While artworks are our bread and butter we are also love the challenge of framing needleworks, memorabilia, certificates, clothing... heck we have even framed a soap dish! We are always happy to have a go at your one-of-a-kind, hanging, framing or display dilemma.

Give Anthony a call on 0425 363 471 if you would like to set up a time to discuss a unique solution to a problem we have never heard of, or just come to the shop in Mittagong between 9.00 and 5.00 Monday to Friday or Saturday between 9.30 and 12.30.

Why pay for Custom framing?

Custom framing, in which we help you select the best frames, mount boards, glass and backing to suit your work, is the most effective and safest way to frame your work. It looks the best, and it will protect your artwork in a way that cheap frames cannot.

Custom frames are necessarily more expensive than the “off the shelf” frames you will find in Ikea or other major retail outlets. This is because Ikea frames are made in huge quantities, by machines and overseas. Ikea style, ready-made frames are typically made of cheap pulp-board, plastic and papers which can damage your art work over time and certainly won't protect it in the short term. By contrast, our frames are made one-at-a-time by skilled craftspeople. Each custom frame is carefully and individually designed to match your art-work in size and colour; it is designed to match your decor and taste; it is designed to fit the peculiar shape, weight and material of your individual object; and it is made of real timber, glass, acid-free mat-board and acid-free framer's tape. 

We believe that ready-made frames have their place as temporary homes for posters or snapshots, but, if you value the piece of art or the object you are having framed, then custom framing is the only choice. This is because the cost of a quality frame is small compared to the cost of having an artwork damaged or left un-enjoyed because of a distracting or inappropriate frame.

Our Services

Conservation Framing

With custom framing we can offer you the option of conservation-grade, museum-quality, materials such as cotton-rag mat boards, UV protective glass and fully inert substrates to suit your budget and your piece. If your artwork is especially valuable or fragile we can suggest methods of framing which have a minimal impact on your piece - avoiding all tape for example - and we can suggest methods which will preserve your piece from the damaging effects of light and chemicals. We are also very happy to arrange for specialist conservators to give detailed advice when appropriate.

Frame Restoration

We are often asked to restore or repair old picture frames. If you have a valued but damaged frame, bring it in, or send us an email, and we will be very happy to give you an honest assessment of what repairs we can do ourselves. If the damage is greater than we can repair in house we can suggest respected frame conservators. 

Dry Mounting

Dry mounting involved sticking a piece of paper or fabric to an adhesive backing. Is used where an object, such as a photogragh or poster, has unwanted undulations due to the paper being too thin. Atmospheric changes can also cause paper to buckle. The sticky backing holds the paper flat and in position. Dry mounting is also sometimes used to “flatten” light textile based work such as embroidery or batik.

While dry-mounting is archivally sound, it is not recommended for valuable artwork, such as limited edition prints or drawings, because the procedure is irreversible and can diminish the value of the artwork. For this reason we will generally only recommend it for posters or personal photographs which can be easily re-printed.

Canvas Stretching

We routinely re-stretch oil-paintings or acrylics painted on canvas onto new, custom made stretchers (or wooden frames that support the canvas from beneath). Old or cheap stretchers can warp, and so need re-stretching. Similarly if you have purchased a canvas overseas, or if you have purchased a painting by an indigenous artists from northern or central Australia there is a good chance that it will be un-stretched. 

Because we make new stretchers out of quality, heavy duty bars, they will last and should never warp. If you have any problems with warping please bring your canvas back in and we will correct it.

Canvas stretching is also used by artists when they want a new canvas at a specific size or quality of canvas. 

Memorabilia Presentation

There are many ways to display memorabilia, such as football guernseys, antiquities, medals or other three-dimensional objects. Clothing an be adhered to, stitched to, stapled to, or tied to, a support and then protected by box framing. We can provide perspex boxes or glass domes for larger objects, and we can suggest various techniques for holding precious objects that are fully reversible.

Digital Printing

We do not offer digital printing on paper or canvas in-house, however we work closely with two digital print specialists on a regular basis and we can offer to organise printing for you or direct you to the people we trust.    

