Picture Frames, Picture Framing and Picture Framers' Blog

Welcome to our weblog about picture framers, picture frames and picture framing. It is published with the goal to share information, knowledge, tips, ideas and opinions about this industry. All posts are grouped in the sections listed below. For help with orders, visit our Help and FAQs or use the Contact page.

Why has my picture gone all weird, wonky, bubbly and funny?

Posted on

Every now and then we get Customers either bringing framed art similar to the one shown here or ringing in about  this predicament, hence this post "Why has my pictcockling-buckling-rippling-artworkure gone all weird, wonky, bubbly and funny?". The problem is, in most cases this: the document, photo, print or art has been simply shoved or crammed, unmounted, in a tight picture frame. With the passing of the time and seasons, heat, humidity and other factors, the framed art has  expanded, or grown larger, in both height and width. In doing so, the art has hit the hard sides of the frame and, not having room to move or anywhere else to go, it has begun to  crumple and buckle. Imagine, if you will, a moving car hitting a brick wall.

The most immediate and obvious effect is that the car's bumper, hood and bodywork will begin to crumple and crush after impact. And so it is with expanding art inside a tight frame. This "look" or effect is often seen at flea markets or trash-and-treasure venues selling old, used or second-hand picture frames.

The next couple of questions that may come to mind are: a) who's to blame for his and b) can it be fixed? Starting with the former question, we believe that in most cases, the Customers maybe at fault. Too many Customers seek to save money and cut corners by buying a 'near-enough' size ready-made picture frame from untrained staff at large department stores or similar discount outlets.

While there's nothing wrong with wanting to save money by buying off-the-shelf frames instead of custom picture frames you should buy these from trained staff from frames shops or stores. For example, if you come to our factory to buy a ready-made picture frame we would ask what you want to do and proffer qualified and free advice.

We'd inquire if what you want to frame had any personal, financial, historical or sentimental value in which case we'd suggest custom, conservation picture framing. We'd converse about your artwork, where did it come from, how much is it worth, how long you'd want to keep it, what does it mean to you, etc. In other words we wouldn't just sell you a frame, we would first try to ascertain how your artwork should best be framed.

The reason we'd ask questions about your project is precisely to avoid improper picture framing techniques such as the one discussed herein. Precious or unique items such as personal photographs, testamurs, antique documents, to name just a few classes of artwork, should never be simply and cheaply be framed in ready-made picture frames.

These types of documents, and many other, should be, at the very least, be archivally mounted matted and framed. Another was of looking at this is how these types of documents should not be framed. That said, this does not mean that nothing should be put in read-made picture frames.

On the contrary, cheap holiday posters, mass-produced reproductions, photocopied documents and other mass-produced, disposable media can quite easily and inexpensively put into cheap, off-the-shelf frames.

In fact, these types of artwork are a major part of many picture framing businesses and need not be conservation framed. Lastly, to avoid the cockled, buckled, rippled look in artwork which is the subject of this post, all you need to do is to ask us or your picture framer to 'vacuum press' or 'wet-mount' your print.

Vacuum pressing is a relatively, inexpensive, additional service which most picture framers should be able to provide for their customers. In fact, ever if you don't ask for this service we will mention this to you.

But if you don't want to take us up on it because of the extra (albeit small) cost, then don't blame us if your print or poster does start to bubble up and crease with the passing of time, so be warned. Now, if you do decide to have your print or poster vacuum-pressed, know that this mounting method is irreversible.

However it is suitable for most disposable, inexpensive art, while it is not suitable for valuable work. This involves wetting or rolling the backing board of a picture frame with PVA or similar glue, placing a print on poster on top of it, and pressing the whole thing under a cold or hot vacuum press machine for a few minutes until it sets.

Cold or wet mounting under a vacuum press your your print or poster will ensure that it swill stay perfectly smooth and flat under the glass for many years to come. Thank you for reading this post "Why has my picture gone all weird, wonky, bubbly and funny?"

7 thoughts on “Why has my picture gone all weird, wonky, bubbly and funny?

  1. Hey, it’s not that hard to fix prints or photos that have gone bubbly under the glass. You first get or borrow a hard rubber roller or a kitchen rolling pin. The you buy or get some PVA timber glue from Bunnings or wherever. You then daub or squeeze droplets of glue onto the backing board,. Finally, using the roller or pin, roll the print flat for a few minutes going backwards and forwards. Wipe off excess glue ( PVA is water washable ) and presto, your paper is nice and flat and your problem is solved!

  2. Aha! Thanks! Now I know why when I frame my photos they all end up looking like bed sheets, I’m not mounting them properly and I’m sticking them into picture frames that are too tight! I have since contacted a picture framer who has agreed to vacuum-press my pictures and the results is amazing! Beautifully dead-flat prints that look so much more professionally framed because so flat and smooth! Thank you for this article!

  3. Thanks for this information. I always used a brown packing tape or masking tapes to stick and tape my prints or pictures flat inside my picture frames and now I know why they never stay flat. So taping it all around actually makes it worse !!

  4. Why not just get the photos or prints properly picture framed in the first place? I really don’t understand why so many people insist on saving money wherever and whenever they can and end up with crappy, mediocre results all over their houses. Surely you put things on walls to look nice and make you feel good so why not properly picture frame art in the first place?

  5. Well then, it’d seem to me that framed prints with that sort of crumply look were just thrown into picture frames. This is why you see these often at Sunday markets. Stall holders just chuck anything into any frame to make a buck. But proper picture framing means making sure that a print is properly mounted and framed. But is costs more!

  6. Ok, so the paper of the photo expands as the weather gets hot. If it’s too tight into the picture frame it will hit the sides of the frame and scrunch up. I get that. Why then not simply trim of a little bit of the photo on each side? That way it son’t hit the frame and stay flat. What’s wrong why just doing this?

  7. Amazing that no-one in the department stores that sell heaps and all sizes of ready-made picture frames and photo frames war customers of this unsightly result. It just goes to show you that all they do is sell picture frames without knowing or caring what happens when customer use their products. The only person who had the courtesy of warning of this problem is my local picture framer in Moorabbin. I wanted to save money by buying an A0 ready-made poster frame and putting in by myself my big motor cross championship rally photo. The framer showed me what happens to big photos when these are not mounted and so I did not buy a ready-made picture frame. I ordered a custom picture frame instead. Sure its cost more, but my prized photo is as smooth as a billiard table, and it will stay that way.

Leave a Reply
Product Categories
Free Picture Framing Estimates
Free Picture Framing Discounts
Picture Frames News Blog