How to frame with a vintage look

As much as I enjoy displaying art withy simple washi tape I do sometimes frame pieces for a more put-together look. I'm a huge fan of thrifting, second hand and re-purposing old items and mixing them up with the new and modern for that eclectic aesthetic.

Metal frames

Old frames are usually made of metal, most of them gold or silver, but sometimes you find unique ones which have a gradient effect in the corners or painted details. I like to frame pieces with warmer tones in gold, and cooler tones with silver, however, some green-tones gold works with cool tones as well.

Use a passepartout for a finished look

When framing I usually want to have a passepartout, it makes some space between the frame and the motive which both makes it look more finished and also gives you the opportunity to give a smaller art piece more space on your wall. For example, a piece of art in A4 format can favourably be framed in a A3 frame with a passepartout.

Finding the right frame

When looking for frames I try to find ones in "standard" formats so that I know that a standard passepartout will fit without me having to cutting it. Standard passepartout sizes are often adjusted to fit formats like A6, A5, A4, A3 and A2.

Usually you find the best frames with the best price tag out on the country, the range of frames available is greater since the turnover is much slower so the stock have time to build up (unless I've been there recently), unlike the thrift stores in town where more people shop more frequently. If you can't visit the countryside often enough, maybe you have a friend that likes to go thrifting who can keep an eye out for you (a.k.a. a frame dealer)?

Here's some cool frame corners:

Top tip: Old frames often have a convex glass, I don't know if that is how frame glass used to be or if it's because of the glass moving through time, but it can distort the image a bit when it reflects light. I quite enjoy displaying art without the glass, but if you like it with glass, make sure to check the glass.

 So next time you buy a piece of art, consider a vintage frame before buying new.