"I just want color. I want art. And I just want to hang it," she said with exasperation. "I didn't think it would be this complicated!" Cassandra was struggling to get her walls decorated. "I ordered this picture that I liked and looked cool on the site and it came and it was just a piece of canvas. What am I supposed to do now?" she groaned.
You Want It Up
Most of us think of art as something nice for the walls of the main hang out rooms in our place. Living, bed, or dining room wall decor so we have something to make the room look a little more finished.
In a bold move we might consider popping something in the entry area or the blank wall behind us that all of our zoom friends stare at when we meet. (Go for it!)
We think of art as ready-to-go, that we only need to decide where to put it. We expect the hardest part of hanging it to be getting the right sized nail and remembering where we put the hammer.
We get it! It's not going to be quite that easy but we want to make it easier for you to get your place looking and feeling like you ASAP. Here are a few tips.
Paper or Canvas
If an artist has created a sketch or paints with watercolors, this means that they use paper and not canvas.
Most of these creators will put a cardboard-like paper mat on the front of their piece and a plain piece of cardboard on the back and taped together. This is a mat, it isn't a frame and isn't ready to be hung up.
You'll need to pop this into a frame with a piece of glass on the front. The glass is needed to protect the paper.
You can take this to a professional framing service and do some elegant and beautiful things with trim, more matting, and frames.
For a fast, easy solution you can buy a basic glassed frame at a local craft or art store and pop the matted piece in. Choose the perfect spot and enjoy.
Wrapped is best!
If you're buying art painted with oil or acrylic paint, it'll be on canvas. That could mean a simple piece of flat canvas or canvas that's stretched around wooden stretcher bars.
If it's flat canvas you'll need to have it stretched or you can hang it in a very rustic way with clips on a wire.
When a piece says it's "On Gallery Wrapped Canvas" that means the canvas is stretched around the wooden bars and stapled or tucked into the back. This isn't framed, yet it is ideal.
The sides might be blank black or white, or they might be painted with the image going all the way around the edges.
You can frame gallery wrapped canvas (no glass on these), but the nice thing is you don't have to! They can look beautiful on the wall just as they are.
Does it say multi-paneled? This means it's a few pieces, not just one big piece. It could be two, three, or even five pieces making up one image.
The tricky thing here is that the dimensions listed are of the entire work, meaning all the pieces put together side by side.
For example my American Flag painting that had three panels, it would be listed a multi-panel 56" wide piece, not three pieces of 18"
Multi-paneled isn't bad, it's just a different look. There's more variety in how you can hang it, which can be fun. The bonus of multi paneled is that it's often less expensive way to fill a large space and also less expensive to ship to you and pack up later if you move.
Multi-paneled pieces are never framed.
Ready to Hang
Most art shows, especially around the holidays, will say that all the work is ready to hang. "Ready to hang" means you will be able to get this on your wall right out of the box.
This usually means there are metal pieces screwed into the sides on the back and a strong wire tight between them. This is easy hardware to hang up quickly with one supported nail and get it straight the first time.
But it doesn't mean that it's framed. Framing is so unique for each household that even choosing white floating frame can be limiting instead of versatile.
Art is always a good idea
Having art on your walls is the best way to express yourself and bring color and delight to your decorating efforts. So find those perfect pieces for you and for gifts for others.
A lot of people buy art online on art sites instead of in-person or through a gallery, so you may not have someone who really knows the art helping you shop. Most art sites will happily offer help and answer questions. Ask away!
Get ready to hang.