What is this framing technique called?

First, does anyone know what framing technique is used to show the finalists of the Smithsonian Photo Contest, below? This question is more targeted to people who have actually been to that exhibit. There is a certain answer to this: they specify in the exhibit what they use. I neglected to capture the details, but I do remember it to be a proprietary (branded) system. My best guess for a name is "invisible frame" but this framing technique doesn't appear when using it as a search term.

How would you replicate this?

Also, does anyone know where to buy or make something like this? (Not knowing what it's called makes searching difficult.) I remember there was a clear piece of smooth plastic (acrylic?) about 0.15 to 0.3cm thick, between the photo and the viewer, that created a borderless effect. I also remember there being a black piece of wood behind the frame so that the frame "pops" out from the wall. The photo was maybe a metallic print.

This photo of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is courtesy of TripAdvisor

1 Answer 1


The print are usually printed in a high quality Satin or Metallic paper. Then this print is mounted on thin raw Aluminium sheet, which indeed gives a sleek look. The mounted print is then laminated to get a matte , soft finish. Blocks are fixed behind the aluminium sheet to get a floating look. This is one way of getting the feel you asked for.

  • Yeah, I think that's pretty close. Only, I'm leaning toward the possibility that it wasn't laminated, but was framed in the more traditional sense: the surface was completely smooth and the piece of plastic was thick, up to .3cm. The picture looked like it could have been removable as well. (The question has been updated with these details; sorry for the omission.)
    – cyanos
    May 8, 2017 at 20:15
  • 1
    It is usually known as Acrylic Photo Prints. The same procedure as I mentioned above. Acrylic Glass of 2mm is placed on the photo print which is mounted on a thin Aluminum sheet. This will give you a glass feeling, The Printed material is sandwiched between Aluminium sheet and the Acrylic glass sheet. May 9, 2017 at 3:56
  • Searching for acrylic photo prints works! Thank you!
    – cyanos
    May 9, 2017 at 21:21

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