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In  the 25 years of experience in picture and fine art framing  I have been asked frequently for my advice when it comes to framing artwork, family photos, sports jerseys and nearly any other type of project you could imagine. When it comes to custom framing, every project is slightly different and has some specific nuances that make it unique. But there are some general bits of good advice that I encourage all of my clients to think about. In this blog post, I will go over what I believe to be the five most important things to consider when custom framing whatever type of project you have in mind.

I will start out by saying that this advice is for a person who frames a few personal items a year — this advice is not geared for an interior decorator, artist, photographer or creative professional who frames frequently. Someone who frames bigger numbers of items more frequently or for resale will have different needs and should really have a different strategy. If you are looking for advice on a larger number of projects or for resale, please contact us directly and we can offer more targeted guidance for you and your business. We would love to help, but your needs are probably a little different and you should have a true framing strategy to help save money and provide a more consistent, branded look. 

This list of helpful hints will offer ways in which you can save money while having a nicely designed frame to showcase your artwork, photo or keepsake.

Tip #1: Have a budget in mind, but be realistic and ask questions.

Getting a quote on anything custom-made (especially custom framing) is really like getting a quote on a bag of groceries. It depends on what you put in it as to what the price is going to be. Make sure that the person giving the quote understands your situation completely and gives you more of an itemized list rather than just a dollar amount. Believe me, a lot of different parts go into a framing project. Some are absolutely necessary whereas some are not. The more clarity you have on what is going into your frame and why will be super helpful in giving you the best value for every dollar spent. Always ask questions!

Tip #2: Know the what, why and where of your piece.

What you are framing (the media or material of the project) will greatly affect the way it is framed. You typically won’t see a painting on canvas with a paper mat and glass on it. Or a charcoal drawing on paper without a paper mat. What you are framing is going to determine what is necessary to frame it well. Where it is going and why are you putting it there is another good question to ask yourself before choosing a frame. Are you trying to brighten up a space in your house? Is there an emotional connection with the piece? Are you trying to visually provide a consistent color or pattern in the room? Is it part of a larger project that needs to be considered? Are you hanging the project on drywall? Plaster? Brick? Take pictures on your phone of where it’s going and show the framer. Bring in a paint sample or throw pillow. This can get you a better frame of reference when deciding on what direction to take the project.  

Tip #3: Know the lighting of where you’re hanging your project.

Good or poor lighting can really make a difference in how we go about framing the project. Is the area pretty dark? Maybe a lighter frame will really show well there and draw attention to the artwork. Will there be a glare from the light down the hall? Maybe anti-reflection glass is a good option for you. Lighting makes all of the difference in the visual impact of your piece. So please keep that in mind.

Tip #4: Safety!

Is your project in a high-traffic area in your house? Is it a large piece hanging in a child’s room? Picture framing glass is typically thin, breakable and heavy. Big projects in high-traffic areas can lead to broken glass, ruined artwork or personal injury. Ask your framer if you have any concerns about this. If your project is over a certain size, I always suggest a larger more durable frame and plexi glass. There are always options however and you should discuss any concerns you have with a framer for more clarity and peace of mind.

Tip #5: Make it yours!

What is it about this project that you really love? The great thing about custom framing is it is your chance to be creative and design a unique statement for your home. Let yourself be creative in your thinking! Trust your intuition! Have fun but don’t be afraid to ask for other opinions. This is a really fun part of our jobs and we will give you the best advice we can. But ultimately it is your project and design and we want to help make it happen!

If you have a project that you are looking to start let us help you by providing a free quote. Fill out the request a quote form and we will do our best to give you a clearer picture of solutions to your project. I hope this advice was helpful and we can work together soon!