Framing 101: Understanding Standard Frame Sizes and How to Measure Them

Framing 101: Understanding Standard Frame Sizes and How to Measure Them

You've recently purchased a new print and have several photos you want to display. However, figuring out the perfect frame with all the various sizes, matted and non-matted options, and other considerations can be confusing. How do you go about determining the proper size? 


If you're overwhelmed, don't worry. We've got you covered. By following these suggestions and taking accurate measurements, you can confidently determine the perfect picture frame size and mat dimensions needed to beautifully showcase your wall art and photos.


Frame and Mat Dimensions for Common Print Sizes


Selecting a frame is straightforward if you're framing prints without a mat board. The frame size, representing the inner opening of the frame, matches the print size. For instance, a standard picture frame size of 5" x 7" will fit a 5" x 7" frame. Yet, many photo and art prints come with mats, adding an extra layer to your framing efforts.


The most prevalent ready-made frames correspond to average sizes. These popular picture frame sizes include the following: 4" x 6", 5" x 7", and 8" x 10".



How to Measure Picture Frames With and Without a Mat


Determining the correct size is easy if you already have a print. All you need is a ruler or tape measure. You'll need to measure the Height and Width of your photo frame or artwork's outer dimensions to the nearest inch. 


If you're considering adding a matted frame for your 5" x 7" print, you'll need to choose the appropriate frame size to accommodate both the print and the mat. In this case, opting for an 8" x 10" frame would be ideal. This frame size accounts for the added dimensions of the mat, ensuring a proper fit.


Measurements, such as 5" x 7", specify the size of the picture frame and the artwork it can hold. For instance, if you prefer a 5" x 7" non-matted frame, it's specifically designed to fit a 5" x 7" print without any additional matting.


Here is a guideline on how to measure standard picture frame sizes for photos & artwork:


1. Use the Right Tools 


  • Select your measuring tool.


  • A ruler, yardstick, or even a tailor's measuring tape is fine.


  • Make sure you're using the correct unit of measurement. One side is for inches, and the other is for centimeters.


2. Understanding Frame Orientation


  • To start, prepare a clean, flat surface for your artwork to prevent accidental damage and allow for easy measurement. 


  • Have a pen and paper nearby to record measurements as you take them. 


  • Distinguish Width and Height as they determine the frame's orientation and hanging hardware placement. Width refers to the measurement from left to right, while Height refers to the measurement from top to bottom.


  • The standard way to refer to the dimensions of a framed art print or framed photo is Width x Height in that order.


3. Lining It Up


The first and most important step in any framing project is measuring the artwork from one edge of the paper to the other. Ensure your measuring tool starts at zero, as some tools may have extra space initially.


Here are some simple ways to measure:


  • Using a tape measure, start from the zero point and measure the Width. In between each inch marker, a prominent line marking the halfway point represents 1/2". 


  • Halfway between the 1/2" line and the inch markers are the 1/4" lines (1/4" and 3/4"). Further, halfway between the quarter-inch and inch lines, you'll find the 1/8" line.


  • For example, if your measurement lands on a 1/8" marker, counting from the nearest inch marker will show you the precise measurement. If your measurement falls between 1/8" increments, round up to the next increment.



Recommendations for Selecting the Ideal Frame:


  • Assess the space: Now that you understand how to measure picture frames, it’s essential to factor in your living arrangements. The area where you intend to place the frame is crucial. Consider different parameters for areas like your desk and living room walls.


  • Consider the photo type: Different types of photos often require specific frames. For instance, a family photo may look best in a thin, minimalist frame, while a detailed scene with a single focal point may suit a thicker frame.


  • Factor in matting: The choice of matting affects the frame size. Photos with thick matting usually need larger frames.


  • Take measurements: Measure the space where the frame will go and the desired matting size to ensure a perfect fit.


  • Visualize your image: Different frames complement your images and space more accurately. It helps make informed decisions and ensures that the frame you choose enhances the overall presentation of your artwork.



Discover Unique Frames for Your Home with Americanflat


Finding the best frame for your photos, artwork, and keepsakes is a journey of discovery and personal expression. It's about more than just selecting a frame that fits the dimensions; it's about choosing one that complements and enhances the beauty and significance of your space. 


Consider the theme of the piece you want to display. You'll need specific frame styles, whether it's a cherished family photo, a stunning piece of art, a collage display, or a collection of movie posters. 


The frame should protect and showcase your item and add to its appeal. From sleek and modern designs to rustic and vintage wood frames, there's a quality frame out there that will preserve your memories and elevate them into works of art worthy of admiration and reflection.


Check out our blog article, Dopamine Decor: 5 Ways to Decorate a Home to Make You Happy, which discusses ways to make your home more joyful. Don’t forget to explore Americanflat for standard frame sizes and discover our wide selection of contemporary home decor.

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