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Picture framing - anyone DIY?
Old 06-15-2014, 05:19 PM   #1
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Picture framing - anyone DIY?

Once again to the "Well of Knowledge".

Does anyone do their own picture framing? Of course it could be either photographs or artwork, I'd suppose the methods/materials/tools are pretty much the same.

Googling the subject gives an almost overwhelming number of responses and I'm not sure where to start with this. Lots of sites selling materials/tools, very little of credible instructional value.

What I'm interested in is learning if even thinking about investing in the tools/materials to do it myself would have a payoff, given that I don't print all that many photos. But I probably would print a lot more if it wasn't going to cost north of $100 to get a decent job of matting and framing for even an 8x10. I just bought a printer capable of printing 13"x19" gallery-quality photo prints and it dawns on me that the cost of having one of those mounted, matted, and framed would be astronomical. Maybe feasible if I did the work myself?

Note that I'm not talking about drugstore picture frames here. I mean the type that is matted, often with two or three mats, using archival materials and UV resistant glass. It's a lot of work with often expensive materials which is why it costs so much.

If you can even just recommend a good book that's at least a credible place to start.

Thanks.
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Old 06-15-2014, 05:27 PM   #2
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in my younger days I would buy framing stock, and then cut matboard, and assemble myself. in those days I didn't have a powered cutoff saw, but used a table saw or miter saw.

If you can find cheap stock, you can make a frame for very little.
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Old 06-15-2014, 08:41 PM   #3
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Walt- I've done a couple - only one with matting. One a map- the other a family photo. I made the frames easy enough. I had custom glass cut for one, the other was stock size. I bought the matting at a hobby store. I can't remember how I got it cut but I don't remember doing it myself. I'm interested in doing a few more.

I get my pointers from lumberjocks.com, a woodworking forum. I did a search on picture frames and there's a lot of info there that could be of some help.

http://lumberjocks.com/search_result...-999&sa.y=-219
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Old 06-15-2014, 08:47 PM   #4
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There used to be a framing studio around here that offered you two options as a customer - you could pay full price and have them frame your work, or you could have them provide the materials and come in and do the work yourself in their studio. I framed a few things myself there and it was actually kind of fun - plus they'd give you some guidance when you needed it. If you can find someplace like this, it might be a good compromise between complete DIY and paying for professional framing.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:47 PM   #5
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I have framed a fair number of pictures. I usually get the framing stock, backing board, and glass or plexiglass at my local hardware store. I get the glass cut to size at the store. I cut the framing stock with a miter saw. I buy the mat boards at hobby stores and use a cheap mat cutter to cut them. It requires a bit of precision, patience, and a steady hand to make nice corners, but it works well. When assembling the frame, having a frame clamp is very useful to keep it square. When it is time to assemble the frame, keep your work area extra clean. It drives me nuts when I finish the job only to discover some dust trapped between the mat and the glass.
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:10 AM   #6
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There used to be a framing studio around here that offered you two options as a customer - you could pay full price and have them frame your work, or you could have them provide the materials and come in and do the work yourself in their studio.
I'll look around locally. Finding something like that would probably be my best solution. I really don't want to spend $300+ on framing materials that I might use 3 - 4 times a year plus end up with more "stuff" to store. I have lots of tools that don't see much use but were cheaper to buy than have the work done.

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I have framed a fair number of pictures. I usually get the framing stock, backing board, and glass or plexiglass at my local hardware store. I get the glass cut to size at the store. I cut the framing stock with a miter saw. I buy the mat boards at hobby stores and use a cheap mat cutter to cut them. It requires a bit of precision, patience, and a steady hand to make nice corners, but it works well.
If I can't find a local framing shop as described above that's probably going to be the best way to go for me.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:32 AM   #7
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Walt, it is easy. Well, maybe not easy, but worth the effort. I have never been willing to pay to have something matted and framed, and I have framed artwork and stuff all over my house.

If you go to someplace like Michaels (chain arts and crafts store), they sell frames and pre-cut matting. I have used this matting, although more often I prefer to buy the matting stock there and cut it myself to save money.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:42 AM   #8
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I like to concentrate on the my art rather then framing. So I go with groups of smaller paintings (or photos).

