How to measure paintings like an expert

It can be difficult to visualize the size of a painting without physical inspection. Accurately reporting the size of your painting is important. This guide will give you the tools to accurately measure your painting. Before handling your paintings, make sure your hands are clean and dry, and use gloves if you have them.

The standard format for reporting measurements of a print is as follows: Height x Width. For a framed artwork, use this format: Height x Width x Depth.

If your work is not framed, you will need to know the size of the Canvas.
Measuring canvas

If your work is framed, you will need two measurements for your painting: Sight and Frame.

    • Sight: The area of the artwork that is visible inside the mat or frame.
    • Frame: The overall size of the frame.

Example of sight and frame measurements

Basic Types of Measuring Tools:
Measuring Tools

  • Seamstress tape: soft and flexible, good for measuring circumference, three-dimensional objects, or curved objects.
  • Measuring tape: rigid, can be hooked onto a frame or canvas, good for measuring straight items that are longer than one foot.
  • Ruler: rigid, good for measuring straight items smaller than one foot, particularly items that can be laid directly on the ruler.

How to Measure:

  1. Place the “Zero” end of your ruler at the end of your painting (this is usually on the left side of the ruler).
  2. Make sure the end of your ruler is flush (in line) with your painting.
  3. Adjust your ruler so that it is aligned with your painting.
  4. Move to the opposite side of the painting you are measuring and read the ruler.

How to Measure paintings

How to measure paintings, step 2

How to measure frame height

How to measure frame width

How to measure frame depth