Why the Wood Picture Frame is a Perennial Favorite

Written by
Kyle Sherman
Published on
August 20, 2021 8:00:00 AM PDT August 20, 2021 8:00:00 AM PDTth, August 20, 2021 8:00:00 AM PDT

Framing pictures is an ancient tradition that blends utility with beauty.

Almost as long as there have been pictures, there have been picture frames – and that’s a surprisingly long time. The earliest known picture frame is discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb. It is wooden and handcrafted in the second century A.D. and it displays what’s known as a mummy portrait – a colorful, lifelike painting that helps members of this ancient society remember loved ones long after their deaths.


In Europe in the 12th and 13th century, tabernacle frames change the way people think about framed artwork. Ornate, gothic and gilded, these wooden frames are the jewels of a homeowner’s décor. They hold religious paintings and iconography that are among a family’s most prized possessions.


The earliest American picture frames, known as empire style frames, are simple wood frames that echo the carved wall molding found in colonial architecture. While they are utilitarian, they look stately when perched atop a custom-made bureau, also popular at the time. Frame makers later add carved details to empire frames, like stars, tobacco, corn and wheat.


In the 1950s, colorful new modern art – along with advances in metalworking – reshape the public’s taste for picture frames. Sleek, shining metal frames are all the rage. The Museum of Modern Art sets the trend by hiring artist Robert Kulicke to create welded aluminum frames for their traveling exhibits. Later, Mr. Kulicke sets another framing trend by designing Lucite, or acrylic, photo frames.


By the turn of the century, wood frames regain their place as an American favorite due to fresh interest in reclaimed wood. These days, interior designers buy up old barn-wood and hardwood floors as fast as they’re torn out, repurposing the beautiful old wood into new home décor like frames, fixtures, lighting and artwork.


In fact, one current home decorating trend makes wooden picture frames an art installation unto themselves: frame collages. To make a frame collage, gather numerous frames from simple to ornate, all in complementary colors. Display them on a large open wall, next to and even on top of one another, arranged in an artful way that makes you happy.


Wood frames are a perennial favorite because they lend a sense of solid, timeless presence. Like a tall, handsome tree, a wooden picture frame reminds us of the outdoors, the earth, and our place in the natural world.


Create Custom Wood Picture Frames at PlaqueMaker

PlaqueMaker.com offers wooden picture frames made from red alder and bamboo, which can be customized to create a gift that is uniquely yours. Each wood picture frame is laser engraved or color printed with your personalized text and one free logo, photo or clip art. Use our online design tools to create your own look or have our professional graphic designers create a look for you. Once you submit your order, a no obligation quote and free proof is emailed to you within one business day. Typically, your order ships from our warehouse two days after you approve your final design.