Group Title: Circular
Title: How to select, frame, hang pictures
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: How to select, frame, hang pictures
Series Title: Circular
Physical Description: 15, 1 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Leach, Glinda B
Woodruff, Louise
University of Florida -- Agricultural Extension Service
Publisher: University of Florida, Agricultural Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1963
Subject: Pictures in interior decoration   ( lcsh )
Picture frames and framing   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: Glinda B. Leach and Louise Woodruff.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "May 1963."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084375
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 80763493

Full Text

How to








How to


Wherever you live, whatever your income, you
can own good pictures and you don't need to be an
expert to select them. If a picture says something
pleasant to you and inspires you it is one you can
live with and enjoy.

Pictures and Your Family

Pictures in your home express the interests of you and
your family. They are one of the final touches which make
a house a home. They give beauty and character to each
room and show the individuality of each family member.
All of us grow and change, not only physically but
mentally. As we have new experiences, we change our minds
about what we like. As a result our personalities develop.
For this reason, we sometimes change our minds about
choices and replace the things we own. Some of our pictures
may be replaced. We select some pictures for temporary
value only. Others, we will appreciate for a lifetime.

The Appeal of Pictures

Some pictures appeal to us because they tell a story or
remind us of an experience. We like others because they
have beautiful color and pattern. But whatever the appeal,
they should stimulate our imagination if we are to enjoy
A good picture expresses the personality of the artist. It
reflects him, as an individual, and the time in which he
worked. It is not an attempt to duplicate the real. Rather
it interprets what he sees beyond the real. His pictures show
his imagination and individuality.
We respond differently to the works of different artists.
Each should and does work according to his own style-his
own way of feeling and seeing. We enjoy some styles and
don't care for others. We wish to understand them all. But
for our homes we choose those we like best.


Pattern is the distribution of light and dark
areas and of plain and figured surfaces. Pattern makes
the picture interesting (Fig. 3).

Fig. 1-Church at Gelmeroda- Lyonel Feininger
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, George A. Hearn Fund, 1942


The composition or design of a picture is the
arrangement of its shapes and colors. All of the parts
fit together to make it complete. In the composition
of a pleasing picture our eyes will follow easily from
one part to another (Figs. 1 and 2).

Fig. 2-The Starry Night- Vincent van Gogh
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
Collection Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y.

Fig. 3-The Milkmaid- Jan Vermeer
Courtesy of the publishers, (c) Donald Art Co., Inc., N.Y.
Collection of Mrs. Albert D. Lasker


Color is probably enjoyed more than any other
one quality in pictures. Quiet and restful colors or
gay and stimulating ones have their own special ap-
peal. The artist interprets colors, as he does forms.
He does not try to duplicate what he actually sees.


Most pictures represent some idea or theme
(Figs. 4 and 5). Subjects often enjoyed are scenery,
"still lifes" such as flowers, animals, people, maps,
architecture and historical incidents. Remember that
when any of these subjects is good it expresses the
way the artist felt about it. It does not necessarily
duplicate the real object.
Some contemporary pictures show no direct
relationship to what we really see. We say that these
pictures are abstract (Fig. 6). The artist means to
convey a feeling, idea, message, or mood.

Fig. 4-White Roses- Vincent van Gogh
Courtesy of the publisher, (c) Donald Art Co., Inc., N.Y.
Collection of Mrs. Albert D. Lasker

Fig. 5-The Music Lesson- Thomas Hart Benton
Courtesy Associated American Artists, New York

Georges Braque
Fig. 7-Le Gourmet- Pablo Picasso
Chester Dale Collection

Generally when we think about pictures for
decoration we refer to graphics or paintings. Graphics
include drawings, etchings, engravings, lithographs,
woodcuts and silk screen prints. Paintings include
oil, water color and casein.
A worthwhile picture has one or more of these
Good composition
Pleasing pattern
Interesting color
A well-interpreted idea

