  • Larger matting adds a higher expense because it increases the UI of the frame and glass.
  • Demonstrates your personal style: a smaller mat is more traditional while a larger one is more contemporary.


This print leaves even spacing around the entire print and uses a large mat to create a large space for the details of the painting to be observed.


In this intimate piece, the matting is closer to the print, but leaves space for the signature at the bottom. Two mats are used with a white fillet to add depth.


Affixing the back of a paper piece to a wood panel or board to stabilize and increases the profile width of the piece.


This piece (left) featured hand torn edges by the artist. The relief between the edge of the frame (bottom right) and depth and shadow created by its mounting (top right) creates a stark and dramatic contrast.


This print (above) has been mounted to a board and covered in a layer of clear plastic, which stabilizes the paper enough for traditional framing, but is not thick enough for a floater frame.

This also smooths out the surfaces of prints that might have been damaged by water or bending. As this is an open-ended, unsigned print that will not hold value, so it is safe to mount in this manner.


Due to it's fragile and porous nature, paper artworks are usually framed with glass to protect it from stains, water, tears or scratches. Choosing the wrong kind of glass can mean exceeding your budget or inadequate protection.

Regular Glass:

  • A physical barrier against stains and direct damage.
  • No UV protection or non-reflective filter.
  • Best for low-lit rooms and painted artwork on paper.
  • Least expensive option

Museum Glass:

  • Physical and UV protection and glare resistant.
  • Ideal for rooms with large windows or bright lights and paper pieces
  • with ink or fabrics which are more UV sensitive over time than paint.
  • Most expensive option


When considering framing you should also be aware of what kind of costs are involved.

The cost of your frame moulding is the most basic component of your invoice. It is generally defined by two sets of numbers.

  • The UI number, or United Inches, is calculated by adding the length and width of one side together.
  • The manufacturer's price code for each frame determines the relative cost to other frames from the same brand.

The cost of your frame is determined by a pricing table given to us by the manufacturer. We then see where the UI and price code intersects on the table to give you your price.

Some other options to consider are:

  • measurements and quality (acid free or regular) of matting
  • fillets and/or enhancers
  • measurements and quality (UV, non-reflective, normal) of glass
  • mounting
  • paper backing
  • assembly charges


Here are a few interactive goodies to help you with your decor projects!

CURATE is fun app that will keep you busy for hours virtually arranging artwork on your own walls! By measuring your space and entering in the measurements, this amazing app ensures everything is actually to scale!

Look for Crescent Hill's gallery of artworks on Curate:

Curate App on Google Play Store

Curate App on iTunes App Store

You can mix and match Larson-Jules collection of frames and mouldings on your own photo: Larson-Juhl Interactive Frame Design

Learn how to create a unique wall art display that completes any room with this fun video from West Elm Home Decor: How to Hang Wall Art Like a Pro

Every industry has it's own lingo, so if we used a term you're not familiar with, try referring to this helpful online glossary:

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Braving the Cold

We hope you're all managing to keep warm out there!  While the temperatures are staying well below zero, it looks like we're in for some fluctuations ahead so enjoy the little bit of warmer weather when it comes! Keeping in the spirit of winter, here is a great collection of our current winter artwork by our many talented artists!
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Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe New Year's Eve!  We're looking forward to presenting some of the best Canadian art in the new year, and to helping find the perfect artwork just for you!

Happy New Year!

Crescent Hill Miniatures Show!

Our annual Miniatures show is on now until the end of the month, so make sure you come by soon to get some amazing one of a kind gifts! We have an amazing collection of miniature works available, so it's a great time to find the perfect pieces for your home, cottage, and friends. Christmas is only 11 days away, so don't miss out!
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What An Adventure!

We had a wonderful time last weekend with everyone who came out to our Autumn Adventures show!  With such a great collection of new works, and the artists that came out, including Harold Braul, Mark Berens, Bob Arrigo, Henri Lobo, Viktor Nemo and Vladan.  We're definitely looking forward to our next show coming up in early March 2014, and we hope that you are too!

A Sunny Start

What a lovely start to the week! We're thrilled to be having such wonderful weather so far, and are looking forward to autumn walks amid brightly-colour leaves and all of the colouful artwork our artists will bring!
Bob Arrigo Autumn Pines Acrylic on Canvas 36x60"
Bob Arrigo
Autumn Pines
Acrylic on Canvas

Take A Sunday Stroll With Bob Arrigo

It's a lovely day out there today, and it looks like it's going to heat up a bit! What a great day to be by the lake, to take a nice long stroll or go for a swim.  We hope you're enjoying this lovely summer weekend! To celebrate the day, here is a lovely painting by Bob Arrigo!
Bob Arrigo The Scents of Autumn Acrylic on Canvas 30x40"
Bob Arrigo
The Scents of Autumn
Acrylic on Canvas

Sunday Stroll

Today might be another hot and humid one, but if you have a chance to get close to the lake there's a nice breeze that definitely makes it much better!  This stunning piece by Bob Arrigo, titled "Lake of Bays, Ontario", should help you cool down and get into a summer holiday mood:


It’s Friday!!

Are you ready for a long weekend of relaxing and having fun? What are your plans for this Family Day weekend?  We have a beautiful collection of new paintings by Bob Arrigo to celebrate, so why not bring a lovely part of the outdoors into your home and relax in style.

