Should Canvas Prints Be Framed?

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Should canvas prints be framed? It’s an interesting question with a surprising answer! Read our quick intro to canvas print framing.

Customers often ask us whether canvas prints should be framed, and answering the question involves a bit of explaining. Why? Well, in fact canvas prints are almost always sold ready-framed, this comes as standard!

You see, there are actually two types of canvas frame – an inner structural frame and an outer decorative frame. The former is (near enough) essential for any canvas sold on the mass market. The latter is optional.

In this article we’ll tell you more about both kinds of frame – and give you some advice about your purchase options.

In this Article:

“So if I buy a canvas it will always come with a frame?”

Should Canvas Prints Be Framed? Close up of canvas stretcher frames.

Yes, that’s right. Nearly all canvas prints sold on the high street or online come ready-framed. But it might not be the kind of frame you’re thinking of. It’s an internal structural frame (usually made of wood) called a stretcher frame.

The role of a stretcher frame is to support your canvas and maintain its shape. The printed canvas material is wrapped around the frame, pulled taut (or “stretched” – hence the name stretcher frame), then attached securely to the back of the frame.

Some specialist providers will sell printed canvas without any frame at all (these are sometimes known as rolled canvas prints), for buyers who want to stretch their prints themselves.

But note that all the canvas prints sold at My-Picture.co.uk will come ready-wrapped on a stretcher frame.

“All these stretcher frames are basically the same?”

Should Canvas Prints Be Framed? Photo canvas print frame from backside.

Stretcher frames tend to follow the same general pattern, yes. After all, they stay out of view, so they don’t need to look pretty, and they’re designed to do a job, so they’re made in the most efficient way possible.

Having said that, there are some differences:

Here at My-Picture.co.uk we use real spruce wood from FSC-approved forests for all our inner frames.

And our regular stretcher frames are 2cm thick, but with most formats a special XXL frame is also available which is 4cm thick. Note that the XXL frame costs a little extra.

“What about the external decorative frames?”

Should Canvas Prints Be Framed? Multiple canvas prints with decorative frames.

So as we’ve seen, if you buy a regular canvas print it will arrive all ready to display. But if you want that classic “art gallery” look, you can add a decor frame too.

But outer frames for photos on canvas are often slightly different from the frames you see surrounding classic paintings. This is because a typical photo canvas is printed on the sides of the stretcher frame as well as its front – so a frame that starts right at the edges of the print will obscure some of the picture.

One solution is to use a so-called “shadow gap” frame. A shadow gap frame leaves a space between the outer decor frame and the edge of the stretcher frame, so that all the printed sections of the canvas remain visible.

At My-Picture.co.uk we offer Premium Frames in this style for a modest extra cost. Choose this option and your canvas print will seem to float unsupported inside the outer frame. (The shadow gap frames are also called “floating” frames for this reason.)

“Are decorative frames available for all My-Picture.co.uk canvas prints?”

Should Canvas Prints Be Framed? Multiple modern photo canvas prints with decorative frames.

Most of our canvas size formats can be ordered with a Premium Frame, but this option is not available for some of our largest formats and our panoramic prints. Full details are available in the Formats & Prices section.

Our decor frames are available in a range of 5 colours and wood-effect finishes:

You can check how your canvas will look with each frame design by checking the handy preview window on our product design page.

“So, should canvas prints be framed?”

Well, this depends if you’re talking about the inner stretcher frame or the outer decorative frame!

Should Canvas Prints Be Framed? Gallery wall of framed photo canvas prints.s.

Inner frame. We definitely recommend that you choose a provider who’ll wrap your canvas on a stretcher frame as part of their basic service. And the truth is that nearly all providers do this, so you shouldn’t have to worry.

Outer frame. This comes down more to personal choice. My-Picture.co.uk canvas prints look fantastic with just the basic internal frame, giving you an organic vintage appeal that suits a wide range of wall decor styles.

But if you’re going for a more contemporary design scheme – or you just want a hint of luxury – then our Premium Frames bring genuine wow factor. In our opinion they more than justify the extra cost.

Whichever you choose, we’re sure you’ll love your My-Picture.co.uk canvas print!

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