Pictures and Rooms

All the pictures in a room should seem to be-
long together. That is, they should be similar in
color and feeling and seem to belong to the room
and its furnishings. They should express the interests
of those sharing the room.
In most rooms one picture ought to dominate.
Use only a few. If you have several pictures, display
some now and some another time for variety.
Living room selections may be those which
both your family and friends will enjoy. Probably
family photographs and other sentimental pictures
will be better displayed in the more personal rooms
of your home. However, photographs can sometimes
be attractively displayed within one large frame. Or,
you might put them in an album where they can be
shown easily.
Pictures for children's rooms should be colorful
without much detail (Fig. 7). Let children choose for
themselves the pictures they find interesting. Offer
them a varied assortment of good ones to select
from. Their own art work may sometimes be tempo-
rarily displayed for the whole family to view.
Calendars are not considered good decoration.
However, some calendar pictures are good enough to
be framed (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8-A Snowy Morning--

Fig. 6-Still Life-

Currier and Ives

In Place of Pictures

There are decorative textiles which you can
purchase by the yard that make excellent wall hang-
ings. They, like pictures, need good composition,
texture or pattern, and color. Use a rod or pole at
top and bottom to keep the hanging straight.

Your own designs may very well make good
temporary or even permanent wall hangings. If you
have a little talent and practice in creating designs
you can arrange and frame interesting colors and
textures for your room (Fig. 9).

A mirror is often used over a table in a living
area. Mirrors can be used effectively in small rooms
to create the illusion of more space. But it is well to
visualize what you will see in the mirror before you
hang it. In one sense it will be a picture.

Bulletin boards can be useful and decorative in
kitchens, dens, children's rooms, or halls. You can
change displays on them for variety. Interesting
colors and personal items can make this arrangement
unusual. A bulletin board is a good place for tempo-
rary display of family snapshots and photographs.

Fig. 9-Original composition

:~~~~~~ ~~~ :: ~~:;:-;-E::r-' 3-

Where to Get Pictures

Originals and reproductions are available in
both town and city:
Art exhibits at fairs and other special events
sometimes show good graphics or paintings.
Their owners often want to sell them.
Many decorator shops, paint stores, book
stores, hobby shops and department stores
stock excellent reproductions. Those with
limited space may stock them only once or
twice a year for a short time. Others stock
them the year around.
Museums sometimes sell reproductions of
their famous paintings.
You can order prints from museums and art
galleries. These will send you listings of prints:
1. City Art Museum of St. Louis; St. Louis 5, Mo.
2. Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, Ill.
3. National Gallery of Art; Washington, D. C.
4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York
28, N. Y.
5. Museum of Modern Art; 11 W. 53rd St.; New
York 19, N. Y.
6. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Minneapolis
4, Minn.
7. Artext Prints, Inc., Westport, Conn.
8. Nelson Gallery of Art, 4525 Oak Street, Kansas
City, Mo.
Magazines sometimes print color reproductions
which are good enough to be cut out and framed.
The same is true of some pictures on calendars.
Valuable originals painted by famous artists can
cost thousands of dollars. However, many young
artists do good work and are willing to sell their
pictures at reasonable prices. These prices will vary
according to the locality and the talent and experi-
ence of the artist.
Good reproductions cost from a few cents up.
Average prices range from $1.00 to $12.00 or $15.00
unframed. Reproductions of worthwhile pictures are
far better than poor originals. However, they vary
greatly in the quality of their color and pattern. The
best reproductions show the brush strokes of the
originals and follow the true colors exactly.

Mont Ste. Victoire- Paul Cezanne
Con- Collection. Baltimor, .-lulm/ of/ Art

American Gothic- Grant Wood
Courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago


Courtesy Associated American Artists, New York

Winter Twilight-
Copyright Grandmr Moses Properties, Inc., New York

;-. I:--~.;i MI^IK~

Thomas Hart Benton

Lady Sewing- A.Renoir
Courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago

Grandma Moses

Yachts at Deauville- R. Dufy
Courtesy Artext Prints, Inc., Westport, Conn.

Y j

Composition in White, Black and Red-
Collection of the Museum of Modern Art

Autumn- Kunisada

-k9* 7

Dancer With Bouquet- Edgar Degas
Louvre, Parts; Penn Prints, N.Y.

Tabac Royal-
Courtesy of the publishers, (c) Donald Art Co., Inc., N.Y.
Collection of Mrs. Albert D. Lasker

Winter in Paris-
Courtesy of the publishers, (c) Donald Art Co., Inc., N.Y.
Collection of Mrs. Albert D. Lasker

Maurice Utrillo

Henri Matisse

Praying Hands- Albrecht Diirer
Courtesy Artext Prints, Inc., Westport, Conn.



