Framing Works on Paper Without Glass (Using Floating Frame)

So you’re thinking about framing some artwork on paper without glass, huh? Let me tell you; it’s a unique and exciting way to display your art.

It’s worth considering if you’re looking for a new and exciting way to showcase your art. Essentially, it’s a way of displaying your artwork where the paper is the only barrier between the art and the outside world. No glass or plastic covers the art.

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Floating frame. Credit: canva

Framing Works on Paper Without Glass: Pros and Cons


You might be wondering why someone would even consider this framing method. Well, there are a few reasons.

  • A more tactile experience with the art: The lack of glass can make the art feel more “alive” and interactive.
  • Enhance the artwork’s aesthetic appeal: Without the glare or reflection of the glass, the art can appear more vibrant and dynamic.
  • More preservation-friendly: Glass can trap moisture and humidity, leading to the artwork’s deterioration over time. Not using glass allows the artwork to “breathe” and potentially prolong its lifespan.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Not using glass makes this a more cost-effective framing option.
  • No glare or reflection: This can be a plus, especially in brightly lit areas.


That being said, there are also some downsides to this method of framing.

  • Vulnerability: Without the protection of the glass, the artwork is more vulnerable to moisture and dust.
  • Additional care: This method requires more maintenance and care than traditional framing with glass. You’ll need to keep the artwork out of direct sunlight and in a relatively humidity-free environment.
  • Risk of fading or discoloration: Without the protection of glass, the artwork can fade over time due to exposure to sunlight or other environmental factors.
Making artwork on paper. Credit: canva

Mounting the Artwork

What Is It?

Mounting is attaching the artwork to a backing board, typically using some adhesive. This provides a secure layer of protection and stability to the artwork, ensuring it is safeguarded at all times.

It helps keep the paper from warping or buckling and makes it easier to frame the piece.

The Best Method of Mounting

There are a few different methods for mounting artwork, each with its pros and cons. Some of the methods include matting, hinging, and dry mounting.

This method involves attaching the artwork to a backing board using small pieces of tape or adhesive.

This method is suitable for delicate or highly valued artworks. But it can be challenging to remove the artwork later on.

When mounting paper artwork without glass, you’ll want to use an acid-free, archival-grade backing board. This means that the board won’t contain any acids that could damage the artwork over time.

Some of the best boards are mats, foam boards, or acid-free cardboard. Make sure to avoid regular cardboard or particleboard, as they can release acids that could harm the artwork over time.

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Artwork on a frame. Credit: canva

Framing the Artwork

What Is It?

One of the main reasons is to protect it. Framing keeps the paper from getting damaged or dirty and prevents it from warping or buckling over time.

It also allows you to easily display your artwork in a way that enhances its aesthetic appeal.

Regarding framing, there are many different options to choose from. You’ve got traditional wooden frames, sleek metal frames, and even transparent acrylic frames. Each has a unique look and can give your artwork a different vibe.

The Best Type of Frames

The most popular choice is a floating frame.

A floating frame is a type of frame that allows the artwork to “float” within the frame rather than being pressed up against the glass. This approach allows artwork to be appreciated from all directions, delivering a modern and minimalistic aesthetic.

Another advantage of a floating frame is its ability to contract and expand along with changes in humidity and temperature, protecting the artwork from harm over time.

Furthermore, the artwork can be swiftly removed and replaced as often as desired.

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Wooden frame. Credit: canva

How to Frame an Artwork on Paper in a Frame Without Glass

With this step-by-step guide, you can frame your artwork on paper without glass, using cardboard mounting and a floating wooden frame.

In no time, you will have a beautiful finished product that will impress your friends and family. So, let’s get started! 

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials 

For this project, you will need the following:

  • Your artwork
  • A wooden floating frame (you can purchase one online or at your local craft store)
  • Cardboard mounting material
  • Scissors
  • Glue or double-sided adhesive tape
  • Some pins.  

Step 2: Mount Your Artwork 

It’s time to mount your artwork.

  1. Take the cardboard mounting material and cut it slightly larger than the size of your artwork using scissors.
  2. Then apply a thin layer of glue or double-sided adhesive tape to the back of the artwork and carefully place it onto the cardboard mounting.
  3. If necessary, use some pins to hold it in place until the glue has dried completely. 
  4. You can also use a roller if you prefer. The goal is to ensure that the artwork is secure on the backing board with no bubbles or air pockets.

Step 3: Assemble Your Floating Frame 

Now it’s time to assemble your wooden floating frame.

  1. Grab your wooden floating frame and place it over your artwork. You may need someone else to help hold it in place while you work because it can be tricky getting them lined up perfectly on our own!
  2. To ensure everything is lined up correctly before securing things together permanently, lightly tape along the edges of the frame where they meet with the paper art underneath.
  3. Once everything looks good and lines up correctly, remove any excess tape, then secure the frame with glue or adhesive strips at each corner where they overlap.
  4. Your frame is now complete!

Step 4: Hang Up Your Framed Artwork 

And finally, hang up your framed artwork!

  1. You can either nail some picture hooks into a wall or use an adhesive hook if you don’t want to make any holes in your walls.
  2. Now stand back and admire how beautiful it looks! 

And there you have it! Create breathtaking displays for your artwork with ease, using cardboard mounting and a wooden floating frame – no glass required!

Remember to keep your artwork away from direct sunlight and in a relatively humidity-free environment to keep it looking great.

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Install a frame. Credit: canva


What is the best way to prevent the paper from wrinkling?

The best way to prevent the paper from wrinkling is to use a thinner, more pliable mounting material, such as foam core or cardboard, and ensure that it is securely glued down.

You can also add protection by adding a sealant or varnish over the artwork before framing it.

How do you know when the paper is wet enough?

If too much moisture comes in contact with the paper, there is potential for wrinkling and warping down the line.

To check if the paper is wet enough, press your finger gently against the paper and check for moisture. If it feels slightly damp, then it has been sufficiently moistened.

How do you attach the paper to the frame?

Securing paper artwork to the frame is effortless with glue or double-sided adhesive tape. Not only will it keep your art in place, but it will also ensure that it won’t accidentally slip out of its designated spot!

It is also essential to add some pins along the edges of the frame for extra security, especially if you are using a thinner mounting material such as foam core or cardboard.

How much should you overlap the edges of the paper?

To provide a finished look to your framed artwork, it is recommended that you overlap the edges of the paper by 1/4 inch. This ensures that none of the art can be seen, resulting in an elegant display.

How do you prevent the paper from bubbling up?

To prevent the paper from bubbling up, it is essential to use a thin, pliable mounting material that will not move around when secured.

It is also essential to apply an even layer of glue or adhesive tape on both surfaces and press them together firmly until they fully adhere. This will help ensure that there are no air bubbles in the paper as it is mounted.

Finally, you can use a few pins to hold everything in place while the glue dries. This will help ensure that the paper does not move and cause any bubbling up.

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