Learning how to frame a poster is well worth your effort, and we promise — it’s easy! It’s also a big step up from taping or pinning your poster to the wall.
Whether you want to showcase your Music posters or vintage posters, framing will protect your art from damage and elevate the overall look, especially if you’re in a dorm room.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have your new art on display in no time.
Step 1. Measure the Poster
No pressure, but the success of your poster hanging project depends on how accurately you measure. OK, maybe a little bit of pressure. The good news is that it’s also one of the easiest steps.
Place your poster on a flat surface, artwork facing up. Make sure to position it the same way it will be on your wall.
Use a measuring tape, yardstick, or a measurement app and carefully take two measurements:
- Width of the artwork (measure from left to right).
- Height of the artwork (measure from top to bottom).
Note: You need to measure the artwork, not including the border. The frame or mat will cover the border.
If you’re framing a poster you found on Redbubble, you’re in luck! Posters on Redbubble are custom cut to match the artwork dimensions. You can choose a frame and mat based on the dimensions in the poster’s size description. Note: each poster includes a 3/16 inch (5mm) white border.
Step 2. Consider if You Want Matting
To mat or not to mat? Honestly, it’s a personal question.
Consider a few factors:
- How much space you have (matting means you’ll need a larger frame).
- Personal preference — do you like the additional border?
- The artwork dimensions (odd-size artwork may require a custom-cut mat)
If you decide that your poster will look fantastic without a mat, we’re all set here. Move on to Step 3.
When choosing a mat color, you can:
- Choose a color complementary to the artwork.
- Match a color from the artwork.
- Take the room’s color scheme into account.
- Avoid mat colors lighter than the lightest shade in the artwork or darker than the darkest.
Master Level Matting Tips
- Black and white posters look best behind white, gray, and black mats.
- Mostly, wall posters will look best with a thinner mat (think 1.5 inches). A wide mat can detract from the artwork.
- Vintage posters often look better unmatted (but follow your heart).
Step 3. Find a Frame
Again, there’s a great deal of personal choice involved in picking a frame. These tips can help narrow the endless number of options:
- If you’re matting, don’t forget to add the mat width to your dimensions.
- Measure the dimensions of the “hole” — not the outer edges of the frame. If you’re buying online, the description should include both the outer and inner dimensions.
- Decode “frame speak.” Measurements are always listed width first, then height. If a frame is listed as 8 inches by 10 inches, it’s 8 inches wide and 10 inches high. Often, the order doesn’t matter. You can turn the frame the other way. If the frame has a design or writing, though, pay attention here.
- You can make a DIY poster frame if you’re feeling crafty.
Step 4: Ensure the Poster is Flat
You’ve made all the hard choices at this point, and you can get down to business.
If you’ve been keeping your poster safe inside a mailing tube, uncurling and flattening are especially important.
Note: Don’t assume the frame will flatten the poster for you. That’s a sure way to add unwanted bumps and waves.
We like this flattening method for posters shipped in mailing tubes:
- Pop off one of the caps and tip the tube. Shake gently until the poster slides out. Don’t grab it and force it out unless you like to live on the edge. You’re likely to bend or crease the artwork.
- Remove tape from the roll. Don’t throw it away.
- Lay the artwork facedown on a flat surface.
- Carefully wrap the artwork around the tube, face out, and secure with the poster tape or a small piece of masking tape.
- Wait an hour.
At this point, you should have a flat poster ready for framing. If you aren’t satisfied, you can place heavy books on each corner for a while.
Step 5: Take the Back Off the Frame
Carefully remove the back of the frame. You may need to use something flat like a flathead screwdriver or butter knife to pry away stiff metal holders.
You might find small pieces of cardboard wedged between the frame and the frame’s backing board. Hang on to those for now.
Place the frame backing to the side.
Step 6: Place the Flattened Poster on the Frame
If you are using a mat, attach it to the artwork.
Place the poster inside the frame, artwork first. You should see the back of the artwork in the frame. Try to avoid touching the front of the artwork or the glass. You don’t want to leave smudges or accidentally add a crease.
Step 7: Replace the Frame Backing
Place the frame backing inside the frame and secure with the metal clips or other fasteners. If it seems loose, carefully wedge small pieces of cardboard between the backing and the frame on all four sides.
Flip the frame over and examine your work. Is it crooked? No problem — just take off the frame backing and adjust as needed.
Step 8: Hang Your Poster!
You did it! It’s time to proudly hang your new artwork on the wall for all to see. Not quite sure how to hang posters? We’ve got you covered. Check out our blog post on how to hang posters.
Additional Considerations When Framing a Poster
You can frame your poster affordably keeping things simple. Consider skipping the mat and choose a basic frame with a plexiglass front instead of glass.
Thickness of the Frame
If your poster is thicker than average (more than .25 inches thick), you’ll need to check the frame’s thickness capacity. Some frames are adjustable to thicker poster sizes while others will only work for standard, thinner posters.
Where You Want to Hang the Poster
As you make choices about the size of your poster and design elements like the frame and mat colors, consider where the poster will hang. Hold your unframed artwork against the wall where you plan to hang it to get a sense for what your finished project will look like in that spot.
Your Preferred Hanging Method
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing a hanging method:
- Wall material (plaster and drywall require different hanging hardware)
- Whether you want the poster to lay flat against the wall or if it’s ok to have it stick out from the wall a bit
- What kind of tools you have available for hanging
Now that you are well-versed in how to frame a poster, there’s nothing stopping you! Don’t rush, and enjoy the project. You’ll be proudly showing off your new framed wall posters in no time.