Custom Oval FRames


By April Hann Lanford

Custom Oval Frames 

By April Hann Lanford

Our closed corner of finished corner frames are custom-crafted at our studio from start to finish.  This allows for seamless designs and continuous, uninterrupted patterns. While most of our custom framing is rectangular in nature, we also create custom round and oval frames.  

This Louis XV revival style oval frame is a combination of hand carving with inscribed detail finish in watergilt 22k and an ebonized finish to add contrast within the design.  The frame was then assembled with an oval custom silvered mirror. The silvering is intentionally distressed to provide an aged appearance. 

Custom-made gilded and lacquered frames do not have to be heavily ornamented, as some of our most popular frames are contemporary flat panel profiles with beautiful lacquered and gilded finishes. 

Hand carved Oval Black Lacquer and 22k Gold Leaf Oval Frame, Custom oval frame, custom oval mirror frame chicago

Custom Finishing

There are many steps that go into creating a custom finished frame.  In the video below, it takes you through highlights of the process:

Application of the primer-once the wooden substrate is sanded and prepared, a black primer is applied.

Red undertone – If you look closely, you will start to see that a lot of black finish frames actually have a red undertone.  A red foundation gives depth and warmth to black tones.

Gilding – The red undertone and bole are prepared at accepting 22k gold leaf along the side edge of the frame.  Once the gilding and sizing are properly set, it is then burnished to achieve a reflective sheen.

Clear Coat – A protective clear lacquer is applied to the surface of the gold leaf.

Black lacquer – The gold leaf is masked off, and coats of black lacquer are painted on with a brush. The coats are sanded in between applications to create a smooth finish with depth.

Distress – The gilding and the black finish is distressed to bring out the warmth of the red undertones, and to give the frame the appearance of gentle passage through time.

Clear lacquer – A final protective clear coat is applied to the surface.

Once the frame is finished, a custom silvered round mirror is installed to complete the project.

With the variety of profiles, carving, gilding, painted and stained finishes available, the possibilities are infinite.

An elaborately carved three-dimensional vine motif makes this custom oval frame stand out from the rest. The asymmetrical foliate carving in contrast with the formality of the Louis XVIth design, adds to the character and charm of the piece. 

Hand-carved, and water gilt in 22k gold, the finish was lightly patinated and distressed.  A custom antiqued silver mirror was installed into the frame to reflect light and create an iconic centerpiece on the wall.

What is often considered custom framing today is the practice of cutting mass-produced pre-finished length moulding and joining into frames.  While pre-finished profiles have their place in the industry, nothing is compared to the quality and originality of a custom carved and finished frame.

Hand carved 22k gold leaf gilded frame oval frame with vine

If you have questions or would like to review options first hand, or learn more about designing a unique frame, please feel welcome to contact us at:


Our collection of educational articles about

custom framing, collection care, and emergency response are updated regularly.

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Collection Care Articles

By April Hann Lanford

Our collection of educational articles provides an introduction to many topics about the preservation and conservation of fine art, antiques, and fine furniture.

Topics are often written as a result of questions provided by our clients. 


Framing Articles

By April Hann Lanford

There is a lot that goes into the design and fabrication of an archival custom frame. Whether a minimal TIG welded aluminum frame, acrylic vitrine, or a custom carved wood, 22k gilded antique revival frame, each design can have a variety of approaches and materials.


Emergency Care Articles

By April Hann Lanford

Our emergency care articles are a helpful introduction to how to prevent damage through preventative measures or art and antique collections.  When a disaster strikes, prompt response and taking the right steps can mitigate further damage.  


Antique Trader Articles

By April Hann Lanford

Visit our collection of articles that have been published in Antique Trader.


For more than 60 years Antique Trader has been inspiring, informing, and entertaining the collecting community with timely...

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By April Hann Lanford

A selection of Artifact’s most recent projects highlighting our conservation and preservation work. We present each unique story describing the conservation process from reviewing the history, cause of loss, and condition to the steps of the treatment.

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A collection of art and conservation terms along with makers and firms compiled into a glossary and highlighted throughout our website for reference.

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(312) 344-0331

Main Location

840 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL 60642

Mon-Fri:  9am - 5:30pm
Sat:  10am-4pm
Sun:  Closed

Complimentary parking is available in the loading zone in front of the building

We can also serve you by appointment at our other locations in the Chicagoland area.

Additional Locations

Schiller Park Highland Park  •  Lake Forest  •  Lincoln Park  Nashville, TN

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