Material World (1)

Despite impressive stucco origins, to most people a traditional picture frame means a wooden frame, stemming, perhaps, from the longevity of their popularity. Since their first appearance around the thirteenth century, the wooden frame has never truly gone out of fashion and though it has been painted, gilded, pulped, moulded and disguised in a million different ways, the wooden frame remains the favourite.

There are still other materials out there, though. Plastics, metals and even textiles have been used in framing to great effect and modern advances in technology and technique have created both new methods and new materials to be experimented with. From eco-friendly materials to 3D printing and digital frames, you can choose an option to suit your lifestyle and ethics as well as your picture and your budget.

Upcycling and recycling have had a huge resurgence in the last decade or so. Refurbishing and redecorating old frames is a great way to cut waste and give something old a new life, as well as being a creative outlet and having the potential to save and earn you money. As well as this, frames have been created from materials recycled from other sources, such as reclaimed Styrofoam and styrene, to stop these harmful materials ending up back where they can damage the environment.

Other eco-friendly options for materials include frames made using natural resources, like wood from renewed sources, driftwood, clay or carved stone frames. As well as the benefits mentioned above, a unique or unusual frame could help give your piece a new life and create another talking point or feature for the piece.

On to the methods, now, and although people have tried making frames more personal over the years, the best of the most unique remined dauntingly expensive. With the advent of 3D printing, however, precision crafting became accessible to many more people, resulting in a veritable tide of ideas and aesthetics. By feeding the required dimensions into a 3D printer, you can create almost any outer shape you like, and then paint or otherwise decorate it later on if required.

As well as the ability to print entire frames, the 3D printer has also allowed for the manufacture of different and in some cases more precise tools, which has its own effect on the production of frames in the form of new creative techniques and greater accuracy in crafting.

The world of picture framing has made good use of recent innovations in many different ways. Whether you are looking for something exciting with a technological twist or something that complements your personal ethos, the array of frames available today is sure to have something to offer without breaking your budget. So whether you’d like to try something new or a reinvention of an old favourite, the best thing to do is get looking!