Framing types

There are many types of picture frame, and sometimes the terminology can be confusing. Below are some of the common frame types we make, but there are many variations and options which we can discuss with you when you come in. All frames serve the basic purpose of protecting a work of art or a valuable object from dust, moisture and damage, setting of an object in its own space for dramatic effect, and complimenting the look of the piece with colour and beautiful materials. In a sense they mediate between the special space created by a work of art and the distractions of the outside world.

A Basic Frame for a canvas

An oil painting or acrylic on canvas can be framed under glass but this is generally not required because the paint itself is quite resilient. If the canvas is well stretched then it can be hung without a frame, but a frame will usually add to the beauty of a work and help to protect the edges.

There are two categories of frames for a canvas - the familiar sort that overlaps the edges of the canvas so that all you can see is the picture surface, and the more contemporary sort that only covers the sides of the canvas but leaves the edge of the work visible such that you can see where the canvas is folded over the stretcher. In this second sort, a 5mm gap is often left at the edge of the canvas so that the whole front surface is visible as well s a few millimetres of the side. This kind of frame works well for many contemporary or modern paintings in which the materiality of the canvas is important and where the entire surface of the canvas is part of the work (including the rough edges). 

Standard frame for works on paper

A work on paper will need glass to protect it from dust and insect damage, as well as to reduce the effect of light and atmosphere. A work on paper should be framed with archival materials (which means boards, glues and tape with do not damage the work over-time the way normal tape or cardboard will), and it should not remain in contact with glass so some kind of space is required. Most works on paper - like drawings or prints - are framed surrounded by a mount (or mat-board) and behind glass. The glass, mat-board, art-work and backing are held together with a timber frame. Most art galleries use this kind of frame most of the time, because it protects the work very effectively.

The mount or mat-board is like a piece of high-quality, acid free cardboard which protects the work by holding the edges down and keeping the paper from touching the glass. There are some very beautiful mat-boards, with different textures and colours, so choosing a mount makes a big difference to how your final frame will look. Also, while all our mat-boards are acid free, if your piece is very valuable you may choose to use a cotton-rag board to protect it under museum conditions. Similarly some glass is made to minimise reflection (check our art-glass display in the shop) or to minimise the effect of UV light which can damage art-works over time.

Box Framing

Box framing is where we create a shallow box inside the frame, so that the art-work or object can be displayed with a lot more space between it and the glass. Essentially we build walls inside a deep timber frame to hold the glass away from the artwork, which is great when your piece isn't flat. It may be a very wobbly piece of paper, or a very textured object (we have framed small rugs!), or a three-dimensional object (we have framed a soap-dish!). Some people simply like the look of a box frame, because it sets the work off with some drama and is  reminiscent of that found in many museum displays. Box framing is also used with many contemporary artworks because it reveals the edges of the paper, allowing the quality of watercolour papers to be visible (preserving your deckled-edge), end emphasising the way the paper has been used by the artist.  

Float Mounting

Float mounting is a combination of box framing and a standard frame. The mat board is cut slightly larger than the work, and another mat board is used behind the work, so that the edges of the paper are visible framed by a shallow space created by the mat board. It is particularly useful with artwork that is flat, but where the edge of the paper is integral to the look of the whole artwork - such as the use of torn edges or deckle edges.

Shadow Box

A shadow box also uses a mat board with a window cut larger than the work, but in this case a spacer is used to create a large space behind the mat board and the mat board is against the glass as it would be with a standard frame. We don't often make shadow box frames, but they are useful when a sense of depth is required as part of the effect for the artwork (much like a box frame) but when the work would also benefit from the sense of drama or mystery that is given by a larger frame and a window like a proscenium arch.

You want to Do IT YOURSELF?

That's great! Black Parrot Art Room also supplies local artists and amateur framers with professional quality framing supplies. These include:

  • D-rings
  • Hanging cords
  • Tapes
  • Mount boards
  • Frame lengths
  • Glass 
  • Adhesive foamcore
  • Hanging tracks