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Which picture frame for which picture size?

Do you want to frame a picture or a painting, but are unsure how big the picture frame should be? HALBE Rahmen shows you what is important when choosing a suitable size and how to find the perfect frame for your picture.

When choosing picture frames, there are four measurements that are relevant to you:

  • Outer dimension: the outer dimensions of the picture frame from outer edge to outer edge
  • Picture size/order size: the size of the picture that will fit into the frame (this is also always the size of the picture frame as stated in the shop)
  • Light dimension: dimensions of the area that is actually visible from the picture (is several millimetres smaller than the picture dimension due to the nose that holds the glass in the frame)


Determine the right frame size for the picture: This is how it works

In principle, it is quite simple to choose the right size of picture frame. The picture size always corresponds to the frame size or the order size. For example, if the picture is 13 x 18 cm, choose a picture frame with a size of 13 x 18 cm or 130 x 180 mm. Note that a few millimetres of the picture will always be invisible on all sides because they are overlapped by the nose of the frame - this is the so-called light dimension.

Tip: For picture frames, the inside dimension is always the relevant measure when purchasing. A picture frame of 30 x 40 cm therefore has an inner frame of 30 cm x 40 cm. The outer dimension of a 2 cm thick frame is 34 x 44 cm, of a 6 cm wide version 42 x 52 cm - the inner dimension, however, remains the same. You can use the dimension sketches in the configurator to determine the inside and outside dimensions.




Special feature: Use of a passepartout

A passepartout  makes the motif stand out from the picture frame, creates an effect of depth and gives the whole thing a noble touch. To select suitable dimensions, you should know:

  • The outer dimensions of the passepartout correspond to the inner dimension/order dimension of the picture frame.
  • The inner cut-out should be about 1 cm narrower than the artwork or photo to be framed. The aim is for the passepartout to overlap the picture by 5 mm on all sides so that it is securely covered and the background of the picture frame does not show through.
  • The passepartout border widths should be at least 2-3 cm thick to be effective. Widths of 5 to 10 cm are even more suitable. Basically, the wider the passepartout, the higher the overall quality of the effect.

For a picture measuring 10 x 15 cm, you will need a passepartout with an inside dimension of 9 x 14 cm, so that the overlap is ensured. The outer size is 18 x 24 cm, which is also the size of the suitable picture frame. The passe-partout is then ideally 4.5 to 5 cm wide and shows off your motif to its best advantage.

Tip: Many commercially available picture frames already contain supposed passe-partouts. However, these usually do not create the desired depth effect, as they are merely cut from thin paper. A real passepartout has a thickness of at least 1.4 mm. At HALBE you can choose between 1.5 mm and 3 mm thick passepartouts. We have listed suitable passe-partout cut-outs and frame sizes for each picture format for you here.




Dimensions deviating from the standard format: What to do?

If your picture has dimensions that do not fit into a standard format, you have two options:

Option 1: Have a picture frame made to your individual desired dimensions. At HALBE frames you can have different frame models made with personalised dimensions.

Option 2: Use the next larger size of the picture frame and adjust the picture size with a passe-partout. This will then overlap the picture more and crop it a little in its image detail.

If you need further help in choosing a suitable format, please do not hesitate to contact us. Or test your desired formats in the frame configurator. This will show you suitable suggestions. HALBE enables you to frame all your artworks, pictures and photos individually.