Frameless Clips, Swiss Clips and Clip Frames

Swiss Clip Clip Frame

A clip frame sandwich held together with Swiss Clips

We sell a lot of frameless clips which are used to create a frameless picture or clip frame.

The clip frame should consist of a ‘frame sandwich’ of –

  • Glass/perspex
  • A picture mount (optional)
  • Artwork
  • Backing mount for art protection (optional)
  • Backing board (Usually hardboard or MDF for strength).

The clip frame has its use where either you don’t want to go to the expense of having a frame for your artwork, or you would like to have artwork displayed right to the edge of the frame.

Clips can accommodate sandwiches of different thicknesses. In order to find out how thick your sandwich is just total the thickness of each part of your sandwich eg. (glass 2mm + mount 1.4mm + art 0.1mm + backing mount 1.4mm + backing board 2.0mm = 6.9mm, so I’d likely need to use the 7.5mm swiss clips or the 8mm frameless clips).

Glazing should always be smoothed around the edges to avoid exposing sharp edges. Glass in particular can be very sharp when left raw after a cut so make sure to smooth the edges of the glass  before using it in a frameless clip frame, a Tellum pad is ideal for this purpose.

There are several clips available to you for holding the frameless/clipframe sandwich together and there are also a few options available for hanging the frameless clip frame too –

Clip Name Max Sandwich Thickness Uses Notes on Use Hanging Options

Simple Frameless Clip

Simple Frameless Clips

4mm max Small clip frames Easy to just push on.Useful in small applications, but no securing mechanism.
3.8mm Frameless Clip3.8mm Frameless Clips 3.8mm (clips are 3mm wide) Tiny / small clip frames Requires a Pair of Levers to open. No hanging attachment. No securing mechanism.
8mm Frameless Clip8mm Frameless Clip 8mm (clips are 7mm wide) Small / medium sized clip frames. Requires a Pair of Levers to open. No hanging attachment. No securing mechanism.
20mm Frameless Clip20mm Frameless Clips 8mm (clips are 20mm wide) Medium / larger sized clip frames. Where extra strength and rigidity is required. Requires a Pair of Levers to open. No hanging attachment. No securing mechanism.
7.5mm Swiss ClipSwiss Clip 7.5mm 7.5mm max. Small / medium clip frames. Requires a small hole to be drilled into backing board in order to lock each clip in place. Hole position : 27.5mm in from side.
10mm Swiss Clip with Hanging HoleSwiss Clip 10mm 10mm max. Medium / large clip frames. Requires a small hole to be drilled into backing board in order to lock each clip in place. Hole position : 27.5mm in from side. Has it’s own hanging loop as part of the clip.
11mm Swiss ClipSwiss Clip 11mm 11mm max. Medium / large clip frames Requires a small hole to be drilled into backing board in order to lock each clip in place. Hole position : 27.5mm in from side.
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Brown Picture Hanging Cord

Brown Picture Hanging CordWe now have in stock brown picture hanging cord. It comes in –
Brown Picture Hanging Cord No.1,
Brown Picture Hanging Cord No.2,
Brown Picture Hanging Cord No.3
varieties/sizes. It has similar strength and characteristics as white picture hanging cord, but it is made in polypropylene. It does look very handsome on the back of a quality framing job. The colour of the cord would suit the bronze coloured D-Rings, but would also look good with Brass plated D-Rings too.

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Offset Clamps for Framing Stretched Canvas Prints

offset clamp for canvas frameStretched canvas prints can be easily fitted into a picture frame. Several methods are available, but one of the easiest is probably the use of offset clamps. These are little metal steps that come in varying step sizes of 3.2mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm, 18mm, 25mm, 31mm. The clamps are all approximately 10mm wide.

The different depths of step are available in order to accommodate most common depths of stretcher bars on canvas prints. The frame may also include a slip which will decrease the depth of the frame rebate and require the use of a smaller clamp size.

The stretched canvas is placed into the frame and each clamp is screwed down (by use of #4 zinc plated screws) in close proximity of the stretcher bars of the stretched canvas  in order to hold it in place.

offset clamp with paddingIf the step ends up being in between a step sizing, you can use  small pieces of felt in order to pad out the spacing.

