Frugal Framing

Tips to frame for less

Decorating for Less

Frugal Framing

Tips to frame for less

-Paul Devine, Interior Devine

If you have ever done any custom framing, you know it can be expensive. Often a frame can be more expensive than the art it displays. But not to worry, I’m here to teach you some tricks of the trade that can save you money.

I’m a California designer who owns an antique print gallery and custom frame shop that has been serving the design industry for more than 20 years. While my clients have high standards, they don’t always have big budgets, so my staff and I rely on the three R’s to keep within budget without losing any style.

1. REDUCE. It’s true, size does matter. The bigger the frame profile or shape, the more expensive it tends to cost. However, if you use a larger mat and a smaller profile you’ll be surprised at the savings. I love to play with proportions by framing a small item in an oversized mat because it gives you more bang for the buck.

2. RECYCLE. If the artwork is already framed but is a bit dinged-up consider repainting or re-gilding. The labor cost will be a fraction of the price of a new frame and will make your art truly unique.

Vintage frames are antique dealers’ favorite tricks, since used empty frames can be found everywhere at bargain prices. If you’re not up for a frame hunt, just ask your friendly local framer because they may have something in the back room that could be purchased inexpensively.

3. RECONSIDER. The best way to save money may be to do nothing at all. If a job is worth doing, do the job right the first time. If you can’t afford to do it right, you may want to wait until you can. Don’t under frame your art by using non-archival materials. Cheaper materials and uneducated labor are a false economy because they can quickly cause irreversible damage.

With these few hints and a little creativity you’ll be able to preserve your treasures while still protecting your pocketbook.


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