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Framing my watercolour cards

3 paintings of Cornwall,all set inside a white frame

My watercolour cards can either be a blank card, for your own message, or a framed painting!.

I produce a lot of 6 x 6 square cards using my tiny watercolour paintings. I think it makes a great card if you want a keepsake. However have you thought about framing it for an inexpensive gift?

This is a great option because you can choose the frame that you think will suit your recipient. This has proved popular with my customers but the question I am asked most is – what frame to use?

What frame to buy?

This is a really difficult question to answer.

First of all it depends where you buy the frame – online or in your local store? As I have customers from all over the UK it will depend on what stores you have locally. For example, I love IKEA frames but our nearest store is Exeter!

The second problem is that some stores change their stock! IKEA being the exception. But a few years back Tesco did a great square frame, with a generous white mount and an aperture that was 95cm. It suited my paintings perfectly, in fact it was my template for deciding the size of painting. It is almost impossible for me to keep up with the various sizes, some cards sell quickly, others not so. They also don’t use the same sizing! Some use imperial i.e. inches, others use metric i.e. cm.

Square card of a painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes.

If we take this card of a painting of Wheal Coates. The card is 14.8 x 14.8 cm or 6 x 6 inches (approximately). The painting itself is 10 x 10 cm (4 inches).

Small 6 x 6 inch frame

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a white frame.

In this example I have used the original Tesco frame. It has a large white mount and the painting sits inside the aperture , although you do loose some of the image. I think this option looks great.

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a white frame.

Hobbycraft do a 6 x 6 inch box frame, that is frequently on special offer, so it means you can give someone a great present for under £10. On this option they do not include a mount so the card itself is used as a mount. This does mean the whole painting is visible.

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a black frame.

Another option is to use a more expensive frame. This one from Wilko is 27.4 x 27.4 cm (6 x 6 inch) is a black bevelled frame. It has a very defined mount and the painting sits inside. I really like this option for anyone where a black frame would suit their decor.

Large 9.8 x 9.8 inch frame

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a white frame.

How about a bigger frame? This one is currently available from IKEA – they don’t tend to change their stock as fast. The frame is 25 x 25 cm (9.8 x 9.8 inches). The mount is 12 x 12 cm so part of the card will show through and gives the impression of a double mount. It makes a strong statement.

So you can see there are just so many options! Which one would suit your needs? This is why I think it is best to leave to option to you to match your decor.

Other cards to frame

The options above are all using the 6 x 6 square card but how well does it work with other sizes?

I have cards that are A6 in size and these fit really well into IKEA’s Ribba small frame. These could make a nice series of paintings for either yourself or a gift. Have a look to see what original watercolour cards are currently available to buy.

This idea uses my printed cards. The cards, printed from a selection of my paintings of Cornwall, are A5 in size and fit nicely inside an A4 frame. Again in this example I have used the IKEA Ribba frame, which has a large white mount that sets off the print well.

Explaining mounts and apertures

To briefly explain, the frame is the outside edge that you can buy to suit your decor. These will in a variety of sizes, and they can be shown in metric or imperial, so the measurements tend to be approximate . Some frames include a mount, whilst you can choose the colour you want, usually they come as white. This is the material that surrounds the painting/photo, and gives the image “breathing” space. A small painting inside a large mount can either enhance the image or make it look lost. The aperture is the “hole” or space, that is inside the mount for the image to be placed in. Some frames, usually box frames, may not have a mount. If this is the case the card surround can be used as the mount. However at the time of writing this ASDA have a great 6 x 6 box frame with a mount for just £2.50, that would fit my cards very well.

Here is a diagram to illustrate the difference the size of the frame / mount etc can make to a card. The same 6 x 6 card, with a 100mm painting could fit 3 different sized frames. In this example the painting would fit inside the aperture of the small frame. The whole card will be shown, if you choose the medium frame. Whilst, in the largest frame, a small area of the card and painting will be displayed inside the aperture. As mentioned earlier, stores change their stock to meet design trends but a quick online search will help.

Ready to buy a card to frame?

I have a range of blank greeting cards, at various sizes including A6, A5 and Square cards. Have a look to see what is currently available to buy either on my website original watercolour cards as well as on Etsy. Remember as they are all originals, whilst I do paint some scene several times, they will vary and some scenes I don’t paint again. I also have a of quality printed cards of popular paintings.

I hope this has been helpful, the frames I have used are available at the time of writing this post – July 2023, but as mentioned, this will probably change.