With so many framed paintings in our home, I have found it essential to figure out how to get my pictures framed without breaking my budget. I have learned some fabulous tricks. And this is the time of year to frame something, if you need it done.
Right now, Michael’s is doing their annual “Save 60% + an additional 15% off” of their custom framing prices (you can download your coupon by going to the site this week and clicking on coupons). Now, don’t get me wrong. The prices that they start with are very high and obviously meant for a discount. Their typical discount is 60%, sometimes as low as 50%. But I hoard all of my pieces that need custom framing for November. Because this coupon is as low as it is going to go.
I have formed a relationship with the framers at my local Michael’s store. It is where I choose to go. I trust them with my art.
But do you have to stick to Michael’s?
Absolutely not. I know most chain stores that have a framing department will match competitor’s coupons. I would also highly recommend looking into a local mom and pop framing store. Sometimes, that is the cheapest way to go. The local framers I loved went out of business six years ago, so I have had to learn how to play the pricing game with the big stores. However, before they went out of business, it was much cheaper for me to frame my pieces there without a coupon.
What if that is still too expensive? Well, I have a few secrets. No coupon needed. Because you can’t use the coupon for my following advice:
You can just put your art into a regular wall frame. You can do this as long as it is flat paper. Canvas will obviously not work here. This is the cheapest way to do it. I usually toss the matte the frame comes with or get a custom matte made for it ( more on this further down). This particular dragon painting was purchased on Etsy from LukaLuka. I actually kept the matte it came with. This was less than $15 to frame (sale price).
You can also use a regular picture frame for a canvas piece. This small little painting was framed in a regular 5 X 7 frame. I believe the frame itself was purchased on sale for $7. Michael’s did the backing for me. I do not think that cost more than $10 (my memory is fuzzy, but it was very inexpensive).
The custom framing department will put your art piece or picture into any frame. That is right: A tabletop frame, a regular picture frame, a backless frame, an antique frame. And it is much, much cheaper than custom framing. My daughter painted this piece for me three Christmases ago. It is a backless frame that I purchased on sale and they popped it in and did the backing for me.
The piece you are framing just has to fit inside of it. And this is a great way to get your canvas paintings framed cheaper. They will build you a custom backing with a wire. This usually costs between $5-20 depending on the size of your piece (plus the cost of the frame, which you would buy on sale, of course).
Matting: Let’s say you want your piece to pop. You like your frame. But you want a colored matte to make your picture more custom looking. I have a tip for this as well. Go to the custom framing counter and pick out a couple of colors of matting from their samples that you would like to get custom cut for your piece. But you are not going to use those colors, unless they all ready have a cut piece of that matte in the back. If they have your color or a similar color (and they have never not had either my first or second choice) all ready cut, it is significantly cheaper to use their scrap. Using a fresh piece of matting is very expensive. Your piece will not be affected quality wise. Just your wallet. I usually save 75% on my custom matting this way.
The creature painting is by Rhode Montijo.
Framing is not cheap. But I definitely think it adds so much to every piece of art in our home. You just need to decide how you want your art to pop. We chose a long time ago to use mostly gold and silver frames. I like the classical look of them. And they make our fun art more toned down and cohesive. These are typically more. Of course. Going with a solid black frame will usually cost you much less. Our collection has been growing for fifteen years. It is good to stick with whatever you choose to do so you do not need to change out your frames in the years to come. If you are just starting out, I recommend really sitting down and thinking about what style you want to reflect in your home.
Art will be the base. The frames will be the jewelry.
With the holidays coming up and gifts that need framing, I have been saving up my money and my art for this sale. It takes two weeks for your custom framing job (they build the frame) to be done. Usually they will get my matte or backing done (if I am going that route instead) on a piece within one day.
The piece above is an example of a traditional framed piece using my discounted matting tip. Ollie and Murphy riding a dragon was custom painted for us by Becky Dreistadt.
Do you have any art or pictures that need framing? Any other tips to share?