25/7/18 - Two frames one paintbrush

A recent client with two frames that were in perfectly good order, but a dated design for their new home, answer, decorate the frame. They wanted a cost effective solution, so I took the artwork out and they took the timber frames home and spent some quality time as a family upcycling their frames with a whitewash finish. Easy enough to do for all involved and the result was what they wanted.

Not all framing needs to cost you or the planet… 

Many of our frames are created on finger jointed short lengths of timber, still a physically strong result but the offcuts from manufacturing are not simply discarded but up cycled.

Most glass these days has a high component of recycled glass and in the office we use recycled paper and the protective corners we put on our frames is a recycled card as well.

Our raw timber frames are sustainably sourced and as we do so many of these we want to know that we are doing more of the right things to maintain a future we can all enjoy. Two frames one paintbrush and voila! We have done a small bit for the environment
Steve Gray
Framing Devotee


6/6/18 - Frame it because

Some people come into the framing shop and ask for the cheapest option to frame their ‘thing’, me on the other hand, I ask questions to find out why they want to frame it in the first place to make sure we can do the piece justice and protect it properly. Some people are set on price being the big issue but that depends on a few things. Once this is pointed out some of our customers make a change to their thinking because they now see their artwork in a different light.

Two basics come to mind...
Frame to protect - Its precious, therefore we need to establish the level of precious-ness, if it’s of historic value, or of sentimental value, then we would discuss levels of conservation framing to suit the piece, from museum quality and across from there.
Frame to decorate - You want it to look good, but how good. If you have a budget in mind then you might just have a pretty picture, however if you are decorating your home and this is the centre piece, then you might just want a bit more than a “nice budget frame”. We can "put it in a nice frame" or create the "show stopper". Its completely up to you.

Steve Gray Framing Faffer and Fiddler


19/5/18 - New trends in framing...

I was asked recently about emerging trends in framing, yep, new frame mouldings come in from time to time. But one of the more recent trends is not about the components that make up a frame but more about what goes into them.

Sure we get our share of historic documents and artworks, sure we get amazing vintage prints and family photos, but the range of depth of limited edition prints is a fabulous trend I am seeing in recent times.
There are traditional prints like Lithographs and Etchings, through to lino-cuts and screen-prints, then there are digital prints. Either a reproduction of another artwork or a drawn on computer image.
This morning I framed up a Screen-print with a fabulous stylised owl image and then a picture created on computer. Both mid to larger scaled works. I know the owners of the art are fans of the artists whose works they brought in for framing and these will admirably add to their collections.
It’s funny when a new customer walks in with a limited edition work and asks lots of questions relating to have we framed a Limited Edition piece before… oh and have we heard of artist X? Will you use Japanese hinging techniques to attach the piece to a neutral Ph back? (yes… :) ) But I love it when they come back with the next piece to be done, beaming with anticipation to see the finished piece, ah the joy of collecting art.
Clearly the internet has given people access to some amazing artworks from all round the world, and a deeper appreciation of what it means to love an artwork. I wonder if all those artists who produce and sell online realise just how many framers they are keeping in business!
Regards Steve Gray Non Binary Framing Fidgeter 


4/5/18 To serve and protect - COPS in framing!

The motto of many police forces is, “To serve and protect” It started with the Los Angeles police force back in 1955. There is even a Canadian TV show using that name and you guessed it, it’s a cop show.

In picture framing, we want to serve you and yes we want to protect the artwork you are having framed. I guess we go one step further and help you to decorate as well.

Perhaps I should get a fake police badge for when I deliver completed frames to people’s homes, “Are you a Policeman?” - “No Mam, I’m a Picture Framer…”  (With respects to the Blues Brothers…)

Mind you I sometimes feel a bit like a policeman, when someone brings in a broken frame from another framer. We start to take apart the frame and despite what the owner of the frame says we state, “We work with the facts, just the facts…”


Or in the case of trying to solve a tricky framing issue we become like Detectives, searching for clues to bring the facts together. Let’s see, I have found the frame moulding… and now back to the worksheet… aha… I now need a specific matboard, I have the number, but what shade of white is that? Off to find the correct colour sample. The detective work goes on until the frame has been completed. Yes it can be tiring work, but it’s all in the name of serving and protecting :)
We love what we do, in fact we are passionate about it. 

Regards Steve Gray

Artwork Protector and Framer


18/4/18 5 ways to protect your photos - Your memories need protection...

More people on the planet means more photos, friends, family, pets, landscapes, still lifes and all sorts in between. But how do you go about protecting the ones you cherish the most? Here is a quick guide.


1. Print them - If you have ever lost a camera or phone, or not backed up a computer that then crashed you will know the pain of lost digital photos. Prints give you a suitable end product you can show to others and store. Aiming for a LARGE print? Canvas prints can be a fantastic way to make a big decor statement, these are then stretched onto a support frame that then be easily hung on the wall.

2. Keep them out of adhesive albums - These were very popular in the 70s and over time the prints can get stuck to the once flexible adhesive and are soon damaged trying to be relocated to a better storage method.

3. Custom framing - Our favourite method... With the right glazing and matting options, your print can last the test of time, our glazing options that block out UV light may mean you make a bigger investment, but you will slow the fading process significantly. Archival mats can be used to ensure even longer lasting preservation of your precious memories, by preventing acid attack from low cost materials some framers may use.

4. Backup your digital files - Cloud computing and low cost hard disc backup systems can ensure the safety of your digital images, even if the main computer crashes.

5. Scan and save - Negatives and prints that are from the pre digital era can become digital files, too. You can still keep the originals but create peace of mind in knowing you have a digital backup in place. 



Steve Gray

Framing Shak go to guy...


24/3/18 - 5 reasons to choose a custom frame over a ready made

You have a gorgeous limited edition print, you want to showcase it, get a frame, put it on the wall, ok ya… Then you decide to look about and find some options, styles colours designs, textures, oh and sizes. Let’s start with sizes… 
Sizes - In ready made frames the sizes are set, so if your picture is not to that size, bad luck. Custom made, we’ve got you covered… And we hand pick from our suppliers to ensure we select quality materials. Ok, so we can cut a mat to suit a larger frame and you still get the ready made frame, yep no problemo, except the range of colours and styles to choose from is also limited.
Materials - We go for quality, and often that means conservation quality. Where the artwork meets the materials we want the whole thing to last. Therefore we avoid acid laden materials like MDF boards as these can damage the artwork and other materials involved.
Art Sandwich - So the art fits to the ready made frame, all good, except when the artwork sticks to the glass because you just put it in there and hoped for the best. We will often add a mat board to keep the image off the glass, or a spacer around the edges to give things room to move. Tragic to see old photos of historic value stuck to glass and then in the glass breaks… ouch.
Synthetic - Have you ever seen plastic age well, no neither have I, and it’s the same with frames, if it’s made of plastic the chance of it being easily damaged or simply crumbling is high, that’s why we avoid them. Oh we can get them, and although in some cases they may seem cheaper, the longer term cost will be greater.
Craftsman built - Each custom frame is handmade, designed to do a specific job, to showcase and protect your artwork, we want it to last, we want you to love it and we know we can only do that when quality materials meets suitable knowledge about the ways to do that best. 


Need any more reasons... I didn't think so, take the hassle out of your framing tasks and come straight to a custom framer to get the right result, first time.



Steve Gray

Framing Fanatic


7/3/18 Beautiful! - The frame that is... 


Many of our customers want to make their home or work environment beautiful, so it can become a place of comfort and ease… Where you can feel energised and relaxed, perhaps at the same time… Now there’s a thought!
So then the framing guys come onto the scene, yay for us! The unsung heroes of decor, the frenetic framing fabulares… Ok stop, I hear you. But that’s what we aim to do, provide you with framed items that allow you to have beautiful environments, adding to your decor in ways which might inspire, relax and invigorate, or simply chill zones that set you at ease.
To do this we have to know a few things, your wants, your decor and of course your budget comes into it at some stage.
We then wrangle with the images you have to be framed and explore the myriad of ways they can be presented. From full conservation level framing fit for a museum, to cost effective ways to get that image on the wall so it’s presentable. So… To make a start, take a look at your decor style, then figure out what’s going to fit from there. To make it easy for the framing phase to make your environment totally yummy, grab a bunch of images online that fit your decor style. Then the framing guys can work their magic without having to read your mind too much. Check this list and see what fits.
Perhaps your decor style is… Shabby Chic Farmhouse Minimalist Avant garde Colouristic Industrial Mid Century Modern Rustic Urbane Nautical Coastal Scandinavian Bohemian Asian Eclectic Moroccan Mediterranean Neo Classic Tropical Western 

Post LED Euphoric (ok I made that one up :) )
Who would have thought that there would be so many decor styles to choose from! Now about the framing…
Steve Gray
Framing Foil to stars like you.


16/2/18 Crumbling world… FRAME IT!


I guess it depends on your view, is the world crumbling or is it heading into a fresh new era of growth and positive prosperity.


Perhaps it’s the headlines we choose to read, or are they chosen for us… Doomsday clock at its worst position, mass shootings in the USA, war in Syria still rages. Or... Tesla puts a car in space, Apple’s amazing new product/s, or how about Barnaby causes the PM to ban colleagues from being intimate…
Amazing the world we live in, the things that make us gasp, through to the things that make us laugh or flail in horror.
From my perspective of fifty nine and a bit years on the planet, at the time of writing, things have changed immensely and other things have, well, stayed the same. I can flip through my vast memory of images of events, people, situations and more and just wish I could print some of the things out and frame them.
I would like to print the nitty gritty things, the details, snapshot memories of people’s facial expressions, events that shaped my world, and caused me in part to be who I am today. Perhaps it could be like a collage. Which reminds me, we framed one up recently which a customer had made up of about 100 photos of their children playing, dressing up, exploring, at family events, you know the score. It was a wonderful way to show some fascinating aspects of their lives, all in colourful small square images neatly arranged in rows and columns, it looked fabulous and made a fantastic keepsake for many years to come.
Then I recall the many medals and memorabilia we have framed, from people who care about the past, the people they have had in their lives and some they didn’t even know, but record their efforts from past conflicts and imagine what their world must have been like.
Take the time to warmly reflect on your world, the memories and experiences, the people and the pleasures… Then figure out how you want to frame those so you can relive your often vibrant life and all it offers you. From photographs and medals to drawings and other images that have in some way cause you to be you. Go on frame them!
Steve Gray - Framing Fanatic 


19/1/18 It’s HOT! - So frame it fast...

Today the temperature is tipped to get to 40 degrees, welcome to summer in Victoria :) This means our mat-boards on the workbench are drying out and showing signs of curling up at the edges, so I have to get back to work and fit the hot artwork and matboards into frames. Meanwhile on the other side of the world there are Framers working in cold damp conditions battling snow and ice with their own set of other challenges.


This is where one of the key things about quality picture framing comes into its own. That is to seal the item in an ‘envelope’ to ensure it does not suffer the ravages of  change too much, sure the temperature will go up and down, but the item will not suffer too much from changes in humidity.

Good quality custom framing takes these temperature variations into account allowing the artwork to expand and contract as needs be.
Take care in the heat, or cold... Enjoy your fabulously framed artworks. Now, for me to get back to the nearly curling mat-boards to put them safely in some frames. 


Regards Steve Gray - Framing Fella :)



18/10/17 Breathe softly and repeat - Fab decor helps…


Do you have a sanctuary? A place you go to when things get a bit too much, where you can chill out a little, and give yourself some ‘me time’? I guess we all do, sometimes it’s in the car, after dropping the kids off, or perhaps it’s a relaxing space in your yard, where you can watch birds flitting about in the sunshine. For me it’s often getting to see some contemporary art galleries and I can often get to 10 - 15 in a good outing.


