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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Cost of framing a print
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12/18/2003 09:48:04 AM · #1
OK. I just got one 10x14" print off DPCPrints.com I also ordered another 11x15 yesterday. Two local framers quoted me prices of approximately $100-120 to mat & frame the 10x14" photo of a rose. I just wanted a plain black border with a black frame. Does that sound in-line with anyone else's experience? My goal is to get a good half-dozen prints matted and framed and hang them up at work so that I can have a good sales presentation on hand. I'm just trying to pickup enough business by word-of-mouth so that I can afford some fun toys and I can sharpen my skills but if I have to layout $100+ for each finished print then my "startup costs" increase even more. ;)

Thanks for sharing your experiences,

Kev
12/18/2003 09:50:30 AM · #2
That doesn't sound out of line. You can do it yourself for a lot less. Get a mat cutter and buy your framing supplies online from //www.americanframe.com if you can...

12/18/2003 09:55:59 AM · #3
Have you considered matting the frame yourself? Then you can just comparison shop for frames of a certain size and I'm sure you can find nice frames for under 100$. I have some very professional looking 16x20 frames I picked up for 20 bucks.

Matting is not be as complicated as it sounds.

You can buy a mat board the size of your frame (say 16x20), use pencil and ruler to dot the four corners of where your print will rest centered on the board, and then you can spray the back of the print with adhesive glue and use a roller to flatten the print over the board...

Now if you want a "windowed" matting, ie, your photo is sandwhiched between two boards, well if you don't want to go through the trouble of getting your own matt cutter, some framing shops will sell you a cutout matt board done to your specifications, which will most likely be way cheaper than having them do the whole job themselves...

Like most other things, the more work you put into it yourself, the more your costs will go down... :)

Hope something helped,
Dave
12/18/2003 10:20:36 AM · #4
Originally posted by sylandrix:

Now if you want a "windowed" matting, ie, your photo is sandwhiched between two boards, well if you don't want to go through the trouble of getting your own matt cutter, some framing shops will sell you a cutout matt board done to your specifications, which will most likely be way cheaper than having them do the whole job themselves...



I know our local Hobby Lobby store sells mat board in 32x40 sheets for around $5 and they will cut it for you as well, I believe 50 cents a cut...
12/18/2003 10:23:52 AM · #5
That sounds right to me. I had a couple done lately. Cost me about $130 can$. I had this triptych done with a double mat, and each photo mounted seperately (instead of the photo paper as the seperating mat) and a nice dark wood frame. Cost me $300. But it was worth it. I never could have done as good a job. It was a gift to my mother. Pictures were taken at her house.

I've decided that if I get more prints made for myself, I'll do them in a size where you can get standard (off the rack) frames, glass and mat for pretty cheap. In Montreal, I see alot of 11x14's mated into a 16x20 frame. Cost about $25-35.
12/18/2003 10:25:18 AM · #6
Having something framed is expensive. Doing it yourself is MUCH cheaper. The tools you need are about $50 total. Often you can buy them in a kit that has mat cutting instructions The cost of the matboard will vary depending on what you choose. If you just want a simple aluminum frame, you can buy the sections and assemble it yourself. I bought several nice wood frames at Target for about $15-$20 ea. The advantage to buying pre-assembled frames is that they come with glass and you don't need to get class cut for your frame. Have fun, don't cut yourself, and ALWAYS use a new blade.

I have found that I can typically do as good or better job than most frame shops. I have cut mats for diptychs, triptychs, double and triple mats. The first few may not be so pretty, but it just takes a little time and patience to develop the skill necessary to get professional results.

Message edited by author 2003-12-18 10:29:00.
12/18/2003 10:27:34 AM · #7
also hobby lobby does a once a month 1/2 price on total framing orders. I got an odd sized large panorama framed for $120 ( would have been $240). But you have to keep asking when they are doing the sale, but it is typically towards the end of the month.

For smaller prints its probablly less expensive to buy a frame a size or 2 bigger and buy the matting (precut) and di it yourself

James
12/18/2003 10:40:54 AM · #8
Originally posted by KevinRiggs:

I just got one 10x14" print off DPCPrints.com ... Two local framers quoted me prices of approximately $100-120 to mat & frame the 10x14" photo of a rose.

I just put together a sample custom frame at American Frame (no relation, just a satisfied customer!) and you can get your 10x14 print custom framed in a 14x18 frame, matted with a 2.25" border all around for $21.44 + shipping, including all mounting hardware.

