Picture framers mount and make frames for pictures and other display items. They prepare frames using a variety of tools and materials. They cut mounts and assemble pictures according to customers' requirements.
Picture framers make frames for all types of pictures, mirrors and other display items, such as photographs, tapestries and medals. They also mount the pictures or items.
Framers advise customers on the types of frames available and suitable styles. They usually have a selection of mouldings for frames from which customers can choose. They also advise customers on colours and proportions for mounts and the shape of the opening, such as oval, square or rectangular.
Framers prepare by making careful measurements of the frame, glass, mount and backboard, so that displays are centred and corners are square.
Framers put the picture together by fixing it to the mount and polishing the glass. They then secure the glass and the mount into the frame with a backing board and then attach hanging rings.
Many framers are self-employed and will have to carry out the following tasks:
- working out costs
- buying in materials
- keeping records
- managing a workshop.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To do this job well, you will need:
- Good practical skills in order to use a variety of hand tools and equipment.
- To work neatly and pay attention to detail.
- An interest in art and design.
- Business skills as most framers are self-employed.
Conditions can be dusty and not always suitable for those with chest complaints, skin conditions or asthma.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Picture framers earn in the range of £13,500 - £17,500, rising to £20,000 - £23,500 with experience. Successful self-employed picture framers can earn over £30,000 per year.
Employed picture framers may get paid in the range of £6 - £15 per hour.
Hours of work
Full-time picture framers usually work a basic 39-hour week. Overtime and Saturday work may be required.
Demand for picture framers is steady but this is a small industry. New entrants are often artists who carry out framing to supplement their income.
Future skills needsT
The following skills shortages have been identified within the industry:
- Job related technical skills, including cabinet making, polishing, upholstery, and wood carving/machining.
- Management and leadership skills.
- Teamworking skills.
Where could I work?
Employers are large art and framing companies and shops and galleries. Experienced picture framers may also teach; either on a part-time basis, during the day, or in the evening.
Opportunities for picture framers occur with firms in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Opportunities occur for experienced picture framers to work independently as self-employed craftworkers.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Some vacancies are advertised on the Fine Art Trade Guild's website.
Vacancies are also advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
There are no set entry routes into this type of work.
Many of the picture framers who set themselves up in a small business learn by attending evening classes or short courses. Some are self-taught through reading books and practising framing as a hobby.
If you find work with an established picture framer, you are likely to be taken on as a trainee and learn on-the-job.
Training will be on-the-job.
To progress in this career, framers can take tests to qualify as a Guild Commended Framer. This qualification is offered by the Fine Art Trade Guild. You are tested on your basic framing skills and your work has to be of faultless quality.
It is very common for picture framers to become self-employed.
Some framers move into other areas of the woodworking industry.
You don't always need qualifications to get into this job. Practical ability is often considered more important. However, GCSEs or equivalent will be useful. Subjects like Art and Design, Design and Technology (Resistant Materials) and Manufacturing will be most useful.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Many entrants are people with skills gained in woodworking of some type. It is possible to study picture framing by attending local college evening classes or short courses.
A keen interest in art and design is important. A practical background using your hands is helpful.
- 52% of people in occupations such as picture framer are self-employed.
- 11% work part-time.
- 5% have flexible hours.
Skills for the creative industries
Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills
Creative & Cultural Skills
Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts
Fine Art Trade Guild
Address: 16-18 Empress Place, London SW6 1TT
Tel: 020 7381 6616
Art Business Today
Publisher: Fine Art Trade Guild