I realised many years ago that having a sanctuary place, or a place to chill out in was somewhere other than where I hung out most of the time. Then it came to me, why not create places of sanctuary around me so I can chill out anytime. That’s why our home resembles an art gallery, other artists works, my own paintings and photographs and a slowly growing collection of artworks that means I can rotate the works to keep my mind stimulated and at ease.


Not everyone has framed artworks to adorn their walls and for many in rental situations they can't nail into the walls, a very sad state of affairs if you ask me! Most people that get works framed with us, know that they have a place to put their newly acquired frame and artwork. They have visualised where it needs to go and how it will fit in with other works. They are creating their own sanctuary, a place where they can be at ease. At the end of a trying day they put their feet up and immerse themselves in their decor and the ambiance it helps to create, so they can breathe softly and repeat.


These customers know that they can get their friendly professional picture framer to add charm, elegance and overall aesthetic appeal at the mere suggestion of exploring something new. Perhaps a traditional gold frame, or a Contemporary Classic, using raw hardwood timbers to add warmth and vitality. No matter what the artwork is, the team at the Picture Framing Shak can assist.



Steve Gray - Framer to the chilled out... 


7/10/17 Contemporary classics - Get THE look!


I like this term, "contemporary classic", it puts a smile on my face. All at once it seems pretentious, bold, status building and oh so chic, whatever that might mean…

In our frame shop we have over 450 frame styles to choose from on our displays, as well as access to a range of supplier catalogues. In amongst these options there are some that fit for my ideal of contemporary classic, in amongst those are some fabulous options.

A fabulous example are the sustainably sourced raw timber frames, we hand finish these in the shop and wax them to create a buttery sealed surface.

The big thing I like about these frames is not just that they are used to frame contemporary works of art in many of the top galleries in and around Melbourne, but the fact that they are so versatile to fit in with a wide range of decor options, from architecturally radical designs to the demure and oh so conservative.

I love the warmth they exude, the fact they come in a range of widths and depths to accommodate floating images, 3 D items and so much more.

I love the way they can convey to the viewer a sense of connectedness when they are hung in groups with other raw frames. Ok so it’s clear and I must admit I am unashamed, I just love them.

When you want the “look” you can go past these frames. Oh and did you notice that they have been used on ‘The Block’ TV show as floater frames around canvas paintings and std frames for smaller works. I guess any interior designer worth their weight would clearly concur with your friendly professional picture framer, that contemporary classics are the tried and true elements in design that can ensure the decor can hold its own for a long time to come. 


Regards Steve Gray - The Picture Framing Guy



13/9/17 - The Salon Hang - Grouping art to showcase more


Grouping a collection of paintings or images together is one way to turn your home into a personal art gallery. Called a “salon-style” hang it’s about, assembling multiple artworks in one area, this came about in 18th century Europe, where artists would hang their works together on a single wall.
Often created for practicality, the salon hang evolved into a way to display art at home, and it certainly can have contemporary appeal. 
You can create a small collection of three to five works as a feature on one wall, or if you have the space put lots of works to create more complexity and intrigue the viewer.
Interior designers often suggest that a salon hang can accommodate varying tastes, making them appealing for a range of art styles and collections.
Let’s begin
Creating a salon hang from scratch can be daunting, but look for one artwork you really love; make that the centrepiece of your collection, and then create around it. Generally it will be the biggest piece in the group of works you want to showcase.
Drawing up a plan of how you will lay out your gallery can help the finished product come together. Start with  some paper and a pencil and roughly create a sketch of the proportions of the pieces you have and play around with them until you are happy.
Still not sure about your design working? Trace out the shapes of the artworks onto paper then use Blu Tac or similar to put them in place on the wall, now take a look at how the scale of the images work. Move things about to suit.
Creating cohesion
Consider staying with a theme to help your salon hang feel harmonious, particularly if you’re a beginner. For example, focus on paintings or photographs exclusively, or select designs that have a similar colour in them, perhaps some of the frames or mat boards are similar and create the connection.
Think about if you want to create a calm space, or something more vibrant and creative, these core values for the layout can give solid direction as you develop your ideas.
Another way to develop the harmony is to keep the spacing the same, or in proportion to other works.
Once you’re happy with the positioning you are ready to hang the actual pieces! Have fun creating your salon hang, and remember the tiny holes in the wall for the picture hangers can be quickly patched and painted if you change things about.
Regards - Steve Gray the Picture Framing Guy 


4/9/17 Have you framed it yet? - Turning a house into a home

It’s just turned into spring here in Australia, nice time to get out and about and do things… Apart from some foul weather on the opening weekend. So before you run off and get ready for Summer get some inside things sorted, like framing. You know you want to…
In our house we change things about, one of the legacies of having too many artworks :) so when we get a bit ‘ho hum’ with the visual stimulus, we up things and rotate a bunch of pictures.
In your house maybe the artworks make it a home, or at least a place which is a little more pleasureable than just a house. So what do you want to do to make it more ‘homely’, if it’s a rental you may have restrictions on what you can hang, so consider an easel or three, or perhaps prop the art up on tables.
Now think about the things you have that are just begging to be framed, perhaps an artwork given to you by a friend, a family photo from that last ’get together’, or that certificate you earned… Come on it’s spring, get lively, get active and fill the walls with lots of visual things you love!
Of course it goes without saying, that all this framing can be handled by your friendly professional picture framer.
Regards Steve Gray - Picture framer to the stars, like you! 



8/8/17 - Don't hang pictures! - Take the casual approach...

I love it when I find an article on pictures and framing that means I don't have to write it :) These guys have some fab ideas on how to present artworks in your home or office that doesn't require a big hammer, nails and mess! It's also nice when the company in question is just a few suburbs away. Take a look!



Regards - Steve Gray - Framing Guy at the Picture Framing Shak


2/8/17 - Dear Artist - Framing your work for exhibition


Your first exhibition… Congratulations! I bet you’re excited, perhaps even a little apprehensive, there are things to organise, people to invite, framing to be done. Breathe in, breathe out relax a little. Now let’s look at a few things regarding framing.


  • Do it right - Take a look at other exhibitions, note the frames, perhaps sustain-ably sourced Tassie-oak, Vic Ash or Black-wood, Probably matted to keep the image off the glass. If it’s a canvas, frame or no frame? Now make sure you get a framer that can do the frames to the right standard, to protect the work and ensure that conservation hinging techniques are used and the mats are Museum std or at least good quality acid free.
  • Plan ahead - Framing can take a few weeks, allow PLENTY of time, chat to your framer and make sure they can do it in that time. Also consider if you can store them prior to the exhibition delivery date, some framer’s may want you to get the work out of their space fast, while others are able to accommodate holding on to them, make it easy on yourself to get them to the gallery on time with less hassle and stress
  • Make it easy! - For the framer, clearly label the works, make sure the sizes are accurate and easy to understand, the std is width precedes height. Please follow that so everyone knows which way is up, if that’s still not clear then indicate it with an arrow on the back of the work.
  • Quotes - By all means get quotes from a few framers but make sure you are comparing apples with apples, not something else. Framer’s can use different suppliers for materials, but it might be the same size moulding etc. Be aware of the profile sizes and match to that.
  • Be happy - With the framer you choose, they may be cheap but if you don’t like them, that might be an indicator of trouble to come, if they are slack, your timeline might not mean anything to them. If you end up with a bunch of leftover framed images after the show, you want peace of mind in knowing that you will be happy to hang the works, store them etc,the last thing you want are a bunch of reminders that the framer you chose was painful to deal with. We suggest choosing a friendly professional picture framer, you will notice the difference.
  • Transport - Are the works BIG? If so will they require specialist transport, like a van to get the pieces to the gallery? Will you be able to handle them with ease or will you need someone else to assist you. Then think about how they are wrapped up to protect them from possible breakage


Steve Gray - Framing Guy at the Picture Framing Shak


26/7/17 - Those art things... 3 Works on fabrics


 As soon as humans were able to make fabrics, they found ways to decorate them, from inks, paints, to sewn threads and attaching other fabrics and goodness knows what else.


As things progressed some of the items went from utilitarian to decorative, for instance floor mats that were hung on walls, for both decoration and to help insulate homes in cold climates.


For picture framers we have to take a few things into account when people want fabric items framed, tapestries and cross stitch often require stretching to keep the weave straight in the frame. Other items like rugs and quilts need us to provide a frame that can support the weight and bulk of the item.


Recently we have seen more fabrics being framed that come from craft workshops in indigenous communities, offering a fascinating insight into their symbols and culture.


Your friendly picture framing professional has to think hard when it comes to finding ways to best present fabric works, it's never as easy as it seems.



Steve Gray - Framing Guy at the Picture Framing Shak



7/7/17 Those art things... 2. Works on paper



Most of the works we get to frame are works on paper, drawings, photographs, prints.


These days there is an incredible array of paper types and surfaces that artworks are reproduced on. From woven plastic banner material to hand made papers and everything in between.


As well as the papers, there are the imaging methods used, for instance with prints, there are etchings, lino-cuts, screen prints, collagraphs, dry-points, lithographs, Mono prints, reproduction prints and various types of inkjet or Giclee prints. Follow on from that with drawings in pencil, charcoal and pen and ink, with a few variations in between.Then photographs, which these days can be on traditional chemically processed papers, through to inkjet or laser prints. This then blurs the line between prints and photographs, but that's another story.


Let's not forget water colours, often done on heavily textured papers which are 100% cotton rag.


All of these works on paper techniques have differences in the paper, inks and finishes as well as the durability and value.


Out of all this comes our need to ensure that we create a suitable frame structure, which suitably protects the image from pressing up against the glass, fading and acid burn from mounting materials, oh and you thought our job was easy huh...


Then let's add to that the way the print is presented, under a mat border, or as a 'floating' image supported underneath where the image appears to float in mid air.


All of this adds up to a considered approach by your friendly professional picture framing specialists at the Picture Framing Shak. Where custom picture frame construction is our speciality. Feel free to drop in and chat to us about the best way to frame and showcase your works on paper.



Steve Gray - The Framing Guy - Part of the team at The Picture Framing Shak


29/6/17 Those art things... 1. Painting Mediums and surfaces


Lots of people have heard about oil paint, and the masterpieces they have produced over many centuries. But there are other mediums too.

Also of note is the surface the paint is applied to and understanding how that works.

In most cases oil paint, water based acrylics and mixed media is applied to canvas or linen, generally these are stretched over a frame, undercoated, then the final coats of colour are built up on the front.

Occasionally painting boards are used and perhaps most famously, the paintings done by Australian Impressionists in the late 1880's, when they used 9” x 5” Cigar box lids to paint on which they had collected from tobacconists. These were easy to carry and work on when they painted outdoors “en plein air”.

Acrylics are fairly new to the art scene, being developed in the 1940s in comparison to oils. Which have been around for hundreds of years and popularised in the 19th century. Oil paints took over from Egg Tempera which had a range of limitations, perhaps the main one being that the artists was limited to painting on panels and the size restrictions they had, meanwhile canvas could be stretched on to large frames and readily handled.

Mixed media simply means using a number of paint types to create a picture. This became more popular in the Pop Art period and onwards as artists explored more with mediums to get different effects, often using enamel paints as well as adding to the paints to make them thicker, hold textured finishes etc.

That’s the basics of paints and the surfaces they end up on, but what's important to us as picture framers is the way we need to work with different paints and especially the surfaces they are created on. Many canvases purchased as souvenirs on a holiday are simply for decoration, and the substrate they are painted on is often calico or the sort of material roller blinds are made out of. Not really designed for longevity. Meanwhile linen and heavy weigh canvases worked on by some contem-

porary artists may require greater care in the framing process to ensure they retain the value inherent in the work. Linens for instance can be difficult to stretch on to a frame and may loose tension in differing atmospheric conditions.


