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How to Frame Watercolor Painting

how to frame watercolor painting

Framing a watercolor painting is recommended to preserve and showcase your artwork. There are many different frame materials to choose from.; in fact, selecting a suitable frame itself is an important task.

The chosen frame for your watercolors should be durable enough to handle the weight of the painting. At the same time, it should not be too heavy or bulky that it will hang awkwardly on your wall.

Below we have a few tips for you to frame your own.

How Should Watercolor Paintings be Framed?

What to Prepare:

  • Well-fitted frame
  • Mat boards
  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Levels
  • Bevel cutter (if your mat boards are not pre-cut)
  • Hammer, nails, level, and screwdriver

Step 1: Choose the Frame Material

The frame material you choose will depend on the look you are trying to make. If you want your watercolor to have a more traditional look, a wooden frame would be a good choice. Or, metal frames can be very striking for a modern or contemporary look.

Another thing to consider is the color of the frame. White and off-white frames are often used with watercolors because they don’t compete with the colors of the painting. Still, if you want your frame to stand out, there are many other colors available as well.

Once again, these are just a few suggestions; choose what works best for your styles and painting.

Should Watercolor Paintings be Framed with Glass?

You can see paintings being framed with glasses to protect their colors and textures from external threats. This goes the same for watercolors.

You can put your painting under glass to avoid intrusion of moisture, dust, and other hazards.

Step 2: Measure Twice, cut Once

how should watercolor paintings be framed

Once you’ve chosen your frame material and color, it’s time to measure your painting.

The frame size should be slightly larger than the actual size of the painting so that it sits off the frame about a quarter inch.

You must double-check your measurements before cutting out your frame. Make sure each dimension is right, so there isn’t too much or not enough room for both the front and back mats and how far apart they sit from one another.

Another thing to consider when measuring is adding an extra two inches on top of everything. In case of any mistakes during measuring, you can still easily modify without cutting new pieces further or making new frame molding.

Once your frame is cut to size, it’s time to add the mat board. This will give your watercolor some extra protection and make it look even more professional. The best way to do this is by using a bevel cutter – this tool helps create a nice, clean edge on the mat board that will stand out against the frame.

Suppose you’re not too confident in using a bevel cutter or just want an easier way to add the mats. In that case, there are many options for pre-cut mats available at most craft stores. Just make sure that the dimensions of the mat board match those of your frame!

Step 3: Assemble your Frame

Now that everything is cut and measured, it’s time to put the frame together. This is a very easy process with simple tools like a hammer, nails, level, and screwdriver.

The frame molding will have grooves in it that fit snugly against each other – all you need to do is line them up and nail or screw them into place.

Once your frame is assembled, make sure it’s level before adding the hanging hardware. Watercolor paintings are often quite heavy, so it’s important that your frame can handle the weight without drooping or sagging on the wall.


  • You should choose acid-free frames, mats, backings, and supplies when working with watercolor
  • If you’re not comfortable working with a frame that’s larger than 18×24 or 24×36, then go small. You can always hang multiple smaller pieces together on one wall, creating an interesting display
  • Also, keep in mind smaller frames don’t need as much mat board because they are smaller, so try cutting your frame pieces down before purchasing pre-cut mats


Framing a watercolor painting can seem like a daunting task. Still, following these simple steps can be easy and inexpensive to do yourself! Make sure to measure everything correctly, use the right tools, and start small if you’re not too confident in your framing skills.

And most importantly – have fun with it! After all, the frame is only there to enhance the beauty of the painting inside.

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