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Matting and Framing

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
So I got a few of the prints from my Nepal trip printed out on 16x20 metallic finish paper. Got a series of three black and whites that I would like to frame and decorate our new apt with. Only problem is I don't know the first thing about framing and cannot afford to have someone do it for me. So, those of you with experience doing it, what do you say? Any tips, tricks, suggestions, or resources? They are black and white prints that are destined for white walls.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,644
397
NC
I have nothing useful to add except that I'm interested to hear what others have to say. Anything I've had that needed custom framing has been bought at considerable expense.

Actually, I do have one useful thing to add: Wal-Mart is hit-or-miss on frames, but in the past I've found some very nice-looking, cheap frames there. I have two 16x20 prints of my photos hanging in my bedroom from Wal-Mart frames that look as good as any of the custom frames I've had made.

On any given day, they might not have anything good - but sometimes you'll find very simple frames that look nice. They used to have a series of completely plain, thin-bezel, black or silver metal frames that looked great.
 

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
I'm seein that Michaels has a sale on frames right now. I was thinking of picking up a few and having a go at it myself. I just don't know how to go about doing it and what I should look out for. Don't want some sort of dookie looking frame job nor do I want some kind of chemical reaction between the mediums to destroy the print.
 

CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,569
422
Groton, MA
I matted photos back in photography class in high school, but have long since forgotten anything I learned in the process. Therefore this post is useless and offers no insight or advice that could be considered beneficial.
 

kazlx

Patches O'Houlihan
Aug 7, 2006
6,565
1,356
Tustin, CA
I know my dad and my brother both do their own matting and framing. I think the mat cutters are kind of expensive. You need at least something to make sure the bevel is consistent and the lines are straight. For frames, you can order custom sizes online.

I know my old man gets a bunch of stuff from here: http://www.americanframe.com/
 

Quo Fan

don't make me kick your ass
To cut mats the size you need, you need a cutter that will cut a full sheet of mat material. We got ours when we went to the Big E one year. If you are a photographer, then you really should have a mat cutter and cut your own mats. I've cut 2 custom mats, and one took me well over an hour to cut, due to the sheer number of cuts to be made.
 

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
Do you mount the picture to a piece of foam board or something as a backer? I have read that larger prints require something like that to stay supported.

Also, how difficult is it to make your own frames? Just some time with a router and some mitred cuts? I already own the router and have access to a wood shop, so it's conceivable I could make my own if it was worth it.
 

CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,569
422
Groton, MA
Do you mount the picture to a piece of foam board or something as a backer? I have read that larger prints require something like that to stay supported.

Also, how difficult is it to make your own frames? Just some time with a router and some mitred cuts? I already own the router and have access to a wood shop, so it's conceivable I could make my own if it was worth it.

Couldn't you start with some fancy crown moulding from home depot, then just router in the step for the glass/picture?
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,658
25
behind the viewfinder
i either have a local shop do it for me or Mpix, and i am not sure how they do it (spray i think, but not 100% sure). i don't print out all that much to be honest.
 

JohnE

filthy rascist
May 13, 2005
12,644
660
Front Range, dude...
My sister owns a custom framing business...she has done Picassos, Renoirs, has stuff hanging in teh Art Institute of Chicago...all I know is she makes a good living doing it and her stuff lasts a lifetime. If you want it done right, spend a few $$s to make it happen.

I will send you her web site info if you want it.
 

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
My sister owns a custom framing business...she has done Picassos, Renoirs, has stuff hanging in teh Art Institute of Chicago...all I know is she makes a good living doing it and her stuff lasts a lifetime. If you want it done right, spend a few $$s to make it happen.

I will send you her web site info if you want it.
While I appreciate the offer, I wouldn't want to waste her time. This is certainly no Picasso or Renoir, just your average Joe's kinda picture. That and I'm sure I couldn't afford it, but you know. :D
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,338
0
Boulder
Dry mounting is done with a heat activated fixative. It isn't something you do yourself. For a couple reasons I don't recommend doing it at all in most cases. First, it is permanent. So it should only be done with reproductions or other pieces where long term conservation matters. It's not a big deal with a photo since you can easily print new ones. However, I made the mistake of having some original pieces that I did (drawings and pastels) and they're on there forever now. Second, the expansion rate of the work and the mount board are different, so depending on temperature and humidity, you can get wrinkles (this has happened with nearly all of mine). If you really want to do this, it can be done with a piece of dry mount tissue, some foam core and an iron.

For mounting I tape the photo to the mat using a couple pieces of photo tape (it's non-acidic, etc). This allows you to easily move the photos to new frames. It also allows the photo and the other framing materials to move mostly independently of each other so that you don't get wrinkling. It's also cheap and easy.

For frames I've been using Frame Destination http://www.framedestination.com/ I get simple matte black metal frames with good white mattes and the UV filtering non-glare acrylic. For photos I like simple frames that let the artwork stand on its own rather than over the top ones with fancy finishes or colors.

I haven't purchased one in about a year or so, but at the time I paid about $150 plus shipping for two 20x26 frames (for 16x20 prints). It's not cheap, but it was less expensive than any local place and I thought it was a fair price for the size and quality. When finished, it looked really good with the B&Ws that I put in there. Color would probably look great also.
 

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
Update:

My girlfriend went to the custom framing shop at Michaels and got my favorite print mounted for me. I will say, they did a darn good job, it looks great. I love how it all turned out. She ended up choosing a pewter metal frame with a canvased black mat, white core.