If your artwork cost was low, then you might find the cost of having the work stretched to hang on a wall expensive, however if the work cost you considerably more the price may well seem very adequate...


Also remember that a stretcher frame simply keeps the material tight and able to be hung on the wall, a frame around the outside can assist to 'visually contain' the painted image, and offer some physical protection to the edges of the work. But this frame is separate from the stretcher frame, so think twice before you pick up a bargain overseas!


Until next time, feel free to visit your friendly professional picture framer to chat about your picture framing needs.


Steve Gray - The Framing Guy - Part of the team at The Picture Framing Shak


23/6/17 - Those art things…


You have collected a few “Art” things over the years, some were given to you as a hand me down, others are cherished memories from a vacation, others might be selected purchases from a gallery or gifts from friends. Whatever way you received them, you probably love them to bits. But if you ask some deeper questions you might just be wondering what they are and what the differences are.


Stay tuned for a few in this series that will explore the differences in media and processes of art.


Paintings - Canvas and linen

  • Oils

  • Acrylics

  • Tempera

  • Mixed media


Works on paper

  • Photographs

  • Drawings

  • Pastels

  • Watercolour - Gouache

  • Ink

  • Prints - Etchings - Digital prints - Lithographs - Screen prints - Lino cuts - Reproduction prints



  • Cross stitch - Tapestries - Petit point - Long Stitch

  • Quilts

  • Woven tapestries

  • Batik
  • Rugs
  • Mixed Media

That should be enough to start the ball rolling and give you some ideas about the works you have and what to look for. From your Friendly Professional Picture Framers at the Picture Framing Shak



Steve Gray - Framing Guy at the Picture Framing Shak



7/6/17 - That crazy idea for a gift…

You want something they will remember for a long while to come, something they will hopefully cherish. How about a signature frame? We create a frame with a wide mat-board, usually white and leave a space for a photograph if the size you choose to put in, at the person’s birthday, anniversary etc you get the guests to sign the mat board and then you can put it all together in the frame.. Want to make it even better, add a plaque to it detailing the event. Simple, memorable and oh so easy to do!

Or… how about…

An object frame. You want to showcase special items for the person receiving the gift, perhaps it’s event tickets, newspaper cuttings, small objects to do with their favourite hobby. Bring the items in and we can provide ideas and quote, on ways to frame these ready for the special event. Very popular and a solid way to ensure they get something they want.

Memories… Frame up a family photo, a group of photos or a collage, great for the family photo wall. A great way to mark a milestone event.

Kids art… Of course you want to frame some of the kids art, but for grandma or that special aunt, uncle or family friend, go on give a gift that shares your child’s artistic prowess.


For all your picture framing needs, contact your Friendly Professional Picture framer at the Picture Framing Shak.


Regards, Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


3/6/17 - Congratulations on your new home!

Finally, you’ve moved in, the garden is being landscaped, the kids have visited and approve of your ‘resize’ rather than a pokey downsize. The spaces work well and you got out of that old house with a layout more akin to a rabbit warren than a place for humans to really live.

You thought long and hard about the move, new furniture, some re-jigging of the old now very familiar  family memorabilia, and your sports jerseys for the man cave, now more of a corner than a cave perhaps… You are both happier than ever, despite the issues with the builder making a few minor mistakes, but hey your worldly experience means you were able to sail through all of that and came out unscathed, even with a wry smile.


Relax sit back and take it easy, you both earned this, all the years of two incomes, hectic lives and three kids, has now become two part time incomes and some solid investments. All of which is now coupled with visits from Grand kids, family and friends, It's all part of the joyous position you find yourselves in.

Now, about the decor. You’re not the sort to have lot’s of family photos plastered all over the walls, just a few discrete images in standing frames on your desk in the office. No, you want some statement pieces, along with well placed tasteful objects that reflect your eye for collecting the sometimes rare and unusual as well as the stylish and homely. Then you want to make sure people appreciate your Artistic flair, a few limited edition prints and a small painting to greet visitors in your hallway.


Life really is grand, sure you’re a bit older now and keeping up with your kids and their kids is not as easy as you might like, but it’s all enjoyable nonetheless. Once the home is just how you want it, that long earned break for a few weeks overseas will top it all off, well it will satisfy things for a few months at least.


Wait, what's that? You don't know where to get your items re-framed, where to get the limited edition prints or the small paintings... That's okay, because you can drop in and chat to your friendly professional picture framer at the Picture Framing Shak and see what they can do. For the prints, try here and search the Eve range for some options Or here for specifically Australian contemporary artworks Or search for any of the local contemporary art galleries the Melbourne region has to offer Happy searching, as you select the right images to make your house a warm and inviting home for many years to come!


Regards, Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


14/5/17 - We are human after all…

Yes human, that means we do a lot of things right and a few things not so right. We don’t want to, but just in case you thought we were perfect, let me assure you we have our challenges too! Take me for example, I have been involved in visual arts for over 30 years and have been so fortunate to see literally thousands of exhibitions, interview amazing contemporary artists and had a lot of fun along the way, learning, exploring etc.


Then after all those years I managed to score a fantastic position working on artworks, framing them, advising customers and finding solutions to their decor, exhibition and conservation needs, I might add I love it, BUT I have only been doing so for just on three years. The mistakes got less and now I am happy to say I am very pleased with what I have been able to achieve.


Sure there was a STEEP learning curve to figure out how things went together, how the computer system works, how to order materials from suppliers and, oh boy the list goes on… Mistakes were made and I learnt, If I didn’t the boss might have kicked me out ages ago!


Every now and then our ‘humanness’ shows and we eat humble pie, sometimes we might even choke a little on that pie… It’s not a good feeling I can assure you!

In making mistakes and learning, we get better at what we do, we discuss what happened, how we might have done things better, how we might do the same job if we did it again and so on.


We don’t EVER want to make mistakes but it happens. Mostly they are minor things and they are quickly sorted out, then some other rarer things might be a bit bigger and take longer to ‘adjust’.

That’s why we have terms and conditions listed on our website, these are designed to work in unison with the laws and regulations set out by the Department of Fair Trading Department.


They are designed to give you peace of mind in knowing we want to provide you with clear guidelines to how we want to do business with you, what we will and will not do in the case that something might not go to plan. Remember, they don’t call us the friendly professional picture framer for nothing.        


Regards, Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


12/4/17 - You know it’s that time again…

Mother’s day, what to get the Mother who has everything, or at least you think she has everything!

Before long Mother’s day rolls around, you vowed last year to make THIS year’s gift better than the flowers and chocolates from last years offering. You saw what the others gave and well, let’s just say you now have deep seated rivalry for those ever so thoughtful gifts your siblings magically pulled out of their hats. Enough said.

So you jump on google, did a search, checked out a range of options and bingo you found yourself with a coffee or three, trawling for ideas. Well look no longer here are some options to consider and explore.

Your friendly professional picture framer has a lot of experience in putting together personalised gifts, based on years of experience with many people bringing different images, ideas and options as to what they want to achieve with that ever so special gift.


  • Photo collage - Photo programs at do it yourself photo kiosks may have a way of combining a series of family images into a classy collage, frame that and you might just have your first gift idea sorted

  • Name Frames - Our computerised cutting machine can cut out letters onto a mat board, then you can place photo’s in behind the letter cut outs to spell out the family name, Grandkids names, the year or whatever you want. A fabulous way to provide a personalised memento, a snapshot in time of your family, your kids in action or images that would be of interest to your Mother

  • Art Framing - Does your mum have a favourite Artist? Perhaps one of the old masters, a contemporary or some other artist they have always admired, with the range of online prints available you could soon source the right image, then get your friendly professional picture framer to conserve it in a custom frame

  • Family portraits - A perennial favourite, But you could go the next step… Consider a double mat, a stacked frame or a range of other options to make the photo come alive and stand out from the crowd. Chat to your framer about how they can take your family photo and create visually stunning results

  • Scrapbook Crafty Imagery - For those with a crafty touch whose Mother does not want their walls plastered with images of their kids and grandkids. Perhaps a specially crafted 3 dimensional piece that reflects mum’s favourite colours, textures. Not sure what I mean or what’s possible, do a search online to find some inspiration

  • Ticket box - I love this one, for the Mother who gets out and about, to travel, see stage shows and generally keep themselves deeply entertained. We can create a framed ‘ticket box’ this frame has a slot in the top where ticket stubs from shows, movies, travel you name it can be put in. the box is shallow so the tickets can be seen through the glass. A fabulous way to remember all those amazing experiences

  • Showcase - Perhaps your Mother has a special thing they cherish, a team scarf, a precious stone, a famous quote printed onto parchment paper or similar, or some other item of interest. We can frame all manner of objects to showcase them ready for display.

For some of you that’s more than enough ideas, but for the rest of you, drop in and take a look at the framed items we have on display and chat to us about other options to explore.

Let's make the Mother's day a special one, for all the right reasons.


Regards Steve Gray - The Picture Framing Shak


29/3/17 - It’s all about style


Take a look at the the decor pages of lifestyle magazines and websites and you will find details of the latest trends to make your home and or office look stunning. Take another look and you will see that there are a few things that remain constant. Pictures on the walls, the styles change so fast some designers are setting up multiple room concepts are their display venues and of course colour and texture are the theme this season!

From shabby chic, to Hamptons white, a touch of grunge, art deco, 40’s glamour, retro or steampunk right through to Victoriana, it seems all tastes can be catered for.

If you can conceptualise the style you want to create, then you have a better chance of organising your picture frames to do fit the decor and the type of image you are trying to create. Your friendly professional Picture Framer should be able to show you styles of frames to fit to your needs. Most will provide a free consultation service, complete with advice on conservation techniques for limited edition and original works of art.

Call in to see if we can provide an answer for your decor needs. 


Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


25/3/17 - Hang it some more…


For the person who has just picked up their freshly framed piece who wants to put it in pride of place, there are a few things to consider when hanging your artwork.

For me, I have had the privilege of hanging pictures for people, from high end contemporary works in architect designed homes to gallery exhibitions through to sales display posters. It’s a challenge to get the right balance of practicality and aesthetics right, with differing ceiling heights, furniture and at times, awkward angles. So for the person at home, let me share a few things to assist you to get it right.


Start out by asking, “Will this be in one place forever, or will we want to change things around from time to time?” If you want to alter things, consider a gallery hanging system where an adjustable thick nylon line, hangs down from a strong rail, mounted at ceiling height. This way you can make adjustments to the art without having to fill holes in the wall with traditional fixings.

If the work will be in place for a long time, or if you don’t care too much about filling and painting when you change things about then consider standard attachments which will put a hole in your wall, either in the form of a screw, or a nail. Most artworks can readily be hung on plaster walls, ideally you want to get the fixing into a stud if the work is heavy.


In an ideal world your Friendly professional picture framer, fitted 97% UV block out glass or UV acrylic to your work, but if that was not quite in your budget, then keep the work out of direct sunlight or strong ambient light to assist in minimising the UV fading on some works. Come to think of it, even with UV glass, your works should be well away from strong UV light sources...


Museums and galleries across the world often hold true to hanging small and mid sized works at 1550mm up from the floor to the centre of the artwork, if it’s good enough for them, then we can do the same. If you are  not sure, about the positioning of works or clusters of frames, then you could cut out pieces of brown paper or light card to the same size as your artworks, then use Blue tac or similar to position the works first and adjust accordingly to suit your furniture, home layout and height requirements.