Thus I completely bypassed the large painting frame problem.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:52 AM   #9
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Check thrift stores and yard sales for frames.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:53 AM   #10
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Slightly off topic, but there are bargain picture frames at places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Toss the pictures, keep the better nice frame and re-mat to size.
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Old 06-16-2014, 12:04 PM   #11
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I purchased a mat cutter several years ago and tried using it exactly once. It's very difficult to do, much more so than it looks like (unless technology has changed). This is one of those things where I decided it's just easier to pay someone who actually knows what he/she is doing.
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Old 06-16-2014, 12:54 PM   #12
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Cutting a mat requires some experience. When I used to do this, I had a large drafting board with a straitedge. The cutter I used was a heavy cast metal piece, and the blade had to be sharp when you started. Now, the stores use a very solid looking contraption, and I'm sure it costs quite a bit.
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Old 06-16-2014, 01:08 PM   #13
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I do all my mat cutting with this little contraption (make sure to change the blade often to keep it extra sharp). Used alongside a sturdy metal ruler, I get good results. YMMV.
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Old 06-16-2014, 03:59 PM   #14
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Thanks, everyone. I ordered a couple of books on the topic from Amazon along with some other items this morning. It looks like one of those things that should be easy and I know it can't be or more people would do it. I expect to ruin a few mats learning. When I finish the books I'll spend some money on tools/materials.

There is a Michaels craft store nearby so I can maybe get the basic stuff there. Playing around on the site Frames by Mail I built a frame that I would like with a walnut frame and double matted for an image - $130+, and then shipping on top of that. Spending $400 on a Logan framing kit might make sense after I built a few frames and cut some mats.

I printed the below image at 13"x19" and even on semi-gloss paper it looks great. One of the other things I ordered was gloss paper - I think that will be better for a landscape.

One of the reasons I want to do the framing myself is to make custom sizes. Some of the standard photo sizes like 8x10 are a different aspect ratio than the camera frame and thus require heavy cropping. A lot of the time that doesn't matter much but often enough it does, as with this image.
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:48 PM   #15
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That's a great shot Walt - certainly worthy of framing.

As a side note - I don't know where I found this company (maybe here and I'm repeating it), but they print your photos on glass. Looks cool but not my style

https://www.fractureme.com
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:04 PM   #16
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That's a great shot Walt - certainly worthy of framing.
One of those moments - walking around with DW and her father in his back yard - a little voice says "take a picture, dummy". Because of the distractions I didn't get as many shots as I wanted. But the light was so great it would have been hard to take a bad shot.

Quote:
As a side note - I don't know where I found this company (maybe here and I'm repeating it), but they print your photos on glass. Looks cool but not my style

https://www.fractureme.com
Have to think about that one but I did bookmark it. Sort of like prints on metal - not something you want to do your whole house in but some images would fit.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:08 PM   #17
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Look at pictureframes.com

You could buy the frames there and do the matting/cutting using the tool mentioned by FIREd, and the glass at your local hobby shop.
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:24 AM   #18
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Many years ago, I went to Aaron Bros. and took advantage of their one cent sale; don't know if they still offer those. It allowed me to get two pictures framed for $400; a lot of money for two, a shload for one....

These days, the Mrs. insisted that we only buy framed art. I like the idea of going to Goodwill or the Salvo's and tossing the image and just using the frame, glass, and matte...

Walt: beautiful image!
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Old 06-17-2014, 08:49 PM   #19
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Found this site with a lot of very informative articles. They have clearly put some thought and work into it.

Framing4Yourself | Picture Framing Supplies | Picture Frames | Mat Board | Picture Framing Classes | Picture Framing Tools and Equipment

Of course they hope you buy some frames from them too.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
Thanks, everyone. I ordered a couple of books on the topic from Amazon along with some other items this morning. It looks like one of those things that should be easy and I know it can't be or more people would do it. I expect to ruin a few mats learning. When I finish the books I'll spend some money on tools/materials.

There is a Michaels craft store nearby so I can maybe get the basic stuff there. Playing around on the site Frames by Mail I built a frame that I would like with a walnut frame and double matted for an image - $130+, and then shipping on top of that. Spending $400 on a Logan framing kit might make sense after I built a few frames and cut some mats.

I printed the below image at 13"x19" and even on semi-gloss paper it looks great. One of the other things I ordered was gloss paper - I think that will be better for a landscape.

One of the reasons I want to do the framing myself is to make custom sizes. Some of the standard photo sizes like 8x10 are a different aspect ratio than the camera frame and thus require heavy cropping. A lot of the time that doesn't matter much but often enough it does, as with this image.
I've had Walmart and/or Snapfish make 11x14 prints, then used a relatively cheap frame. An expensive frame would be overkill for my "decor"...

One thing I've noticed is the glare from photos on glossy paper...
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