In Part 1 of the DIY Framing guide, I discussed sizes and dimensions of your artwork, mats and frames. In Part 2, I discussed color and style. In the 3rd and final part of this DIY Framing Tips Guide, I’ll be discussing where to buy art frames for prints.
DIY Framing from Scratch
There are a lot of framing websites today that allow you to choose your own frames and mats, and custom sizes. This is probably the most difficult way to go, as it requires that you have some understanding of framing. But, hopefully, with Part 1 and Part 2 of my DIY Framing tips, you’ll have a good foundation from which to work from. A few sites I like to buy art frames when I go this route:
What I love about these sites is they allow you to upload an image of the artwork and test drive how your artwork will look with the frames and mats you choose, giving you a virtual idea of how the end product will look. I’d say for the most part, Benefits: When you buy art frames this way, it is a fun, and somewhat gratifying way to go because it allows you a full selection of options and gives you the ability to get really customized in a more affordable way than going to a custom framer. Cons: Can be difficult if you've never done it before. And, if you don't like the end result, returning might be problematic.
Using a Professional Framer
If the idea of framing your own art scares you, you can bring your nursery art prints to a professional framer to work with you in creating something you love. They will generally take your artwork and put various mats against it with frames so you can see how the end product might look. They will also give you some professional input as to what might look best. You can use independent professional framers, or you can go to a store like Michaels or an art store that offers professional framing as a service. Benefits: Your art prints will be framed professionally and will look fantastic. Cons: Can be very expensive.
This is probably the easiest, but also the least creative way to go when you buy art frames. I’m an advocate of this route if you are short on time, money, or frankly, interest in taking on a project yourself. Things to consider:
- Mat or not: If you want to use a mat with your artwork, you’ll want to see if the frames your considering include a mat. Refer to the Dimensions and Sizing guide I have for more info about that. If the frame doesn’t include a mat, you’ll ant to think through how big the artwork is, and then account for a mat sized appropriately.
- Size: Many customers ask if I can print on 8x10. The paper I use doesn’t come in that size, so I generally don’t, or at least not yet. When purchasing frames, it is important to realize that most larger manufacturers offer a very large range of sizes. If, however, you choose to go with a retail outlet, such as IKEA or Restoration Hardware, you’ll have less options for sizes.
Benefits: Cheapest and easiest way to go to buy art frames. Cons: Doesn't offer very much flexibility or creativity.
My Picks to Buy Art Frames
Here are a listing of frames that work for my various sizes and where you can get them!
These are extremely economical frames you can find on Amazon. They offer a whole host of sizes, including my print sizes of 5x7, 8.5x11, 11x14, 13x19 and 16x20. PLUS, they come in a variety of finishes. If you'd like to also use mats, they offer mats as well here. You will find an even greater selection on their website.
Wood Gallery Single Opening Frames: They have frames that will accommodate my 5x7 and 8.5x11 prints. Remember that my 8.5x11 prints can fit within an 8x10 opening. Also, you can remove the mat they provide to fit my prints without the mat.
- 9" x 11" Frame: Holds a 5" x 7" art print with your own mat or 8.5" x 11" without a mat
- 11" x 13" Frame: Holds a 5" x 7" art print with accompanying mat; an 8.5" x 11" with your own mat; or an 11x14 trimmed down without a mat
- 14" x 17" Frame: Holds 8.5" x 11" (8" x 10") art print with accompanying mat or an 11" x 14" with your own mat
- 8.5" x 10.5" Frame: Holds 5" x 7" nursery art print with your own mat or 8.5" x 11" with no mat
- 13.5" x 16.5" Frame: Holds 8.5" x 11" nursery art print with accompanying mat or 11" x 14" with your own mat
- 15.5" x 19.5" Frame: Holds 8.5" x 11" nursery art print with accompanying mat or 11" x 14" with your own mat or 16" x 20" trimmed and with no mat
- 6" x 8" Frame: Holds 5" x 7" nursery print with your own mat
- 9" x 11" Frame: Holds 5" x 7" nursery print with your own mat or 8.5" x 11" with no mat
- 14" x 17" Frame: Holds 8.5" x 11" nursery print with accompanying mat or 11" x 14" with your own mat
- 16" x 20" Frame: Holds 8.5" x 11" nursery print with accompanying mat or 11" x 14" with your own mat or 16" x 20" with no mat
Gallery Frames: They have a variety of frames that accommodate my 5" x 7", 8.5" x 11" and 11" x 14" prints. I personally love the narrower frames. Here are a few images of what my artwork might look like in their frames.
- 12¼" x 14¼" Frame: Holds 5" x 7" print with accompanying mat or 8.5" x 11" with your own mat
- 16¼" x 18¼" Frame: Holds 8.5" x 11" (8" x 10") print with accompanying mat or 11" x 14" with your own mat
- 17¼" x 20¼" Frame: Holds 11" x 14" print with accompanying mat, or 13" x 19" and 16" x 20" with your own mat
Although cheap, I find that IKEA presents a problem when it comes to buying frames for standard sizes. Their sizes aren't traditional American sizes, and so, I'm not a big proponent of them. That said, if you are determined to shop there, here are some to consider:
- 12" x 16" Frame: Holds 8.5" x 11" (8" x 10") print with accompanying mat
- 16" x 20" Frame: Holds 11" x 14" or 13" x 19" print with your own mat, Holds 16" x 20" with no mat
Now, I'd love to hear about your experiences with framing. What frames have you used and liked? What challenges have you had? Please share in the comments below. And, if you have any further questions about framing, please don't hesitate to reach out!