What is Moulding in picture framing and how is it used? A helpful guide to understanding moulding

What is moulding in picture framing?

The Fine Art Trade Guild’s definition is: “a length of wood, aluminium or plastic designed to be mitre-cut to form picture frames. Moulding can be decorated with a range of paint finishes, embossed, laminated, veneered or glided. Huge array of designs is available, in varying widths, depths and price brackets. Some mouldings are sold unfinished so that framer’s can apply their own finishes by hand.”

Mouldings come in a variety of “Profiles”

These define the internal shape of the moulding.

Profiles of moulding in picture framing

Understanding moulding terminology:

Below is a diagram, highlighting the specific measurements of a moulding and their correct names.

How to choose the right sized moulding?

Depending on what you are framing you need to think about the rebate depth. If you are framing a 3D object like a golf ball you need to think about how deep the moulding is and will it fit the object inside.

The width of the moulding is also important to take into consideration as a large sized artwork needs a large frame to be able to support the weight of the artwork, glass, mount and backing. A small width frame will not be able to support a large piece and will most likely end in damage.

Larger sized artwork also tends to look more in proportion when matched with a wider frame. This isn’t in all cases but is worth bearing in mind when making your choice.

Interested in learning more?

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