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Framing 101

A Quick Guide to Custom Framing
Tuesday November, 1st 12:08 PM
Tuesday November, 1st 12:08 PM

Considering Custom Framing

When you think of needing a frame for something, your go-to thought is probably taking a trip to a local store or going online to purchase a frame that already exists. It's quick, simple, and generally a pretty affordable option. In certain cases, this is probably the right thing to do. If you are looking to frame a picture you just printed, then picking up a premade frame is logical. However, when something holds a lot of value or is a non-standard size, purchasing something quick and already made might not be the best route. Let's say you're looking to frame a portrait of your great grandmother or an original piece of art, then you may seek custom framing to justly display those items in all their glory. At this moment in time, a custom frame would allow you more options at the quality your unique project needs.

Before We Begin

Custom framing opens the door to a lot of new possibilities and the opportunity to uniquely display something you treasure. Think of this as your chance to really frame anything or everything you desire. Never think that something special you own and would love to display can't be because you haven't found a frame that fits. With this in mind, your first step is to know what you want to get framed or have an idea for something you'd like to display.

Where to Go for Custom Framing

Determining where to go to for custom framing is likely one of the first questions you'll have in mind. However, if you've never had something custom framed before, you might not necessarily know the answer or be aware of all your options. When you are looking for a custom frame, you will need to find a place that offers custom framing and hopefully specializes in the process. Upon searching your local area, you will most likely come across a major retailer or two, maybe a custom framing shop, or even an art gallery. All provide custom framing, but the end result will likely differ depending on where you go. A larger retailer may draw you in by offering a rather large discount, but only end up producing a mediocre product. On the other hand, a gallery may be more expensive, but offer higher quality materials and better customer service. Before considering where you ultimately go, it's good to know the type of frame you'll need and a few materials that go into it.

Types of Frames

When it comes to custom framing, the types of frames one usually orders are versions of picture frames or a shadow box picture frame. In most scenarios, the "standard frame" people order is in essence a custom version of a picture frame. If you are wanting to frame photographs, portraits, posters, diplomas, etc., then you'll be ordering this type of frame. However, if you are looking to frame something dimensional, lets say memorabilia, sports jersey, wedding gowns, etc., then you will need a shadowbox picture frame. These frames act like a box within a frame, built with depth to accommodate for items with dimensions.

Materials That Go Into Framing

When it comes to ordering a custom frame (or even buying a frame in general) there are a lot of different materials that go into producing the end result. The foundation for all frames comes down to the structural frame material, which can be wood or metal. Once you have selected the outer frame, the next important component will be choosing appropriate matting. Mating is similar to a thick piece of paper or cardstock that holds and centers your item, while also adding design value. Not all framing requires a mat, but most frames will include it. Additionally, you will likely be presented with a couple of glass options The last major component associated with framing is selecting the appropriate glass. You may wonder why there are various options for glass, but there are different ways the glass can be finished. For instance, the glass may be finished in a way to reduce glare or deflect light to help conserve a piece's integrity. Dependent upon the item you are having framed, you'll be able to make the decision that is best for you and your piece.

Design Process

The design process is probably the greatest perk of having something custom framed because you are able to pick and choose exactly what you want. You are able to see all your options in person and select what you like best. From the start to the end, you can select all of your frame materials and create a frame that is truly unique. Whichever style you're looking to achieve, custom framing allows you more options than you could ever find trying to buy a frame. If you aren't sure what design you like best or are having trouble making a decision, you aren't the only one. Sometimes it is hard to know what looks good or coordinates best with the item you are having framed or the room you'll be hanging it in. Therefore, you should pick a place that has a framing department or specialist to assist you throughout the design process. Every place will be different, but you should look for places with trained professionals who is familiar with the process.

Costs Associated

For most, the major determinant for whether you go forward with custom framing is the price tag that's associated with it. People are generally aware it's going to be more expensive than buying a premade frame. In most cases, that is true. However, there are a lot of factors that most people aren't aware of with custom frames. Custom frames aren't ordered in bulk and assembled in a warehouse offshore; therefore, you are now paying for the labor that goes into making and personally assembling your piece. This is the main reason custom framing usually holds a higher price tag. Labor wise, some frames are much easier and quicker to assemble than others and will be cheaper. Framing a photograph versus a wedding dress will be a lot less expensive on the labor alone. On the other hand, the materials that go into a frame will also play a factor. A custom handmade wood frame will be more expensive than a metal one. However, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars for every framing job. There are ways to easily work within a budget and still receive a nice custom frame you can't find in stores.

How Long Will it Take

When you order a custom frame, it will take a little more time to receive your final product. Generally speaking, it will often take a couple of weeks (2-4 weeks) depending on the size and type of project. Unfortunately, this is often considered one of the downfalls of custom framing because you can't instantly have your final product. However, the additional wait is well worth it when you see the final product in the beautiful frame you picked.

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