Create a gallery wall

Clusters of separately artworks can look interesting, especially if they are small. While there are no set guidelines on how these should be hung, you could try cutting out pieces of paper the same size as the images and try various placements with Blu Tac or similar. You can then explore the stronger images (perhaps the ones with deeper tones, either in the image, the frame or both) and consider how they might overpower the display.

If all else fails...

Consider calling in your friendly picture framing professional, either for advice or simply to do the whole job for you. 


Regards Steve Gray The Picture Framing Shak


7/3/17 - Art has power


Art has the power to colour and animate spaces, and the lives that inhabit them. Let’s not forget the artists and the things they might want to communicate, or not… They are the creators of this power. Then let’s consider the framing and the part it plays in the decor and physical support of the works, that can be vital to.

In a home or business environment the selection of artworks is really about personal choices that explore a range of ideas and options. What  you put on your walls might be a reflection of where you are at, or perhaps where you want to be.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see some stunning original works, which when framed for elegant protection and hung in a suitable environment, has led to a range of discussions and reactions, from, wow to how, then to why across to “what is that?”

It’s all in the choices you make. Sure you may be after a decorator piece to enliven a room, through to something that acts as a memento of places visited, then it might be a grouping of family images to fondly reflect on the family and how they have developed. There is power in all of those and the artistic intent.

Art can go deeper, and colour and animate the spaces we live and work in, and then enlighten lives to cause a positive shift. Perhaps it’s like creating a step by step innovation process, where you can actually become more deeply engaged in the artwork, due simply to its ability to cause you to explore your thinking and perhaps even your place in this world.


Think deeper and consider adding some ‘power’ into your life, so you can explore more thoroughly, that which we live for, that which drives us, that which plays with our thinking… Enjoy the power. And to think that your friendly professional picture framer can be part of all of that!


Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


22/2/17 - I want something special - Selecting decor for your home


Something special... This query from customers sets my mind into a spin, special to me can be very different to what you might have in mind.

Consider adding to your query with, “I want something special in my home which, will reflect my personality, show people I like things to be bold and perhaps a little outrageous at times.” Now we are getting somewhere!

The way you want your home to be seen, the things you want to ‘reflect’ in the decor, like your personality, all come into play when deciding what will work for you. It’s your decor and chances are you will live with the decision for a long time to come.

Something special… Let’s take a different look at this concept of special… Let’s say  you have thumbed through a bunch of lifestyle magazines and checked out various decor options, if you see something you like it might be a solid starting point. But, if it’s just something you want to copy, then that’s probably not special. It might start out as wanting to make a radical statement and then morph into a specific look that resonates deeply with you. Therefore the search for something special has now become something else, and that’s fine.

For those wanting to be more creative and really come up with something special, let’s look at some creative ways to find what is special to you.

  • Your favourite colours - Paint shops have a wonderful array of colour samples, consider grabbing a bunch of your favourite colours and tones, these might send you on a visual search to locate artworks, frames and or other decor details that reflect your taste

  • Decor options - Take a look at various images you might find on websites relating to decor. Look for frames, images, colours, shapes, textures, finishes and styles that connect with you. It’s all about starting points. gather the images and ideas, perhaps in a scrap book to refer to when chatting to your picture framer

  • Galleries - An obvious choice perhaps, yet it’s amazing how many people don’t go to galleries. Do an internet search for contemporary art galleries in your area, then go and visit. About every three weeks or so the exhibitions change, you might find certain inspiration, or not, but as a starting point you should be able to get lots of ideas for your decor

  • Picture framers - Of course, a very logical choice, lots of ideas and options on ways to display things and get ideas for what’s current, what looks good and what others are doing with their decor choices. Your friendly picture framing professional, can have a range of prints, paintings and or access to websites with more options to suit nearly any decor requirement

  • Your favourite things - Family photos displayed in a series of frames is for some an obvious choice, for others a particular interest, like family history, sports or military memorabilia might be the things you find interesting, for others it might be a collection of things you have found and now want to display

There are a few ideas on ways to move forward with your something special concept. If in doubt chat to your framing specialist so they can find ways to assist you in your search for ways to make your decor sing.

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


8/2/17 - It’s an original…

Every now and then an art piece walks in the door, the customer says “Oh, it’s an original you know… the artist is very famous… or so mum said...”

Well your Mum may have said it was original, but wait, perhaps you can tell me more about the piece?

“My Great Grandfather Louey, on my mother’s side of the family bought the piece from a friend at a pub, many years back, the friend was having a clear out and ‘bingo’ Great granddad Louey bought an ‘amazing piece’ that has been on the wall at mum’s place for years.

What was amazing was that Grand dad Louey was not kicked up the backside by great gand mum Beth, for wasting money at a time when things might have been a ‘bit tight’. Perhaps Beth had been sipping some wine at home while hubby was at the pub and was in a relaxed state when the ‘artwork’ walked in the door.

So the ‘famous artwork’, complete with the story to go with it begs the questions. Is it an original and is the Artist famous? At first glance the painting was well framed, so someone cared about it enough to spend a reasonable amount of $$ on its presentation. The painting had texture, so it wasn’t a reproduction print. A little note scrawled on the back clearly noted the the Artist’s name, thankfully, as the signature on the front was indecipherable.

A search on the internet found nothing for that artist. Therefore the chances of it being worth something was becoming remote. A closer inspection on the back showed the painting was on a canvas board, the type where the canvas is attached to a card base, it was a cost effective method used for a painting base by many leisure painters, but not so much by artists ‘of note’.

The subject matter was of a country scene, a creek with distant hills and a bush shack in the distance. Nice but not earth shattering in its appeal. In faint pencil on the note attached to the back was a date. 1964, so it was over 50 years old, but that didn’t do much for for its value, other than sentimental.

Sometimes we just have to accept that a work of art in the family is loaded with sentimental value and little else, mind you I have heard of horror stories, like the time a Keith Haring original was cut up by a customer who wanted to use the frame for another artwork! I guess it pays to chat to your friendly professional picture framer, just to be sure about the details of a work, before something bad happens.

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


25/1/17 - Memories are made here

Mum had organised an Artist to paint a portrait of my sister Anne as a very young child, the painting shows her with a bow in her wispy golden locks and a soft frilly dress. A cute picture, of a cute sister… I guess the cuteness part depends on who you talk to... It hung in our lounge room and had a dusty dark gold frame. Mum remembers that it had a ‘gilt’ gold frame and at one stage talked about “having it gilt again” dad shook his head and politely in a low voice said, “No…” to both the idea that it had been gilt and to making any change to it. The frame suited the painting and all I can remember is that the whole package must have cost a lot, because my Brothers and I did not get a painted portrait, this privilege was reserved solely for Anne.


I took that picture for granted for many years, giving it only a fleeting glance every now and then, until we moved house and I got to handle the thing, I was barely 16 at the time and recall the brown paper on the back being rather brittle and a finger of mine ‘may have’ punctured the oh so delicate backing… oops. I spent some time looking at it up close, allured by the tiny, wispy brushstrokes and the way Anne's smile seemed so innocent.

Dusted off and ready to peer out at us for another bunch of years in the new house, until my sister got to claim it as her own, then it was gone and left a 'hole' until dad created another picture to go in its place. Many years later and that painting of Anne has been talked about many times. Mum had her story, dad had his own, “I recall the darn thing cost more than a weeks wages!” We would joke that she looks so Angelic in that painting and wondered what had happened to make her to be NOT be so angelic as she got older!


Mum regaled us with a story of how Anne "sat so still while the picture was being painted and how the Artist did not let Me see it until it was finished". Mum was so proud of it. Other examples the artist had done did not impress mum, but this one did… Softly done in an impressionistic style, while others created for other families were completed with harsher treatment, short choppy angular brushstrokes that turned a gentile child into a chiselled abrupt 'lump', no longer a representation of the child but probably more of a comment about the jarring personality of the child.


My Nieces and Nephew on my sister’s side of the family got to look at it for about as long as I did, 16+ years, when my sister hung it at her place, I am sure they have their own stories. Then there are the visitors to their home, other Nieces and Nephews, my brother in law’s family and all their friends. It’s been seen a lot. Each person would have a story or at least some form of impression of what the painting stood for, not so much about what it ‘meant’. Its meaning is simple enough, a romantic sort of image, a nice representation of my sister Anne. So what did it stand for? I'm sure it’s a status symbol, a shining beacon of “Oh look at us we can afford a portrait."


A few years later and a family photo showed the four siblings together with plastic smiles and slicked down hair in our ‘Sunday best’ clothes. There was no need for a painting of that, and the frame for that photograph was nothing special as I recall, nope my sisters likeness had the nice frame, the nice place of importance in the and I feel sure a psychoanalyst would have something to mutter about the ‘first born’ having pride of place, not just on the wall but in her parents hearts as well. It’s all simple really, a bunch of memories, stories and a fleeting notion of status, all wrapped up in one dusty gold frame with a painted image on a chunk of canvas. Ah the power of art.


We love framing memories and at your friendly professional picture framer we love finding the best way of presenting your families memories so they can be enjoyed for many years to come.


Regards - Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


18/1/17 - There are just three types of picture frames

The one that works, the one that doesn’t and the one that looks like it does…

Okay so that was simple, and very obvious. However, too many people don’t see the difference, they simply want to  put a “thing” on wall and see that it’s protected to some degree. Yep I get that, but what about the longer term effect on it being protected, what about the overall way it looks… It’s probably going to be on the wall for a long while, like my Dad’s Diploma, it hung in his work office for his whole working life, it never moved, neither did dad, oh except for that once or twice when the office was repainted.


His diploma was framed properly, he complained for many years afterwards that it cost him an arm and a leg at a time when he could ill afford to spend the money, but there it was sealed up against dust, protected by a mat-board that was acid free, and a museum level backing that ensured that no acid burn would take place. That Diploma was as good as the day it was framed.


How about your framing? Is it an item worth preserving for the long term, or an item you will throw out in a few years, out of fashion and ready to be heaved?

As for my dad, he probably didn't have much choice at the time about what frame he wanted and to what standard the framing would be, but it lasted. I know that many of the items we frame at your friendly professional picture framer, are done to a high standard and will be appreciated for a long time to come.



Steve Gray - The Picture Framing Shak


13/1/2017 - The silly season and the art of business

Christmas and New Year have long gone, thankfully… All that rushing around seems to be no good for anybody in my opinion. We were busy preparing frames and making artwork look fantastic and protecting incredible documents and valuable artworks, after all that’s what your friendly professional picture framer does.

So in the break after all the madness subsided I wonder if you, like me took time to reflect on the year that was… I reminisced about the big jobs we did, the corporate works, the limited edition prints by big name artists that needed that extra loving care, it was a good year all round.

My thoughts drifted across to watching people, I was on a cruise for about 10 days, so a lot of this happened. I waondered about their level of happiness, for some of them it took a few days to unwind and turn their frown into a smile. I then recalled various articles I have seen over the years about people in jobs and how their productivity was linked to the level of happiness they had… Interesting, I thin thought about the joy of hanging artworks in various workplaces and the appreciate comments I had with people working there. From bare walls to an office which had a more pleasing decor, the smiles were certainly wider.

So how’s business? Happy staff? Productive staff? No… That’s a shame, I think you might want to do something about that yeah? You can see where I am going to with this can’t  you… Yep, buy art, frame it, hang it and see your profits rise. Okay so it’s not that easy, but the intent is there. Oh and if you think the staff will notice if you pick up some faded pictures from a local Charity store, then you are right. Go all the way and buy original works which MAY appreciate in value, then you are buying business assets that could provide a return as well as keeping people happier in the workplace. It’s a win win situation.


