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Floating Picture Frames: What Are They? and How to Pick the Perfect One?

Updated: Oct 30, 2023


3 differnet hardwood floating picture frames

What is a floating picture frame?


A floating picture frame is a type of picture frame that creates the illusion that the artwork is floating on the wall, by leaving a small gap between the artwork and the frame.

Hexagon floating frame made out of Kiaat wood

They can be any size or shape, and they can be customized to match the style of your home.


Floating picture frames are typically made of wood, metal, or acrylic. However, we prefer wood for our frames because it is a natural material that brings warmth and character to any space.

Thin light wood floating frame

The distinctive wood grains of each frame are unique, and they cannot be replicated in any other material. This makes our wood frames a bold statement that will complement any artwork.


Floating picture frames are a popular way to display artwork in both homes and businesses. They are often used to display paintings, photographs, and other types of art.



Here are 4 main benefits of using floating picture frames:

  • They make art appear to float on the wall, which can create a more modern and contemporary look.

  • They add depth and dimension to a room.

  • They can make art look more expensive and luxurious.

  • They are relatively easy to care for.

If you are looking for a way to display your art in a stylish and modern way, floating picture frames are a great option.


History of Floating Picture Frames

The history of floating picture frames is a long and storied one.


The earliest known floating picture frames were created in the 17th century. These frames were made of wood and were suspended from the wall using wires.


Antique floating frame

In the 18th century, floating picture frames became more popular. These frames were made of a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and glass. They were often used to display paintings and photographs.


In the 19th century, floating picture frames became even more popular. These frames were often used to display paintings and photographs. They were also used to display other types of art, such as prints and drawings.


In the 20th century, floating picture frames continued to be popular. These frames were often made of modern materials, such as acrylic and metal. They were also used to display a wider variety of art, including abstract paintings, pop art, and photography.


floating frame hanging on a red brick wall

Today, floating picture frames are still popular. They are often used to display art in both homes and businesses. They are also used in galleries and museums.


There are a few different theories about how floating picture frames came to be.


One theory is that they were originally used to transport paintings.


The paintings would be placed in a frame with a small gap between the frame and the painting. This would allow the painting to breathe and prevent it from being damaged during transport.


Another theory is that floating picture frames were originally used to display paintings in a more modern way. In the 19th century, traditional picture frames were often very ornate and elaborate.


Floating picture frames, on the other hand, were simple and understated. They allowed the painting to be the focus of attention.


Whatever their origins, floating picture frames have become a popular way to display art. They are elegant and understated, and they allow the art to be the focus of attention.



A0 Kiaat floating frame with a kudu photograph

Here are 3 of the most common types of floating picture frames available:

  • Wood floating picture frames: These frames are made of wood and are often finished in a natural or stained finish. They can be any size or shape, and they can be customized to match the style of your home.

  • Metal floating picture frames: These frames are made of metal and are often finished in a silver, gold, or black finish. They can be any size or shape, and they can be customized to match the style of your home.

  • Acrylic floating picture frames: These frames are made of acrylic and are often clear or frosted. They can be any size or shape, and they can be customized to match the style of your home.

No matter what your style, there is a floating picture frame that is perfect for you. So why not give them a try? You might be surprised at how much you love them!


Here are 2 examples of wood-floating picture frames, that we make:

  • Natural wood floating picture frames: These frames are made of unfinished wood and allow the natural beauty of the wood to show through.

  • Stained wood floating picture frames: These frames are made of wood that has been stained to a specific color.

They can be any size or shape, and they can be customized to match the style of your home, using various species of hardwoods.


Hardwood samples for floating picture frames

11 of the Best hardwoods for Picture Framing

There are many different types of wood that are perfect for picture framing but we believe and have experienced in our manufacturing that hardwoods are the best to use in floating picture frames because of their strength and durability.


