“Matchmaker, matchmaker match me, find me, get me…”
OK, seriously, have you found a great piece of art that you love but a frame isn’t your style?
It’s rare to find vintage (or high quality) artwork from a thrift store that ticks all the boxes! What’s my solution? Buy your favorite art and frames separately and play matchmaker!
Reframing a vintage art video
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy adding character and dimension to your walls with art. Knowing how fun art is, I always keep an eye out for good pieces whenever I go to a vintage or antique store.
For a long time, I gave up art pieces that I thought were great because the frames just didn’t fit my style. Or maybe I found a great frame and hoped it was a great piece of art.
Combining art and picture frames can be confusing at first. You may be wondering: If you buy a piece of art that you love, will you be able to find a frame that really fits it? How do you know to put it in? Then there are mats and glass to consider.
It’s not as difficult as it looks. I would like to share 8 tips for matching art and frames.
Tip #1 Look at your art as separate works.
We naturally see a work of art as a unit. Frames, mats and art all merge into one of her creations. This is what the piece looks like when it’s hung on the wall, but when shopping at a thrift store, it’s better to think apart.
Before you hand over something you’re not into, ask yourself if you’d really like the art if it was framed in a different way. Or, consider frames on their own and you may find that they fit your style perfectly.
Example: Matt surprised me by seeing this painting one day. I was on the lookout at a thrift store and this skinny gold frame with a linen mat popped up for $1.25! Perfect for this picture!
Tip 2 Develop an eye for different combinations.
The first tip is to look at things differently. A tip for this is to look at individual pieces in combination with other pieces.It’s not always easy to imagine a work of art in another frame. One of my favorite ways to train my eyes is to use Pinterest to collect lots of pictures of art that I love. Then I research how those pieces are typically framed and what looks good on me. Below is an example of cross-stitched roses on a very his 1980s style frame. Reframing is a vintage frame with touches of green and gold, which makes it look so good!
For examples of British country style artwork, see my Cozy English Gallery Wall board!
Another great way to develop your eyes is to study art with your favorite design book. Below are links to some of my favorite design books for great art inspiration.
Tip #3 You can resize your art
Sometimes you need to minimize your work of art. You may also want to enlarge or emphasize your work. I wanted to simplify the Scotty dog sketch above. Originally this piece was much bigger, but I trimmed the excess to fit the sketch into this simple vintage frame. This technique works well for sketches, prints, watercolors, or photographs with wide margins.
If you want to expand your work of art, simply add a wider mat or thicker frame.
Tip #4 You can change the color of the frame
Sometimes the only problem with a frame is its color. Luckily, it’s not hard to fix this. With a little spray paint in a custom color, or rubbing and buffing with a touch of gold, you can perfectly match the look of the frame to your style. This is a simple and cheap DIY project.
This set of vintage monumental prints popped off the thrift store shelf. I am collecting the gallery wall pieces on Matt’s desk in the study. Includes ships, maps and buildings. His 1980s oak-framed print in orange looks a little dated, but a peek at the video reveals it’s simply updated with a satin black spray-painted frame. These elegant prints have a classic British feel. I also replaced it with non-glare glass from a recycle shop. The entire project was about $10.
Tip #5 The frame can be hung either way.
This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. Favorite frames may contain art currently displayed in landscape orientation. If you can’t find a piece of art to match, try something else.
Portrait orientation. If you think outside the box, you might be surprised to find that the perfect work of art is already at your fingertips.
Tip #6 Save Your Matte
You may be tempted to toss the mat that came with the frame or donate it again, but it’s better to leave it alone. Mats are expensive and usually come in standard sizes, so they might fit any frame you find in the future.
Tip #7 Mats can unify groups.
You may be trying to group a collection of artwork for your gallery wall, but it’s not organized well. In this case, try pulling your favorite color found in all your art and add matting to the pieces that cause you the most trouble.
Tip 8 Get a simple art hanging kit and a paper cutter.
If you really love art (and I love it too!), having the right tools handy can make reframing vintage art a breeze. I like these kits because they have everything I need in one place. A good kit should include:
- Several different types of hangers for your artwork.
- Wires for hanging art.
- A variety of nails and hooks to secure your art to the wall.
- Paper cutter and mount to cut the real thing.
This is the kit and some tools I recommend from Amazon.
These two pieces cost about $10 each and were probably thrifted about a year apart. You wouldn’t expect a matched pair to always be one piece and cost only about $20.
If you want to create a personalized and curated look for your art (on a budget) for your home, buying vintage art is the way to go. Antique and vintage art is a great way to express your design style and enhance the look of your home. Once you’ve mastered the combination of vintage art and the perfect frame, you can curate an amazing art collection at an affordable price.
If you already have a great art collection and are wondering what to do with all this art, read our post on creating the perfect English gallery wall.
I really enjoyed this vist with you today on one of my favorite subjects: vintage art. Thank you very much for your time. If you have any other art questions, please leave them below.
Until next time, take care.