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Framing And Hanging Oil Paintings

The frame gives a more finished look to the oil painting and helps define the boundaries of the artwork. The marriage of a frame with an oil painting may be harmonious or discordant, enhancing or distracting – a poorly chosen frame can ruin the appearance of the oil painting, while an appropriate one can make it shine.

There are many different styles, colors and price ranges of frames with cheap ones made in moulded plastic and more expensive ones carved in wood. An oil painting may be seen in different frames either by the use of computer-generated montages on the internet, or by physically standing the oil painting in successive frames in a framer’s shop. The final choice of the frame depends on the owner’s personal taste, the proposed location of the oil painting, the harmony between oil painting and frame, and the relationship of the frame to the room where it will hang.

With modern art, you may choose to hang your oil painting without a frame. Providing that the stretcher is solid and reasonably thick, then the oil painting can be wired to hang without a frame. This unframed approach to exhibiting modern oil paintings means that the viewer focuses entirely on the artwork itself.

How to Hang an Oil Painting


2 eye screws
Woven picture wire.


1) Mark 2 points on the inside of the two side stretcher bars about 25% down from the top of the canvas.

2) Screw the eyes into the stretcher being careful not to apply pressure to the stretched area of the canvas.

3) Measure a piece of wire the width of the canvas plus 6-8 inches.

4) Thread the wire through the first screw twice then neatly wrap the remaining wire around itself.

5) Pull the wire across the back of the painting so it is not quite taut then repeat the threading process on the second side.

6) To hang the oil painting, use an appropriately strong hook, i.e. one that can support double the weight of the painting. The painting should hang as flush to the wall as possible.

Submitted by:

Ralph Serpe

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