How do you do frame measurements properly?

Framers always measure their frames as ID (inside frame dimension). The best way to think of this is when looking for an 8- X 10-inch photo frame for your 8- X 10-inch picture, you look for an 8- X 10-inch frame, regardless of the frame width. Some frames may be extra wide or narrow but are still both 8- X 10-inch photo frames.

The best way to begin measurements for something you’d like to frame is to measure from the inside, out. Measure the graphic, medallion, or shadowbox objects first and then decide if you need matting or any other type of enhancements to your piece, i.e. frame liner, decorated plate, possibly a double or triple mat. Each of these extras add measurement to the frame you’re building.

I’ve included a sample layout (below) to show my progress from where I’ve started framing a picture of my dad on the golf course. I started with an 8- X 10-inch photo knowing the mat opening would be 7 1/2 X 9 1/2 inches.

Once I positioned the photo, I decided to include an engraved plate to mark the event; now I can add mat border with measurements and then calculate my frame size.

The frame size is the total of your measurements both vertical and horizontal. My measurements should add up to 11 3/4 X 15 inches.

It’s easy once you start your layout and work out from the inside or center. This is the secret of framing!

-Mark DiBello, About Frames

Mark DiBello

Mark DiBello is Director of Marketing for About Frames. Since 2001, he has worked with many companies across North America and Canada designing custom frame projects for large and small orders. He can be reached at

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Charlie Fox

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