Regards Steve Gray - The Picture Framing Shak


21/11/16 - Typographic Art

Printed quotes, fabulous images incorporating a printed page of text, an image created using just a few words or a major contemporary work and so much more all constitute a typographic artwork.

I have some at home, the printed board with a faded background and some well chosen words of wisdom… One in particular creates a fair bit of debate amongst the visitors to our place, as they ponder the ‘deeper meaning’ of some of the statements.


Many years back as a Visual Art student I remember seeing text splashed across pop art works by Lichtenstein and Warhol and not blinking an eye, but when Jasper Johns used numbers and text the whole thing changed for me, when did the painting stop and the text begin. Ever since then that paradox grips me when I see art including some form of text or numeral.

Typographers have long called themselves artists and rightly so, making masterful use of line, contrast, negative, positive space and colour. I guess we don’t think much about it seeing many words on a printed page, but when short statements or single letters are used, the principles of good aesthetics kick in and we can appreciate the beauty they were wanting to express.

Illustrators have also created some fabulous images using text and the hypno psychedelic poster images from the 1960’s bear testament to that. Readers were stopped in their tracks trying to figure out if the message or the visual statement being made with imagery was more important. Sometimes it was both, I guess the level of drug intake probably dictated which was more important.

No matter what the text imagery or poster is, your friendly professional picture framer would be more than willing to assist you to find the right combination and frame and mats to suit your needs, At The Picture Framing Shak, we assist people in exploring possibilities and aim to create a solid visual statement you can enjoy for a long time to come.

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 


4/11/16 - Is it worth it?

One of our regular customers dropped in with a picture, not her usual family photo, it was an old landscape painted a long while back, probably pre war by the looks of it. We chatted about its condition, the type of frame she wanted to use for its restoration and the best way to preserve it. “It’s quite valuable” she went on to say… “It’s been in the family for as long as I can remember, it used to have pride of place in the lounge room at Mum’s place.”

Valuable? I looked a bit closer, it was painted onto a material, but it had a masonite backing, with old brown gum tape barely holding the thing together. “One of my Uncle’s painted it, Mum said Uncle George was quite an Artist in his day…”

Well to make a long story shorter, it turned out to be high in sentimental value, rather than cash value. Sure the landscape was skillfully painted, the composition and subject delightful, but the little oil painting tacked down onto masonite was an image her Uncle had painted on holiday in Gippsland. A lovely sweeping vista across rolling hills with a river and fields below, the picture evoked memories for her Mother and I feel sure it led into a few delightful family stories of holidays gone by.

Sometimes the value we hold for something is all about the sentiment. But if you think you have a valuable piece by an ‘Uncle’ or a special heirloom piece passed on through the family, it could pay to have it checked out. What might look like an original Albert Namatjira Watercolour, or a Sidney Nolan painting might just be a print, a student copy done years back or one of a vast number of reproductions.

If you have a piece you consider of value,  you could do worse than have your friendly professional picture framer check it out. If nothing else they can advise on its conservation and give it a fresh start, or they might just be able to give you hope the piece is a long lost masterpiece.

As long as you enjoy the piece, the cash value probably may not matter a great deal. If it is worth your while to restore the frame, then consider one of our range of 99% UV protective glasses, they are part of our premium product range and can assist in ensuring others can enjoy the image your Uncle created all those years ago. 

The Picture Framing Shak

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 


21/10/16 - I’d like to make a statement…

In the art and framing business this generally means the person wants to make a visual statement, often a bold one. Colour, vibrancy, scale, movement, through to deeply serene contemplation, whatever the desire there will be a picture to match it.

Occasionally people come in to have a look at the collection of framed statement pieces we have on hand, sometimes they come in to chat about what’s possible and often times drop in for some inspiration, some just marvel at our range of over 450 frames on display! How then do you go about making a decision about a piece that will set your decor apart, a piece that stops people in their tracks and causes a conversation to take place that may well go on into the latter part of a dinner party or casual afternoon get together.

These days we are spoilt for choice, original contemporary artworks are now widely available from Art galleries, direct from the Artist’s studio or online. Many websites see Contemporary Artists working together to bring art to the world as well as individual sites from the artist themselves.

Then let’s move across to another visual marketplace, a place where monstrous inkjet printers churn out, everything from photographs to limited edition prints, on delicate fabrics, heavy duty banner material through to delicate satin finished fabrics. Then of course papers, from specially designed high quality cotton rag papers to mainstream commercial papers. The end product can be chosen from many thousands of simply stunning, and not so stunning, images.

With these choices available the discerning statement maker then needs to choose how much they want the statement to reflect themselves. Ok so I may be about to step on some toes, but how you decorate your home or office, is often a reflection of you, or what’s important to  you, for some they show this by having family images grouped to show some family history and key moments in their lives.


However to others the desire to show their depth of cultural engagement can be derived from spending thousands on large scale original works, the sort that causes their family and friends to look, gasp, then ask where they got it and then frantically try to figure out what the person spent! All without directly asking the price of course… that would be too uncouth!

So status and importance aside the image you choose will probably be with you for a long time and the framing of it can become an issue, well not if you choose a friendly professional picture framer, they should be able to readily advise you on the best way to protect or effectively showcase your statement piece.

Then of course the issue becomes, “where will we hang it” but that’s another story.

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


16/10/16 One Classic Frame Please...

“I would like my picture framed classically please…” said the customer, I replied with “Well... If you can describe specifically what you mean by classical…” - There was a moment of  silence and a blank stare, mind you it seemed like an eternity rather than a fleeting moment. “Oh yes… I see what you mean. Well  you know something that will stand the test of time, something visually interesting without being over the top or too audacious… You know…”

Phew this seemed like hard work, but with over 450 different frames on show in our collection, it was soon an elimination process, not this one, maybe that. Then a discussion on mat borders kicked in, how much space, was it wider at the bottom and so on.

The end result looked fine and I feel sure the customer will have the item on the wall for many years to come, and it will fit with a range of decor changes, perhaps even ownership changes.

As a picture framer I need to be a mind reader, a design and colour consultant and an artistic font of knowledge. Some of these come easier than others… In this case what is classic to one person is not to another, what will create a stunning effect and what might detract can be up to the ‘eye of the beholder’.

In the Picture Framing game, our ability to safely preserve an item is one thing, making it look good is another, a bit like juggling. The good thing is when you want to ensure your artwork is framed well and will suit your needs you might need to find a friendly professional picture framer who can listen carefully, clarify your needs and explore the answers to come up with a  suitable range of possibilities.

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak


7/10/16 Framing memories

I received a small parcel in the mail from a Cousin interstate, I knew her handwriting from many years of receiving her Christmas cards. It was a small cluster of war medals from my Father and an Uncle I never knew.

Now in my sweaty trembling hand was an amazing piece of personal history. My Uncles Dog Tag, Dad’s RAAF badge and some coloured ribands. The short handwritten note told me a bit more of the story.

My Cousin thought I might like to have these, as I showed interest in our family tree, how right she was! I have spent many years searching old records and uncovering many details of relatives from the past.

I fully intend to somehow frame these and since starting out in framing with The Picture Framing Shak I have seen many people bring similar items in for us to showcase. I love hearing the stories, seeing people talk with passion about a loved one who fought, a loved one who probably brushed off the pain and sorrow felt and simply soldiered on.

For those of you with items of personal history you cherish and want to display, a custom designed frame can provide you with a way to remember, pay tribute to a loved one, a chance to say you care and show others your family has interesting history which probably played an important part in the way you were raised. That’s certainly the case for me.

When you want to preserve memories, and you know the stories passed on might fade, providing a safe haven for the objects is a way to let future generations know something special transpired. Use the expertise of your friendly professional picture framer to ensure your memories are presented professionally, with care and attention to detail.  

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 


30/9/16 - Hang it!

You have just picked up your newly framed artwork from The Picture Framing Shak and now face the task of hanging the item. For a professional that’s no problem, but for the first timer it could be daunting.

There are some easy steps to consider. Let’s start with the height, generally museums and art galleries will hang the work at eye level to the centre of the artwork, or on average 1550mm up from the floor to the centre of the work. Then personal taste and furniture placement can alter that guideline. Then consider the left and right placement, I often say “Measure twice and double check if you are unsure”.

The next step is to measure from where the hanging wire is to the top of the frame. Holding the frame in place you could then have someone use a pencil to mark where the top of the frame needs to be, then measure down from that mark to where  you have calculated where the hanger needs to be attached to the wall.

Most pictures will probably only require a simple ‘plaster hook’ which is held in place with a nail going in at an angle into the plaster.

Heavier works you can try and find the sutd behind the plaster with a stud finder and ensure the nail goes into that. There are also double hangers which require two nails and offer greater hold. On wider or heavier pieces two or more of these can be used to provide stability, I generally place them about 100mm apart.

In a brick wall consult you local hardware professional for ideas on the best way to use the various hooks available to provide a solid anchor point.

Oh and one thing I NEED to add, in the framing shop we see too many frames come in for repairs which have fallen off the wall, the challenge, they used tape based fasteners, either the fastener instructions were not followed properly, or the item was too heavy for the size of fastener they chose. So please be careful using those.

When it comes to planning out how to hang more than one item on a wall, well that’s a great idea for another article from your friendly professional picture framer.

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 


23/9/16 - Papers, art and you...

Paper has been such a big part of our lives for so long, some, like newsprint soon fade and crumble while others have stood the test of time and have carried images and text for hundreds of years conveying the creators message. For art works there are a wide range of finishes and types for the artist to consider.

For the art collector probably the biggest consideration is that the image on the paper will last and retain the image and therefore its value. For the conservator and picture framer, the task is then to look after this important substrate and ensure it can remain in top condition for as long as possible and any framing methods used can be reversed or readily removed, a key feature of archival and conservation methods.

With varying textures and surface finishes as well as ranges of colours the artist has so many aspects to choose from in creating their art. For the framer and conservator the paper simply needs to be neutral ph and kept away from acid loaded materials which can affect the paper.

Generally papers made from cotton and not chemically treated meet this neutral ph criteria, however many Japanese papers made from other natural materials also meet this specification.

A walk into almost any art supply store will soon show the viewer a wide range of papers, from decorative printed ones to the more naturally presented ones of varying thicknesses and qualities. Perhaps the thing you will notice is the thickness of the papers and the watermark of the company that made it, often stamped in one corner. The ‘weight’ of the paper is expressed as GSM or Grams per Square Metre, the lower the number the light the paper and therefore it is thinner.

For the artist many seem to prefer papers which can show the rough or deckled edge as it is known, which is formed in the traditional creation process, where the edge of the ‘deckle’ frame forms the uneven edge.

A quick search on the internet will soon show you there are a wide range of process used to create papers and it certainly is a fascinating area to explore.

Now, about framing that lovely piece of paper, you know the one with the art or family photo on it… Yep you guessed right, chat to your friendly professional picture framer at The Picture Framing Shak for the best way to showcase that brilliant image.

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak  


16/9/16 - Invest in art, it’s good for you...

Having an art collection does not depend on how big your business or domestic situation is, you can still have an art collection with all of its benefits on tight budgets and in small spaces.


For your business, an art collection can add depth to your brand image. On the domestic side the image your home portrays and the ambiance your collection creates, can readily take your house and make it a home.

Ok so your art collection can create good vibes all round, are there other benefits? You bet there is… Social status, investment portfolio diversification, Philanthropy and the sheer joy of having hand crafted items, which can be fabulous talking points for years to come.

On the investment side, selecting the right artworks can provide stunning returns for those with the ability to trade items which have appreciated in value on the auction and private markets and of course my views on this are not specific advice, but intended more for educational value…

There is a growing body of evidence that art can create an inspiring home and work environment, therefore contributing to people’s cultural development and happiness. Of course buying art also assists Visual Artists to continue their visual language exploration and personal development.

