How to measure for picture frames

Knowing how to measure for picture frames is a crucial part of ordering custom picture frames – put simply, you need to know how big your picture is, so you know how big the frame needs to be.

A common mistake when ordering custom picture frames is to over-complicate the process. In fact, with only a few small exceptions, it is as easy as measuring the width and height of the item you want to frame.

The measurements can be very precise – down to fractions of an inch, cm or even fractions of mm – and the closer they are to correct, the better fit your bespoke picture frame will be.

custom picture frames

Before You Measure

There are just a few things to take into account before you measure for a custom picture frame.

Square or Rectangle?

What shape do you want the frame to be? If your picture is close to a standard shape, such as a square or a ‘golden’ rectangle (4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″ or 8″ x 10″ for standard photograph prints) it might be worth trimming the edges to the precise ratio.

This gives you a frame you can use again in the future, if you decide to change its contents. But of course a bespoke photo frame is often inspired by an unusual size or shape of picture, so that’s fine too.

Mount or Frame Only?

Do you want to include a bevelled mount for your picture, inside the frame? This can add a custom width surround to the picture itself and is another good way to make non-standard pictures fit in standard-sized frames.

You should make sure you measure your picture without including the mount – you need to know the exact dimensions of the picture itself. The final outer size of your frame will depend on the picture size, the width of the mount, and whether your mount overlaps the edge of the picture.

A standard overlap measures 4mm on all sides, but you can request a custom picture mount with zero overlap if exact dimensions are important.

Internal or External?

As standard when ordering a made-to-measure picture frame, you provide the dimensions of the image itself. That equates to the internal dimensions of the frame. If the external frame dimensions need to be a specific size, contact your bespoke picture frame supplier for advice.

How to Measure a Picture or Photo Print

Always measure a printed photo or picture – don’t assume the dimensions of a digital file will be 100% accurate when you print it out, as they can be affected by factors like the image resolution (dots per inch) and the printer you use to print it out.

To get accurate measurements of a physical print, lay it flat and smooth on a solid surface and use a good-quality ruler. Have a pen and paper ready to write down each measurement, and be as precise as you can.

You might want to measure the width across both the top and the bottom, to make sure the print has true 90-degree corners. Do the same with the vertical edges to measure the height.

Be careful to measure the straight-line width and height – if you measure along a slight diagonal by mistake, your measurements will be slightly too big. This is another good reason to repeat your measurements and make sure they match.

It goes without saying that if your image is smaller than the paper it is printed on, you should measure whatever you intend to frame. You might want to crop any excess off the edges before you begin, but be very careful not to damage an irreplaceable item.

How to Order a Made-to-Measure Picture Frame

The online frame designing wizard will help you to understand exactly how your picture measurements will be turned into a made-to-measure picture frame.

Several steps will affect the final outer dimensions of your bespoke picture frame:

  • Picture size (including any white edges)Frame style (i.e. thickness of the frame)
  • Frame rebate (the slight overlap of the frame over the edge of your picture)
  • Internal mount (the optional bevelled card surround around your picture)
  • Mount overlap (usually either 4mm or zero)


Remember, if the outer size of your picture frame needs to be exact, or within a specific range, it’s a good idea to check with the supplier before you place your order.

More Reasons to Buy Bespoke Picture Frames

Bespoke picture frames set you free from standard image sizes, or allow you to mount a standard photo print in a larger frame for greater visual impact.

If you have a large photo or picture (and you don’t mind trimming it) you can create an eye-catching image by cropping to a less common shape, such as a wide panorama or tall, thin detail.

And custom picture frames can fit in narrow nooks and crannies around your home where standard rectangular frames might not – allowing you to make full use of every inch of wall space!

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