Typically to finish a framed canvas print I will be finish it off as shown below by placing the stretched canvas in the frame, then placing a backing board (2mm MDF) on to it, taping in place with ECO15 or ECO 25 frame backing tape then clamped down in 2-5 places on each side (depending on canvas size) with the offset clamps.  Once offset clamped on all four sides, the canvas will be securely fitted in the picture frame, and will be ready to attach a hanging solution in this case D-Rings and cord.

offset clamps canvas print frame backing finishedIn order to keep the metal backs of the offset clamps from scratching a wall surface / paintwork, two small round felt pads can be placed on the bottom corners of the frame as shown which will keep the clamps from being in contact with the wall.

Alternative solutions include spring retaining clips, z-clips or bendable brass plates.

All of these items including offset clamps can be purchased from our Picture Framing Hardware for Canvas section of our store.

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The Trials of a Picture Framer

picture frame mouldingsThe trials of a picture framer.

“Do you have one just like that moulding but smaller?”

“Do you have that one but a shade lighter?”

“Do you have that in a warmer shade of gold?”

Sometimes, being a picture framer can be frustrating. You never have enough mouldings to cover the infinite breadth of consumer needs and desires these days.

There are usually two types of customer, one who trusts you as a framer, and trusts your judgements and will generally say “I don’t mind, just make it look nice”. And then there are those who are more, shall we say, picky. They tend to want to micromanage every aspect of the framing job right down to requesting a moulding that you have never seen before, to controlling the width of backing tape used! (OK, I exaggerate a wee bit!)

We are always driven to try to expand our collection to incorporate latest trends and fashion. This, as you can guess, can be challenging. Our collection of mouldings has evolved to try to cater for everyone, but there is always the risk that it just keeps getting augmented. We risk becoming a stockist of old, hard-to-find mouldings in 20 years’ time! We have some mouldings that have not been used in several years that we really wished we’d not bought, and some that fly off the shelves quicker than we can buy them in! An annoying one (annoying in colour as well as history) is the BRIGHT RED one. The supplier shipped it to us in error and, when informed about it, offered to sell it to us at a huge discount rather than pay for shipping it back. Of course, we chose to take it at discount, and it has subsequently resided untouched in the workshop ever since!

In reality, the difficulty lies in having too much choice. I have long thought that, if we were to start over again, we’d stock 4 mouldings: one black, one cream, one gold and one silver. Just think on how simple life would be!

Challenges for the framer don’t end there, we also have the different mount board colours and thicknesses to add into the mix too. It’s not much wonder that eventually, whether we like it or not, we are driven into becoming a framing stockist.

If anyone wants some narrow, bright red moulding, just drop us a note!

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Picture Hanging Cord or Picture Hanging Wire?

picture cordPicture Hanging Cord or Picture Hanging Wire? That is the question. A lot of people assume that picture hanging wire is stronger than picture hanging cord. This can be a false assumption. Many polyester low stretch quality picture cords can be a much more robust solution than some picture wires.

Picture Hanging Cords

Picture cords (especially quality low stretch polyester) have strength characteristics that will not be affected by environmental issues such as moisture degradation or rot (unlike string which you should never use for picture hanging). They (along with wires) are rated by their breaking strain. The following table lists the recommended loading –

Breaking Strain Weight Recommended Maximum Load
No.1 Low Stretch Picture Hanging Cord 89kg 18-22kg
No.2 Low Stretch Picture Hanging Cord 150kg 30-38kg
No.3 Low Stretch Picture Hanging Cord 184kg 37-46kg
No.4 Low Stretch Picture Hanging Cord 209kg 42-52kg
No.5 Low Stretch Picture Hanging Cord 337kg 67-84kg

Even with the maximum recommended loads for the cords, it is always safer to give yourself a larger margin for error and switch up to the cord size above what you think you will need.

The cord of course will only be as secure as the quality of the knot that is tied coupled with the robustness of the picture hook and hanger that the cord is attached to.

