FRAMING A PAINTED CRADLE IN A STACKED FLOATER FRAME
When an oil or acrylic painting is done on a "cradle", we are referring to a wood or Masonite panel that has been primed with gesso and has wooden sides all around, connected to the panel perpendicularly, rather than a primed canvas stretched over wooden stretchers. How do you frame something like that? You can do it in a traditional frame with a deep rabbet (the part of the frame under the lip), but you lose the effect of the depth that the sides of the cradle provide. A great solution is to use a Floater Frame, which is a frame that is "L" shaped and does not have a lip that overlaps the canvas. Rather, the frame pulls away from the canvas and appears to be "floating" within it. The only down side to floaters is that, generally, they have a very slender, plain face to view. One really cool way around that, and still have the "pull away" effect, is to stack another, but traditional, frame on top of the floater. The small, rectangular cradle our client brought in to frame was just that: it did not look like much in the thin floater frame. So, we did just that for this painting. I had seen, in the Boston Museum of Fine Art, a painting by Felice Casorati that was an oil on plywood panel from about 1930. It had been framed in a double stacked frame moulding that looked a great deal like Larson-Juhl's "Zen" collection. I was so taken with the design that I hoped to use it for one of my clients' paintings some day. This was the time to use it. We used a Larson-Juhl 343804 floater frame 1 3/4" deep sized to 10 x 4 to create the base to which the cradle was attached. Then, we stacked around it Larson 411434 "Zen" and, around that, Larson 431434 "Zen".The finish was a dark gray, almost black semi-matte finish with a bit of slightly rippled surface pattern.
The completed, framed cradle with painting by Greta Van Campen.
A closeup detail showing the outer frame stacked around the inner frame stacked over the floater frame, with a pull-away gap between that and the edge of the painted cradle.
A shot of the back of the frame. The black item is the floater frame. to the left, you can see the inner and outer "Zen" frames attached to each other Everything hangs from two D-rings at the top attached to wooden blocks the same depth as the floater frame.
A full shot of the back of the frame, ready to hang. It is complex and not pretty, but the front of it sure is.