As an alternative to traditional framing, floating picture frames keep images centered, away from the edges of the frame itself. The modernistic floating effect adds contemporary style to any space, blending nicely with existing color schemes since the underlying wall color is allowed to show through the glass. Additionally, the image itself can be completely displayed, with none of the edges being cut off by matting or framing. Floating picture frames may look more complicated than traditional frames, but they are used in much the same way in just a few simple steps.

Arc de Triomphe in Paris
credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
Highlight travel photos in a floating frame to keep the focus on the picture, like this iconic shot of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Step 1

Determine how much extra space you want between the floating image and the frame itself, then select a floating frame with dimensions to match. Unless you're going for an eclectic look, keep the floating space the same on all sides. For example, if you're framing a 4-by-6-inch picture, and you want 2 inches of float space around the edges, get a 6-by-8-inch floating frame.

Step 2

Remove the back of the floating frame. Floating frames are much like regular frames, but their backing consists of a transparent glass pane.

Step 3

Place your photograph in the frame.

Step 4

Measure the photograph's distance from the frame's edges with a ruler. Make sure all sides are even. It may seem picky, but floating frames show every minor inconsistency, whereas standard picture frames or matted pictures have the benefit of hiding edges with overlap.

Step 5

Place the glass backing back on the frame, making sure not to accidentally nudge the photograph -- if you do bump the picture, open the frame back up and re-measure.

Step 6

Secure the backing then hold up the floating frame to a wall to see how it will look. When you find a spot on the wall that looks good, mark the spot lightly with a pencil.

Step 7

Use a stud finder to find a wall stud near the pencil mark and place a nail or screw in the stud. Erase the pencil mark.

Step 8

Hang your floating picture frame on the nail or screw.