Ok, so if you buy art for your business you might want to chat to your Accountant to explore the value of this type of asset class and whether or not you can spend some, no interest ‘Art Money’ to fund these purchases.Once you have decided to by some art, you will then have to look after it, framing the item/s is one way to do that and this is where your friendly professional picture framer can assist, providing information and ideas on the best ways to showcase your investments.

Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016


9/9/16 - Why are we weighting?

Picture framing is not generally a weighty subject, pardon the pun… But in most cases we ‘weight’ the frames. No we don’t add lead weights to a frame as a diver might to keep themselves on the bottom of the ocean, no no. We add a little more space at the bottom of an artwork, where we use a mat to enhance the look of the frame, provide some space from the frame edge and to keep the glass off the image.

This extra space on the bottom of the mat provides a visual foundation for the image to ‘sit on’. Usually people find they notice this after the piece has been on their wall for a while, it does not displease them so much but it can leave them wondering why.

In the past when wall heights were much greater than today, it meant that the weighting provided an optical illusion as the viewer looked up at the framed piece. The bottom wider edge of the mat now looked ‘normal’ due to forced perspective.

Over time the practice has been passed on and is commonplace today. So, if you are looking and wondering why, hopefully I have provided you with the answer you sought. Your friendly picture framing professional should be able to tell you the answer to all manner of questions, especially on picture framing, ones about rocket science might need a little research before we can give you an answer.

Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016



31/8/16 - Raw Passion

Regulars to our website and store will know we are passionate about Picture Framing but few will know we have raw frames. Now we can get passionate about those.

Regular visitors to top end contemporary galleries in and around Melbourne will know the ones, Vic Ash, Blackwood and Tassie Oak frames have long been their favourites and offer a warm, strong yet delicate appeal, even in the larger sizes. So they are not new, and even the National Gallery of Victoria uses them, but for us it’s a new area to explore. They come in a range of sizes and types, straight and flat, offering a uniquely Australian way to ensure your works are supported.


These frames are done slightly differently to our other frames, not only do we lovingly cut and join these, but we carefully sand them, then hand wax and buff them to create a fingerprint free surface as well as preserving the furniture grade timber.


One of the bonuses for avid collectors of framed works on paper is the ability to be able to match the finish and style for many years to come. Yes the colours can alter and in the Blackwoods they range from dark to light and the Vic Ash ones range from soft pink overtones through to gentle yellow hues all within the blonde main colour of the wood.


The one thing wood lovers will note in the difference in the wood, the 'figure', the knot marks, resin veins and the like that add character to the finish, for those that are not a fan of this kind of 'organic feel', well perhaps they should select another type of frame. Me I love the character these frames can exude.


For a frame that can clearly stand the test of time, oozes style and fashionable appeal, ask your friendly picture framer about the raw appeal of these frames. 

Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016


26/8/16 - Selecting art for the office

Our phone rang, it was the personal assistant from a large business just a suburb away. She had been given the task of getting art up on the wall of the board room and from the tone of her voice it was clearly a call for help “I have no idea of what to choose, how big it should be, where to source it and how to hang the things… Any thoughts?” She said.

Although this is not a question we get asked a often, thankfully we have a range of resources to draw from to provide some possible answers. It started with, “Do you have a budget?” And soon developed into, how often will the board room be used, if they had any interest in original works, or simply wanted to ‘jazz up’ the place.

We provided her with images, looked at the size of the room and discussed, colours, image impact and a range of logistics to bring the project together.

A range of images were provided to her executives on the board, so decisions could be made. One option put forward was to use original artworks which may increase in value, another was reproductions to fulfil a more decor based approach. From these starting points a connection was made to the organization’s values and beliefs, sustainability was a key point, so the works needed to reflect that. In the end we were able to figure out the best images to select were of their large scale assets, valued at many millions of dollars these assets provided the ideal backdrop for their executive team to be inspired by.



Another corporate project we completed was a large map for a shipping company, which had prominent pride of place near the entry to the building. It was framed and hung rather than on the floor being trampled.

Both projects offered the chance to create a new feel for their decor, which in turn added appeal for the staff and customers. While some organisations may not step far beyond decoration in their offices and service areas, but with a few of the right questions, the company’s status, sales area presentation and overall feel can be suitably enhanced.


Your friendly professional picture framer should be able to coordinate all this for you and at The Picture Framing Shak we love to assist in bigger projects to give businesses a wow factor, after all a happy workplace is a more productive one all round and if showcasing your products and services gives your customers a better understanding of what you have to offer then it can become a wise investment..


Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016


19/8/16 - Float mounting your image

Float mount framing is a technique used by Artists, Framers and Galleries world wide, to especially showcase works where the whole sheet of paper or image may need to be shown. It can make the works appear to 'float' against the background they are mounted on.

Handmade and speciality printmaking papers often have a ‘deckled’ edge, this is formed in the manufacturing process and is probably the main reason float mounting was developed.

Artists and Print Makers often plan an artwork based on the whole piece of paper being used and want to showcase the unique deckled edges that show up on handmade speciality art papers. They might also print right to the edges on standard papers and therefore the whole sheet needs to be seen to showcase all of the image

While this framing and mounting technique is used often, it is not without its challenges.

  • Papers – The type of process used to create the paper can mean the paper has a rough texture, they can also be cold or hot pressed. Some are stiffer than others if they have been coated with a sizing chemical or have a high clay content. Because of this some papers will behave very differently to other in how they present in a frame and how they might respond to the methods we use to attach them into the frame
  • Humidity and environment – This can affect the way the paper reacts against the mounting material and may show a mark where the piece is attached. Over time this may fade as the materials stabilise in the frame
  • Relaxing the paper – We aim to give the image time to relax and flatten out on its own so it can sit flat in the frame, sometimes we may need to ‘reverse roll’ the piece to take out excess curl, or we may press the paper between flat weighted materials to encourage it to flatten out. This can take time and while all care is taken, we can never fully guarantee the paper will stay flat, or retain some curl
  • Attachment methods – While we exercise all due care in deciding on the best method to float mount your piece, we also need to take into account conservation best practices, where we aim to make our ‘interventions’ reversible. We also aim to minimise the way our techniques interact with the paper, while still keeping the image securely in place

While there are a number of challenges we have to deal with and try to overcome there are things both you and I can do to minimise some of these challenges.

  • Keep the work flat – if it came rolled up, unroll it and let it naturally unroll on its own, then CAREFULLY roll it flat and place protective paper over it and place evenly distributed weights on it, leave it for a week or two, check it, not yet flat enough? Repeat the process. If necessary you can carefully, loosely reverse roll the paper, leave it for a few days and see how that goes. You can use cling wrap to hold it in its rolled up state
  • Avoid over handling – Creases can be a hassle to remove, over handling increases the risk of creases forming

We hope that helps you to understand the challenges and methods we use to frame your work and ask that if you have any concerns about how your work looks when you come to collect it that you give it time to settle into its new environment, temperature, and humidity matter. After a few weeks it may have settled back into its original flat state and attachment marks may have resided, please be patient… Remember your friendly professional picture framer, wants you to enjoy your piece for many years to come. We hope that our guidelines assist you in planning and enjoying your finished piece.

Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016


12/8/16 - About digital imaging

Images on paper come in all manner of sizes and types. These days most printing is now in some type of digital format, being inkjet, laser print, or laser printed onto photographic paper in a process known as a Lambda print using a chemical photographic process to develop and preserve the latent image.

For people wanting to ensure their image lasts the test of time, they should ensure the prints are done with pigment based inks in a process often called a Giclee print, a term coined by Printmaker Jack Duganne in 1992. The term is based on the French word gicleur, which means "nozzle", with the verb form gicler meaning "to squirt, spurt, or spray”. Your printer should be able to advise if the print materials used are archival, meaning they will not chemically attack the substrate they are printed on or fade under UV light.

At the Picture Framing Shak we deal with all types of substrates that digital images can come on and have had to think carefully about the processes we use to ensure some level of longevity is assured, especially for higher value, limited edition works on paper people have invested in.

Where possible we advise people to not leave works in transport tubes for too long, as this can hamper the framing process if you want the work to lay flat without a mat holding the image in place. This is called a float mount. We also advise against too much handling of the work, and if a tissue interleaving sheet is in place, to please keep it in place, it protects the often delicate surface. Your friendly professional picture framer will leave this in place, right up to the last moment when the picture is framed.

Another consideration at the print stage is the paper, with high resolution printing equipment, the paper generally has a very fine finish composed of neutral ph 100 % cotton rag. Many of these speciality papers come from European companies who have been making these papers for hundreds of years with time honoured traditions and processes.

Other papers and substrates can be used and the customer should be aware of this and do their own research to find out the best substrate for the image they want printed, taking into account the light fastness as well as the end product they want to obtain.

One of the newer trends in fine art printing is a canvas print. For the consumer I like to advise them it may not be the best way to get an image printed as it comes with extra ‘issues’, Firstly as a material, for it to hang on a wall it needs to be stretched over a frame, this stretched unit, can then have an external frame over it. Another issue is to ensure the dried inks on the canvas surface are waterproof, otherwise you might find a wipe with a damp cloth can cause a smearing of the image!


While you take great care in ensuring the image created has been printed to last a long time, we also ensure the image will last the test of time by advising you on archival methods and processes to keep your framed item in top condition for decades to come. We have access to museum standard conservation glass, neutral PH mats, tapes and backing materials to ensure longevity of the end product as you might expect from your friendly professional picture framer  


Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016


22/7/16 Join the Club!

Your kid’s team has played well this season and the coach suggests that a team photo with all of the people involved produce a signed photo for the club room walls, great idea! Suddenly someone realises that having everyone signing the photo, could be difficult and in some cases when the ink doesn’t dry in a hurry, smudging can happen.

An easy way around this is to have the photo framed with a wide mat board that everyone can sign. The photo stays intact and by following a few simple guidelines, the mat can look stunning, clean neat and tidy.

Try these tips…

  • Get you friendly professional picture framer to cut two mats - Just in case some kid is a klutz with a pen or doesn’t follow the guidelines
  • Have a scrap of the mat board for the kids to practice on - Or even some scrap paper. Kids are not adults who are used to writing or signing their name, a bit of practice before the main mat gets them into the swing of things
  • Add a small border – Use a fine sharp pencil, a HB one might be ideal, to measure in from the outer edge of the mat board, about 10 – 15 mm. This can be erased later on, but it ensures that all of the signatures will be well away from the edges where the frame fits on top
  • Adding a plaque, mention this early – We add plaques to frames all the time, to do so we cut an opening in the mat, this way the plaque does not sit on top of the mat and cause the glass to have to bend over it. By cutting a space for the plaque it also makes it obvious that the signatures will be done well away from the area the plaque has to fit.
  • Consider acrylic… - If the area where the picture will finally be hung is busy and it could be knocked off the wall somehow, then ask for acrylic, not glass, it might scratch if it gets knocked off the wall, but it won’t shatter and cause a major hazard

Clubs that have these sorts of mementos of past teams, often find the new recruits get a sense of history, trust and belonging, often seeing relatives and other school mates involved in the club. What a great way to engage your children in a new venture that gets them out and actively involved.

For more ideas and options on how to create these sorts of memories for your club, chat to your friendly professional picture framer, for custom made options to suit your needs.

Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016


18/7/16 Your decor and bold choices

It takes a fair degree of courage to decide to paint walls strong vibrant colours, and create a decorative feature for your home that compliments your decor, often however it’s often not the feature wall you really want, it’s a feature piece… Let me explain

When you walk into a museum, you go there to see items of interest, not to see a feature wall so much, the walls and other decor can be set up to enhance the display.