Breakdown as follows:

(R 21) Radius, Matte Black 21 metal frame, 14"W x 18" $6.48
Custom cut 14x18 mat with 9.75x13.75 opening, 2.25" border on all sides of print $6.00
Standard 3/32" 14x18 Plexi-glass $6.50
Standard 1/8" 14x18 foamcore backer board $2.46 (optional; could use a couple layers of scrap cardboard if you wanted to save $2.46 and get the cost below $20)

And all you have to do is make a few clicks with your mouse. And although doing it yourself may be fun, it is time-consuming and precision work that is easy to (a) cut wrong or (b) mar the mat. I don't know that it would be much cheaper than ordering online (and might even be more expensive since you have to buy a mat cutter, buy mat board in full-size sheets, still need a frame with glass, etc.) The mat openings and frames are precision cut by machine so they look great. And the only time involved is putting together the frame after it arrives.

Obviously, I don't go to "local framers" any more...

Message edited by author 2003-12-18 10:53:29.
12/18/2003 11:07:44 AM · #9
Well thanks everyone. That helps me make some decisions much more easily.


12/18/2003 11:11:15 AM · #10
Originally posted by EddyG:


And all you have to do is make a few clicks with your mouse. And although doing it yourself may be fun, it is time-consuming and precision work that is easy to (a) cut wrong or (b) mar the mat. I don't know that it would be much cheaper than ordering online (and might even be more expensive since you have to buy a mat cutter, buy mat board in full-size sheets, still need a frame with glass, etc.) The mat openings and frames are precision cut by machine so they look great. And the only time involved is putting together the frame after it arrives.

Obviously, I don't go to "local framers" any more...


WOW! Just tried it. Seems pretty easy. Adding a slightly detailed wood frame adds about 20 bucks. Still $40 is better than $100. I'll think about giving it a try sometime.

Thanks.

Message edited by author 2003-12-18 11:11:38.
12/18/2003 11:29:26 AM · #11
I just had 8 prints framed, the sizes are 11 x 14 and 16 x 20. I ordered the frames from Frames by Mail. I wish the quality of the mat was a little higher but I was satisfied. Each frame, including the plexiglass and foam core backing were less than $40.00. If you go with glass instead of plexi glass and metal instead of wood frames, it's less expensive.
12/18/2003 11:47:11 AM · #12
I framed this picture of our cat for my wife for sweetest day. I did it myself with supplies I purchased at Meijer's (a dept. type store here in Michigan, also in IN OH IL). Total cost (not including print) under $20. Professional looking? I don't know, but I impressed myself and my wife cried (I think because she like it...)

Message edited by author 2003-12-18 11:49:51.
12/18/2003 11:54:17 AM · #13
Hmm. At last, it seems like I've found something which is more expensive in the US than the UK.

I get my prints framed at the local professional framer. I got a 16x24 print from DCPprints matted and framed with a standard black wood frame for about £30, and a 16x20 print matted and framed with a more expensive wood frame for about £50.

They did a really good job and they look a treat. They even suggested the choice of mat board for one shot which really sets it off nicely.

If any of you are in the UK and in the Milton Keynes area, I thoroughly recommend the Kingston Gallery in MK for framing.

Oh, and I do remember reading in a book that if you're doing a window mat, you shouldn't just stick the photo down on the back board with adhesive, since cooling and heating cause it to distort. You should tape one vertical and one horizontal side of the print to the back of the front mat board, which leaves the other two edges able to move to allow for expansion and contraction. I've seen this distortion myself on some smaller prints I monted myself using the adhesive spray method.
12/18/2003 12:22:34 PM · #14
You can buy off the shelf frames, with the mats already cut for about $10-$20.

You can custom cut your own mats, about $5 for a 30x40 board, that you can obviously cut a lot of mats from.
You can then get cheap black frames without mats for about $5 each. Typical framing cost for an 8x10 becomes about $7, excluding labour but including tape, frame and mat.

You can do this all the way up to 30x40 prints too. A decent mat cutter will cost about $160. I made the inital mistake of paying $30 for a hand held one. If you want to do this seriously at all, avoid this mistake. Buy a decent framed cutter - it will save you hours of time, frustration, and crappy mats.

The alternative, which I use for some of my more decent prints is a custom frame. I got a quote last week for a 24"x36" frame, with a simple black wood frame. $240 with reflective coated glass, $290 for UV protection, reflective coated glass, and $600 for museum quality glass (which is essentially invisible)

12/18/2003 12:32:03 PM · #15
There are a couple of other ways you can go on mats if you don't want to cut them yourself:
1.)Buy your own mat board and find a local framer that will just cut your mats for cheap.

2.)Buy your own mat board and check with your local college art department (also your local art store) and find an art student that will cut your mats for cheap.

I've used both methods when I was unable to cut my own (all our stuff was packed for nearly 2 years!), and I was always happy with the outcome.
12/18/2003 02:20:51 PM · #16
Originally posted by pinback:


Oh, and I do remember reading in a book that if you're doing a window mat, you shouldn't just stick the photo down on the back board with adhesive, since cooling and heating cause it to distort. You should tape one vertical and one horizontal side of the print to the back of the front mat board, which leaves the other two edges able to move to allow for expansion and contraction. I've seen this distortion myself on some smaller prints I monted myself using the adhesive spray method.


