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How to Frame a Poster: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts

Framing a poster may seem like a straightforward task, but there's an art to doing it right. Whether it's a vintage film poster, a cherished concert memento, or a beautiful piece of graphic art, the way you frame it can either elevate its appeal or do it a disservice. Just as a beautiful dress needs the right accessories, your poster requires the perfect frame to truly shine.

So, how do you ensure that your poster not only gets the protection it needs but also looks stunning on your wall?

Welcome to our guide on 'How to Frame a Poster: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts'. Dive in to discover the nuances of framing, from choosing the right frame style and size to mastering the hang of it—literally!

Main Takeaways From This Article:

  • Framing posters is about showcasing art and ensuring its protection and aesthetic enhancement.

  • It provides protection from external elements, elevates the poster's appearance, and preserves its original condition.

  • Frame choices range from clip frames to box frames and traditional frames.

  • Wood offers a classic touch, metal lends a modern feel, and plastic is an economical option. Your choice should complement the poster and room decor.

  • Use painter's tape for marking, ensure the poster sits flat in the frame, and employ the "toothpaste trick" for precise hanging.

Understanding the Basics of Framing

Framing isn't just about putting a decorative border around your poster. It encompasses a deeper aspect of showcasing art, memories, and messages. Let's dive into the foundational knowledge of framing.

Importance of Framing


One of the primary reasons to frame a poster is to protect it from external elements. Dust, moisture, and direct sunlight can be detrimental to the quality and longevity of a poster. A good frame, especially when combined with the right type of glass or acrylic, shields the poster, ensuring it stays vibrant and undamaged for years.


Framing can elevate the appearance of a poster manifold. A well-chosen picture frame complements the art, accentuates its colours, and can turn even a simple film poster into a focal point in a room. It adds a polished look, turning a piece of paper into a piece of art.


For posters that hold sentimental value or are collectible, framing becomes essential. A good frame will help preserve the poster in its original condition, preventing yellowing, tearing, or other forms of wear and tear.

Different Types of Poster Frames

Clip Frames

As the name suggests, these frames use clips to hold the poster between a pane of glass or acrylic and a backing board. Clip frames offer a minimalist, modern look, allowing the poster to take centre stage without a visible frame border.

Box Frames

These are deep-set frames, creating a 'box' effect. They add depth to the artwork, making them perfect for posters with a 3D element or those that you want to stand out with added dimension. The space between the poster and the glass can be a striking design element, offering a shadow-box effect.

Traditional Frames

The most common type, traditional frames, come with a visible border, available in various materials like wood, metal, or plastic. They can range from simple and sleek designs to ornate and decorative styles. Depending on the design and material, they can suit a wide variety of posters, from vintage to contemporary.

Choosing the Right Frame Size for Your Poster

Choosing the right frame size for your poster

Once you have crafted your beautiful poster, the next step is to enhance its allure and ensure its longevity with the right frame size. Dive in as we guide you through the nuances of selecting the perfect frame size for your masterpiece.

How to Measure Your Poster Correctly

  • Using a Tape Measure or Ruler: Lay your poster flat on a clean surface. Measure its height and width in centimetres to the nearest millimetre to ensure precision. It's essential to measure from edge to edge.

  • Take Multiple Measurements: Measure the height and width at a few different points to ensure that the poster is perfectly rectangular and not slightly skewed.

  • Factor in Matting: If you're using a mat board, don't forget to add its width to your poster's dimensions when choosing a frame.

  • Consider Some Breathing Space: It's often a good idea to allow a little extra space, so the poster fits comfortably within the frame, especially if it’s a clip frame.

Importance of Matting and Its Impact on Frame Size:

  • Enhancing Visual Appeal: Matting is the card-like border that surrounds the artwork within the frame. It's not just decorative; it draws the eye into the poster and provides contrast, enhancing the poster's visual appeal.

  • Protection: Matting keeps the poster from touching the glass, preventing potential damage from condensation or sticking.

  • Size Consideration: If you decide to use matting, you'll need a larger frame than the poster's actual size. The frame size will depend on the width of the matting you choose. For instance, a 5 cm matting will add 10 cm to both the height and width of the required frame size.

Materials Matter

The material of your frame plays a pivotal role in both the aesthetics and durability of the finished framed piece. Different materials offer varied looks, functionalities, and price points. Here, we delve into the primary frame materials: wood, metal, and plastic, and offer guidance on selecting the most suitable one for your poster.

Frame Materials: Wood vs. Metal vs. Plastic


A classic choice, wood frames have been cherished for centuries. They offer a warm and organic feel, making them ideal for a range of décor styles, from rustic to modern.

  • Pros: Timeless appeal; versatile for different decors; can be painted, stained, or varnished.

  • Cons: Can be prone to warping in humid conditions; might be susceptible to termites or rot if not treated properly; generally heavier, which can affect hanging options.


Sleek and versatile, metal frames often convey a contemporary or industrial aesthetic. They're sturdy and can come in a variety of finishes, from matte to shiny, and colours, from muted to vibrant.

  • Pros: Durable; resistant to moisture and termites; offers a modern aesthetic; lightweight compared to wood.

  • Cons: Can be more expensive; might dent if dropped or hit; limited in the 'warmth' they provide to a room's ambience.


An economical alternative, plastic frames are lightweight and can mimic the appearance of more expensive materials. They're especially popular for temporary displays or when budget is a primary consideration.

  • Pros: Lightweight; cost-effective; resistant to moisture.

