In one of your visits to our store, you may have seen what look like tiny frames on the sample wall. You may have even picked one out for your artwork but found out that they’re not really frames at all. So what are these things that aren’t frames doing in a frame shop? Well, they’re fillets!

Fillets, pronounced either fill-it or fill-ay (we can’t make up our minds) are actually small accent pieces meant to go along with an actual frame. They’re just too small to hold the weight of glass, mats and so on, and aside from that there’s no place to put it all. So how are they used? Usually one of three ways:

Inside a Mat

This is the most common way we use fillets in custom framing. We usually select a fillet with the same finish as the frame, and the design usually repeats an element of the frame, but on a smaller scale. This repetition of the finish and design pulls the eye into the frame and the artwork. A single mat with a fillet can be quite striking, but we usually prefer to place the fillet between two mats for a more finished look and the opportunity to work in an accent colour.

custom framed paris vacation

Inside a Frame

Sometimes that perfect frame just doesn’t exist, but fillets can solve that problem. You might find a frame you love, but it needs just a bit of sparkle, and a gold fillet will give you that sparkle you’re after. Or maybe a gold frame needs just a touch of black to make it the perfect match for your artwork. Fillets to the rescue again! Sometimes the almost-perfect frame just needs a bit more heft to it to fit the scale of the art. A fillet in a matching finish and design can give that little bit of extra width and oomph the frame needs.

Accents in Shadowboxes 

When we place smaller objects and pictures in a large frame they can get lost unless we do something to draw attention to them. We’ll often make small “frames” of matboard to mat photos, and putting a fillet around the outside of the mat is a great way to finish it off and make that photo extra special. Small objects can also be put on small platforms of matboard, and a fillet border will also add an extra special touch.

The next time you stop by Framing & Art Centre be sure to ask us about fillets and we’ll be happy to give you some suggestions. A fillet may be just what your art needs!


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