Framing Articles

A Crash Course on Framing Watercolor Paintings

Due to their unique medium, framing watercolor paintings can be a bit difficult. But with these expert tips and tricks, you can avoid common issues that novice framers come across.

Because of the way the painting dries, it can leave unsightly ripples in the paper, which prevent the artwork from lying flat against the mat board. There are a number of ways to deal with warped paper:

  1. Rip the Edges

    Instead of focusing on getting rid of the issue, some artists and framers try to embrace it as part of the piece’s character. They will use deckled paper and a narrow mat, which doesn’t cover the edges and creates a “floating” effect. In addition to this framing technique, you could also neatly rip the edges so the paper creates a 3-D effect against the mat board. This method can be made into a shadow box framing effect when depth is added to the frame.

  2. Dry Mount Paper Before Painting

    To prevent paper rippling, you can mount the paper onto the mat board before you even apply watercolors to it. By painting directly onto the framing and matting apparatus, the paper stays smooth after drying. However, with this method, you have to choose your paper, mat, and frame size before you begin working.

  3. Treat the Paper

    Treating the paper with mists of water before framing watercolor paintings generally makes people a bit nervous, since many believe that this will damage the work. However, if done properly, this can be the most effective way to treat rippled watercolor paper. To do this, start by flipping the painting over and misting the back evenly with water and place a sheet of glass over it. Use heavy objects like thick books to weigh this layer down. Check the paper after 24 hours – the ripples should be gone.

  4. Using the Right Adhesives

    Another way to go about framing watercolor paintings is using adhesives to hold down the rippled edges. But adhesives pose another challenge: ripping valuable artwork. We recommend using reversible tape that can be easily removed without damaging the piece. Gummed tape is another solid option, making for easy removal with a wet cotton swab.

At Frame-It Plus, framing your watercolor artwork properly is our top priority. Our Coral Springs framing professionals are some of the best in the business, providing customers with custom framing service that ensure your art pieces are kept safe and well-preserved for years to come.