Other points to consider regarding adhesive mounting are that spray adhesives are not always friendly to the paper your photo is printed on. Over time, they can cause color shifts, yellowing etc. This may not be of concern if it is for your own use, but if you sell a print to someone, they might not be too happy. Another issue is once it's stuck to whatever you mounted it to, the two have become one and it is difficult if not impossible to separate the two.

On smaller prints, it's best to use photo corners made from acid-free paper. On larger work there are tapes and glues that are designed for mounting photos to mounting board. Remember, once the whole assembly is pressed together in a frame, it won't move.
12/18/2003 06:20:37 PM · #17
This is an excellent book. Home Book of Picture Framing
12/19/2003 12:09:58 AM · #18
Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

This is an excellent book. Home Book of Picture Framing


I think I may be placing and order with Amazon...

dacrazyrn, I know you've done a lot of you own framing, and I'd like to tap your brain on a couple things:

Do you have any recommendations on mat cutters? I am considering getting set up for this, would certainly appreciate any opinions on cutters.
Also, do you cut your own frame material, and if so what type of miter saw do you use?
12/19/2003 04:51:13 AM · #19
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

This is an excellent book. Home Book of Picture Framing

Do you have any recommendations on mat cutters? I am considering getting set up for this, would certainly appreciate any opinions on cutters.
Also, do you cut your own frame material, and if so what type of miter saw do you use?

I have a Logan 4000 pull cutter. I really like it, does a very clean job (especially need new blade-sharp) when cutting ragboard though (probably with all). It has a measuring device with a piece of lead on it to make it quicker to draw lines and cut. I set up a database of the individual pics that does my figuring for me now. I would like to get a "full system" one with the ruler, straight edge, and the cutter integrated into it, but too much money at this time. The Logans are able to adapt and connect to the Adapt-a-Rule, and much cheaper, but still looking for the 40" to buy. Or I may just build my own.
As for other cutters, I have not tried.
I do cut my own material. I have a "manual" Jorgenson Precision Miter Saw. Makes very fine cuts! Logan seems to have one now also. I have found some moulding that works well for thin frames (need real good glue). It is 3/4x3/4" and 1 1/4x1 1/4" 90 degree moulding at Home Depot. There are others I have thought of trying but haven't. That book above talks alot about it also. I have a small portable table saw to cut other stock, also. Depending on what type of frame I want. Again, that book has alot in it.
Another subject, paints! I think it is Krylon, has this awesome hammered finish paint that looks awesome! And it covers up alot of imperfections.
Go to the Logan site. Just seen that they have a bunch of new things. ME WANT!!!

Message edited by author 2003-12-19 04:52:13.
12/19/2003 06:48:51 AM · #20
I looked into having a 5x7 framed for a Christmas present, and it was gonna run about $85. Dropped in Bed, Bath & Beyond and picked up a frame and double mat print for under $20 (plus a $5 off coupon). Threw out the cheesy print and replaced it with my own. It's for my boyfriend's parents, and he decided it looked nice enough that we don't have to get them anything else. I hate spending lots of money on people when you're not even sure they'll like their gifts.
I cut all my own mats in highschool. It isn't hard if you have the right tools.
12/19/2003 07:03:53 AM · #21
Some good articles here : //www.altosezmat.com/a-07-01-whatisamat.html

Also, I'd recommend the Alto Ez Mat 4505 I picked one up for $160 and it is amazingly easy to cut good mats. I did a 24x36 mat in about 5 minutes. including cutting down the outside and inner bevel. I've tried this with a hand pull cutter that you slide along a ruler and it took me about an hour to get right, and even then wasn't very straight edged.

Message edited by author 2003-12-19 07:05:02.
12/19/2003 07:47:17 AM · #22
Great ideas and I think I'll be investing in some new tools next year. For this go around I decided to order from American Frame. I got the frame, double matting, mounting board and hanging hardware for about $31 USD. I was able to upload a smaller version of my photo and see a representation of how it should look in the frame. Pretty cool little device and it cost about 1/3 of what a professional framer was quoting me. Thanks for that link.

Kev
12/19/2003 07:52:44 AM · #23
Thanks dacrazyrn! Just the info I was looking for!
12/19/2003 08:07:20 AM · #24
No Prob
12/19/2003 09:18:30 AM · #25
Kevin,

If memory serves me, there is a difference in the glass used in more expensive frames, like at frame shops. A deterioration of the framed print can occurr if certain precautions are not done and some of the better frames have this "special" glass. I know that on one of my signed and numbered prints that I purchased, I simply couldn't afford to have it deteriorate due to poor framing materials, so I paid the 240.00 US to have it professionally done. In this case it was an investment in print preservation.

However, for simple photographs that I can reproduce from my files, I just go to a local department store and get frames/mats/ etc.

Season's Best.

Flash
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