I love framing works of art. It can make all the difference and give a new life to a work of art! In this post, I wanted to share three things I learned about framing and framing works of art.
My first tip is to create something unique! I wrote a post on collecting art if you want to refer to this post for some ideas on how to collect art for your home.
I found this embroidered wool rug at a consignment store knowing it would be perfect on a blank wall in our house. I was looking for something big, but couldn’t find what I was looking for … until I found this!
I loved the colors and texture but knew framing would be pretty expensive. I put it off for almost a year but eventually took it to the frame shop to get an idea for a frame and a quote.
The lady at the frame shop told me it would take two people three hours to hand-sew it onto a pad. It was the method they used to preserve the piece and not damage it while framing it. When I picked up the piece, I was so happy with the finished product.
Another unique item is this postcard from the St. Louis World’s Fair 1906. I found it on eBay some time ago. Underneath there are small holes cut out with colored parchment or thin paper and when you hold it up to the light … it looks like it is lit. Here it is with light behind it. Do you see how it shines?
It’s such a delicate and beautiful souvenir from 115 years ago! I’ve always loved the history of the St. Louis World’s Fair because my great grandmother visited, and it’s nice to know that I have a little piece of its history in my home. I wanted to have this postcard framed with the idea that I could still hold it up to the light and see it flash up. I went with two pieces of glass and the framers were careful not to break the postcard, but put it carefully between the glass.
It looks elegant and is safe for many years to come!
My friend and I were recently in an antique mall and came across a stand with baskets full of old pictures. We stood at the booth for well over an hour, took out worn photos and showed each other. The baskets were filled with collections of family memories of vacations, babies’ first steps, and sons going to war. I found this picture in the stack and with pencil on the back it was dated 1931.
I fell in love with it instantly. The composition of the two dogs on the sides, the ore on the bottom leads the eye to the man in the middle row. It reminded me of a photo taken by one of my favorite photographers, Jacque Henri Lartigue. I bought the photo and took it to our local hobby store to find a frame. I found a frame and took it to the framing department for them to have a mat cut to fit. A few minutes later they came out with the finished product! It cost less than $ 10 to make them for me and reassemble the photo, mat, and frame.
Now that special photo can be enjoyed and not hidden in a basket in an antique mall. If you’re looking to frame a picture, consider a slightly larger frame and custom matte cut for your photo. It looks timeless and also brings your eye into the photo. You can also buy pre-cut mats for your picture, but in my case I needed a custom one!
Next, I wanted to share my favorite tip for buying used frames.
When I find a frame that I love at a thrift store (that’s a good price!), I usually buy it … even if I don’t care about the art in the frame. Framing can be quite expensive. So if I can buy a used piece of art and can only buy it for the frame, the cost will go down a lot! I have a small supply of used frames just waiting to be recycled and put in new art. I’ll search eBay, EBTH, or thrift stores to find art that might fit in a particular frame. As soon as I find the right piece, I take the art and used frame to the frame shop. In my experience, it’s usually around $ 10-15 to swap out the art, seal the back, and put in new hanging wire. So easy!
Once when I got something framed, the woman in the frame shop said that the frame shouldn’t distract from the art. While I agree with that (mostly) I can’t help but love the big beautiful frames you see when you go to art museums. Paintings through the centuries are wrapped in gilded gold and in my opinion the frame is distracting, but only because it’s so beautiful !!
I love the juxtaposition of these amazing abstract paintings painted by my friend Kendra with the gold frames around them. It’s classic and cool at the same time.
I found a large gold frame for next to nothing on Craigslist and kept it in the garage until I found the perfect piece for it. Do you remember the postcard from the St. Louis World’s Fair mentioned above? Well before I took the postcard to the framers I took it to our local photo / photo print shop, they scanned it and put the file on a disc. When I got home I opened Photoshop and increased the saturation, sharpened it little and removed all the dust spots. I sent the file to be printed in a larger size. I just had it printed a little smaller than the gold frame I saved because I wanted to use a mat to embellish it a little. I took the enlarged picture and gold frame to the frame shop and they helped me pick a mat and glass. I can now enjoy a great picture of this sweet little postcard! I hold it above my desk and love it!
My next tip is to buy art with bad frames. I often find framed pieces and the art in them is in good condition, but the frame is broken. Reframing can make all the difference! If you can, keep the original glass as getting new glass can be quite expensive. Just bringing your framed art, keeping the art and glass, and having the frame replaced can save you money! Whenever I bring in art with a bad frame, I NEVER try to take the art out. I let the framers do this because they know what they’re doing. So don’t feel bad about bringing your whole piece with you and having it disassembled! I got these pieces on eBay and the frames were in such poor condition. I was a little sad when they came in the mail but knew it could be a quick fix. Here’s the before and after with the new (sturdy!) Frames.
I hope this encourages you to get some art framing or keep an eye out for great frames and the perfect piece of art.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Have fun framing! -Janae