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A Simple Process for Making Art Frames: 3D Print, GFS, & Paint

With 3D printing, creating custom picture frames for art has never been easier! Whether you’re a hobbyist, an artist, or a professional, 3D printing picture frames can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

…pictures have always been required to live unobtrusively among furnishings of a period not their own, and frames have always been the vehicle enabling them to do so.

Laurence B. Kanter, “Italian Renaissance Frames“, metmuseum.org, October 2008

3D PRINT

One of the benefits of 3D printing picture frames is that you can create a unique and personalized design that reflects your style and creativity. You can choose from a wide variety of materials, such as PLA or PETG, depending on your budget and the look you’re going for.

Another benefit of 3D printing picture frames is 3D printing allows you to make a frame exactly to your specifications. With traditional frames, you would need to search for a frame that fits your picture, but with 3D printing, you can create a frame that perfectly fits the art piece.

GFS

After the frame has been printed, you can then move on to the GFS (glue, fill, sand) process. First, attach the separate frame pieces together using Loctite Epoxy Instant-Mix or similar glue. Small C-Clamps can be used to hold the glued frame together while it dries. Next, fill any imperfections in the frame using wood putty or modeling clay. After filling, sand the frame to remove any rough edges, bumps, or excess filler. This step may need to be repeated a few times before reaching a seamless surface.

PAINT

Once the GFS process is complete, the frame can be spray or brush painted. Pre-painting with primer or finishing with varnish are optional.

One must keep in mind that the objective of the frame is to complement the art piece when making a decision about finishing. Observers of framed art ‘should notice the art, not the frame’1 according to Gene Karraker, associate conservator at Getty Center. ‘If the frame is doing its job correctly, it’ll disappear.’

No matter your skill level, 3D printing picture frames can be a fun and rewarding project that allows you to express your creativity and create a personalized design. The flexibility of 3D printing technology allows for a wide variety of designs using different materials, colors and finishes. You can create a professional-looking frame that perfectly fits your artwork. Creating custom frames is a simple way to provide a finished feel to your art display.

REFERENCE

  1. Erin Migdol, “What’s in a Frame?”, getty.edu, Aug 05, 2021

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