It’s the same with custom picture frames, they are not the art, they are the support device for the art. But they become part of the feature, then surrounding that are the walls. My Suggestion therefore is to make feature pieces stand out rather than a wall, use the wall or the surrounding decor to compliment the image/s.


  • A feature piece of artwork which you can love (or grow to love) and frame it to make the art stand out, want to make a real statement, get an original artwork or commission an artist to create a piece that fits to your decor and or colour scheme. If you have room, look for statement pieces which can add scale to your decor

  • A framed piece where the frame is designed to stand out, look at textured frames and wider frames where the scale of the frame and the art, work in harmony and make a bold statement, framed sections of fabric can work exceptionally well, choose wisely though, design styles can be on trend, then off trend fast... Or how about a giant movie poster or an enlarged family photo

  • Accessorise, add other items which can add visual appeal to the decor and add to the vibrancy of the decor, vases, flower arrangements, lamps and other feature pieces can accessorise the decor to create bold interest

  • Explore colour choices, boldly coloured mat borders in your framed images with contrasting frames can be ideal in the right setting… with the right art image

  • Select a limited edition work by an Artist. With so many artists and galleries having onsite sales pages, the excuse for having hand crafted artistic works is now null and void. Try a google search for Australian art for under $500, and you will soon see there are plenty of options. It can look good and could become a valuable asset. Often limited edition prints can give an art lover a cost effective entry point to art collecting, perhaps a bold black and white print like a lino cut or wood cut relief print, a search for Australian Printmakers will give you a dizzying array of options to explore

  • Tables and shelves for 3D items. If you have a home with plenty of corners with room to display items, consider a range of tables or shelves to create a home for smaller 3D artworks. Consider exploring a theme. Look at ceramics, hand blown glass, artists books, stand up object frames with memorabilia, coffee table glossy books

These are just a few options to explore in making  your home a vibrant place to be with the chance of creating bold statement or three. Your friendly professional picture framer can assist you to take care of limited edition and artist created works, as well as give you more ideas to create your own bold decor statements. 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

8/7/16 Packaging artwork for transport

You want to send what where? It’s one of those questions the team at the Picture Framing Shak get asked from time to time, “how do I package this for transport?” Well of course it depends on what you are going to send, who will handle it and how much you want to pay to send it.

Okay if price is important and you want something to get somewhere, roll it up, put it in a mailing tube, stuff the ends with packing tissue, attach the label and of you go to the post office. But wait, what if it’s a fully framed item? In this case your budget just might go out the window.

Let’s think about the handling of a fully framed item, some couriers if they get the chance will throw the item at some stage, maybe not at this end as you hand it over to the courier, but possibly in between. Therefore a different approach is required.

If possible ask for the glass to be acrylic so it can flex, the downside is it scratches very easily so think hard about how it’s protected. If you have glass already consider running some masking tape in a big X across it so that IF it does break all the pieces will not float about causing more damage.

Here are a few approaches to consider.

  • Framed works - Get your friendly framer to cut a piece of MDF board to fit across the front of the frame, between the MDF and the glass put micro packing foam, it comes in a roll, then put bubble wrap on top of that, and finally tape the MDF in place, being careful to not mark the frame. Place the item in a flat cardboard box with padding around the edges of the frame, some cut down polystyrene would do the trick. Seal well, and clearly mark the address

  • Limited edition prints or photographs - I prefer not to see these rolled up, it depends on the value of the item though. If it’s precious then I would suggest two pieces of ‘corflute’, this has zero ph and is tough to try and bend. Acid free tissue top and bottom and a wrap of the micro packaging foam, then cardboard with generous overlap all round, if it’s all taped up tight the chance of damage is minimal. Still not sure, put a piece or two of thin MDF in the package to prevent any bending or punctures, but advise the end user to remove the MDF on arrival, it’s loaded with acid from the manufacturing process, which is not good for your print

  • Framed memorabilia - The challenge here is the 3D items which are attached to the backing board in some way. Ideally you want this item to remain on its back and have the ability to handle any lateral movement, so pack it well with bubble wrap

  • Sculptural items - Get a specialist if it’s of high value, or if you have to do it yourself, make sure everything is well supported

  • Multiple pieces - Moving house? If you have a lot of pieces the same size you could make a crate and line it with foam chunks, perhaps try wrapping two frames face to face together with bubble wrap in between, might need some tape to keep them in place, different sized pieces, try and match up the similar sized ones and give them lots of bubble wrap love!

Wrap things, tight, protect the glass from breaking and if in doubt, chat to your friendly professional picture framer for more ideas and options.

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 


28/6/16 Get the look - Your Decor, picture framing and you

You want your home to have “the look” and you want it to be just right… well we might just have some answers for you to explore.

You know that the look you create in your home says a lot about you, your style, tastes and desires. You will most certainly realise that the look you create will have a range of elements on the walls then delicately countered with furnishings and suitable accessories. So using mirrors is one thing, framed pictures are another and both can be a big part of today’s look.

I won’t pretend to be a style icon for interior ‘haute’ decor, BUT I will tell you that I and the team at The Picture Framing Shak know a thing or three about bringing images to life, using gorgeous frames.

Let’s face it, your decor speaks volumes about the image you want to portray and the style and elegance you want people to remember you by. From high end original works by contemporary Artists to budget, reframes of Op shop bargains or sentimental memorabilia and beyond. We can help.

So, let’s start the process, when your friends and family step into your world, what impression do you want to make? Slick techno minimal, non fussy shabby chic or perhaps contemporary bourgeois... Or any one of a myriad of notionally conceptual mixtures your mind might invent. Your task is to create that look… Perhaps to impress, create a warm relaxed oasis, or a full on masterpiece of deeply whimsical desire. Now you are starting to get the picture.

Visualise what you want... Now race off and see what you can find to develop the image you want to create. Researching images in current savvy magazines is one way to go, jumping online is now so easy you can soon be on trend with the result you want. Collect images and ideas, explore colours, textures, patterns and styles.

Now here’s where we come in… The look you want for the wall decoration can get a solid start by seeing our range of frame options, from the exclusive Bellini Italian range to the incredible array of fabulous mouldings we have always had in stock. Drop in, chat with us about the look you want, take photos of the frame styles you want to explore, then research some more, finally narrowing in on the types of images that will go with the frame and the style you want.

You could also do the opposite and start with the images, find frames to suit those and then explore accessorising based on the image and frame choices made.

Here are some more ideas to get you started;

  • Think bold and vibrant - or soft and demure - Colour choices can be made based on frame styles and colour options, where you take the lead based frame styles you want

  • Get creative - Making an artistic statement may not be as hard as you think, from crafty creations to high end art works, your style or the artist’s style, find things you can connect with and call you own to help communicate the statement you want to make.

  • Cluttered can be ok - So can minimal, If it’s an eccentric cluttered look you want then a few well chosen wall images just might be ‘set off’ by an array of accessories you collect from boutiques and quirky homewares stores. If you are thinking minimal then perhaps the well chosen wall images might just be different enough to blend in and explore the world of subtle visual engagement

  • Textures, metals, patterns and colour - These can be combined, or be used to help create a theme that ‘ties’ all the elements you want together, take a look at our metallic decor frames, or our ornate textured mouldings and you will soon see what I mean by; “We have an extensive range to get you started”.

  • Pastels, florals and passive aggressive - Perhaps not in that order and perhaps not that deeply conceptual. But the catalyst is there, you have started to think about what you want more deeply haven’t you, good… Decor, frames, image and your ability to bring all the elements together

Your friendly professional picture framer at the Picture Framing Shak can be a fantastic resource of ideas and options for exploring, frame styles, border mat colours and textures, through to creating eclectic mixes of 3d items you find that we can create an ‘object box’ around. Let’s assist you to bring all your design elements together by starting off with the wall images and their framing. Drop in to chat and see what we have to offer to help you make your framing decor the statement you really want.

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 


22/6/16 Shadow boxes, object boxes and beyond

I walked into the hallway and saw a vast array of items, a phone table, old pictures on the wall and that unmistakable aroma of an old, well loved home… as we walked down the hallway more objects in other rooms came into view.


I was there to hang a few pictures and was duly shown where, and which ones with a warm smile from the neatly presented white haired lady in an apron. Mrs Bryant had lived in this home for many years, her husband built it after the war as so many did, her children were raised there and now there was just Mrs Bryant and her tawny ‘disinterested’ cat.

The home was quiet, apart from a radio playing softly in the kitchen, where she sat sipping tea and reading the paper. The pictures to hang were of family, grandkids and others dressed up for a wedding. These took pride of place on two walls and were easily hung.


“All done” she said as I packed my tools up. “Yes I am, I think they look good there don’t you think?” She smiled and nodded. She went on to say how the family have given her so much joy, so many memories of lovely family events. Loves the grand kids, “But they can be so noisy!” While I packed up I noticed a frame propped up on a stand on a small side table with a lace doily across its wax polished deep brown surface, it was quite big for the table I thought and in the half light through the voile curtains I could see it was no ordinary frame, it had a picture and was deeper than usual, I looked closer and saw it contained some small objects.


I wanted to move closer to have a look, but that would have been rude, so with some deft small talk about the other family images on the walls, Mrs Bryant soon led me around the room. It as if she was introducing the various members of the family. We got to the propped up frame and she ignored it for now as she pointed to an older photograph of her and her husband. “This was taken in the front yard here, not long after the house was finished and George had put in the first garden bed, right along this window just here”. She pointed to the window that looked out onto the front yard from the room we were in.

I then gestured to the propped up frame on the small table, I was now close enough to see the photograph was of a man in uniform. “Oh that, That’s George and some of the things he bought back from being posted overseas during the war, the kids have the medals, they wear them with pride at war memorial marches, I suspect the grandkids will be next.”


I moved closer, there was some pieces of metal, a spent bullet shell, a fork and some other items, all especially displayed in the frame. Mrs Bryant chimed in with “George always had those things in a box and he would bring them out from time to time to show the kids and tell stories that related to what they were and what they meant to him. Each item had its special place in his war stories, he would tell the children about places he had visited, people he had met, lot’s of good things, not the misery and pain, he always said there was too much of that.” She gave a slight sigh, a clear sign to move on. “A cup of tea before you head off?” She said “Yes please…” and a little while later I left with a few more stories of a family that lived in a warm home with vivid memories.

Since that day I have seen many object boxes, with medals, charms, items to remember, items of achievement, art works and general items of interest to the viewer. I see these as a fantastic way to record, remember, delight and build interest. I can imagine stories flowing from those who share the stories and the wonderment in those who listen to the stories.


Thanks Mrs Bryant, and all the wonderful people just like you with stories to tell, memories to preserve and the care for family that shines through all the hustle and bustle of life. May the memories so dearly held in your object box be a source of wonder for many generations to come.

Your friendly professional picture framer at The Picture Framing Shak can assist you with the planning and creation of your memory jogging object box, be it a simple item you treasure or a more complex array of items and images to share.


 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 



7/6/16 Getting drawings and pastels ready to frame

You created a drawing or Pastel image and want to frame it, but you need to be careful because it can smudge SO EASILY.

Artists who draw and use pastels a lot soon learn there are effective ways to prevent this happening. For those of you new to the medium. Here are a few tips.

  1. Keep your hands off - One slip and it’s smudged, some use a piece of paper on the drawn surface to keep things from moving about too much. Others seal the surface in sections with fixative spray, some of these can allow extra work to happen afterwards, but seals the existing image. Some artists even create a low 'bridge', which sits over the drawing and keeps their hands off the surface.

