How to Custom Frame a Picture

The right frame can take any picture or print from great to striking. But it requires a careful combination of size, style, and colour. The frame needs to work well with the existing decor and style of the room it is going to hang in. But it also needs to make the picture stand out enough to be noticeable and to draw the viewer in.


This is not easy to achieve with off-the-shelf frames from home decor stores. They might look stylish, but they’re usually only available in popular sizes. If you’re wanting to frame a panoramic picture—or create a collage—you could struggle to find the right size or arrangement.


With custom framing, these problems don’t exist. You’re not only guaranteed to be able to frame any picture—regardless of size—but you can also be sure to find a style that works perfectly with your decor.

How to Custom Frame a Picture in 3 Easy Steps

There are several ways to custom frame a picture, from doing it yourself, through to doing it online. Your skillset, needs, and available time, help determine which approach is best for you.


Doing it yourself requires more time, more skill, and involves more steps. But using a professional framer, whether visiting them in store or using an online service, can see you having your picture custom framed in three simple steps.

Choose the Right Size

With custom framing you aren’t controlled by the size of the picture the way you are when picking up a ready-made frame. But you should know the picture’s dimensions before you start, both width and height. You can then choose to have a custom frame made that fits the picture exactly, or you can choose to have the frame larger, allowing for a border between the frame and picture. Even then, you aren’t restricted with the size of the border. If you’re not sure what size frame and border to select, speak to a framer for professional advice.

With or Without a Matboard

A mat or matboard is a paper-based material that forms a border between the inner edge of the frame and your picture. It acts to both protect the picture by separating it from the glazing and keeping it stable within the frame, while also adding visual appeal. Including matboards with your framed pictures isn’t required, but it is a decision that needs to be made when choosing the size of your frame. Choosing a frame that is larger than your picture but not including a matboard will mean the backing or mounting board of the frame will be visible. This could act as a border, like a matboard, except that it will leave the edges of your picture visible too.

Choose the Right Style

Custom framing opens you up to a large variety of frame styles and even frame material. From real wood, through to synthetics and metals, with a variety of finishes and profiles, the different styles are not only designed for different types of pictures, but also particular decor styles.


Box frames tend to be a little deeper than regular frames, while classic frames tend to be more minimalistic in style. But each would still offer you a choice between plain (black or white) finishes, metallic (silver, gold, or other) finishes, or wood-like finishes. Rustic frames can be warmer and more homely, using a paint wash finish or even a bit of distressing. Ornate frames can include anything from elaborate moulding to beading, inner edges that contrast with the rest of the frame, or even antique-like finishes in gold or silver.


The picture being framed does not exclusively dictate the right frame style. Rather, it is a combination of the picture and the room decor. And as with size, if you’re not sure what style is right, speak to a framer for professional framing advice.


Using an online custom framing service is convenient but can be a little daunting if you’ve never framed anything before. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by visiting your nearest framing store first and getting professional advice. Once you are comfortable knowing when a matboard will benefit the picture, and what size and style to choose, you can then switch to ordering all your custom frames online instead.

Perspex is lighter than glass, making it a great option for large artwork. It is also less expensive than some of the glass options, while also being available in UV-filtering options.

If you’ve just spent a considerable amount of money on a new artwork, don’t spoil it with a frame that does nothing to enhance the piece. Speak to a professional framer for the best advice on how to frame the piece, and whether a higher level of protection is needed.

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