Featured The cost of framing

Discussion in 'Art' started by verybrad, Sep 21, 2023.

  1. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Just recently framed this 80s print from contemporary artist Robert Filbey. Was a bit shocked by prices when I went to have a mat cut. The 18" x 24" mat was $20.00. The acid-free foam core backing board was $14.00. I do my own framing so the vintage frame was only $4.00 from the thrift store. Say a couple bucks for the hanging and mounting hardware. I can imagine how expensive it would have been had I needed a frame and had the shop do everything. The print, including shipping, was only about $10.00 so I am only in about $50.00 for the whole thing. I am not complaining but it has been awhile since I have framed anything. I have a lot more to do so I better start saving my pennies.

    What are others seeing for framing/materials pricing? Do you think twice when buying art if it needs to be framed? Do you do your own framing? Any tips for framing economically? filbey.jpg
  2. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Some years ago now, a friend gave me a piece of her own artwork as a birthday gift. Felt obliged to get it framed. It is not big, maybe 12" x 8". A simple half-round frame with the color mottled finish I selected to coordinate with the print was more than $300. The finish appears to be sort of a skin that is applied. not brush work of any kind. They did a good job & it looks nice, but really?...! (If course very little is cheap where I live.)

    When I had a large pastel to frame, used a framer whose services were offered on eBay & was perfectly satisfied. Can't imagine the price if I had used the same little frame shop.
  3. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    $300.00 for a small frame is robbery! Custom framing can get pricey. If you can use a standard ready-made frame, it will cut costs considerably. Better yet, bring your own frame found on the secondary market. Most framers will allow you to do so.

    Didn't know there was such a thing. Will have to look into it.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
  4. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    They make frame & send it to you. Not sure they do matting. You don't send artwork to them.
  5. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Did find some custom mat makers on ebay but prices are higher than I paid locally. This is particularly true with shipping added.
  6. Potteryplease

    Potteryplease Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this thread! I've been looking into this lately too, and it's too expensive! I have a mitre saw, and can cut wood etc at 45' angles easily. When I googled frame materials by the linear foot, they too were crazy expensive! Is there a work-around for that?

    (I'm talking about oil paintings, so no glass needed.)

    Has anyone purchased vintage frames on the secondary market that are substantially bigger than the painting to be framed and then custom-cut them down and reattached the pieces?
    Figtree3, pearlsnblume and johnnycb09 like this.
  7. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    A few years ago, I broke down and bought a point driver. Best purchase I have made in a long time. Uses both ridgid and flexible points. I like the latter, as it allows you to de-frame and use the same points again if necessary. Inevitably, I will find a hair or some other debris under the glass the first time around..... not to mention a smudge on the glass I missed while cleaning.

  8. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

    The last thing I had framed at Micheals was $150 .No mat,just a frame. That was a few years ago and I swore off framing forever ! It used to be so cheap. 90% of the time,unless its an original frame,I usually end up changing them. Though my gaudy finds posted say otherwise,I like art mostly in simple black frames.
  9. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Found a limited selection of millwork at the lumberyard that will work. Can also add a strip of wood to the back of flat mouldings to accept a painting.

    Yes. It is a bit tricky with some frames, as you have to get them laying perfectly flat when cutting.
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  10. pearlsnblume

    pearlsnblume Well-Known Member

    Many years ago I found a copy of a vintage ad poster. I took it to a frame shop and I was astounded at the cost. I don't remember how much it was but it was pricey.
  11. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    I too have a penchant for black frames, though not exclusively. Black spray paint is your friend. I generally prefer a matte finish. In the framed litho above, I painted the inner strip on the oak frame black to offset the print. Hard to tell in the photo but the mat is actually charcoal so there is a bit of contrast.
  12. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    Framing for your own use.....do what you feel

    Framing to sell to the public...........
    only if u have a store....or auction house the u can bring them to in person.

    Shipping glass in a frame is fraught with problems.
    Framing art to your taste is fine....but others may not share your vision, no matter how nicely you've done it.!!

    I framed art for 12 years, always with the idea that the frame should compliment the artwork and not get in it's way, & I became very good at it and sold numerous framed works to the public.
    In a Gallery you have to showcase the art, so I needed framed works on the walls.
    Framing in the 90's was expensive, even though I had wholesale deals with at least 3 framers.
    I never charged my clients more for the frame than I paid, because I was selling the art , not the frame !....and I sold more unframed prints and paintings than I ever sold framed ones.

    I always had a problem with putting a $40 print, in a frame that cost me $80 , so I hundreds of unframed works for clients to choose from , and offered my suggestions on how to properly frame the works they liked.

    That said.....cheap framing has ruined many a good print.
    We see acid mats bleeding on to works all the time here !

