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Why Not to Frame Your Artwork Yourself?

February 21, 2020

framed art

Framing an artwork yourself whether you have painted, drawn or created it yourself or a bought piece from an artist or department store, can be very tempting. This is especially the case when you cannot find a ready-made frame that fits, or you get a quote from a custom picture framer and its more that you budgeted or expected. However, there are a multitude of reasons why trying to frame your artwork yourself can be more trouble than its worth. In this article, we will explore the reasons why it could be quicker, easier and cheaper to visit your local picture framer than trying to frame your artwork yourself.


Firstly, if you are trying to find a ready-made frame to suit your artwork, you may find this quite difficult as all ready-made frames only come in standard photo sizes or certificate sizes and artworks are almost never a standard size! The other reason that ready made frames are not the best option, even if you do manage to find one that fits, is that these mass produced frames are not acid free which means that over time the acid in the frame materials will leach into your artwork, leaving it irreversibly discoloured (think of the yellowing that occurs on your old photographs and artworks) and damaged.


Following on from ready-made frames, if you are looking to make your own frames, there are some things to consider when it comes to the quality and range of picture framing materials available to the general public. Firstly, the selection of picture framing materials available at hardware stores is very minimal so whilst you can get what you need, it may not necessarily be what you want. Secondly, the quality of these materials is usually at the lower end, after all if the hardware store is only carrying a small selection of picture framing materials, they are not going to stock the very best materials and then have to charge a premium price.


In addition to the quality of materials on offer, the cost to purchase these materials can end up being quite high, for example you may only need 20 staples to complete your frame but you have to buy a box of 1000 as that is the smallest box. Or, you must purchase the moulding in lengths of 2m but you need 2.1m to complete your frame so you have to purchase an extra 1.9m that will go to waste. So, its always wise to do your homework and outline all the materials you will need and the prices before committing to the project as the cost of materials alone may exceed what you would pay your local custom picture framer to complete the frame. 


Another very important factor to consider before deciding to make your own frame is the tools that are required to cut, join and assemble your frame. Specialised power and pneumatic tools are required for assembly which will guarantee a secure and safe frame that will not fall apart once the weight of the glass or artwork is put into the frame. Using these tools also gives you flawless finish to your joins. The hardest thing to do when joining a frame together is to make sure you have joins that are seamless with no gaps. This can be an almost impossible task to achieve without the correct tools to assist you. Other smaller hand tools are also required in the framing assembly including a pneumatic staple gun and a specialised pen to cut the glass to size just to name a few. Plus, an air compressor is also required if you are running pneumatic tools to create your frame. So, before you make the decision to make your own frame and buy all the materials, it’s a very good idea to look into the tools you will need to make sure you don’t spend more on power tools than you would have employing your local picture framer to complete the job for you.


One last aspect to consider when thinking about framing your own artwork is the amount of time it will take to complete. Even if you do have all the tools at home to complete the frame and manage to find the supplies you need its always a good idea to consider how much time it will take you to complete and if you have that amount of spare time in the first place. Consider an artist that may want to reduce costs by making their own frame to sell their artwork. Yes, they may save on the fee charged by the picture framer but this maybe outweighed by the time and quality of the finished product. The time spent making the frame could have been better used by creating more artworks rather than spending time on just one artwork alone.


So, in a nutshell its always a good idea to do all your research before committing to making your own picture frame. This research should always include getting a quote from your local custom picture framer to compare the costs. This will also help you weigh up other non-monetary factors such as the quality of materials, the quality of the finished framed artwork and the time it will take to complete the frame.

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