  • Cons: Might appear less premium; not as durable as wood or metal; can discolour or become brittle over time.

Tips for Choosing the Material Based on the Poster’s Weight and Size:

  • For Large or Heavy Posters: Wood or metal frames are generally more supportive for larger or heavier posters due to their sturdiness. If choosing wood, ensure it is well-crafted and thick enough to bear the weight.

  • For Small to Medium Posters: All three materials can work well. However, if you're looking for a lightweight solution, metal or plastic might be more appropriate.

  • For Temporary Displays or Changing Posters Regularly: Plastic frames can be a good choice, given their cost-effectiveness and ease of use.

  • Consider the Poster's Style: A vintage poster might look best in a wooden frame, while a contemporary art print might shine in a metal frame. Always consider the poster's aesthetics and the ambience you wish to create.

Choose a material that complements your poster, fits within your budget, and matches the decor of the room where it will hang.

Shortcuts and Tips for a Flawless Finish

Tips for a flawless framed poster

Even seasoned decor enthusiasts sometimes find framing and hanging posters a challenge. However, with a few clever shortcuts and tricks up your sleeve, you can achieve that picture-perfect finish with minimal hassle. Here are some tried and tested techniques to make the framing process smoother and the result impeccable.

Using Painter’s Tape to Mark and Measure

Marking without Damage

Instead of making pencil marks directly on your wall, which might be visible or difficult to remove, use painter's tape. Place strips of the tape where you plan to place hooks or nails. This method ensures no lasting marks and allows easy adjustments.

Ensuring Alignment

When hanging multiple frames, lay them out on the floor in your desired arrangement. Then, place the painter's tape on the wall to mimic the layout. This way, you can ensure they're evenly spaced and aligned before making any holes.

Techniques for Ensuring the Poster Sits Flat in the Frame:

  • Use an Adhesive Foam Board: These boards provide a sturdy back for your poster, ensuring it doesn’t wrinkle or bow over time. Ensure the board is cut to the exact size of the frame for a snug fit.

  • Employ Frame Clips or Frame Points: These tiny tools can be inserted into the back of the frame to hold the poster, matting, and backing board tightly in place. They ensure the poster doesn't shift or sag within the frame.

  • Flatten the Poster: If your poster has been rolled or has creases, consider flattening it before framing. Place it between two sheets of clean paper and put heavy books on top. Leave it for a day or two. For stubborn creases, you can also use a clothes iron on the lowest setting, placing a thin cloth between the iron and the poster to protect it.

  • Hinge Mounting: This is a technique where acid-free tape is used to create a hinge for the poster on the backing board. This ensures the poster hangs straight and flat without any adhesive touching the front of the poster.

The "Toothpaste Trick" for Hanging

A handy trick for ensuring you nail or screw in the right spot is the "toothpaste trick." Place a small dab of toothpaste on the back of your frame where the hanging mechanism is. Press the frame against the wall where you want it to hang. The toothpaste mark on the wall indicates where you should place your nail or hook. Just wipe away any excess toothpaste once done!

Seven Frame-Worthy Posters by Famous Artists for Your Home or Office

Framed artist poster prints

Having a framed poster of a masterpiece by a renowned artist can be an excellent way to elevate the ambience of any space. Here’s a selection of famous works by iconic artists that would make frame-worthy posters for your walls:

1. Van Gogh

Starry Night: Perhaps one of the most recognised pieces in art history, this swirling depiction of a night sky over Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a dazzling blend of dream and reality. Its vibrant colours and energetic brushstrokes make it a favourite for art enthusiasts globally.

2. Claude Monet

Water Lilies: Monet's impressionist portrayal of his garden in Giverny, France, with its soft reflections and serene atmosphere, can bring tranquillity to any room. The series has various renditions, each capturing a different mood and time of day.

3. Gustav Klimt

The Kiss: An epitome of love, this gold-flecked painting is a celebration of romance and passion. The intricate patterns and warm hues make it an eye-catching piece perfect for a bedroom or intimate space.

4. William Morris

Strawberry Thief: Morris, famous for his textile designs, created this intricate pattern of thrushes and strawberries. Its detailed design and harmonious colours make it a subtle yet beautiful addition, especially for those who appreciate Arts and Crafts movement aesthetics.

5. Johannes Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring: Often referred to as the 'Mona Lisa of the North,' this captivating portrait draws viewers in with its mysterious subject and masterful use of light. Its subdued palette can complement various interior designs.

6. Henri Rousseau

The Dream: This enchanting jungle scene, with its vibrant colours and dream-like ambience, is a showcase of Rousseau's unique, self-taught style. The painting's lush greenery and exotic elements can invigorate any space.

7. Leonardo da Vinci

Lady with an Ermine: It is a captivating portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, a young mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. Painted circa 1489-1490, this masterpiece is renowned for its delicate rendering of Gallerani's expression and the symbolic inclusion of the ermine, reflecting purity and honour.

Buy Your Poster and Have It Framed Too

Discover new-age artistry with Optimalprint! Buy your poster and get it expertly framed, all in one place. With a 100% quality guarantee and 24/7 customer support, buying and framing your poster has never been easier. Whether you're on your smartphone or computer, use the Optimalprint app and delve into thousands of personalisable designs. Prioritising the environment, we use eco-friendly, Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified paper, and produce close to your delivery address minimising carbon emissions. Thanks to our fast, localised deliveries, your framed posters will be shipped to your address in 3-5 business days.

Ready to transform your space? Download the Optimalprint app or choose a product on the website and start designing today!