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Picture Framing and Art Preservation/Getting charcoal on canvas under glass


Hi! In my recent experimentation in charcoal, I discovered black studio pre-stretched canvas boards. Not thinking it through, I completed a greyscale charcoal drawing on one of them, sprayed it liberally with final fixative, and then realized - what the heck am I going to frame it with? It is temporarily in an acrylic box frame. I would really like to avoid custom framing if possible, but I am out of ideas for how to make it work without costing a small fortune. Is there anything ready-made that might work?

Hi Joannah,

If I were framing it I would likely mat it and mount it with a sink mat. What that means is that I would cut the mat for it just like I normally would, covering up about 1/8" of the board all around. Then I would place the art on a backing board, center it and place a small weight on it to hold it in place. After that, measure from the outside edges of the art to the mounting board and cut strips of foam board to that width, making sure the thickness is equal to that of the art. Attach those strips all the way around the art, trim any excess and place the mat on top. Then frame as usual.

This is something fairly easy to do, and if you wanted to use a ready-made frame you could, and have a framer cut the mat to fit. Just be sure to look for a frame with enough depth; many ready-made frames are quite shallow and would not have enough room to fit everything in.

Picture Framing and Art Preservation

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David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF


I can answer questions about all aspects of framing, with special emphasis on preservation framing. Categories of artwork include works of art on paper, needlework, textiles, paintings on canvas and three-dimensional objects. Components of framing includes frames, glass/glazing, mats, mounting, their features and how to select them.


I have been a professional picture framer and educator in the field since 1994, including framing education for a major franchisor encompassing three brands and the Professional Picture Framers Association, and writing and teaching for DECOR Magazine.

Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) > Board member, PPFA > Member, Certification Board > Member, Chapter relations Committee National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR)

DECOR Magazine, 2005 - 2010 PPFA For Members Only newsletter Member of the PPFA Guidelines task force, assisted in writing PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas, and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Textiles and Needlework. Picture Framing Magazine, 2012

Georgia State University, many classes as a student and educator through the Professional Picture Framers Association and DECOR Magazine. Current member of the PPFA guidelines task force and certification board.

Awards and Honors
Earned Certified Picture Framer (CPF) designation in 1996, Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designation in 2004 and Guild Commended Framer (GCF) status in 2008.

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