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How to


A frame encloses a picture and adds to
its beauty. It is the connecting link between
the picture and the wall. A well selected frame
lets the picture dominate, but it, too, has
beauty (Figure 1).

Your Picture Frame

You are probably safe if you select a frame that
is not quite as dark as the darkest colors in your
picture. However, it is all right to select a lighter
one. Usually your frame should be darker than your
mat and in harmony with both the picture and wall.
Fig. 1
S1 If your picture has simple lines, your frame
probably should also. Remember to let your picture
dominate. Let the frame act as a connecting link for
your wall and picture.
You can get a ready-made frame or select mould-
ing and have a frame made. Or you can buy mould-
ing and make a frame.
Picture moulding is available in a number of
sizes and shapes (Figure 2). Try different shapes and
sizes with your picture. This will help you most in
Picture moulding differs from builder's mould-
ing in that it has a groove (rabbet) cut into the bot-
tom inner edge. This holds the picture, backing and
glass. However, builder's moulding may be used if a
groove is added. This may be cut, or made by gluing
a thin strip of wood on the back of the moulding.

Fig. 2-Kinds of moulding.

Shall a picture have a mat or be framed

Frame an oil closely. Generally it is better to
mat a print. But you can frame a print of an oil
painting closely as you would the original.
Use a mat on a water color, woodcut or an

Your Mat
Use a wide mat for a picture that shows decided
movement. Do this especially if the lines of the pic-
ture have a tendency to carry the eye out of the
Woodcuts and etchings usually require wider
mats than other types of pictures.
Use a wide mat when the subject seems to "fill"
the picture. A wide mat is suitable for a picture
which you want to appear larger. But don't make the
mat so large that the picture ceases to be most im-
Make the bottom margin of a mat wider than
the sides or the top. If your picture is vertical, make
the top margin wider than the sides. If your picture
is horizontal make the side margins wider than the
top. For a square picture make the sides and top
equal and the bottom wider (Figure 3).
Usually it is safe to choose a mat that is slightly
darker than the lightest colors in your picture. But
if these light tones appear in very small amounts
choose a mat only moderately darker.
You can select a mat from regular matboard or
cardboard. It can be plain, colored or textured. Often
you can cover cardboard with fabric or wallpaper to
get a desired texture.

Shall a picture have glass?

Oils don't need glass because they clean well.
Use glass with pictures which cannot be easily
cleaned. Be sure to use picture glass. It is thin, dur-
able and free from defects. Too, it has no green tint.
Glass protects a picture from dirt and wear. It
tends to deepen the colors, but often causes glare
from light reflection.
Non-glare picture glass is available. It might be
the best selection if the picture will hang where
there is a good bit of light. It has to be placed di-
rectly against a picture because of its density, and
because of this it cannot be used with a mat.

Fig. 3-Proportions for mats.
Fig 3, courtesy Purdue University Agricultural Extension Service.

Fig. 4-Framing materials.

A nice even coat of plastic spray will protect
many prints almost as well as glass. This is often
used on pictures, especially prints.
Certain kinds of plastic spray will yellow colors
slightly. Try the spray on another kind of paper be-
fore you spray your print.

Many stores which sell prints offer mats, frames
and other essential items for framing. Often the
salesman will frame the picture for a small charge
or tell you where you can get it done.

You may want to do your own framing
job. In addition to your picture and frame you
will need (Figure 4):

Glass to fit frame (or plastic spray)
Material for mat
Cardboard for back (corrugated cardboard
is good)
Wrapping paper
Screws and lightweight wire
Mat knife
A metal-edged ruler, pencil, scissors, pins,
white glue, nails, hammer, masking tape,
thumb tacks
Cleansing tissues, soft cloth

Step by Step

1 -Prepare frame.
Your frame may need a finish or repair job.
For an unfinished frame, smooth sanding and
a thin coat of paste wax may be all that is

2-Cut mat to fit frame.
Measure from back opening which includes
rabbet. (Figure 5). Subtract /s inch from both
length and width. This allows for expansion.

3-Cut mat opening for picture.

