The Experts Guide to Framing your Oil Painting

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is true, then what is it is worth when the right frame? An oil painting is a particular piece of art that should be framed and hung with precise care and attention to detail. Framing oil painting is more than providing a finished look. It defines the picture and the boundaries around it.

The wrong frame can take away from the appearance of the oil painting and the message the artist intended. With artwork of this caliber, the frame should add value and complement and complete the piece, emphasizing the message of the picture and enhance the beauty and features. And oil painting can be hung frameless, or in a proper frame worthy of the art it holds. It is a matter of personal choice.

If the owner does choose to frame an oil painting, how do they choose the frame? Is a frame with simple molding the right frame, or does it need a specially designed frame? All wood tones or something with color?

Experts Guide to Framing your Oil Painting

A Protective Process Comes First

Before we framing oil painting or hang an unframed canvas, it should be protected. Protecting your oil painting should be the first in priorities with the proper frame next.


To give your oil painting a protective coating, shielding it from dust and other unwanted contaminants, applying varnish will achieve this goal. A bonus result, the colors will be enhanced, giving this item of beauty another dimension. Applying a layer of varnish generates a barrier that protects the paint from chipping or flaking off. It is essential to know that not any varnish will suffice, though, checking with an art professional for the right varnish is always recommended. Make sure the paint on your piece is thoroughly dry before you apply the varnish so as not to smudge or otherwise damage the art.


An oil painting needs to breathe, so finding the perfect frame should not include glass. Glass will suffocate the art and possibly damage the paint. If you prefer glass for your art, a frame with a spacer between the art and the glass. With this barrier, you’ll have the glass to protect the piece and still allowed to breathe and create condensation.


The colors in an oil painting should be kept from prolonged exposure to light, especially the sun and its UV rays. Your oil painting should be hung so that it doesn’t have direct sunlight beaming on it and keep indoor lights at a safe distance, not directly shining on it.


Your oil painting will inevitably accumulate dust over time. Dust can be removed easily with a soft duster, using a light touch. If possible, vacuum behind the painting as well.

You Don’t Simply Choose A Frame – You Match the Frame to the Picture

The principal purpose of picture framing an oil painting is to more than to hold on the wall or an easel. It is to keep the focus on the art and create a unified whole, standing alone and separated from all that is around it. It encourages one to enjoy an undisturbed contemplation.

Much like choosing the right setting for a beautiful diamond, the right frame for a beautiful oil painting should complete the work, elevate the piece, present it in the best light. Framing is an art as well, and while a good choice in a frame can significantly enhance the art it holds, a poor choice in framing can severely detract from it as well.

Yet, the rules to choosing the right picture frame aren’t etched in stone, but some guidelines can help in making the right choice. The painting’s style suggestion should choose the frame style. For instance, an oil painting with a classical subject or a period of art would suggest an elegant gold-leaf frame that is timeless and traditional. Or for a more substantial look, a beautiful wooden frame in mahogany or walnut would perfectly accent the oil painting.

Also Learn: How to Choose the Right Frame and Matting?

Abstract oil paint would suggest a lighter frame that isn’t fussy but has a sleek appearance. An in-between oil painting would fit perfectly with a transitional frame, blending contemporary and traditional elements to create one of its own.

An oil painting piece of art is a universe of its own, and the frame you choose should benefit the piece, not overpower it. Once a piece is a framed piece, no matter if it is a contemporary painting or a traditional painting, the frame itself doesn’t have to match the room it adorns. Mix a modern frame in a traditional setting or a traditional frame in a contemporary setting.

Nor do all the frames in a room have to match. Remember, the rules are not carved in stone when it comes to choosing a frame. Variety in frames, variety if pictures, can create a stunning layout in a room. A larger picture is best displayed in a large frame with wide molding, Also learn How to Select the Right Length(s) of Moulding to Make a Picture Frame but this may not be for all styles. In certain spaces, a floater frame is the better choice, adding minimal height and width that won’t overpower the room and still keep the oil painting in focus. Leading picture framing moulding supplier and manufacturing company Universal Arquati offers a large collection of Canvas Floater Frames.

If a unique look is desired, for some paint styles, a multilayered frame composition is the right match. By combining frame moldings, with a linen liner that is smaller than the frame, plus fillet, could be the perfect complement to the piece.

The finish of a frame should never compete with the oil painting’s color and texture. A piece of art that has a busy image isn’t a good match with a fussy, mottled frame. Give a million-dollar appearance to a nontraditional oil painting when framed with a hefty, ornate, traditional mold frame. Or bring out the importance of a small piece of art with an oversized frame.

Contact, today to learn more about Framing Oil Painting that will accent your oil painting artwork to perfection and make rooms in your home come to life! Call Universal Arquati today at (800) 668-3627.