    Some of my best framed art...still resides with me , that for whatever reason never found a buyer.
    Really though the reason is clear......no one liked the way they were framed.
    It didn't match their couch.....or go with the colors of their room , or was too strong , or not strong enuf....ect...ect...

    I had 5 copies of one really nice print... framed one and hung it !
    Sold all 4 of the copies....not the framed one because everyone had a different idea on how they wanted it framed.....:inpain:

    The print you show. Brad....very nice....but....I would have used a white mat & a black frame , so the eye follows light to dark.
    I find that wood frames work best with soft color beige or cream mats that let the eye flow thru similar tones and hues.

    but u no...just my humble opinion as a once professional art dealer....:rolleyes:
  13. NanaB

    NanaB Well-Known Member

    I just had a family portrait framed, and my husband wants to know if it was solid 14k. Yes, rather a large one, but yup it would have been cheaper to take all of them on an all expense paid once in a life time trip!
  14. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Me too. It is ironic that you can buy original art so cheaply and the framing costs an arm and a leg. I bought the above litho directly from the artist on ebay at a fire-sale price. It is an artist's proof he has had laying around since 1989 when he created it. I am glad it didn't cost any more than it did to frame it. I will keep it for now but I am sure it will be for sale at some point. Have to take the overall cost into account when selling if I want to make a profit.

    The buying public is pretty fickle, doesn't have much vision beyond what is presented, and don't want to take any responsibility for creating something that fits their vision. For this reason, the trend is for artists to gallery wrap their paintings so that it doesn't have to be framed to be shown. The problem with this is that once bought, it generally still never gets framed.

    It was framed to my taste but I get what you are saying. I originally envisioned a lighter grey mat but the ones that were available were either too light or the wrong hue. The mat I ultimately chose is charcoal so there is some contrast with the black frame liner and the black in the print, even if it doesn't show well in the photo. You will also note that the mat core is white so also sets off the print. I considered painting the entire frame black but like the vintage white-washed look of the oak. Hard to tell in the photo that it is white-washed but it is. Had the print background been more sepia-toned, my choices would probably have been different.
  15. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    Former professional framer here, who still occasionally does it for my current career, and am married to a frame shop manager.

    Custom archival framing has never been cheap in my life time. You can cut costs in some areas of course, but it is always going to be costly to have a whole piece done, to buy molding, or the archival items like acid-free mats or UV protection glass. In the 90s, in a corporate shop that gets discounts, it was still hundreds to frame anything. Even a tiny piece with sale prices was going to be minimum $80...in 1990s dollars!

    Consider the framing of a piece you love to be like buying a piece of furniture. It is something that you will look at every day and enjoy, that you want to keep from fading or acid burning. If you want that to be in an "it'll do" color frame, where the margins are funky, or maybe it fades from sunlight or browns from acid, that's the choice you've gotta make lol.

    Keep in mind the costs of the materials are expensive to start. I get everything at cost and it's still only what I do when I really love a piece. Wood prices going up didn't help.

    $20 for an 18x24" mat is quite cheap. Maybe next time you can ask for the mat drop out (since you're paying for the whole piece that the larger board is cut from) and if you get a smaller art piece, just pay for them to cut from what you've got. $14 for archival foamboard is pretty standard too. It's a bit more expensive than the regular foamboard because the paper on the sandwich is different.
  16. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    Have to take the overall cost into account when selling if I want to make a profit.

    Oh, I get that ...fully !

    but, I was promoting the Art & never charged more for the frame than I paid.

    I sold very nice , inexpensive prints when I started out......and often had clients return telling me that it cost them $125 to frame the $40 print they had bought.

    So , I started selling more expensive prints !!!!!!:inpain::wideyed::wideyed::playful::playful::playful::playful:
  17. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the confirmation that the prices I am seeing are in line. My mat was cut from the cut-out from a previous customer so maybe I was given a break .... LOL!
  18. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I was responding about the cost of framing in general.

    As an artist, believe me I understand! Obviously I also had a hookup ( :cool: ) so my frames for those pieces cost little to nothing (when using scraps). People are so dumb about framing costs cause they never have to frame anything! Custom Framing is for "Fine Art" and has those prices. You want cheap, that's what the ready-made or metal frames with no archival protection are for. :hilarious:

    But honestly, when you can splash out for that triple mat, fillet, and double frame....woo it's a masterpiece. :p I don't do that often though.
  19. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    If it's a local place? Probably! Corporate sets prices on a place like Michaels, but local can say "oh we've got some scrap xyz" and can work with you sometimes. We used to keep mountains of scrap glass, mat, and foamcore. You hate to throw away useable stuff.
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  20. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    The above litho is the companion piece to this 20s drawing on the opposing wall. I framed this a few years ago but had it in mind when choosing the mat for the new one. The mat color is the same for both but this one has a black core. Thought it would go better with the toning of the antique art. The frame is a modern one I painted matte black.


    Here are the two together.
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