Dig deep, and you'll soon discover that most households are home to a growing pile of photographs, pictures, artwork and even certificates, stashed away in cupboards and drawers out of sight. With careful framing, all of our cherished memories and beautiful artworks can be viewed on a daily basis - and bring rooms to life with a really personal touch. Rather than heading for the high street, why not do a fabulous DIY framing job yourself, right now. Take one of the many picture framing courses happening around the country and you'll learn all the professional skills you need for your very own art gallery at home.
You've been framed
Whether you're a budding Picasso desperate to get your artwork framed or you simply have a stack of old photos that need hanging on the wall, the good news is, there's a wealth of picture framing courses happening around the country to suit all skills and abilities. Typical part-time courses will teach you the basics of framing including how to measure, cut and construct picture mounts, frames, glass and backing boards. These are practical, hands-on classes where you will learn how to use professional framing tools and equipment such as a Morso picture framing machine while some courses offer a gilding element so you get the chance to make picture frames and then decorate each one with beautiful gilding work. There are workshops on conservation including care of frames and works of art, plus 3D framing where a box is constructed to house the object and frame the front.
Picture framing might just be a new hobby (albeit a useful one) where you can have fun, learn fresh skills and meet a new group of people. If you do fancy working in a busy framing studio or setting up your own practice, though, choosing the right picture framing course will equip you with all the necessary skills for such a creative career.
What is the UK School of Framing?
Launched in 2008, the UK School of Framing is a framing hotspot where you will pick up a wide range of framing skills – be it for business or pleasure. Based in High Wycombe, but with courses taking place around the country, it offers 13 individual courses, ranging from complete beginners through to a level where you would comfortably be able to become a commended guild framer yourself (the school is accredited by the Fine Art Trade Guild).
The school specialises in home set-up programmes if you want to add on picture framing as a skill to an existing business if you are a photographer, artist or gallery owner for example. There are also intensive business development courses (or 'ideas' days) run by an experienced framing entrepreneur focusing on how to maximise and promote your framing business. It covers every possible framing angle, including how to offer a unique framing service, targeting particular customer groups, marketing essentials (including your USP, or unique selling point) plus identifying new trends, business finances and managing accounts. It's a true insight into the world of framing and how to set you in the right direction for a successful career in picture framing.
If it's simply a hobby course you want then there are courses to suit including framing fabrics, conservation framing or framing your favourite piece of clothing or sports shirt – a one-off present for a special occasion.
Show and tell
• Be creative when displaying photographs and prints. Hang a series of varying-sized photos all in the same black or gilt frame for a picture-gallery feature wall – better than any wallpaper. Otherwise, a huge, oversized photograph blown up to poster size makes for a stunning centrepiece.
• Hallways and stairwells can be transformed into your own personal art gallery with a series of framed pictures running the length of one wall. Frame colourful book jackets or album covers that hold special memories or choose a series of decadent silvered mirror frames for a thoroughly vintage vibe.
• Old maps and travel memorabilia are a great alternative to traditional pictures and photographs. Frame your favourites in different materials and coloured frames, then hang or stack against the wall to create a personal log of your beloved journeys.
• Hang on to your memories (literally!) by creating a display of much-loved items pinned on to an old frame mounted with pretty fabric. Try sparkling costume jewellery, old cinema tickets, beautiful postcards and antique buttons.
• Don't hang your pictures too high – you should not have to look down or strain your neck upwards to see them. The general rule is to make the centre of the picture roughly five feet from the ground.
By Lara Sargent