Picture frames are not one size fits all. Your frame needs can vary based on the type of item you’re framing, the size of your image, and the style you’re looking to achieve. Your budget will also play a major role—bespoke frames can come with a hefty price tag depending on their size and materials. From where to source your picture frames to cleaning them once they’re inside your home, here’s everything you need to know about custom frames.
Where to Get Custom Frames Made
If you’re looking for a place to have a custom frame made, Bethany Berk, founder of Marchioness Home & Garden, suggests trying the in-store framing departments at large retailers like Michael’s. “These types of stores are known to carry a wide range of frames and mats at mid to high price ranges,” she explains. “They also have a decent reputation for craftsmanship, as most of their framers are current or former art students and fairly experienced when it comes to color, texture, and mat-cutting.” If you don’t have a Michael’s nearby, Berk also suggests Hobby Lobby for your custom framing needs. If you’re planning a gallery wall, or a larger collection, such as botanical prints in a stairwell, she says this type of frame shop will be perfect.
Another good option for custom frames? A local framer. “I recommend calling a few and getting a variety of price quotes,” explains Lindsey Hughes, owner and lead designer at Lindsey Hughes Interior Design. “Often times these local framers also have an eye for design and can help their customers in putting together the perfect combination to finish their piece.”
How to Choose the Right Materials
A good way to choose the right size and materials for your photo or art is to determine the significance the artwork has in the home, says Elizabeth Goldfeder, CEO and founder of GK Framing. She suggests looking at it from both a monetary and sentimental angle. “Works of value or of special meaning need to be archivally framed,” she says, adding that preservation materials are necessary to achieve this high bar. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the other items that will be hanging near your artwork. “If part of a grouping you will want to make sure the size and materials marry well with the rest of the grouping,” she says. “However, if the work is to be a centerpiece, even if small, then consider being bold and consider a big mat with a significant frame.” She says the key is to select a frame that enhances the artwork.
Do Some Research
Consider looking through design magazines to find inspiration. “Many framers are craftspeople and it’s important to find a maker that meets your design tastes as well,” Goldfeder says. “Luckily there are often many different pricing tiers to meet your budget. Good framing is a lifetime investment for your artwork so choose wisely.” If you’re not having any luck at local frame shops, she suggests reaching out to the nearest museum to see if they have any recommendations.
How to Care for Your Custom Frames
Goldfeder says the best way to care for your custom frame is to know the materials the frame is made from. “Frames come in many materials ranging from handmade to prefinished,” she says. “Prefinished frames, which are commercially produced and very popular because of their economic pricing, are generally durable.” Handmade materials, on the other hand, should be treated like fine quality furniture. “This would include gilded, wood, metal, and leather frames.”
When it comes to cleaning your frame, moderation is key. “Always avoid any moisture and cleaning fluids on the frame because it’s most often wood based.” She suggests starting with a feather duster for the frames and microfiber cloth for the glass. “If the glass has fingerprints then use a small amount of Windex non-ammonia, but always spray the cloth not the framing.” This will ensure the longest life to your special memories and works of value.