Polyester low stretch picture cord will approximately stretch only about 12% as opposed to 26% or more for for cheaper alternatives.  This should ensure that you never see your picture hook being exposed due to cord stretching with load.

Picture Hanging wire

Stainless Steel Picture Hanging Wire is the alternative to picture cord. It will not corrode, is of excellent quality and will shape and wrap easily. Similarly to cord it will still require a good knot tying technique.

brass wireBrass picture hanging wire has brass strands wrapped around a strand of steel.

Wires are specified by a Maximum Picture Weight and this should be treated with a margin for error. Ideally you should pick a picture wire that is double the weight specification of your picture.

Maximum Weight Spec. Recommended Maximum Frame Load
#5 stainless steel picture hanging wire 19kg 9.5kg
#5 stainless steel plastic coated picture hanging wire 19kg 9.5kg
No.3 brass picture hanging wire 18kg 9kg

Whether you choose picture hanging cord or picture hanging wire to hang your picture, you will need to choose based on load criteria, ability to securely tie to fixings and personal choice as to what you think works best for you.

heavy duty picture frame hangerAlternative solutions to picture hanging cords and picture hanging wires are to use picture frame hangers to hang directly onto picture frame wall hooks. This can be achieved by using some of the heavy duty wall hooks and heavy duty picture angers. This solution however requires precision positioning to ensure a level hanging picture.

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Picture Hooks For Picture Frame Hanging

floral no1 picture hook brass platedPicture frame hanging, (or photo frame hanging) involves choosing the correct picture hanging hardware and picture frame wall hooks to match your picture frame size, weight and wall type. This will include choosing the correct hook to attach your frame to the wall. Whatever picture hook you go for make sure that it can support the weight of your frame. If in doubt, you can use more than one picture hook to support each frame, or alternatively go for hooks and hangers that exceed your needs.

The basic picture hook available is the Floral No1 Picture Hook, they are a cheap but robust option with a hardened steel pin. They will work hammered into wood or plaster for small light frames.

floral no3 picture hook brass platedThe range of Floral Picture hooks go up in size and robustness with Floral No2 (2 hole) Picture Hooks  to Floral No3 (3 hole) Picture Hooks (pictured on the left). Each comes with brass capped reinforced steel pins to securely attached them onto the wall by hammer.

Floral picture hooks are also available as 1 hole safety picture hooks and 3 hole safety picture hooks which have a spring locking mechanism to secure the cords into the hooks.

Standard Picture Hooks

standard 2 hole picture hook nickelPicture hooks are available in a ‘standard’ non-decorative design. they are just as robust as the floral picture hooks. They come in Standard No.2 Picture Hook (two hole) nickel plated, Standard No.2 Picture Hook (two hole) brass plated  and also come in a smaller size as Small standard No.0 Picture Hooks and  Small standard No.0 Picture Hooks. All come with hardened steel pins.

Heavy Duty Picture Hooks

heavy duty picture hook 3 hole brass platedFour types of heavy duty picture wall hooks are available which come in 1 hole heavy duty picture hook brass plated, 2 hole heavy duty picture hook brass plated3 hole heavy duty picture hook brass plated, 3 hole slotted hook zinc plated sizes. Three are constructed out of sturdy brass plated steel and the other is zinc plated steel. All are robustly constructed. They all take countersunk wood screws. How you attach the hooks to the wall will depend on the type of wall and any rawl plugs that you might use. The 3 Hole Heavy Duty Picture Hook is the strongest of the four heavy duty picture hooks.

Picture Rail Hooks

picture rail hook bronze platedAnother form of picture hanging hook is the picture rail hook, which is specifically designed to hang over the picture rails found in some higher walled or Victorian styled houses. We have brass plated picture rail hooks, bronze plated picture rail hooks and white picture rail hooks. There is also a narrow version of the bronze plated picture rail hook available. The picture rail hooks hook onto the picture rail, and you can run a picture cord or picture wire down to attach the picture frame to, this is a traditional form of picture hanging, which also has the additional benefit of not leaving picture hook pin holes all over your walls.

Other Picture Hooks

toly hard wall picture hookThere are also a couple of speciality picture hooks available –

The Toly hard wall picture hook has short hardened steel pins which are used for nailing the hook into hard brick walls.

