Picture Frame Sizes and Buying Tips

Published: 12th October 2009
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Understanding picture frame sizes is a snap, once you are familiar with the ins and outs of picture frames. With the information here you will be able to select the correct size every time.

Picture frames are categorized into standard and non-standard sizes. Standard frame sizes are more common and usually correspond with standard printed photo sizes. Frames in the US are measured in inches while most other countries around the world use centimeters. Picture frames are always measured width by height. So, a 6" wide by 4" high photo would be considered 6x4; however, if your photo measured 4" wide by 6" high, it would be a 4x6 photo. What sometimes confuses people is that some frames like 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10 picture frames can usually be used as either a vertical or a horizontal frame. However, when you see sizes like 6x4, 7x5, 10x8 this means that they can only be used horizontally.

What to Look For When Buying a Frame-

1) Before you buy a picture frame first determine the size and direction of your photo. Picture frame sizes represent the size of the picture opening not the outside dimensions of the frame. Anytime you measure a frame, measure the inner opening and not the outside edge of the frame. Don't worry if your frame measurement is not exactly a standard size. In order for the picture to fit properly in the frame, the glass and picture fit onto a thin ledge and the outside frame hides the edge of your picture. If you want a truly accurate measurement of your frame, remove the back and measure the size of the glass.

2) Some frames are only displayed in one direction. Before you buy a frame determine how you want to place it. You will know by the shape of a frame if it can only be displayed in one direction. For example, a heart shaped frame is a perfect example of a frame that can only be used in one direction. Decorations can also tell you if a frame can only be used in a particular direction. For example if you have a vertical 8x10 picture frame with a image of a tree decorated on the frame, that frame can only be used vertically otherwise the tree won't be standing upright. Also check the easel on the back to see if it can be displayed as both a vertical and horizontal frame.

3) Always look at the back of the picture frame to see what type of hardware it includes. Never assume a frame includes an easel back stand and hanging hardware. If you plan to use it on a desktop always check that it has a easel back stand or if you're hanging it on the wall make sure it has frame hardware secured on the back of the frame.

Picture Frame Sizes-

There is a noticeable difference in availability between standard frame sizes and less common frame sizes. Standard (or common) frame sizes are readily available and usually offer a big selection to choose from. They're frequently referred to as standard frame sizes because pictures and certificates are commonly printed in these specific sizes. You can find the uncommon sizes but they'll usually have less variety in color and style compared to the common sizes.

Here is a list of the most common frame sizes along with the list of less common (or uncommon) frames that can be found but often have more limited selections. Often times if the frame size you want isn't listed, it's possible you may need to have a custom picture frame made.

Common frame sizes 2 ½ x 3 ½ (wallet size), 3 ½ x 5, 4x6 (vertical or horizontal), 5x5, 5x7,6x4 (a 4x6 standing horizontal), 6x8, 8x10, 7x5 (a 5x7 standing horizontal), 10x8 (8x10 standing horizontal), 8 ½ x 11 (certificate size), 11x14 16x20 and 20x24.

Less Common Frame Sizes 1x2, 2x2, 2x3, 3x3, 3 ½ x 3 ½, 3x4, 3 ½ x 10 (panoramic), 4x4, 4x5, 4x10 (panoramic), 4x12 (panoramic), 8x8, 8x12, 10x10, 10x13 and 12x12.

Other popular types of frames are double frames, triple frames and collage picture frames.

Double picture frames have two identical openings that normally fit up to 8x10 size pictures and are often used for portraits. Triple picture frames have three identical openings and normally fit up to 5x7 size pictures. If you want a larger triple frame, finding triple 8x10 picture frame is more difficult because of their large overall size.

Now for the fun frames - the multi picture frame or collage frame. As named, multi picture frames have multiple openings or windows. They are often called collage picture frames because they can display a variety of pictures and sizes. This type frame is perfect for those special pictures you want grouped together on your wall.

Hopefully this article will help you better understand what to look for when buying a frame and how to find the right size so you'll always find the perfect frame.


Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames and is passionate about picture frames, hiking and photography. Your Picture Frames offers a large selection of quality picture frames in a wide variety of colors, sizes and styles. If you're looking for 8x10 picture frames call us toll free at 1-800-780-0699 or visit our website.

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