A more casual look for your flea-market finds
By Amanda Sims June 7, 2017
Rustling through the bins in a thrift store, one rarely finds good art in a good frame. It’s usually one or the other—and in most cases, the art is what you’ve reached for in the first place and the dated, or broken, or unstylish frame has to go. Danielle Krieger, who runs the vintage-packed shop Microscope Telescope when she’s not directing films in Seattle, is very familiar with this situation. Rather than bother framing vintage paintings, anew, she often hangs them just as they are—sans frame.
“I really love vintage items and, to me, putting a new frame around a vintage artwork seems kind of wrong in a way,” she explains. Whether you want to hang unframed art to preserve its olden feel—or simply because you’d rather save some cash on framing—here’s how you might go about it.
What types of art can be hung unframed?
Lightweight art—paintings on board and works on paper, for instance—can be affixed to the wall without any concern of excess weight taxing the hanging device (or damaging the piece itself). Canvases can be secured on the wall without a frame, too, but only if they’re not too large or unweildy—and they’ll look better if the sides of the canvas are painted rather than blank; simply prop the open section inside the wood frame onto two sizeable nails (which will keep the piece more level than using one).
“If the item is really special, I will use a clip because it won’t damage the piece the way a pin or tape would,” Krieger says. She often sources vintage clips to match the patina of the piece, and slips that on a nail, but a binder clip and a clear thumb tack will do in a pinch. For added stability, you might try affixing a plate hanger to a painting on board to get it on the wall. Or, Krieger suggests, just prop it up in a stand.
If a certain paper artwork is not too precious—and not too permanent, either—Krieger will often tack it directly to the wall using map tacks, and she’s seen others us washi tape or even vintage tape to the same end.
Besides being yet another way to diversify the look and feel of a gallery wall, or any wall art selection, hanging the occasional unframed artwork is also as satisfyingly non-committal as leaning your art. If you like to change up your look often, you should try it.
“I think the way you hang art can become part of your own unique style,” Krieger says, and that occasionally foregoing a frame “allows you to rotate and change your art as often as you wish.”