For me, a painting is never really finished until it’s been matted and framed. But the framing process often takes longer than I’m willing to wait to see a completed painting. For that reason, I created a trial frame for viewing my work. I simply slide my painting into the temporary frame, and I can instantly see how the finished piece will look. To make the trial frame, I replaced the glass in an old wood frame–designed for the size I typically paint–with a Plexiglas sheet so it could endure a lot of wear and tear. (I like to take my trial frame to workshops to display demo paintings I’ve completed for my students. Sometimes, I’ll even throw it in the trunk of my car when I’m traveling.)
For the back of the frame, I cut a 1/4-inch plywood panel to size. I attached one side of the panel to the frame with two rustproof brass hinges. On the opposite side of the frame I installed two screen door toggle fasteners. I also added a wooden drawer pull to the plywood panel for easy opening. This setup also provides a great way to test colors for the matting of your paintings.