* Decide on margin allowances.

* Place picture on back side of mat, making sure
it is square with the corners. Stick pins in each
corner of picture. Lay ruler diagonally across.
connecting two corners. Move pins 's inch
in toward center (Figure 6). Push pins com-
pletely through mat. Repeat for other two

Remove pins and picture. Inner pin marks on

mat show cutting corners. On front side of
mat use ruler to guide you in making very
light pencil lines to connect pinholes, forming
outline for picture (Figure 7).

Use mat knife and metal-edged ruler for guide
in cutting opening (Figure 8). Practice cutting
on a scrap piece of mat material first.
Protect work surface and assure easy cutting
by putting cardboard under mat. Cut from
front side of mat at a 45 angle. Cut lines
slightly past each corner to assure square
4-Cut cardboard the same size as mat.
This serves as your picture backing.

5-Hinge backing and mat at top to form a
Turn mat to wrong side and meet with edge
of cardboard (Figure 9).
Use masking tape to attach the two at top.

6-Tape top of picture to back of mat (Figure

7-Place ensemble in frame.
Spray picture prior to this if you select plastic
spray for protection.
If you choose glass, clean it on both sides and
place it in frame first.

8-Drive finishing nails or wire brads into
edge of rabbet (Figure 11).
This holds all parts in place.

9-Glue wrapping paper to back of frame.
* Apply glue to back of frame along edge.
* Lay back of frame against slightly dampened
brown paper. Smooth paper from center out
to all sides to make it dry taut.
When dry, cut the excess paper away. Fold
edge back and cut along fold with knife. Or
fold edge down and stroke edge of fold with
emory board or sandpaper.

10-Prepare for hanging.
Measure about one-third way down on each
side of frame back.
Place a screw eye at each point.
Cut wire 6 inches longer than distance between
screw eyes.
Put ends of wire through screw eyes 2 inches.

Pull ends back and twist around rest of wire.
* Place a thumb tack at each lower corner (Fig-
ure 12). This helps picture hang straight and
keeps dust from collecting behind picture.
Pieces of foam rubber or cork can be used in-

In Place of Frames

Adjustable clamps can be used for hanging pic-
tures (Figure 13). They are available in plastic or
metal at art and book stores. With these your pic-
ture can be hung with or without glass.
Clamps are especially good for temporary use.

If you aren't sure that you want to frame a picture
for a particular spot, hang it with clamps until you
decide. These are ideal if you wish to change pic-
tures often.

Fig. 13-Front and back views of picture with adjustable clamps.

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Moulding properly mounted on the wall will
serve as a frame for one or more pictures (Figure
14). This is another way you can change pictures

u -to,' -its beauty.

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picture and


How to


Hanging pictures properly is as important
as proper selection. You'll appreciate attrac-
tive pictures best when they are well arranged.

Places for Pictures

Think of seeing and enjoying pictures when you
are selecting the proper place for them. Consider
making a particular wall space or furniture grouping
more interesting. If at least one of these needs can't
be met, maybe no picture is necessary.
Hang pictures in relation to furniture groupings
and architectural lines (Figure 1). A picture hung in
an empty wall space with nothing near it for sup-
port has the appearance of being alone.
It is usually better to hang light pictures on
fairly light walls and dark pictures on fairly dark
walls. However, sometimes for balance, it is well to
consider the rest of the grouping rather than the
Figure 1 wall. For instance, a dark chair against a light wall
is likely to look better with a dark picture.

Hanging Cues

Hang pictures with the center at about eye level
from where you will be looking. With this in mind
__ placement of pictures will vary in height according
to the room. In a hall or entrance to a room you are
O~ not likely to be sitting while looking at a picture. In
a living room or den you may be.
Hang pictures in a child's room at his eye level
rather than at an adult's (Figure 2). Group them
Figure 2 with his furniture at a level he can enjoy.

Avoid a broken line effect by hanging pictures,
as nearly as possible, evenly around the room.
Sometimes it is easier to keep the tops or centers
reasonably straight than the bottoms. Keep in
mind that it is far more important for a picture to
belong to a grouping than for it to be in line with
a picture on another wall.


