FRAMING 101: Everything You Need to Know About Framing Your Paint by Number Artwork


This subject has always been a hot topic on my Facebook group, so because I have experience in this subject as the Custom Framing Manager at a Michaels Arts & Crafts for over 2 years, I decided to type up this information for you!
This "Framing 101" post will cover everything from stretching the canvas yourself to custom framing and every option in between. Since this blog post was originally made back in 2020 and these videos were recorded, I have added much more information to my YouTube channel, so be sure to check my playlist for more information on sealing your PBN, framing, and dry mounting. In the meantime, let's get started!


The most popular option for most PBN enthusiasts is to stretch the canvas themselves or to buy a "framed" paint by number to begin with. I tend to lean towards stretching my painting after it is complete, because I don't like to prop my hand on my canvas when it's stretched, because it can actually make the canvas loose.
I recorded the video on stretching your own canvas, because it really can be a lifesaver & a money-saver. {It's a WIN-WIN!} I promise, you REALLY CAN DO THIS! Many of my viewers have tried and been successful on their first attempt, and I know you can too!
I mentioned in that video that none of the paintings are not actually 16x20", because they are in metric sizes and not standard measurements. It makes things a little more difficult for us to find the perfect frame for our artwork in the US.
**NOTE: Back when I wrote this blog and recorded this video (that was in 2020), the kits were all produced in LOTS of paint by number kits are produced in the US, so you may see more actual 16x20" canvases. YAY!


Once you stretch your canvas, it will be a “standard size” 16x20” or a 12"x16", and you will be able to find a “floor frame” to put it in. A “floor frame” just means you can buy one off shelf. (You won’t need the glass, so you can take that out...along with the backing board.) You need to find a frame with enough depth, so your canvas doesn’t stick out the back and show from the sides. Then you’ll need to purchase something called “offsets”. These are special brackets that screw into the back to hold the canvas in the frame. Have the custom framer help you determine what size you’ll need. Yes, you can ask them questions...they are there to help you!


You can dry mount your piece like I’ve demonstrated in this video. Once it is dry mounted, you have a couple of framing options, but I will give you this warning in advance. Many of the custom framers have NO IDEA how to dry mount, or they have been told you can't dry mount a canvas...this is INCORRECT! As you can see from this video, it is possible, and it does work! If you have already painted on your canvas, you should not have it dry mounted. The custom framers will have been told not to do it or will refuse to do it, because 1) they don't know how, or 2) they have been told it will damage the canvas, and they will be liable. I have posted some other videos below for options in case that happens.
{FYI, I wasn't "skeered" to test this method on mine, so I tried it, and it worked BEAUTIFULLY as shown in this video.}
"Dry Mounting" will allow you to take the piece on the board to be custom framed. It doesn’t have to be stretched on a stretcher bar if you have dry mounted it. The "Personal Designer" (this is the fancy, schmancy term for the custom framer) at Michael’s will measure the board as it is, and then can custom frame your piece. {See more information about glazing & custom framing} below before you make the big decisions.
If you want to frame it with a “floor frame”, cut your piece down to the standard 16x20” size. The Personal Designer at Michael’s is NOT ALLOWED BY LAW to cut your piece down for you, as it is a liability if something went wrong or got messed up. You will have to do it yourself before you take it in if you want it a different size.
A dry mounted piece can go right into the frame (without glass). It should fit fairly well, since the glass and any filling materials will be taken out. You can’t use a cheap poster frame, because they aren’t deep enough to hold the foam board and backing material. If you want to custom frame the piece with a mat, follow the explanation below for Custom Framing.


Since I was the Custom Framing Manager at Michael’s, this is personally my favorite option! When you custom frame, you have hundreds of frame moldings as an option.
My first money-saving tip is to wait until they have a “70% off custom framing” coupon! When you get to the custom framing counter, you are allowed to go behind the counter and look at the frame moldings on the wall. {Did you know that? Yes! It’s true! I always invited my customers behind the counter to touch, feel and look and the details and weight of a frame they liked!}
**INSIDER PRICING TIP: on the side of each frame you will see a colored label. Yellow labels are the most affordable options of the custom frames. Green are the middle priced frames, and blue labels are the highest price {but are sooo worth it}! This may have changed since I worked there last in February 2020, but the labels will be color-coded in some way.
Michael’s actually has frames that are specifically made for canvases, if you like that style. There are also frames that are deep enough for your canvas to set down in without sticking out the back.


