I was at Target yesterday and I saw that they have some of my favorite frames in stock again. So I thought I would do a little round up of some of my favorite frames. Picture frames run the gamut of inexpensive to really expensive. Over the years I have had custom frames made, bought lots of stock frames and picked up old frames. Nowadays I try to stock up when I see them on sale. For the mattes I tend to use a combination of standard ones, cut my own w/ an exacto or my matte cutter (which never comes out as nice as I would like), or if it is a nicer piece of art I have my local art store cut it for me. I also recommend picking up a roll of acid free mounting tape designed for hanging prints. It is sticky but not too sticky and it shouldn’t leave a yellow mark on your artwork. I have a roll that I bought about 15 years ago at Pearl. I still pull it out for all of framing. I also recommend getting acid free mattes if it is nicer piece of art that you don’t want to degrade over time.
Here are the places where I normally pick up my frames:
Pros: Inexpensive simple white, black and wood frames. Also they are now offering acid free matting, which is nice for the long term preservation of your artwork. I have used countless numbers of RIBBA Frames over the years.
Cons: Non-standard American sizes, which means you almost always have to cut the mat. Also I wish that they had a couple of other medium sizes. Often I can’t find one that is a good size for what I am framing. The other thing that I hate about their frames is the tabs on the back. They are a pain to bend back and forth. I use a flathead screwdriver, but it still is annoying, especially if you need to do any adjusting. Jenny from Little Green Notebook had a great post about using a standard Ikea frame and painting the piece of paper behind the matte to give it a custom look.
Pros: The Michaels by us has a very good selection of frames in all different sizes, I can almost always find a frame that will work. I also think that in general their quality is pretty good. They also sell standard mattes in different colors that will fit a lot of the frames they offer. I haven’t tried this service, but you can pick out a standard frame and they will matte your artwork in it fairly inexpensively and in a short period of time.
Cons: You will want to wait for a sale. Fortunately they have lots of 50% off sales and they sometimes have coupons as well. So with a good sale you can get a pretty reasonable price.
Pros: They have some nice simple frames. They also offer some really fun colorful frames both in solid and patterns (which I haven’t found anywhere else).
Cons: Most of the time their frames are priced okay, but not as inexpensive as Michael’s on sale, but in the fall they usually offer packs of their RE Frames (Room Essentials). These are only available in the store. Our store currently has them on an end cap near the back to school stuff.
Thrift Stores & Garage Sales:
We bought my favorite frame at an architectural salvage store in Philadelphia. It was cheap and I love the patina. We then had glass installed and a custom matte made at our local frame shop.
Cons: A lot of the time you need to paint the frames and you may need to get a custom matte made to fit the frame. Requires spending some time hunting down a deal.
Custom Frame Store:
Pros: A perfectly sized frame and matte! Plus they typically even install the wire on the back, so all you need to do is pick it up. You can also order what ever color matte you want and choose low reflective or protective glass.
Cons: Custom frames are expensive! They can also take a while to finish it (while they wait for the frame and matte to be delivered and then cut and fit). Definitely worth shopping around for a place you feel comfortable with and that offers a good selection of frames and mattes.