How to Select the Right Length(s) of Moulding to Make a Picture Frame

picture frames moulding

Determining the length of moulding to make a picture frame does not seem like a complicated task on the surface. However, you have to make precise calculations in order to select the correct length of moulding. This process involves measuring the duration of your frame and factoring in the desired width of your picture frame moulding.

Step 1: Determine the Length of the Outside Edge of Your Print

To get the right length of moulding, you will need a few measurements. Start by measuring the size of your print or canvas that is being framed. You need the height and width of what you are going to frame. We'll call the height of your print "H" and the width of your frame "W."
Once you know the height and width of your picture frame, add the two measurements together and multiply that number by two. For example, if you are framing a print that is 11x14, you will add 11 and 14 to get 25. Then multiply that number by two to get 50. This is the total length of your print.

The formula for the length of your print:

2(H + W) = Total length of your print
Example for a print that is 11x14":  
2(11 + 14) = 50

Step 2: Factor in the Width of Your Moulding

Next, you need to know the width of your moulding. This measurement is the amount the moulding will add to the length and width of your print. You have to cut a 45-degree angle on the moulding to create a miter joint. These joints form the corners of your frame. When you cut the angles, you are losing the width of the moulding. You have to factor these measurements into your calculations to determine the total length of moulding for picture framing.
Each piece of your moulding will have two cuts on a 45-degree angle. You have to account for all eight cuts to properly measure the length of your picture frame moulding. To do this, multiply the width of your moulding by eight. For example, if you are using a 2" moulding, you multiply two and eight to get 16.

The formula to account for the width of your moulding:

8 x Width of Moulding = Considerations for miter joints
Example with for 2" moulding:
8 x 2 = 16


Step 3: Put Your Two Calculations Together

Now, all that’s left to do is put these two formulas together to determine the right length of moulding for your picture framing. Just add the two numbers you calculated together to get your total length for picture framing.

Complete Formula:

2(H + W) + 8(Width of Moulding) = Total length of moulding
Example for an 11x14" print with a 2" moulding:
2(11 + 14) + 8(2) = 66 inches

Once you have your total length for your picture frame moulding, you should add a few extra inches. This extra length will provide a cushion in case you make a mistake while cutting angles for your frame.

The Outside Width of Your Framed Print

To calculate the outside width of your framed print, you can use some of the measurements you’ve already found. This information is helpful to determine the outside dimensions of your framed artwork. Calculate the width and height of your framed artwork by adding each measurement to the width of your moulding times two.

The formula for the width of your framed artwork:

(Width of your print) + 2(Width of your moulding)
Example for a print with an 11" width and a 2" moulding:
11 + 2(2) = 15

The formula for the height of your framed artwork:

(Height of your print) + 2(Width of your moulding)
Example for a print with a 14” height and a 2" moulding:
14 + 2(2) = 18

In the example for an 11x14" print with a 2" moulding, the outside dimensions of the framed artwork will be 15x18".

How to Uncomplicate Moulding for Your Picture Frame

If this seems like a complicated process, that’s because it is. Picture framing requires exact measurements and a steady hand to create a frame that perfectly fits your artwork. Universal Arquati Moulding has experts when it comes to picture framing, including moulding, equipment, and processes.
Universal Arquati Moulding knows everything there is to know about picture framing, selecting the best moulding, and choosing the right length for your moudling. Our website is your best resource for finding the right moulding for your picture framing needs with plenty of information on various types, sizes, and materials for moulding. If you are looking for top-quality picture framing and valuable information about moulding, Universal Arquati Moulding is your answer. Call us at 800.668.3627.