After you have gone through the ropes several times, you may find picking out your custom frame design quite fun and enjoyable, but the first time is certainly overwhelming. If you are new to the whole custom picture framing process, here are some useful tips on what to expect:
1) Do you want to mat it?
Typically, the first question the person behind the counter will ask you is if you would like a mat. This involves choosing a colored border to go around the image. Most people choice one or two mats to go over their image, with the inside mat showering about 1/4″ of color around the edge of your picture and the second mat on top of the inside color showing anywhere from 2″ to 5″ of color.
When choosing a mat, most people pick a color they would like to bring out from the image. Sometimes this is a dominating color and other times a highlighting color within your art. A less common method of picking mats is to choose what matches the area (furniture, theme, rug, etc.) where you’d like to hang it. The person behind the counter will offer their help when choosing mat colors to compliment your art.
2) What frame do you want?
“Are you kidding me? You have about 3,000 frames to pick from hanging on the wall behind you!” Don’t worry, this is what the person behind to counter is supposed to do – assist you in picking out a frame. I always would ask first if they know which style of frame they’d like because some people know exactly what they want or have an idea (wide, simple, and black wood moulding). If you have no idea what you want, don’t be afraid to admit so! Seventy-five percent of the time, people had no clue what they wanted and that’s when I would offer my expertise.
3) What type of glass?
Traditional images being framed go under glass and there’s more than one type to choose from. At the shop I worked in, we offered four types: regular, non-glare, UV filtering regular (99% filtration), and UV filtering non-glare (99 percent filtration). UV filtering glass will cost you more than non-UV glass, but if you really want your art to last the duration of your lifetime, pay the extra money to have the shop use UV glass. If your image is bright, you can swing either for UV regular or UV non-glare (with the UV regular being most popular), and if you have a darker colored image, I would opt for the UV non-glare to prevent your framed picture from acting like a reflective mirror once up on the wall.
4) Sticker Shock
Custom picture framing is expensive, I’m not going to lie. Be prepared for the cost to be anywhere from $100-$500 depending on the overall size and complexity. If you find in the end that you really want to cut back the cost, change the frame. The frame is the costliest item on the price ticket, with frames ranging from $4.00/linear foot to $50.00/linear foot. If you are worried about cost, do tell the framer up front even before you begin planning. They can direct you to a less expensive design such as a single or no mat, inexpensive frame, and regular glass.
5) A Beautiful End Product
If you have taken your art to a reputable frame shop, your picture will look absolutely stunning when it is finished and hanging on your wall.
Now that you’ve read what things to expect when walking into a frame shop, hopefully you won’t feel so overwhelmed. Relax and don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what the framers are there for. Although the price you pay for a custom framing job may make you feel a tad bit sticker shocked, just feel confident that the end product will look amazing.