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What is a Floating Frame for Canvas?

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What is a floating frame for canvas? Our experts explain exactly what is a floater frame for canvas prints – and where to find one.

When it comes to displaying canvas prints and other wall art, the frame can be almost as important as the artwork itself. A well-chosen frame complements and enhances the artwork.

One type of frame that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the floating frame. But what exactly is a floating frame, and why might it be a good choice for your canvas print?

A floating frame, or shadow gap frame, gives the illusion that the artwork is "floating" within the frame. Instead of being attached directly, it leaves a small gap between the edge of the artwork and the frame. This creates a sense of depth and draws the viewer's eye to the artwork.

At MYPICTURE, you can add a floating frame to your canvas print for a modest extra cost, and it will arrive at your door already attached to your canvas print.

But should you choose a floating frame over a traditional frame? This article will help you decide!

What is a Floating Frame for Canvas. Woman putting framed canvas print on wall.

What are Floating Frames and Traditional Frames?

Traditional gallery frames and floating frames (also known as shadow gap frames) both serve to protect the artwork and enhance its visual appeal. But there are important differences between the two.

Traditional Frames

A traditional gallery frame is a solid frame that encloses the edges of the artwork entirely. This means that the artwork and the frame are presented as a single decor feature. Traditional frames often have a glass or acrylic cover (for aesthetic reasons and to protect the piece from dust, moisture, and other external elements).

What is a Floating Frame for Canvas. Framed painting on wall with chair.

Floating Frames

By contrast, a floater frame does not enclose the artwork entirely. Instead, it features a gap between the artwork and the frame itself. This means that the frame and the artwork are kept a little separate – the frame draws attention to the piece rather than merging with it.

The design means that shadow is thrown into the space between the two elements (hence the alternative name “shadow gap frame”).

What is a Floating Frame. Canvas print in floating frame.

Stylistic Differences Between Traditional and Floating Frames

Floating frames generally don’t come with a glass cover: the idea is to emphasise the physical presence of the artwork. That’s why they’re very popular with canvas prints – the subtly textured fabric surface of the print is part of the aesthetic, and hiding this behind glass would spoil the effect.

Traditional frames have a more formal, structural appearance – just think of the framed pictures you see in the historic art galleries of Europe. Even for brand-new frames, the design often reflects this heritage: traditional frames are often made of solid wood or metal, and their design can be ornate and a little fusty.

What is a Floating Frame for Canvas. Couple looking at framed paintings on wall.

Floater frames, meanwhile, offer a modern and contemporary look with their minimalist design. They’re more likely to be made of synthetic materials and to come in a restrained colour scheme – simple black and white are classic choices. As the intention is to draw the viewer’s eye to the artwork, it’s more common for the frame’s colour and style to hit contrasting notes.

If you’re looking to buy a decor frame for your canvas print, you can do so right here at MYPICTURE!

Your Canvas Frame Options at MYPICTURE

Note: The first thing to know about buying a framed canvas at MYPICTURE is that all our canvas prints come wrapped on an internal stretcher frame (this is the industry standard). Our inner frames are hand-assembled and made of pine timber from FSC-certified forests.

You can also choose an additional outer frame for a modest extra cost. All our outer frames come in the shadow gap design.

Our decor frames come in a choice of 5 designs:

What is a Floating Frame for Canvas. Canvas print in frame featuring young couple.

With our range of bold single colours and warm wood finishes, you’re sure to find something that’s a great match for your print design. The floating frame design will look simply stunning on your wall.

That said, our canvas prints are designed to look great without any adornment. If you prefer a simple, organic look, an unframed canvas print is a design classic that will suit almost any interior decor scheme.

What is a Shadowbox Frame?

The term "floating frame" can sometimes be used to refer to a different type of frame, which is more properly known as a "shadowbox frame".

A shadowbox frame is a deep frame with a generous interior space that allows for the display of three-dimensional objects with personal significance or artistic value (medals, jerseys, or seashells, for example). It typically has a front-facing glass or acrylic cover to protect and enclose the objects, creating a display that can be viewed from various angles.

Note that shadowbox frames are NOT offered at MYPICTURE.

What is a Floating Frame for Canvas. Shadowbox frame containing baubles.

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