The other is a plasterboard picture hook which has a special flat spike which attaches firmly into plasterboard walls.

Decorative Picture Hooks

Fleur de lys decorative picture hook bronze platedIf you are looking for a more decorative look for light frames, you should try the Brass Plated Fleur-De-Lys Decorative Picture Hooks, or the the Bronze Plated Fleur-De-Lys Decorative Picture Hooks for that special decorative look.

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D-Rings for Picture Frame Hanging

Brass plated  D-RingA D-Ring is a piece of picture frame hanging hardware and is used to attach to either side of a picture frame to tie picture hanging cord or wire to in order to hang the picture. D-Rings come in a variety of styles to suit different applications and colours to suit different tastes (nickel plated, brass plated, bronze plated).

Standard D-rings come in 1 hole and 2 hole variety. 2 hole D-rings are slightly larger and made from slightly heavier duty metal than 1 hole D-Rings and are used to hang heavier frames.

2 hole d-ringD-rings are usually placed about 1/3rd of the way down the picture frame on each side. They are attached by pan headed screws which can be different lengths depending on the depth of your moulding. If you put a 13mm screw through a 12 mm moulding then you will end up punching through the picture frame face which would obviously not be a desired outcome, so choose your screw lengths wisely!

The D-Rings can come in standard size, or small sized to suit smaller moulding widths and smaller frames.

Solid d-ring nickelAnother form of D-ring is the solid ‘D’ D-ring which is made from one solid loop (stamped metal) ‘D’. The sold loop may give extra security in some applications. Standard D-rings are formed with the ‘D’ made from a non-continuous looped D of metal.

Fancy loop hanger brassYou can also get Fancy loop D-Rings (is that still classed as a ‘d’?) which are used purely for artistic effect, but require small pins rather than screws for attachment to the frame edges. This type of D-ring is recommended for lighter frames only.

Angled d hangerAngled D-ring picture hangers are another option. They come in pairs (left +right) and give you the security of a two-screw fixing on all types of moulding, including narrow frames. The angled D-ring hanger is angled to give the correct alignment of the cord or wire and to minimise stress in the frame.

In summary, D-rings are by far the most commonly used way to hang picture frames. They can be bought in bulk with multi-packs too.

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Picture Framing Screw Sizes

zinc plated screwEver wondered what size a number ‘4’ screw is and whether you’d be better with a number ‘3’ ? well here’s a table of screw widths (thread widths) commonly used in picture framing –

No. ‘1’ = 2.0mm diameter
No. ‘2’ = 2.2mm diameter
No. ‘3’ = 2.5mm diameter

No. ‘4’ = 2.9mm diameter
No. ‘6’ = 3.5mm diameter
No. ‘8’ = 4.2mm diameter
No. ’10’ = 5.0mm diameter
No. ’12’ = 5.5mm diameter
No. ’14’ = 6.5mm diameter

You can check out out picture framing screw and pins page for all your screw and pin purchases.

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New Picture Framing Supplies Website Launched

Scottish Art OnlineOur new Picture Framing Supplies website was launched yesterday. It was formerly a part of the Scottish Art Online website, but has now due to strong growth become its own entity. We hope you enjoy shopping there for all your picture framing supply needs. This blog will focus on talking about picture framing along with some hints and tips on using the products found in our picture framing supplies store.

UK Picture Framing SuppliesThe new store has over 40 new products available in addition to those that were there previously. New products include small D-Rings, Fleur-De-Lys hangers, solid ‘D’ D-rings, slotted picture hangers, slotted picture plates, and a whole array of new screw sizes. This has now been added to the already wide selection of picture frame hanging hardware, picture frame wall hooks, picture hanging kits, picture wire and picture cords, frameless picture frame accessories, picture frame joining hardware, picture frame hardware for canvases, screws and pins for picture framing, Hand Tools For Picture Framing, Picture Framing &  Mounting Tapes, picture stands, custom picture mounts and sheet material including mountboard, foamboard and plastic glazing.

Please check out the store and let us know what you think!

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