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Picture Framing Tips and Techniques

How to Measure for Floater Frames

By January 26, 2020November 3rd, 2021One Comment

How to Measure for Floater Frames

How to measure for floater frames

Measure for a floater frame

When measuring art for presentation in a floater frame, you should take note of three dimensions: height, width, and thickness of the canvas or panel. This is important because floater frames are cut to the size of the artwork unless otherwise specified. 

When using standard floaters, add ¼” to the width and height of the artwork when determining the frame size. This will achieve the effect of art floating within the walls of a frame by providing a ⅛” space between the edges of the artwork and walls.

How to measure for floater frames

Measuring for Stepped Floater Frames

With stepped-floaters, most of the spacing is provided by the step – but not all. 

These frames will also be cut to the size specified, so you may find it a tight fit unless you add a little wiggle room. Plan to add ⅛” to each dimension (1/16″ along each edge) to ensure an adequate fit. 

Be advised, stretched canvases can warp slightly, so measure dimensions at the corners for the most accurate sizing.

Floater Frames and Rabbet Depth

83541-G Floater Frame Profile

In this floater frame the rabbet depth is 1″

In a floater frame, the rabbet depth is the recess at the front of the frame. Ideally, this will be the same thickness as the item you are loading into it. In this way, the surface of the art is flush with the surface of the frame. 

However, this is not always possible. If the art is recessed in the frame, you can always shim it up by adding strips of mat board or foam board under the art to lift it until nearly flush.

Common canvas thicknesses

Although the thickness of stretched canvas varies widely, the most common thicknesses are ¾” and 1 ¼”. 

Floater frames with rabbet depths from ⅞” to 1” would work well for a thickness of ¾”. Floater frames with rabbet depths from 1 ⅜” to 1 ½” would work well for a thickness of 1 ¼”.

Note: Custom cut floater frames are not refundable for mismeasurements. Please take care in measuring.

See a step-by-step pictorial showing how to assemble a floater frame

See a step-by-step pictorial showing how to mount art in a floater frame

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