Comprehensive Framing Guide for Art Prints

The most common questions we get here at K&S are around the framing of your prints.  It can be confusing determining what size of frame to buy for your new art print, we hope this guide removes any doubts. 

 

What this guide IS:

Below you will find information on the most popular US based photo and print sizes and what your options are for framing those prints.

 

What this guide IS NOT:

This is a guide to the most standard options for framing photos and prints using US based standards photo and frame sizes.  If you buy prints from outside of the US, you may encounter unfamiliar sizing references such as A1 and A2.  These print sizes are part of the A series in the ISO 216 standard, which is used extensively around the world.  There are no standard U.S. frame sizes that exactly match these ISO 216 paper sizes, so we will not get into framing options for these in this article.  You can learn more about ISO 216 here.

 

Art and photo prints come in many shapes and sizes.  But, the good news is, almost all art and photo prints come in a certain set of popular dimensions that make it easy to determine how to display it.

Before we get into the actual dimensions and options, there is one really important question to keep in mind as you go through the framing process.  Mat or No Mat?!  

In the picture framing industry, a mat (or matte, or mount in British English) is a thin, flat piece of paper-based material included within a picture frame, which serves as additional decoration and to perform several other, more practical functions, such as separating the art from the glass.

The key difference when making this decision is this.  If you would like to frame your art with a mat, you will buy a frame larger than your print(examples below).  If you choose to frame your art with no mat, you will buy a frame the same dimensions as your print.  That is it, that is the main decision point and the place where most people get hung up when making framing decisions.

Our goal with this article is to minimize confusion, so below is a simple table.  The table begins with common print sizes, then shows your 'no mat' frame size and your 'mat' frame size.  We hope this is helpful for you as you choose the best frames for your art, let us know in the comments if there is any further information you would like to see here.

Disclaimer:  These are generally the most standard mat sizes for photo sizes but not all frames follow these standards.  It's possible for instance to buy an 11x14 Frame with a mat opening for a 4x6 print.  Be sure to check the mat dimensions before purchasing your frame.  And keep in mind, you can buy custom mat's to achieve your desired frame look.  A common google search for an 11x14 art print might look something like this:

"frame matted to 11x14" or "11x14 mat opening frame"

 

Framing Options

 Print Size No Mat Frame Size Mat Frame Size
4x6 4x6 5x7
5x7 5x7 8x10
8x10 8x10 11x14
11x14 11x14 16x20
16x20 16x20 20x24

1 comment

So helpful! Thanks for taking the time to publish this :)

Sara August 24, 2020

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