Glass or Acrylic is called “Glazing” in the framing world. There is a lot of “controversy” about whether your acrylic painting needs glass or acrylic. Here is what I was taught: NEVER use glass or acrylic with oil paintings, but an acrylic painting can go either way. The main thing to remember is: ASK YOUR PERSONAL DESIGNER AT MICHAELS TO INCLUDE SPACERS IF YOU WANT GLAZING! The glazing should NEVER touch artwork of any kind! When you mat a piece of art, the mat gives you space between the glazing and the artwork, so it’s “built in” spacing. But if you glaze an acrylic painting without a mat, it has to have significant space between the glazing and the art, or it can stick to the glazing over time.
Here are some samples of my customers' artwork {with their permission} that I designed and framed. These are puzzles that I am showing that were dry mounted first, in order to keep them together while they're hanging on a wall. These are framed much like an acrylic painting (PBN) or how a diamond art painting would be done. I had to use 1/8" to 1/4" spacers in between the glass and the puzzle on the ones that did not have a mat, since they had been sealed with Mod Podge, and I didn't want the glass to stick to the surface if he ever wanted to reframe these pieces.
In addition, you'll notice the first example of the cottage on the water is designed with the regular glass that isn't anti-reflective. You may save a little bit of money with that option, but if you upgrade the glass or acrylic to the anti-reflective option, you see nothing but the ART! It's a huge visual difference for a small difference in price.
The next two photos demonstrate two diamond paintings that I framed for another customer {with her permission to share}. Instead of using spacers between the Masterpiece Glass, which you can easily see is anti-reflective, she opted for double mats to allow for depth and to bring out the beauty of her artwork. 
 diamond painting
If you choose to “glaze”, I recommend ONLY MASTERPIECE GLASS OR ACRYLIC! {That is what they used to call their anti-reflective, anti-glare options of glass/acrylic. That may have changed since I was there, but regardless, THIS is what you want!} They cost a little more, but as I mentioned, they both are anti-reflective/anti-glare and include UV PROTECTION. Masterpiece Acrylic is the “high-end” option, as it is very lightweight, which is especially nice for large pieces, and it has a lifetime warranty against breakage. It does cost quite a bit more though. On a 16x20, the piece won’t be super heavy, so you can opt for either MP Glass or MP Acrylic. Remember, you have a 70% coupon, so if you are ever going to opt for the better glazing, now is the time.
The “70% off custom framing” coupon is only valid if you have a frame in the bundle. So when you make your purchase, as long as the “bundle” includes a frame, it will give you the discount. The price they give you will also include them assembling the piece for you! It can take up to two weeks to receive it, but I don’t mind that, because I know it will be worth it. During certain times of year, it is less busy than others, so be sure to ask if they expect any delays. Of course, there could always be unforeseen issues, but most Framing Department Managers are very good about communicating with customers if problems arise.


  • • DIY Canvas Stretching $5 (or less if you already have your own staple gun and staples)
  • • You can use a standard floor frame if you stretched your paint by number canvas on a 16x20” stretcher bar or a 12x15” stretcher bar.
  • • If your piece is dry mounted, you can trim it down yourself to a 16x20, and it will fit in a “floor frame”. If you want to mat it, leave the excess border on the piece and get it custom framed with a double or single mat.
  • • Use a 70% OFF coupon to save the most money when you custom frame at Michael’s. It will be cheaper without glazing...but you can decide what you like best. (Remember, is you decide to use a glazing, Masterpiece Glass and Masterpiece Acrylic with SPACERS are the best options for preservation quality!)
I hope this post answers at least most of your framing questions, and you now feel more prepared and knowledgable when you are ready to frame your artwork!
Much love & appreciation,
melanie b.
Back to blog

Leave a comment