Get in the Right Frame of Mind to Sell – Art Design Consultants


Get in the Right Frame of Mind to Sell

Posted on 10 September 2018

You’ve put in the days, weeks, and even months to complete a stunning piece of art. You’ve checked it off your to-do list, and now it’s time to sell it, right? Well, hold on for a moment. You’re just about there. There’s one more important and essential finishing touch you’ll want to invest in: archival-quality framing.

Today, we're diving in deep into the world of framing. Often artists overlook adding a frame to their work and leave it up to the buyer, but a frame can be just the thing to sweeten the deal and close the sale. In this blog we'll review basic framing types every artist should be aware of, pricing your work once it's framed, and negotiating sales. 

How to select the right frame for your art

There are a few points to consider when selecting a frame like the depth, size, material, and adding accents like fillets, mats, and liners. Selecting the right frame for your art can emphasize the compositional lines and color within the piece. But if done incorrectly or on the cheap/ it shows. 

 A longtime friend of mine and business colleague Roy Saper, the owner of Saper Galleries, says, “Framing should be outstanding too, and not look like the artist did it themselves or used a least-cost option. Badly-presented or badly-framed artwork will be a detriment to getting a gallery to accept it—or sell it.”

an image of art design consultants framing area for artwork, degrees and more

Did you know that Art Design Consultants also does custom framing? Here's a snapshot of our frame wall where the options are endless!

How to choose a frame for works on stretched canvas

As mentioned above there are so many options when it comes to framing your work. Here we dive into some options for framing artwork on a stretched canvas.

Traditional frames

ADC corporate art client: Graydon Head


Traditional frames have a lip (officially called rabbet), which holds the art, glass, mats and backing and the art is mounted through the back of the frame. They will cover at least the first quarter inch of any artwork placed within them. But a traditional frame doesn't always mean traditional looking. This is the most common and popular way to frame an artwork. We have an incredibly diverse selection when it comes to these types of frames from contemporary to ornate.  



What's a frame liner and how to use it

Linen or fabric liners can add texture to the piece, and are often a good choice for smaller works because they increase the overall size the framed work will occupy when hung on your wall, thereby calling more attention to the piece. Even with larger works like in the photo below, the liner increases the overall size of the piece to better fit the corporate conference room.

ADC corporate art client: Graydon Head


When to use a float frame on a canvas

ADC corporate art client: Graydon Head


Floater frames are ideal for framing thick gallery wrapped canvas art, because none of the art is obscured by the lip of a traditional picture frame. Another advantage is that in the end, the artwork appears to float inside the frame, giving it a unique look once it’s up on the wall. The depth of a floater frame creates a great three-dimensionality to a piece of art hung on a wall.




Framing Works on Paper

Prints, photographs, and works on paper are more delicate than paintings on canvas. When framing artworks on paper, it’s a good idea to pay a little bit extra for archival materials, such as acid-free mats and backings, and glaze the work with ultraviolet light filtering Plexiglas or glass. These materials are important because the acid in the regular paper and mats will darken over time and will leave a permanent stain on the paper of the artwork. The special glass or Plexiglas is recommended because the ultraviolet rays in sunlight will speed the deterioration of the paper and will cause the artwork’s colors to fade.

Archival-quality simply means that the frame can stand the test of time. It’s made well. If your artwork is important to you, it should look important to us. It should highlight and showcase your art in the best possible light.

So how do you go about choosing the right frame for your works on paper? There are three framing techniques to consider: matting, floating, full-bleed.


image of matted and framed photographs for a corporate art project

ADC corporate art client: PWC

Many artists are familiar with matting their work, as it's the most common way to highlight a work on paper. Usually, matting includes a thick paper-based material placed above the art that separates it from the glass. Matting, with its various textures and dimensions, can also serve as extra decoration. At ADC, we have hundreds of colors, textures, and archival mats available. Your options are limitless. 

Additional benefits of matting include:

  • Variety of choices ensures that your artwork will pop, and you can even go for a multi-layered mat for additional effect.
  • Gives artwork a refined and finished quality.


ADC residential frame job

This is different from using a floater frame on a canvas work. Floating a paperwork is a unique way to highlight your artwork in an unexpected and contemporary way. How do we do it? First, we attach your art to an acid-free foam core lift, hidden behind the work but mounted to a supporting white mat. Second, we use a spacer to create space between the glass and the surface of your work. The result is a look that keeps your art "floated" in the center of the frame. It allows the artwork to breathe within the frame, and it accentuates special details within the art or on the edges. The depth that the foam core lift creates adds a slight shadow around your art, drawing extra attention to what makes it special.

When to float your artwork. 

  • when your work on paper has an interesting or textured edge
  • or an original painting on paper 


full bleed frame job for a corporate office

ADC corporate art client: Bahl and Gaynor

This is when the artwork is framed without matting and without floating so that the artwork is seen entirely edge to edge. Benefits of full-bleed include:

  • Great framing option for oversized pieces of artwork.
  • Provides a straightforward look for the art that ensures focus stays on the artwork.

How to price your work with a frame on it

By framing your artwork you are adding value to your work and therefore the retail price of the artwork should reflect that framed price. Every artist prices there work differently and what works best for them. We're not here to say this is the only way to go about pricing your work, this is just what we recommend.

When framing your artwork see if there is a re-sale or wholesale pricing option. This enables you to purchase the frame at a discounted rate (usually 50%), and then add in the retail value to the overall price of the work. 

  • You can add the retail value on to each piece of artwork that you frame. This makes your framed prices inconsistent, but you know you're getting the full value back. For example, say the retail price of your art is $2,500.00 and you have it framed at a wholesale cost of $200.00 (keep in mind that the retail cost is $400.00). Just add the retail price of the artwork and frame together for a final cost of $2,900.00. This pricing method works best when you use a variety of frames that have a wide range of costs.
  • Another pricing option is to set a standard retail price that includes framed and unframed prices. This pricing method works best when you use one or two frame types similar in value on your work. For example, you'll always know that a 20 x 30 inch framed artwork is $2,200.00 and $2,000.00 without a frame. Or a 48 x 48 inch framed artwork is $3,400.00 or $3,000.00 without a frame.


Negotiating sales with framed pieces of art

When it comes to selling your artwork with a frame be prepared for a buyer to not love the frame. That's okay, you can offer to remove the frame and replace it with a different frame of equivalent value that matches the buyer's aesthetic or home decor, or you can offer to remove the frame and lower the cost of the final sale.  

Either way, investing in and putting the right finishing touches on your artwork, such as archival-quality framing, can truly be the difference between selling your work and not selling it.

P.S. You're invited to our frame sale and artist happy hour! 

More Posts

1 comment

  • Vicki P. Maguire: September 12, 2018

    Thank you!!!!
    Always a great topic, but valuable.

    Look forward to the show!

    Vicki P. Maguire

    ADC finalist.

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Meet Litsa

Litsa Spanos – loving wife and mother of three – is an established art consultant, award-winning gallery owner, custom framer and educator. In this blog, Litsa shares with you her love for beautiful things. She will give you an exclusive look into the world of fine art and the artists who create it. She will also let you in on inspirational design ideas that are sure to give your home or office energy, warmth and reflect your own personal style.




Connect with us

Join our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our email updates

Search our store