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  1. #1

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    Frames, where to buy and what to buy?

    So, I need to start framing my work for shows, etc. I love printing large 16x20, but you gotta be kidding me, a 20x24 frame and matte is like $30-50!!! Where do I find the frames made by all that cheap labor over seas? I'm not afraid to buy a bunch at a time, but I can't see paying what people are charging!

  2. #2
    ann
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    check out one of our sponsor here on apug.

    http://www.framedestination.com/

    Frankly, that price for that size is reasonable. Start cutting your own windows and buy metal rails in bulk , even doing that at say 16x20 with glass is going to run about $35
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  3. #3

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    What Ann said.

    For frames made by cheap overseas labor, you can go to places like Michaels or A.C. Moore, but you'll find that the price is about the same for comparable products.
    I got my frames for a recent show from FrameDesination. The big advantage was that I didn't have to go to two or three different stores to find all the stuff I needed, or worry about how many one store or another had in stock.
    I just sat at my computer, did the order, and in a few days the frames showed up at my door ready to rock and roll.

    Most of the mats I had cut by a local guy who has a computerized cutter. I do cut my own sometimes, but cutting mistakes on good acid free board quickly add up to more costs than having it done.

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Those prices seem relatively normal, the UK is usually more expensive but I can buy frames for less I guess made in China, however if you want custom mat ctutting then expect to pay that kind of price.

    Cutting your own mats is easy so do your own as Ann suggests, and you should be able to get 20x16 frames (inc glass) for around $15-$20 and the board will be around $3 extra if you buy full packs from a framing suppliers (not a framing shop). I can get larger frames lke 24x20 for about $20-$25.

    I had a profile cut specially for my own main set of exhibition frames, that actually worked out no more expensive than using an off the shelf profile because I had about 75-80 frames made at the same time. and stained the wood myself. The frame supplied the bare frame and then the backs and glass packed seperately and I bought fittings and mount board direct from a trade framing suppliers.

    But go look in your local household stores because the imported frames can easily be half the price of a commercial framing shop. A warning though some of the cheaper mouldings are not wood, the edges sag, bend and are not good, I have found excellent low cost frames in one UK chain and I would have to pay more than double to get frames made here. I use these when selling framed prints.

    Ian

  5. #5
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    Much of the expense can be in the glass as much as the framing material. I don't get fancy glass materials like some here do. Custom sized glass is more expensive. Buying glass in quantity locally can save money if it's a factory made size. I can buy 16x20" glass for <$3 locally in quantities of 20 from a glass company (which does mostly windshields and window repair). Buying pieces in custom sizes or quantities makes thing expensive. Shipping it is expensive too, which is why I get it local, where they probably get it by the pallet or however they ship large quantities of glass. I order the actual frames online though, and cut the mats myself, which I order the material online for.

    Trying to get walmart prices for this sort of product isn't always wise due to what Ian has mentioned about cheap pretend-wood mouldings. Poor wood frames also have poorly made corners and are apt to be dinged up.

  6. #6
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    If you live near an IKEA store you might check that out.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    Trying to get walmart prices for this sort of product isn't always wise due to what Ian has mentioned about cheap pretend-wood mouldings. Poor wood frames also have poorly made corners and are apt to be dinged up.
    One important consideration is how well frames will last being hung repeatedly. My original set a plain black moulding is mostly over 23 years old and I've 3 different sizes although 75% are 20"x16". They do get knocks and scrapes but I can & have restoed them with car paints, primer then satin black finish and they are as good as new. 8 or 9 had badly damaged paint and mat boards written off when a radiator leaked and while they were replaced on insurance I was later able to salvage and restore them.

    Like wise my newer and now major set (now 17 years old) could be sanded and restained to get rid of marks nand scratches, in fact all I've had to do is a quick scratch with a finger nail to remove stray paint (some galleries paint the mirror plates once frames are wall mounted, and a quick wipe with stain hides tiny scuff marks instantly.

    Some choose aluminium frames for their robustness. But you do need to think about the longevity of a set of frames and their re-usability.

    Ian

  8. #8
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    Much of the expense can be in the glass as much as the framing material. I don't get fancy glass materials like some here do. Custom sized glass is more expensive. Buying glass in quantity locally can save money if it's a factory made size. I can buy 16x20" glass for <$3 locally in quantities of 20 from a glass company (which does mostly windshields and window repair). Buying pieces in custom sizes or quantities makes thing expensive. Shipping it is expensive too, which is why I get it local, where they probably get it by the pallet or however they ship large quantities of glass. I order the actual frames online though, and cut the mats myself, which I order the material online for.

    Trying to get walmart prices for this sort of product isn't always wise due to what Ian has mentioned about cheap pretend-wood mouldings. Poor wood frames also have poorly made corners and are apt to be dinged up.
    I agree. For years I cut down glass from salvaged storm doors or anything else. Standardizing on 16x20 frames for the local market and buying glass locally by the carton is worth any extra expense. Precut window mats ordered in quantity from Frame Destination cost little more than uncut mat board. Framefit.com and other online sellers are better sources for quantity orders of aluminum frames than local stores. With care, aluminum frames last a long time.

  9. #9
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    The camera store where I spend my money sells frames made by an Amish craftsman.
    A 16x20 frame with glass and back board costs $20. Supply your own matte.

    If I could find out who the Amish guy is I'd buy frames direct but, of course, the store isn't going to tell me that.

    When I tell people that the frames are Amish made, I always get puzzled looks but to them, it's just wood. They don't care what you do with it once you take it home.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/



 

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