Custom, bespoke picture framing using mouldings, glass and matboards of the best quality. Made locally in our workshop, we create all sorts of frames, and specialise in shadowboxes, float mounting, canvas stretching and general preservation of artwork.

Mouldings

The four sides of a frame are cut out of lengths of moulding and there are thousands of different choices available in almost every colour, shape and style imaginable. We stock ranges that are both made in New Zealand and imported from around the world. Corner samples of all the mouldings are our starting point with any new framing project and
are useful to help determine what frame will best suit your work. The key is trying to find the right balance between personal style, or room design, and what will suit the art work itself.

Design tips:

  • Choosing a frame can be quite overwhelming. A good place to start is by narrowing down your choices. Begin with colour, style and scale — what suits you, the art, the room?
  • The scale of the frame should also be a factor, the appropriate width can help create a sense of balance between the frame, art and any other components.
  • Depth of a moulding may not seem important, but be aware of increasing layers and objects. The frame needs to be capable of holding everything, including glass and backing boards.

Matboards

Design tips:

  • All mats are precision cut on our computerised matcutting machine — this ensures a perfect cut and fit, every time.
  • By cutting multiple windows, are a great way to combine more than one item into a single frame.
  • Mats can be single, double or triple layered for different effects. There are literally hundreds of different ones available.
  • Textured mats are a great way to enhance an image, they can include linen, silk, suede, and a host of others.

Not all mats are created equal. We use only museum and conservation grade matboards, which are made from cotton fibres or alpha cellulose and importantly are acid free. We believe in only using the best quality boards as the acid in cheaper ranges can damage art,discolour quickly and reduce the longevity of frames.

Glass

Selection of glass for your piece of art, photograph or other important personal keepsakes, isa critical decision in the framing process. Over time, dust, pollutants, moisture and exposure to indoor and outdoor UV light rays can contribute to fading and deterioration. There are various types of glass, which offer differing levels of protection:

Standard Glass — Supplied locally, this glass offers a basic level of protection. It keeps moisture, dust and other pollutants out, helping to protect the art work within.

Conservation Clear® Glass — Conservation Clear® glass offers the highest level of UV protection available in the industry. It effectively blocks up to 99% of UV light rays to protect against fading and help keep framed pieces brighter, longer.

UltraVue® UV70 Glass — UltraVue® 'water white' glass offers crystal clear color transmission and a virtually invisible, anti-reflective surface for truly amazing clarity — our favourite product!

Conservation Reflection Control® Glass — Conservation Reflection Control® glass has a matte-like finish that scatters light to minimise unwanted glare. Additionally, it blocks up to 99% of UV light rays to help protect art from fading and deterioration.

Museum Glass® — Museum Glass® is the best glazing option available for art, photographs and other important personal keepsakes. It has significant anti-reflection properties combined with Conservation Grade UV protection. It has a nearly invisible finish and effectively blocks up to 99% of harmful indoor and outdoor UV light rays. Framed pieces look both stunning and remain protected.

All of our specialised glass is supplied by Tru Vue — industry leaders in glazing. The quality of glass will impact the design’s longevity and can both protect and enhance your framing.


The scope with custom framing is endless. Made to order. Bespoke. One of a kind. Well made. New Zealand made. Quality. Variety of shapes, sizes. Conservation quality. Preservation. Heirloom.

Why Custom Made?

Some people consider custom framing to be expensive, but like all good things, you pay for what you get.

Most reputable custom framers use high quality, museum grade materials and conservation framing techniques, which preserve your work not only now, but for future generations to enjoy. The wooden mouldings used are comparable in quality to good furniture. An experienced craftsperson hand cuts each piece and crafts your frame with pride and skill, none of which is seen in mass produced frames.

Best of all, by its very nature, custom framing is a bespoke design — built to your specifications — a totally perfect fit for you and your home. All of the elements are carefully selected and balanced to create the perfect finish.

Custom framing also preserves and protects things you already own. Left to decay, family treasures can be lost forever, but properly caring for them enables them to become legacy items, enjoyed by your family for many years to come.

Money spent on custom framing is money well spent. The dollars you invest can provide years of joy, often far outlasting the other ways in which you might spend the same amount of money. It also stays in the local economy, supporting New Zealand owned and operated businesses instead of offshore, behemoth companies.

"There are no rules with custom framing. The main goal is just to perfectly complement the art or piece, whilst enabling it to fit into the surrounding decor where it will hang."

