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European Frame Sizes

Phil B , Apr 10, 2011; 12:32 a.m.

My boss is interested in some of my local (USA) landscapes. He's looking for prints that he can easily carry back and have framed in Norway. I hope someone can provide readily available European frame and mat sizes corresponding to US 8x10 inch, 11x14 anf 16x20. A3 and A4 don't mean much to me. I'd appreciate knowing outer mat and window dimensions in centimeters (or centimetres), if you could, please. Thanks.


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Lorne Sunley , Apr 10, 2011; 01:51 a.m.

Google is your friend, it would lead you to this Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_216

Phil B , Apr 10, 2011; 08:22 a.m.

Thanks Lorne. Actually, I've already got that page bookmarked. Specifically what I need is dimensions of off-the-shelf frames and mats in Europe, including window dimensions. While I can interpolate, if necessary, "an A3 mat with an A4 window," I need to know if that's actually what's available. Also, here in the States, the opening of an 11x14 mat with 8x10 window is really only 7.5x 9.5, so knowing the true window dimensions would help immensely.

David Henderson , Apr 10, 2011; 09:19 a.m.

Not an answerable question in the abstract. Whilst materially all European suppliers (and there are lots of them for both frames and mounts) size their products in cm they do not all do the same sizes - so for example some will do a 50cm x 60cm size and some won't. Then there's a question of whether you want the mounts to exactly coincide with the edges of the printed area, whether you want to show a border, or whether you want to overlap the print slightly? You can buy custom-cut mounts with any aperture size down to the nearest 2 or 5mm if you or he wishes.

You might want to look at the european sites of organisations like Nielsen-Bainbridge to see what sizes are generally available from them, though as I say you cannot assume that every supplier is the same in that respect.

If you wanted to be really helpful, you could choose a common metric size for an aperture (say 40cm x 30cm but thats just a guess) decide that you wanted to show a 1 cm white border all round , and have your prints made 42cm x 32cm gross to allow for 1 cm under the mount on all sides, a 1cm visible white border and a printed area of 38cm x 28cm.

Phil B , Apr 10, 2011; 11:21 a.m.

Thank you David. Please bear with me. I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just trying to understand. On this side, I can walk into most camera stores or department stores, walk over to a shelf, and pick up a pre-packaged frame and mat set in standard sizes: 8x10 frame and mat with window for 5x7 print; 11x14 frame and mat for 8x10 print; 16x20 frame and mat for (I think) 11x14 print. Are such pre-packaged items in standard sizes not available in Europe? In which case, I'll just offer my standard size prints and he can have them custom framed. I'll also suggest standouts that he can simply hang unframed. He, understandably, doesn't want the hassle of travelling with framed prints.

David Henderson , Apr 10, 2011; 12:23 p.m.

I wasn't trying to imply that you were being difficult. I can see what you want to achieve and why. But do you fully understand that Europe doesn't use inches ? That the preset sizes in centimetres do not exactly coincide with size in inches? And that the range of precut mount/ frames varies by manufacturer. He's likely to have to buy mounts and frames in centimetres.

Why don't we do this another way round- you say what size prints the guy is interested in - in inches- and we can then tell you the nearest sizes in cm that he's likely to be able to find in mounts and frames.

Jim Momary , Apr 10, 2011; 12:59 p.m.

One standard IKEA frame size is 11.75" x 15.75", i.e. 30cm x 40 cm.
Just look here for common sizes -

Just work backwards to get your English sizes ( metric dimension "centimeters" divided by 2.54 = English dimension "inches")
(Keep in mind 1 inch = 2.54 cm) And some trimming will need be done to convert English --> metric. Above all, it's not rocket science, just using a ruler. :o)
Jim M.

Phil B , Apr 10, 2011; 02:11 p.m.

David, didn't mean to imply that you were implying, just didn't want you to infer, etc. etc. Yeah, I'm aware of the differences, that's why I'm asking. Conversion isn't a problem, I'm just looking for the standard sizes. For instance, if I walked into the art department at BHV in Paris, what would be the typical precut mat sizes they'd have available? In cm is fine.

Jim, your link is probably what I'm looking for. I would have googled UK shops, but I was under the impression that the Brits used the, well, english system. Do you think the same sizes are commonly available on the continent?

Thanks again, all, for your patience and input.

JDM von Weinberg , Apr 10, 2011; 02:57 p.m.

Given the nature of the so-called English system (now used only in America, I think?), the most interesting measure of the old days was not the "foot" (of the king) but the measure for roughly 6". It seems to have fallen out of use except as a perjorative term for people who are seen as small in some sense.
BTW, one reason I have heard advanced for any gender difference in math skills is that women are constantly told that 4" is really 6" (10cm for 15cm).

Jim Momary , Apr 10, 2011; 04:13 p.m.

Phil B ...

No idea, but since 'metric is metric' I would only assume they are all the same. I made that ASSumption :o)

JDM ... you're evil LOL

Jim M

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