  2. Handle it less - A drawing that gets shuffled about in a folio can smudge too, also be aware that taking it out to show people may present more chances of it getting damaged.

  3. A light covering - A sheet of jewellers tissue interleaved between drawings can assist in minimising damage.

  4. Seal it well - Fixative sprays can help to hold the pigment and graphite particles in place, No fixative? Try hairspray it’s the same thing generally, but with a perfume. Chat to your art store about ways to seal the works, perhaps a few layers of fixative spray will need to be applied

  5. Keep it flat - If you roll up a drawn piece you run the risk of more damage, consider a flat folio to keep it pristine

  6. Let us know - If it is delicate and MAY smudge, let us know BEFORE you open the folio. We get many prints that look like drawings and it can be so easy to handle them the same, not a good idea… Tell us so we know to be even more careful than usual

Now that you have handled it safely, and bought it over to show us, we will advise on some of the ways it could be framed. The framing method used should ideally be reversible for original artworks and we use specialist framing tapes and we can use conservation methods where required. Your friendly professional picture framer should be able to tell you exactly how it will be framed and the care they can put in to ensure the work remains pristine.         

The Picture Framing Shak team have access to a wide range of materials and process knowledge to keep the work protected for a long time. Ask them about our 99% uv protective glass options for special items which may risk being discoloured or fading in the light.

 Steve Gray  


Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 


21/5/16 Canvas images - Did I buy the right thing and.. how do I get it framed?

Canvas works come in a wide range of types and sizes, from images worth a fortune, created by contemporary or historic artists. Then of course there are the budget priced ones we pick up on holidays, from a 'two dollar shop' or from a door to door Hawker wanting to make some cash, “It was so cheap” or “It was a great memory jogger of our holiday…”.

Framing even the simplest canvas takes time and effort, with the framer having to take into consideration if the image is square, what size of stretcher frame to use and how much tension to put on the fabric.

The idea of painting onto canvas as a process, has stood the test of time and is considered a traditional approach by most artists who want to create images for us to enjoy. The canvas is stretched over a timber frame and was traditionally held in place with steel tacks, staples took over as the attachment method of choice. Often the canvas is taken off the initial frame to make them easier to transport from that wonderful holiday away.

The painting can be left on the stretcher and hung on the wall, or it can have an added decorative frame added depending on your decor, budget and needs. Generally canvas works are not put under glass unless their age or fragility dictates the need for it.

The challenge for the consumer is to know at least a little about what they are getting and if it is worth the money they are about to spend. Firstly let’s ask some questions, is the canvas work aimed at decorating an area? Going to be a short term decorator item, or for a few years perhaps? Or is it intended to last many years due to its value or deeper aesthetic appeal

So let’s take a two pronged approach

1 - The decorator item - You are not too concerned if it will last, you just want to be able to hang it. You could go for ‘uber contemporary’ and pin it to the wall. Or we could stretch it on a frame for you with the hanging wire in place to make it ready to hang. These cheaper paintings are often done on lightweight materials like calico or cheap materials like old roller blinds, you can see the weave of the material but that’s about it’s only connection to canvas.

2 - The valued artwork - Perhaps this is a certified work, or from a reputable gallery or artist and taking it off the frame was for transport only. Some of these works come as a flat item, never stretched, but painted out flat, usually taped to a board for the artist to work on. These more expensive works are often done on heavier duty cotton or linen with carefully prepared surfaces with an undercoat called Gesso.

If you do a quick search online or in an art store you will find there are various types and brands of higher quality canvas of varying thicknesses and fineness of weave.

You will also soon realise there is a vast array of paints and pigments artists can use on a canvas. The traditional being oil paint, with the more modern Acrylics offering a faster drying alternative through to pigment based inkjet prints onto canvas.

Like canvases the paint and pigments are of varying standards and many will have a level of lightfastness printed on the side of the paint tube. Professional contemporary artists making a solid income from of their work will use expensive paints knowing they have exceptional archival and lightfast properties, as well as being made from top quality ingredients which are often a pleasure to move around the canvas.

If you are in any doubt about how you should frame your canvas images, then chat to your friendly professional picture framer for ideas and inspiration. At the Picture Framing Shak we love to advise customers on the right approaches to framing, after all we are passionate about framing.

 Steve Gray  


Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 


10/5/16 Works on paper, handle with care

At the Picture Framing Shak we see an incredible array of items to be framed, original prints, photographs, drawings and so much more. Some of the images we get are ordered by the customer online and delivered to us sight unseen ready for us to frame. A phone call and a visit from the customer and the freshly arrived image is soon safely stored ready for framing.

However most of the time works on paper come rolled up in a shipping tube, where the customer has taken the item out to look at, rolled them up again, and then stuffed them back in the tube, each time increasing the risk of damage to the print.

Sometimes we can ‘iron out’ some of the creases and marks that happen from handling, but at other times the paper is so thin it’s hard not to see some damage show up in the framed piece.

Scratches on delicate materials, high gloss and photographic surfaces are some of the other challenges which can make the framing of a once pristine image a challenge too.

Where possible aim to handle the image with extreme care and if it’s a limited edition, historic or other highly valued document then let us know early in the consultation process so we can advise on suitable framing methods to keep the item in tip top condition. As your friendly professional picture framer we can do full conservation or simpler framing to suit your needs and budget.

 Steve Gray  


Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 




1/5/16 It’s going to be there a long while…

You’ve decided to frame an image, you hold dear to your heart, perhaps it’s a needlework image you spent hours on, an original limited edition print or a drawing. No matter what it is, you love it, and want to proudly show it to all who walk in your door.

You decide to chat to your friendly professional picture framer about it and they suggest a few framing ideas you like and perhaps some you are not sure of. One thing is for sure, it will be on the wall for a long while.

At The Picture Framing Shak, people bring in these types of items all the time, and we see it as our task to show off the piece as best we can, given the resources and budget to do so.

Firstly we want to conserve it, so in many years to come when the frame is updated due to a change of owner wanting the piece to meet more contemporary decor trends, we want them to find the piece has not been damaged by any of the materials used or the environment around it.

Then we want to make sure it looks great, so the frame compliments and showcases the work as well as fitting to the decor requirements the owner has and their budget.

To make sure it looks good we might suggest a double or triple mat border, or a mat with a decorative filet, or perhaps a double frame. To conserve it we might suggest museum level glazing, or perhaps conservation level mat-boards or framing techniques. No matter which we suggest we would want the item to stand the test of time as well as look fantastic.

Our challenge is to make all this happen, keep the customer happy, and know that our efforts are also appreciated in the future. After all “it’s going to be there a long while”, and as always, quality is remembered, long after the price is forgotten. So here’s to beautifully framed images created to stand the test of time.



Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 





 28/4/16  Limited edition prints - The good the bad and the downright devious  

Many people have heard about a ‘Limited Edition Print” and will soon tell you, it’s worth something more than just any old print, but what makes it so special and what are the pitfalls involved for the collector?

We see printed items everyday, from magazines and newspapers to posters and images hot off a printing press. Although we may not be so sure of the processes involved in getting the ink onto the page to create the images and words, one thing is for sure you know there are hundreds and thousands of the same images and text on shelves in stores. From that you can soon realise the images are worth little more than a quick read and are soon relegated to waste in the case of a magazine, or a cheap frame if it’s a poster of a screen or music idol.

The limited edition print is different, it’s generally a short ‘run’ of an image often produced by a Visual Artist, with the aim of allowing more than one person to have access to their work, either an original piece or a reproduction of a major work they want to present as a print.

A small run means they produce anything from five to 25 prints, with some doing many more, I have seen a limited edition print run of 2500 in one case! I’m not sure I would want to hand sign that many...

Generally the Artist will produce an image in a specific medium, an etching, lithograph or relief print, like a Lino or wood cut. These days with digital technology and advanced high quality printers, short run inkjet prints have emerged as another medium to be considered.

Once the prints have been produced the Artist then checks the prints for consistent image quality and when assured the prints meet their standards, they then sign, number and date the works. Ideally you would see this at the bottom of the print, with the edition numbers to the left, indicating which print it was and how many were in the series, generally expressed as 1 / 20 showing this to be the first print out of a total of twenty. In the middle can be the title followed by the Artist’s signature and date.

Occasionally you will see other marks to the left, other than the edition number. Sometimes the Artist will ‘pull a print’, accept that it is the standard of image quality they want to maintain for the edition the write ‘BAT’ on the left side of the print. This is an acronym for ‘Bon a Tierer’ from the French, “Ready for the press”. Other marks can be A/P or Artist’s Proof, often produced as a gift for assistants who helped with the printing process, these still hold some value, but as it is not known specifically how many were produced, the value is often less that one from the numbered series.

If the print has been produced by a professional printing studio, the edition will receive an embossed mark showing the logo or mark of the print studio, indicating where it was produced. This is referred to as the chop mark and is only put on prints which meet both the studio and the Artist’s approval.

In this digital age however there can be devious ways to get around these finer details and make a standard print look like something it’s not. A signature can be scanned and put in a print, a watermark can be imprinted to look like an embossed mark. For the uninitiated this can lead them to believe they have something special, when in fact there may well be a few hundred of the same thing floating about with the same number.

Another trap for the unsuspecting, is the term “open edition print” allowing the “Artist” the opportunity to print as many as they like of an image, and while it might sound nice to tell your friends at your dinner party that you have an ‘editioned print’ those who know will soon pick that it’s an open edition print and really not of any major value by comparison to a limited edition print.

Of course if you just like the print and are not concerned about the value of the item then it doesn’t matter. But for those who want to know the value is there they will look out for the details.

In an age where consistent quality is just a mouse click away, printers can soon deliver a print that matches a high standard, so the buyer needs to be aware of what they are getting and how it fits into the scheme of things. If you are in doubt, consider asking your friendly professional picture framer for advice and information, after all we are here to help.

So... you have the print, you want to keep it pristine and show it to everyone, then frame it right, ensure the item will last the test of time and be professionally presented in a frame using good quality materials to look after it, at The Picture Framing Shak we can do that for you.



Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant

24/3/16 Choosing a print online?

With so many options to choose from, the size, the image and surfaces to have an image printed on, it can be daunting to try and choose from so many choices!

Shopping online is a convenient way to buy decorator pieces. However you want to be sure that the site is trustworthy and will deliver great quality. 

We have a good supplier when we are after some new pieces for the shop that are great quality at a great price. Art World Pod is a Melbourne based company with over 40000 images to browse.

Browse from many categories such as photography or vintage posters, find an image you like and select the size you want from the drop down menu options.

Then choose a canvas or paper surface to print on.

You can choose to pay and have it delivered straight to your door. Or we can order it for you, and you can save 15%. (Collection is from the shop)

When you have your new printed image bring it to your friendly picture framing professional here at The Picture Framing Shak and select the right combination of frame and mats to suit your image and decor.

There, that was simple!

Now start browsing… or call us at The Picture Framing Shak for more information or to see some we might already have in stock.



Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant

- BLOG -


Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 



Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 



Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 



Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 





Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 




 Steve Gray

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 


 Steve Gray

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray

Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 Framing Assistant 


 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

 Steve Gray  

 Regards Steve Gray, The Picture Framing Shak 2016 

 Framing Assistant 

Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016
Regards - Steve Gray - Picture Framing Specialist - The Picture Framing Shak - Copyright 2016



Steve Gray - The Framing Guy - Part of the team at The Picture Framing Shak


Steve Gray - The Framing Guy - Part of the team at The Picture Framing Shak


Steve Gray - The Framing Guy - Part of the team at The Picture Framing Shak


Steve Gray - The Framing Guy - Part of the team at The Picture Framing Shak


Steve Gray - The Framing Guy - Part of the team at The Picture Framing Shak