There are ways to enhance your framing further:

Fillet - A fillet looks like a mini frame, but is strictly for accenting and brings a unique quality to a frame design. They usually have dimension and interesting shapes, which add another layer of interest. Fillets can be used inside the opening of a mat or on the lip of a frame. They are often manufactured alongside collections of mouldings, so come with matching finishes, textures and patterns.

Stacking - This is the processes of combining two or more mouldings into a single frame. This concept has been used for centuries to add width, depth, colour variations, diversity, balance and of course, uniqueness.

Spacers - Spacing and adding layers between mat boards, or between the art work and
glass, can be another way to enhance your design. Layers add depth and interest spicing up
even a simple design.


What We Frame

Almost anything can be framed, you are only limited by your imagination...

Here are some ideas or things we have done in the past:

  • Paintings
  • Posters
  • Photographs
  • Drawings & Etchings
  • Objects
  • Mirrors
  • Children’s Art
  • Diplomas & Documents (deeds, degrees, certificates, awards, calligraphy)
  • Textiles (sports jerseys, christening gowns, baby clothes, heirloom pieces, vintage items)
  • Needlework (needle point, cross stitch, embroidery)
  • Memorabilia (weddings, sports, graduation, travel, military)
  • Military (medals, documents, uniforms, souvenirs)
  • Hobby Collections (stamps, coins, cards, matchboxes)
  • Collectables (plates, jewellery, antiques, sports equipment, pens, signed items)
  • Medals (sports, military, service, school)
  • Instruments (violin, clarinet, flute)

See more in our Inspiration section:

AP Designs stand out from the crowd for their complex design solutions.
Annette has a very keen eye for detail and quality which are 2 essential elements in the picture framing trade.
I have been privy to view AP Designs many customised projects. I have not seen a custom framed piece created by AP Designs that I haven’t been impressed by.
— K. Simpson - Larson Juhl

Workshop

Our workshop centrally located in Timaru, South Canterbury. All our frames are made on site and are crafted with experience and attention to detail. We have all the tools and equipment needed here.

We operate a modern, shop-front workshop and studio space, where all of our framing is undertaken. We believe in transparency and accountability — so showcase our workplace to the world.
 

Mitre: To chop our mouldings we use a Cassese foot operated mitre guillotine. This machine is among the best ranked of its class in the world, and is the heart of any custom picture framing business.

Underpinner: We have Cassese pneumatic underpinner on site which is a heavy duty air-powered joiner. We use this to join all of the mitred corners together, pinning them in place.

Matboards: We have a Wizard computerised matcutter on site, which precision cuts all of our matboards in various shapes and sizes. Highly accurate and incredibly quick, the matcutter ensures work is completed to a high standard, every time.

Fixings: A variety of, either pneumatically operated or hand-held, flexi-points, multi-points, framers points, staplers and compressed air guns.

We use all conservation grade framer’s tapes and acid free, pH balanced adhesives. In addition, all our matboards are either museum or conservation grade, and our foamcore backing boards are conservation grade.

“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.” —Unknown

Printing

"Get it off your device, and into your life"

We can print images up to A3 in size and deal in only the best quality — archival inks and acidfree, hand selected papers. We ensure your beautiful image won’t fade or decay over time.

Preservation

Longevity, preservation, conservation. We frame with the future in mind. All materials are conservation grade, museum grade or acid free, so they won't damage artwork. The environment can cause damage and conservation framing protects your work from the elements.

We always frame with conservation in mind. All of our materials and techniques aim to enhance the longevity of your work — we believe in quality and in legacy.

The Fine Art Trade Guild has identified five levels of framing, which can help determine the appropriate materials and techniques for each job. We use only the two best techniques at AP Designs & Framing, ensuring all of your framing is top quality.

Museum Level (purist, highest specification)
This is suitable for Museum quality works and artwork that is to be preserved for future generations. Often these items are high value (either historical or an investment). The framing process is fully reversible and offers both visual enhancement and ultimate protection from physical damage, airborne pollution and acids. All matboards, adhesives and backing boards are acid free and of museum grade and are Guild certified.

Conservation Level (second highest specification) This is suitable for artwork that is to be kept for the future and things that have moderate to high in value (original paintings, limited edition prints or items with sentimental value).

Conservation framing is always reversible, it offers protection from the environment as well as physical damage. All adhesives and backing boards are acid free, and matboards are museum or conservation grade and Guild certified.