Standard Sizes of Painting Frames

Written by cynthia smith
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Standard Sizes of Painting Frames
A narrow frame allows the painting to take centre stage. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Artists may not readily imagine their artwork in a frame until long after their painting is completed. However, those with foresight can consider using a canvas which will fit a standard size frame before beginning their masterpiece. A list of available sizes and types of frames can influence the composition of a landscape, still life or portrait painting.

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Square Frames

A square painted art canvas requires a square frame to best showcase the work. The smallest standard square size is 12 by 12 inches. Square sizes increase by 4-inch increments up to the 24 by 24 inch frame. After this, the 30 by 30 and 36 by 36 inch frame sizes are standard. The largest square frames are 40 by 40 and 48 by 48 inches. Some frame shops do not offer square frames in standard sizes and require custom framing of such items.

Rectangular Frames

Far more frequently seen are rectangular frames which fit rectangular canvases. These frames come in small sizes ranging from 4 by 6, 5 by 7, 8 by 10, 9 by 12 and 11 by 14 inches. Some online or art stores offer 6 by 8 and 8 by 16 inch frames, or 8 1/2 by 11 and 8 by 12 inch frames, as well as the square frames previously listed. Frames over a foot in length are usually sized in even numbers: 12 by 16, 12 by 18, 14 by 18, 12 by 24, 16 by 20, 18 by 24 and 20 by 24 inches. A standard size frame of 15 by 30 inches is available by some retailers as well.

Large Frames

Frames larger than 2 feet in width do come standard-sized. Lengths of these larger frames begin at 20 inches and end at 48 inches with widths that vary from 28 to 72 inches. Sizes, in inches, of these standard, larger frames are: 20 by 30, 22 by 28, 24 by 30, 24 by 36, 30 by 36, 30 by 40, 24 by 48, 36 by 48, 48 by 60 and 48 by 72.

Narrow Frames

Narrow frames are under 4 inches, and refer to the width of the actual frame itself. The opening for the canvas or painting is measured in the same way as other frames. Narrow frames allow the painting or artwork to capture the observer's attention, rather than the frame itself. They are available in all the sizes of regular standard frames in most stores. Many times, narrow frames are seen in large department stores, though size options are more limited there.

Other Information

You should inform the sales person about the type of artwork being framed. The supplier may only require the measurements of the artwork, but if the art is a painted canvas, tell the supplier whether or not the canvas is mounted on stretcher bars. The frame's dimensions will need to accommodate them. It pays to shop around to get the best frame for the price. Many hobby stores offer matting and framing services on the premises. Bring the painting or artwork with you to see how will it look matched with the frame and mat choices presented.

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