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Metal Vs Wood Picture Frames: Which Is Better?

Metal Vs Wood Picture Frames: Which Is Better?

When it comes to framing a picture or a piece of art, the frame itself (i.e., the moulding or profile) is equal parts functional and aesthetically pleasing. It must not only look nice and complement your artwork, but it must also effectively keep your artwork in place.

What the frame is made of is an important factor in both parameters. Although other frame materials can be used, we’ll concentrate on picture frames made of metal and wood today.

Wood Picture Frames

There are 3 types of wood that are commonly used for framing, and the difference is essential.

  • Natural/solid wood
  • MDF 
  • Poplar with finger joints

The first, natural/solid wood, is just what it sounds like: ordinary timber that has not been changed since being cut down.

The 2nd and 3rd materials, MDF and finger-jointed poplar, are crafted. They’re all made of wood, but they’re not from a log straight from the lumberyard; they’ve been assembled from pieces and bits of wood and joined together to create something new. Although the term “re-engineering” may sound unappealing, it actually has a number of advantages.

Natural/Solid Wood

Wood, while undoubtedly one of the most aesthetically attractive materials, is typically more expensive choice. It’s normally aged and has a more natural-looking texture that varies from frame to frame, adding a touch of individuality.

Despite the higher cost, reduced supply, and added fragility, some people prefer this. You can use natural wood frames to display pictures that are important to you. You can also find graduation frames Australia online.


MDF is a reused wood material composed of sawdust that has been packed with a binding material and rolled for a uniform finish.

While many people consider MDF to be a less appealing, less expensive knockoff of the real deal, it has some very persuasive advantages, including being more reliable and consistent and requiring less maintenance (which is helpful for most casual framers.)

Poplar with finger joints

Finger-jointed poplar is a form of recycled wood distinguished by the manner in which it is bound together.

“Finger-jointing” is a method of joining various types of wood by slicing complementary pairs of rectangular sockets in 2 pieces of wood and then connecting them.

Metal Picture Frames

Metal is another popular building material for photo frames, and there are many different forms, some more expensive than others, with varying aesthetics.


Metal frames may be made of silver or bronze in special cases. These are, however, expensive options that are not recommended for the inexperienced framer. A silver frame, even something as small as 5′′ X 7′′, will cost more than a hundred dollars.

This is most likely due to lack of supply; silver accounts for .05 parts per million in the Earth’s crust.


Bronze is a metal alloy comprised of copper and another metal. Tin is the most commonly used other metal.

The need for bronze to oxidize, resulting in a green outermost layer, is a problem. Consider the Statue of Liberty; it was once bronze-coloured, but years of oxidization — or possible exposure to some chlorides — cause “bronze infection,” which is the layman’s word for the metal becoming green.


Metal picture frames are usually made of aluminium. This material has a wide range of applications, from kegs to aircraft parts.

Aluminium is less expensive since it is the most common element in the Earth’s crust. It is also light, so even a big 42” X 62” picture frame made of aluminium will likely weigh just 2 or 3 pounds.

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