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Picture Frame Calculator Icon

Picture Frame Calculator

Calculate frame and mat sizes for making picture frames.

Screen Shot

Calculates a standard 1/8" (3mm) clearance

View frame and mat proportions before cutting

Use standard or paired mat styles

Shows the total length of molding required

Enter imperial (fraction) or metric measurements

Picture in frame

"Calculating the size of a picture frame isn't difficult. Picture Frame Calculator just makes it quicker and easier, by allowing you to view the proportional balance between the picture, mat and molding sizes, and reducing the chance of a mathematical error."
Paul Robbins
Artistic Director, Lokivoré

Parts of the App

Parts of User Interface

1. Unit of Measurement - frame clearance

2. Picture width and height dimensions

3. Mat style and border width

4. Molding width dimension

5. View Frame or Cut List

6. Change display colors for frame and mat

7. Saves and restores User settings

8. View area - proportional

9. Picture reference details

User Guide

select unit of measurement

1. Unit of Measurement - frame clearance

Decide on your prefered unit of measurement, for both entering picture dimensions and marking cut lengths, and select it here.

Your selection here also determines the frame clearance, 1/8", 0.3cm or 3mm respectively, and as such, all dimensions must be entered using the corresponding unit of measurement.

Selecting 'inches' allows you to enter either fractions or decimal numbers. Fractions are automatically converted and displayed as decimals, but all length calculations are giving in fractions. When entering whole numbers and fractions together, eg. 11 3/4 enter a space between them.

When using centimeters, be aware that numbers to the right of the decimal point are millimeters, eg 15.3 equals 15 cm 3mm.

If you change to millimeters, from cm or inches, the proportional image can distort serverely. This is not a problem, continue to enter all your measurements and the frame will return to a proportional representation of your dimensions.

Alert! Picture Frame Calculator does not convert metric or imperial measurements. If your plans have mixed units, you will have to remeasure or convert them separately.

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picture di ensions

2. Picture width and height dimensions

Without Mat:
Measure the physical width and height of your picture and enter the dimensions here. Note: You can tap from one box to the next without selecting 'Done' on the keyboard. This speeds up the entry process.

With Mat:
(a) Subtract the overlap border (shown left, underlined in red) from the physical width and height measurements and enter those figures here. Or,
(b) Enter the width and height of visible area of the picture. This larger overlap will be hidden by the mat border and allows you to keep the picture in its original form, while hidding unwanted edge detail.

number range: max. 9999 - min. 0.0001
regardless of the unit of measure selected

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mat selection

3. Mat Style

(a) No Mat: Automatically zeros the mat calculation and removes the overlap reminder from the 'picture size' entry erea.

(b) Mat with four equal sides: Enter an approximate border width and adjust as necessary until a balanced appearance is seen in the proportional view area.

(c) Mat with top-bottom/left-right pairs: Achieve a professional finish by slightly altering the width of the borders. The dimensions shown left are for the framed painting at the top of this page. It's only half an inch wider top and bottom, but makes all the difference when hung on a wall. Alternatively, you can use this mat style to exagerate the width of panoramic photographs.

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result example

4. Molding Width

Enter the width of your chosen molding here.

To measure a molding's width, hold a ruler on the rear (back) surface of the molding and measure from the outside edge to the inner rabbet (rebate) edge, as shown in the sample photograph (left) with red arrows. Example: ruler shows 18mm, 1.8cm, 3/4" so 0.500 would need to be changed to the corresponding ruler increment selected above.

To use metal U-channel molding:
(a) Measure the thickness of the metal (usually about 2mm, 1/16 inch) - and enter this size to calculate the cut lengths.
(b) In order to show an accurate proportional view you can enter the total width of the molding face, but remember to change back to the metal thickness before printing cut lengths.

You cannot alter this measurement without choosing a different molding for your frame.

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result example

5. View Frame or Cut List

Frame View:
Shows a proportional representation of the final frame based on the dimensions entered.
Use this view to check the balance between picture size, mat width and molding choice, and make adjustments or changes as necessary.
This view updates live, with each change in dimension, and at times can appear distorted, until all measurements have been entered.

Cut List View:
Displays the component sizes ready for marking and cutting in the workshop, along with a dimensional plan (not to scale).
This view, along with your measurements and reference details, is the page that will print or email if your iPad is capable of either.
This view also live updates, so if you have a limited amount of molding or mat board you can reduce your dimensions here, until the size required is within your stock limit. Just remember to re-check any changes made here in the Frame view, in case the proportions have gone out of balance.

Also note:
Glass and backing board is cut to the same size as the mat.

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result example

6. Frame and Mat colors

Change frame and mat colors to select complimentary or contrasting combinations, and check to see if these affect the perceived balance of the final frame. For example, black on dark blue usually requires a wider molding or thinner mat, otherwise the molding can appear overly thin. Conversely, a dazzling green and gold benefits from a thinner molding or wider mat border.

The color choices available here are not indended to imitate your final frame. Their usefulness is only as a simple tool to check how color combinations can affect the eye's perception of size, and therefore show how this can affect the overall balance of the final frame. The two sample screen shots (shown left) illustrate how color combinations can affect the eye's perception of size. Both have the same dimensions, but appear slightly out of balance and would benefit from the corrections mentioned above.

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result example

7. Save User Settings

Tapping the Preferences button allows you to save the current settings, load your previously saved settings or restore the App to its default values.

iOS automatically opens the App with the last values entered. If the operating system has dropped these from memory (which it does periodically) it opens the App with your saved settings. You can force this to occur by powering down and restarting yur iPad.

The settings that will be saved (and loaded later) are those that are on screen when you select the 'Save Current Settings' button.

Note: Frame/mat colors and picture references, are not saved as settings, but are remembered by iOS.

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result example

8. View Area

The view area shows either a proportional frame, based on your dimensions, or the cut list of component sizes. Both described above in 'Frame or Cut list View'.

This view area updates with each value entered and as such distorts (see left) until all the measurements entered are in balance with each other. This occurs mostly when changing from inches to millimeters and the old values affect the view until they are changed. This is normal.

As long as the measurements you enter are in proportion, the frame displayed will also be in proportion.

The view area also rotates with iPad orientation. To view the largest frame possible, rotate your iPad to portrait or landscape to match the width and height orientation of your frame.

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result example

9. Picture Reference Details

The information entered here is for your own use.

When batch designing frames it is useful to add a picture name, mat color and molding code, and these will print on the cut list as a reference for each framing job.

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All content © Paul Robbins 2014
Lokivoré ® is a registered trademark of Paul Robbins