Meet the Artist: Bob Arrigo

Welcome to the second edition of our Meet The Artist series: a monthly feature on our website giving you a little more information and perspective into the lives of our many talented artists!  We hope you enjoy this second edition in our series, and that you will look forward to future editions on the first Saturday of every month.
Today we would like to introduce you to  Bob Arrigo.  His unique style is a wonderful part to the collections available here at the gallery, so we hope that you enjoy his work as much as we do, and that you enjoy learning a little more about this very talented painter. Give us a little history of you: where you came from and how you got where you are today: At the age of 5, I fell in love with drawing, and by 8 I dreamed about being a famous artist when I grew up.  In high school I won an award for being ‘The Student with the Greatest Achievements in Art’ – this award was accompanied by a grant covering 3 years of fine art education in downtown Toronto.  At this point in time I was selling original hand-thrown pottery to downtown gift boutiques to pay for art supplies.  I was then accepted as a student in the very first year at the Sheridan College Campus in Oakville – my course was Animation and Cinematography. Upon graduation I pursued a career as a professional musician and toured for about 5 years, but never stopped drawing, creating, and writing through that time. I created original commissioned sculptural macramé and multi media fibre art for designers and high-end retailers such as deBoers.  Books of my original designs have been published four times by a Canadian book publisher for distribution across North America. In 1979 I established Arrigo Signs and Graphics Inc., managing my own studio as well as supplying creative services to other sign companies, advertising studios and industry related businesses.  I placed Top 3 in a worldwide truck lettering competition by the largest and oldest industry trade magazine in existence, and my work and interviews were published several times by Signcraft Magazine: a competitive industry publication with head offices in Florida. It wasn’t until the late 90s that I began painting original oil and acrylic fine art.  I no longer dream of being a ‘famous’ artist, but of being and artist who is true to his calling.  This I find is a high ideal to achieve and maintain. What inspires your work? The fear of poverty (just kidding). Being primarily a landscape artist I would have to say my inspiration is nature, God’s masterpiece. But capturing even a fragment of the essence of what he created would be near miraculous! Describe your technique: About a year ago I transitioned from acrylic to oils and there is no question: that is where I will stay. I work with a brush in a heavy impasto wet on wet application. BobArrigo171235 BobArrigo171234             What other types of art and materials have you explored and what is your favourite medium? I have indulged myself in so many art mediums I honestly don’t think I could list them. But at this point in my life I can say without hesitation, I have settled on painting with oil and creative writing as my primary means of artistic expression. Do you have any interesting stories from creating your art or in your day to day life? Every day of my life from as far back as I can remember I have been involved in some kind of creative project. I have learned to ‘turn the juice on”, pretty much at will. The creative juice helped develop my character as a child, it helped pay my way through school, it gave me career direction, it paid the bills for a lifetime to raise a family of three children (I was very handy to have around the house during school project time), and it has provided me with an exciting and enriching retirement plan. How do your studio and surroundings influence your work? My studio is several hundred square feet of creative space with every nature of project in process, however I wish it were bigger, brighter, and located somewhere on a mountain top amidst virgin forest and mountain streams. Do you have a favorite tool to work with or that inspires your work? I like a good garden shovel, but it doesn’t help much with my painting. What impresses you about other artists’ work and who impresses you today? Really I can’t say there are too many artists that DON’T impress me. As long as they are conscientiously and consistently attempting to create something original as opposed to reproducing ‘formula’ art for the sake of more sales. In my opinion a painting should have an immediate impact on the mind and emotions of the viewer, but if the emotional response of the viewer is always the same, I’m afraid it doesn’t give testimony to too much depth in the artist. As an artist I manipulate paint to illicit the emotions generated by the inspiration that is going on deep inside me. If every piece of art an artist creates looks essentially the same the creator of the art would have to be very one dimensional. Since no person is one dimensional, it can only mean a compromise of personal and artistic integrity. This may not be a philosophy that generates much revenue but I believe that ‘true art’ is created inside the artist and then finds it’s way out and onto the canvas not by a learned technique but by way of ‘INSPIRED’ execution. When you are not working and creating, what do you do? Do you have another job? I’m pretty much always creating. I own a full service commercial sign and graphics studio. Design and creative work is my first duty. When I am not painting or designing I am writing. Lots of poetry, short stories and a couple of book manuscripts on the go. What is your favourite thing to do on a Friday night, or on the weekend? My weeks are really so busy I don’t sit down until Friday night, so by then my brain is more than ready for an escape into a good movie, and a bowl of popcorn. Then after the movie I am ready to paint or write again (usually I do both). What differentiates you from other artists? They’re still sane! Is there anything else you'd like to add? Yes, several hundred thousand dollars to my bank account! (Kidding again) Just a big THANK YOU to anyone who has bought my art, or anyone who has ever just appreciated it!


Mid November Reflection

If you came to our evening event on October 19th, you had a chance to see Bob Arrigo create one of his stunning works right here in the gallery!  We have this beautiful painting available for you to see and buy, so why not come to Crescent Hill and bring home something really special?  A beautiful piece of artwork and a great memory!


Fall Colours Are Here!

Today is the day to come visit Crescent Hill Gallery, meet world renowned artist Maya Eventov, and see local artist Bob Arrigo painting live from 7-10pm! Come celebrate Fall Colour at our annual autumn event, featuring the newest works of our many talented artists.  Mingle with the gallery owner and directors and discover the latest and greatest additions to our collections - you're sure to find something wonderful and new to bring home!

Long Weekend Rush

The last summer long weekend of the year is coming up fast! Do you have plans for one last outing with your family before the school season begins? Inspired by relaxing trips to the cottage and countryside, here are some lovely paintings by Bob Arrigo:

It’s Hot, Hot, Hot!

It's going to be a hot day today, so we hope you're keeping cool!  With a little luck the temperatures may drop a bit over the weekend, so keep your fingers crossed! In the meanwhile, here is a little artwork by our artists to help you keep thinking cool thoughts.