Here are 11 of the most popular wood species that we use to make your floating picture frames:

Wood

Colour

​Wood Grain

Best application

Janka Hardness Scale

Cost

African Mahogany

Rich, red-brown

​Straight, even

Furniture, flooring, paneling

1070

Expensive

Blackwood

Rich, dark brown

Straight, close grain

Gunstocks, furniture, musical instruments

2260

Expensive

Birch

Light yellow to light brown

Straight, fine grain

Furniture, plywood, musical instruments

1450

Affordable

Eucalyptus

Light brown to dark brown

Straight, fine grain

Furniture, flooring, boats

1300

Affordable

Maple

Light brown to dark brown

Straight, fine grain

Furniture, flooring, musical instruments

1450

Moderately priced

Rosewood

​Rich, red-brown

Straight, even

Inlay work, veneer, musical instruments

1290

Expensive

Saligna

Light brown to dark brown

Straight, fine grain

Furniture, plywood, veneer

1100

Affordable

Rhodesian Teak

Rich, warm brown

Straight, even

Outdoor furniture, flooring, boat building

3840

Expensive

Zebrawood

Dark brown with black stripes

​Varied, often wavy grain

Inlay work, veneer, musical instruments

1830

Expensive

Walnut

​Rich, dark brown with streaks of lighter brown

Straight, wavy grain

Furniture, flooring, gunstocks

1230

Moderately priced

White Oak

Light brown to dark brown

Straight, open grain

Furniture, flooring, barrels

1290

Moderately priced

What is the Janka hardness scale & why it matters?

The Janka hardness scale is a measure of the hardness of wood. It is named after its creator, Gabriel Janka, an Austrian-born American researcher.


The Janka hardness test measures the force required to embed a 11.28-millimeter-diameter (0.444-inch) steel ball halfway into a sample of wood. The higher the Janka hardness number, the harder the wood.


The Janka hardness scale is used to determine the suitability of wood for different applications. For example, wood with a high Janka hardness number is often used for flooring and furniture, as it is more resistant to dents and scratches.


Wood with a lower Janka hardness number is often used for carving and turning, as it is easier to work with.


The Janka hardness scale is a valuable tool for woodworkers and other professionals who work with wood. It can help them to choose the right wood for their specific needs.


Picture frame on green wall

When choosing wood for picture framing, it is important to consider the style of your home and the artwork that you will be framing.

Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing wood for picture framing:

  • The color and grain of the wood: The color and grain of the wood can affect the overall look of your frame. If you want a frame that will complement your artwork, you should choose a wood that has a similar color or grain.

  • The durability of the wood: The durability of the wood is important if you want your frame to last for many years. Some woods, such as mahogany and walnut, are more durable than others, such as poplar.

  • The cost of the wood: The cost of the wood is another important factor to consider. Some woods, such as mahogany, are more expensive than others, such as poplar.

Once you have considered all of these factors, you can choose the perfect wood for your picture frame.

Various picture frames on a green wall

Style your space with floating picture frames

Floating picture frames are a great way to add a touch of style and sophistication to any room. Here are some tips on how to style a room with floating picture frames:

  • Choose the right frames. The frames you choose should complement the style of your home and the artwork you are displaying. For example, if you have a modern home, you might want to choose metal or acrylic frames. If you have a traditional home, you might want to choose wood frames.

  • Consider the size and shape of the frames. The size and shape of the frames will affect the overall look of your display. For example, if you have a large wall, you might want to use large frames. If you have a small wall, you might want to use smaller frames.

  • Arrange the frames in a way that is visually appealing. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to arranging floating picture frames. However, you might want to consider arranging them in a symmetrical or asymmetrical pattern. You might also want to consider arranging them in a grouping or cluster.

  • Use different sizes and shapes of artwork. Mixing and matching different sizes and shapes of artwork can create a more visually interesting display. For example, you might want to hang a large painting in the center of the wall and then surround it with smaller photographs.

  • Add some personal touches. You can add some personal touches to your display by adding mementos or other objects that are meaningful to you. For example, you might want to add a family photo or a piece of jewelry.

  • Don't be afraid to experiment. The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment. Try different arrangements and see what you like best.


picture frames on a white wall

3 Additional tips for styling a room with floating picture frames:

  • Use the frames to create a focal point. If you have a large wall, you can use a grouping of floating picture frames to create a focal point. This will draw the eye to the center of the room and create a sense of balance. Use the frames to add dimension to a room. Floating picture frames can add depth and dimension to a room. This is especially true if you use frames of different sizes and shapes. Use the frames to create a sense of harmony. If you have a lot of different artwork, you can use floating picture frames to create a sense of harmony. This is done by using frames that are all the same color or style.




No matter how you choose to style your room with floating picture frames, the most important thing is to have fun and be creative.

Picture frames on a white wall with a couch in the foreground

How to size your artwork to a floating picture frame

There are a few things to consider when sizing your artwork to a floating picture frame.

