Picture framer

What they do

A Picture Framer cuts out and assembles mouldings to make picture frames and frames paintings, photographs, needlework and other artwork.

Tasks include:

  • Studying drawings, work orders and sample parts to determine specifications
  • Setting up woodworking machines and wood stock for correct cutting, planning, turning, shaping and sanding
  • Operating machines to cut, plane, turn, shape and sand work pieces
  • Removing old finishes by stripping with steel wool and glasspaper, and by applying solvents and paint strippers, and removing softened finishes by scraping
  • Applying varnish, shellac, lacquer, stains and paint to surfaces and polishing and waxing finished surfaces
  • Fitting and fastening frame pieces
  • Mounting backing materials and subjects for framing

Working conditions

Picture Framers generally work in a small workshop with a small team of other framers. Self employed framers may work alone and specialists may work in art galleries or within an educational environment. The environment is usually light, clean and free of excessive dust and noise. The work area may be part of a retail outlet selling framed artwork and there may be a need to liaise directly with customers regarding their needs and to handle sales.

Tools and technologies

Picture framers use a variety of tools including power tools, saws and pneumatic staplers and nailers. Specialist framers use the crafts of wood machining, wood finishing, French-polishing, cabinet-making, wood carving and gilding. They also use a variety of card and papers for matting and mounting drawings, photographs and other works of art.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a picture framer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

You can also undertake a traineeship in picture framing (level 3). The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.