Updated: Nov 8, 2020
“If you love something, it will work. That’s the only real rule.” – Bunny Williams
You don't have to frame your art, however doing so will show it off, give it a real presence, and protect it for the long haul. Framing doesn't have to be expensive to look great. You can buy an off the shelf frame and have your piece look like a million bucks. You can also go to a retail chain framer like Michael's, who has great quality materials, tons of framing options, and patient framers to help you design your custom frame. The plus side is that though more expensive than off the shelf DIY frames, Michael's often releases really, really great coupons for framing (like 60% off) which makes it easier to go crazy on your framing and matting choices. In a perfect world, everyone would visit their local frame shop and work with a small business to frame all their art collection. This is often the priciest of the options, but entirely worth it if you can swing it.
Framing Decision Checklist
What kind of material do you want your frame to be? While some frame are made of plastic, I don't recommend going that route... unless, it is a rad retro 80"s frame constructed of high quality plastic. then go for it if that's your vibe.
Wood or metal?
Painted or natural wood?
Straight clean lined or fancy moulding style?
Will you matte the work or let it go to the edge of the frame?
Will you use glass or not?
If you're using glass will you need an anti glare coating?
What kind of hanging mechanism will work for your wall?
By answering the questions on this list you will be able to narrow down your search and not get overwhelmed by options. Look around your space for cues as to which materials and colors to use in framing to create harmony or move in the other direction and create a real stand out piece!
There are many off the shelf frames that look fantastic. Retailers like Ikea make framing art easy and cheap. Once you start looking around, you'll find lots of frame options that are easy to use and will get that new art up for your enjoyment.