A Frame-Maker’s Catalog

Welcome to the heart of the website—a virtual picture framer’s showroom, displaying a huge array of samples of our frame designs. An indispensable tool for our online custom framing services, you may also simply enjoy browsing it to get a feel for our work.

But keep in mind, this is a showroom and a catalog with a difference: rather than representing a finite and standardized offering of what we make, it should more accurately be looked at as representing examples of what we have made. As the result of our mission to treat picture framing as a living art form, fed primarily by the needs of our customers for ideal settings for the pictures they bring to us, it’s by no means an exhaustive representation of our frames. We’re always coming up with new designs. From the plain beauty of the No. 1 to the more refined elaboration of our Compound and Individualized Frames, every frame is not only a carefully joined and finished piece of real woodworking (learn more about closed-corner frames), but is thoughtfully designed to enhance, sustain and amplify the spirit of the picture it’s made to house. For this reason it is closely linked to the Portfolio and Gallery and examples there of what really matters in the art of frame-making—how the frame serves the picture.

Most customers looking to frame their pictures will quickly become overwhelmed by the choices here, so please understand that as a virtual showroom the catalog is made to serve in the same way as our real showroom—a place for me to work with you, the customer, to design the right frame for your picture. While I hope you enjoy exploring our work—and we’re certainly happy to make for you any of the designs you find on these pages—I do not expect you to use the catalog to figure out for yourself which frame to choose. Rather, it’s intended as a design tool for you and me to use together to come up with something new—the right frame for your unique picture and home. This design service we provide is absolutely integral to the product: the test of a frame is in how well it serves the picture and those whose lives it will become part of. The expert joinery of our frames is matched by the joinery of the frame to the picture and of the picture to your home.

While the catalog primarily serves our custom framing work, we also have frames all made up and available for purchase at our online store, shop.holtonframes.com.

Scroll down to begin browsing our frame designs. For more on using the catalog, see “Using the Catalog,” below. And don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Tim Holton


Basic frame corner samplesMitered Frames—Basic

Joined with splined 45 degree miter joints, our Basic Mitered Frames are organized by overall form into six groups, including Flats, Chamfered, Slopes, Coves, Cushions and Ovolos (convex), and Ogees (“S” in section). View…



Frame corner samples—Special cornersMitered Frames—Special Corners

Examples of mitered frame designs featuring decorative corners, emphasizing a key source of the frame’s artistic beauty: the constructive significance of its joints. View…




compounds-2cnrs-webMitered Frames—Compound

Composed of two or more moldings, compound frames offer more substantial, complex and/or refined mitered frame designs. View…




Mortise-and-tenon frame cornersMortise-and-Tenon Frames

The joinery that distinguishes these frames is simply the strongest way of joining two pieces of wood. Includes our workhorses, the Aurora and Four-Square Basics, the strongly articulated Extensions and Rounded Ends, and the delicate Yoshida. View…



Oxford and Adirondack frame corner samplesAdirondack & Oxford (Lap-Joined) Frames

Lap-joined, crossetted-corner frames very popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Our Adirondack is the simplest version, while the Oxford includes decorative variations. View…




Compound cassetta frame corner samplesCassettas and Compound Auroras

More compound frames, these combining mitered moldings with lap-joined or mortise-and-tenon frame members. View…




Floater rame corner samplesFloaters

To reveal the canvas edge or just achieve a more minimalist look, our Floater frames bring our handcrafted quality and love of wood to a popular modern presentation. View…




Individualized frame cornerIndividualized Frames

While we design every frame “to the picture,” an individualized frame is unique to the particular picture for which it was made. These frames represent the pinnacle of the art of frame-making as a living art form. We’ve chosen several examples for the Portfolio. View…




No.1 with gilt ogee linerInserts (Liners, Slips and Flats)

Designed to fit inside a larger outer frame, liners and slips provide another line of definition. View…





Due to the infinite number of options available in the frames, prices are not shown with the frame designs but are provided on request. Please email or call with pricing inquiries.

Using the Catalog

The catalog may be used either in a conventional way, for you to simply choose a frame design as shown, or more as a collaborative design tool. In the latter case, through telephone conversations and email, you and I can use the catalog together to find a design or — just as likely — develop a new frame design that will best suit your picture. It’s sort of an online version of working with a framer in a brick-and-mortar frame shop and using the corner samples on the wall.

In that regard, this is not a typical catalog of picture frames — a presentation of a manufacturer’s finite offering of frame designs. While it certainly presents frames we make and offer — and we welcome your orders for anything you see here — it is also something much less rigid and more creative: an ever-growing, ever-evolving documentation of our work in a living art form, as well as a design tool for you and me to use in collaboration in coming up with a new design — a frame made just for you and your picture, to perfectly meet your needs. Taking advantage of internet technology — the catalog is based on a blogging platform — it’s far easier to update than a conventional catalog, not only with new frame designs but also with examples of how we’ve used them. In that sense, new technology is allowing us to return to the old way of framing in which small, more adaptable artisans directly served the retail customer, making the frame from scratch, and adapting the design in an organic creative process to be as suitable as possible to — and as individual as — the picture and the home in which it will reside.

Please note, that also unlike most frame catalogs, this is not a moulding catalog. Like fine custom furniture, our frames are sold fully joined and finished. True to the cabinet-maker’s frame tradition, they are what is known in the trade as closed corner frames.

I invite you…

…to enjoy browsing the catalog and, whenever you’re ready, to contact me. I also urge you to subscribe to updates. I look forward to hearing from you and to providing you with a beautiful — beautifully designed and beautifully handcrafted — picture frame, ideally suited to your treasured picture.

—Tim Holton


“These are the most beautiful and best made frames I’ve ever seen, and they really complement my sepia tone photographs.” Richard Blair, photographer, Inverness, CA

“I received my frame yesterday and I must say it is fabulous. I could not be happier. I have hung it and am admiring it without the picture in it for now! Thank you so much.” — Kevin Rodgers, Seattle

“I’ve been gradually replacing all my old frame-shop frames with Tim Holton’s solidly beautiful masterworks. After all, why should the artwork stop at the edges?” Armistead Maupin, author, San Francisco

Read more testimonials…


Tim Holton in frame shopLearn more about our custom framing services

We have a conventional “brick-and-mortar” shop, located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, and also provide framing by mail order. Learn more…

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