Keep the size of the picture related to the furni-
ture grouping and the amount of wall space (Figure
3). For instance, it is easy to see that a small picture is
out of scale with a large chair or a huge amount of
wall space. If the subject or color of a small picture
goes with a grouping of large scale, combine the
picture with other small ones. Put all the pictures
within one large frame or each picture in a similar
frame. Too, one or more small pictures can be com-
bined with other types of wall hangings.

In a pleasing picture arrangement the point of
interest or emphasis is important. If pictures are to
be enjoyed there should be opportunity to give them
attention. A few good pictures surrounded by rest-
ful wall space have good emphasis. Every object near
the picture, including those of a decorative nature,
should be considered a part of the group. Each ob-
ject should take its proper place in order to have a
balanced appearance.


Place a horizontal picture with a grouping or
wall space suggesting horizontal lines. Place a verti-
cal picture where vertical lines are suggested.
Hang pictures so that their lines carry the eye
toward a group and not away from it. Avoid a line
of furniture, then a line of pictures. Both the furni-
ture and pictures should seem to belong together.
Watch the background where the picture will
hang. Maybe no picture is needed on a patterned
wall. But if one is to be hung there, it will need a
wide mat to serve as a rest space between the picture
and the wall (Figure 4).

Figure 4
Plain or nearly plain walls make excellent back-

grounds for pictures. However, a plain wall does not
always need a picture. Some plain areas are needed
to give emphasis to the decorative ones.

Grouping Pict ures

Pictures alike in some way may be grouped suc-
cessfully. They may be similar in subject matter or
color, or they may be made by the same method. To

tie them together, frame and mat them in a similar
Combine any number of pictures in a variety of
sizes, as long as all of them compose a pleasing
shape. Watch the shapes used within a single group-
ing. Squares and rectangles combine well (Figure 5).
Plain or nearly plain walls make excellent back-

a group to be less than the width of any one of the
grounds for pictures. This narrowever, a pain wall tend to give the
always need a picture. Some plain areas are needed

feeling of one mass to the decorative of several separate

pictGrouping Picturesres.
Pictures alike in some way may be grouped suc-
cessfully. They may be similar in subject matter or
color, or they may be made by the same method. To
tie them together, frame and mat them in a similar
Combine any number of pictures in a variety of
sizes, as long as all of them compose a pleasing
shape. Watch the shapes used within a single group-
ing. Squares and rectangles combine well (Figure 5).
Allow the total space between the pictures in
a group to be less than the width of any one of the
pictures. This narrower space will tend to give the
feeling of one mass rather than of several separate

Figure 5

Mechanics of Hanging

Use a piece of paper cut the size of the picture
to help determine the best location for the picture in
relation to the furniture and other items of the
To find the spot for the nail or hook, measure
from the bottom of the picture to the wire. Mark
this point on your paper, then through the paper on
to the wall (Figure 6).
You can also use a piece of paper to decide how
to place a group of pictures. Cut the paper large
enough to hold the complete grouping. Lay the

Figure 6

Figure 7 2 9

paper on the floor. Move the pictures around on the
paper until you like their appearance. Draw around
the pictures. Place the paper on the wall (Figure 7).
Find the spot for hanging each picture by the same
method as in Figure 6.
A picture is not likely to slip out of place if it
is hung with two nails or hooks instead of one.
Drive nails at a downward angle instead of straight
in. At an angle, nails are not as likely to come out
and plaster is not as likely to crack.
It is best to hang pictures so that nails, hooks
and wires are unseen. This is true except when a
very large or heavy picture must be hung with wires
attached to the molding. In this case, place wires for
square or rectangular pictures parallel and for a
round picture in the shape of an inverted "V."
Then paint the wires the color of the wall.
Hang pictures flat against the wall. If the screw
eyes that carry the picture wires are placed high
enough in the back, the picture will not tip forward.
Place pieces of foam rubber, cork or thumb tacks at
the lower corners. These will help the pictures lie
flat and hang straight and prevent dust lines behind

Judge Your Pictures

* Is each picture placed to help com-
plete a grouping or complement a
wall space?

* Are pictures low enough to form a
unit with other furnishings?

* Are pictures within each room hung
to form a fairly even line on the

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, Univeisity of Florida, Florida Stat
University and United States Department of Agriculture. Cooperating
M. 0. Watkins, Directot

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