  • The size of the frame. The size of the frame will determine the size of the artwork that you can use. For example, if you have a large frame, you will need a large piece of artwork.

  • The amount of space you want between the artwork and the frame. You can choose to have a small gap between the artwork and the frame, or you can choose to have a larger gap. This is a matter of personal preference.

  • The style of the artwork. The style of the artwork will also affect the size of the frame that you choose. For example, if you have a modern piece of artwork, you might want to choose a frame that is also modern.

Here are some professional tips for sizing your artwork to a floating picture frame:

  • Start by measuring the size of the artwork. This will give you a starting point for determining the size of the frame.

  • Consider the amount of space you want between the artwork and the frame. This will determine the final size of the artwork.

  • If you are unsure of the size of the artwork, you can always consult with a professional framer. They will be able to help you choose the right size frame for your artwork.

Here is a formula that you can use to size your artwork to a floating picture frame: Frame size = Artwork size + (2 x Gap size)

For example, if you have an artwork that is 20cm wide and you want a 5cm gap between the artwork and the frame, then your frame should be 30cm wide.


It is important to note that this is just a general formula. The actual size of your frame may vary depending on the style of the artwork and the amount of space you want between the artwork and the frame.


Abstract Colourful gold painting

Here are 5 types of artwork that work well in floating picture frames:

  • Landscapes: Landscapes are a popular choice for floating picture frames because they can create a sense of depth and dimension.

  • Abstract art: Abstract art can be a great way to add a touch of personality to your space.

  • Photographs: Photographs are a versatile choice for floating picture frames. They can be used to capture memories, document special occasions, or simply add a touch of visual interest.

  • Paintings: Paintings are a classic choice for floating picture frames. They can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any space.

  • Art prints: Art prints are a more affordable option than original paintings or photographs. They can be a great way to add some personality to your space without breaking the bank.

When choosing artwork for floating picture frames, it is important to consider the size and shape of the frames, as well as the style of your home.

Landscape artwork of rolling hills and clouds

Make sure that the artwork you choose is something you love and will enjoy looking at for years to come, even though it is super easy to replace artwork in a floating picture frame, simply remove the glass and replace the artwork and re-insert into the frame.

Here are some additional tips for choosing artwork for floating picture frames:

  • Choose artwork that has a strong focal point. This will help to draw the eye to the artwork and make it the focal point of the room.

  • Choose artwork that is in proportion to the size of the frame. If the artwork is too small, it will get lost in the frame. If the artwork is too large, it will overwhelm the frame.

  • Choose artwork that complements the style of your home. If you have a modern home, you might want to choose abstract or minimalist artwork. If you have a traditional home, you might want to choose landscape or floral artwork.

  • Choose artwork that you love. This is the most important factor of all. If you don't love the artwork, you won't enjoy looking at it.


Caring for your floating picture frames:

  • Dust regularly. Use a soft, dry cloth to dust the frame and the glass.

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners. These can damage the frame or the glass.

  • If the frame is made of wood, you can use a furniture polish to protect it.

  • If the frame is made of metal, you can use a metal polish to protect it.

  • If the glass is dirty, you can use a window cleaner to clean it.

  • If the frame is damaged, you should repair it or replace it.

Here are some additional tips for caring for your floating picture frames:

  • Hang the frame in a location where it will not be exposed to direct sunlight or moisture. This will help to prevent the frame from fading or warping.

  • If you are hanging the frame in a humid environment, you may want to seal the glass and backboard with acid-free, gummed tape. This will help to prevent moisture from getting into the frame and damaging the art.

  • If you are moving the frame, be careful not to bump or scratch it. This could damage the frame or the art.

  • If you are using a frame that is made of wood, you should avoid using any chemicals or cleaners that contain ammonia or bleach. These chemicals can damage the wood.

  • If you are using a frame that is made of metal, you should avoid using any chemicals or cleaners that contain harsh abrasives. These chemicals can scratch the metal.

  • If you are using a frame that is made of acrylic, you should avoid using any chemicals or cleaners that contain alcohol. Alcohol can dissolve the acrylic.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your floating picture frames looking their best for years to come.


It is also important to note that the care and maintenance requirements for your floating picture frames may vary depending on the specific materials that they are made of. If you are unsure about how to care for your frames, you should consult the manufacturer's instructions.


Considering a floating picture frame for your next memory? Order your perfect floating picture frame today!


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