Framing Art in the Time of Covid-19
Jan 29, 2021
For my clients who have ordered framed prints from my shop since Covid-19 upended the world in March 2020, most will agree that it took way longer than expected for their framed print orders to be fulfilled. At times during 2020, the framers I work with were taking 2-3 months to turn around my framed print orders, particularly for large scale prints. Unfortunately, this problem has continued to exist as Covid has persisted. Framers everywhere are having a hard time getting and keeping materials in stock, and vendors on which most framers rely are reporting shortages and delays themselves. While I have since taken steps to expand my studio and frame prints for clients myself, the reality is that I can only do so much, and shipping large framed artwork is tougher than you'd think! In light of this, I've written a definitive Alternative Framing Guide for clients who wish to order unframed prints and have them framed locally, use an online framing service, or even frame it themselves! Read on for some insider tips :)
I offer framed prints of my photographs for sale in my shop, with the largest framed print size I can frame and ship being 24x36 inches. I am also limited to fairly simple, classic frame styles and mats, which actually work great for photography. If you're interested in framing a larger sized print, want to customize the frame and materials beyond what I am able to offer, or just want to DIY, I recommend ordering prints unframed.
To help with this, I've put together the following framing guide:
- Online Framers: These framers offer online framing. You will choose and purchase a framing style from them, and they will have you send your print to them for framing. Just enter the dimensions of your print and the framers will show you frame options to fit your artwork (ie, if you order a 20x30 print from me, the art size and opening size will be 20x30).
Most companies will even send you shipping labels and packaging to make shipping your artwork super easy and safe. Online framing cuts out the overhead costs of brick-and-mortar shops, and can be a great option if your project has fairly simple, classic framing needs. Local print shops, on the other hand, can be more helpful since you get to see the materials in person and speak to the framer about options. Both have their pros and cons. Here are a few of my personal favorite online framers:
‣ Framebridge (www.framebridge.com) is an online framer that offers custom picture framing for prints up to 24x36 inches. They offer a large variety of stylish, on-trend frames and matting options, and make it easy for you to preview your print within a frame, They'll send you a shipping label to send your print to them for framing, and return the print to you once it's done. Framebridge has excellent pricing and is very user friendly. If you're looking to frame a print that is 24x36 inches or smaller, I highly recommend Framebridge .
‣ Pictureframes.com (www.pictureframes.com) is another online framer that offers custom printing, and they allow for framing prints larger than 24x36. They do have a Covid-19 shipping surcharge for prints over 40 inches. Coupon codes are available frequently on their website. Pictureframes.com has a huge selection of frames for both paper prints and canvas gallery wraps.
‣ American Frame (www.americanframe.com) is another online framer that offers custom framing and they do allow for framing large scale prints. Their turnaround time can be rather lengthy but their materials are very high quality and they are frequently used for large professional framing jobs, so their work is well known. Large selection of frames and coupon codes are often available.
- Local framing options: During Covid, many small frame shops have closed and you may find limited options among such shops. Fortunately, there are other options! Larger chain stores offer custom and off-the-rack framing, at affordable prices, and these stores are open and reliable during the Covid pandemic. You can likely find one of these stores near you:
‣ Michaels stores - (www.michaels.com or www.michaelscustomframing.com) You can find premade frames, mats, and mounting supplies off the rack at Michaels stores, which may work for you if you can find the size you want. Or, take advantage of their in-store custom frame shop, which offers quality framing at a lower cost than many other local framers. You can find coupon codes through Google to help make your custom frame project even more affordable.
‣ IKEA - (www.ikea.com/us/en/cat/picture-photo-frames-18746/) for premade frames, I highly recommend their RIBBA series. These frames are classic and come in black, white, and natural wood tones, and often are paired with precut mats. Seriously, pretty much any photo looks great in a RIBBA frame!
‣ JOANN Fabrics (www.joann.com/custom-framing/) Similar to Michaels, Joann Fabrics is a chain arts and craft store that has an in-house custom framer. You can find promo codes online to help make your order more affordable.
DIY Framing: If your print is 16x24 or smaller, you can easily frame your own work, and premade frames can be found locally at art, home decor, and picture frame shops. Or, you can order custom frames from Amazon, or any of the above frame sites, and frame your print yourself once you receive the frame. If you choose to go this route, you will want to make sure you mount your artwork correctly. I recommend using a hinge-mount technique so that your artwork isn't touched by any adhesives. You can learn how to do this very simple mounting process here: https://www.framedestination.com/picture-frame-mounting
OTHER FRAMING OPTIONS: Finally, if all of the above options don't work for you, then I suggest trying a canvas gallery wrap or metal print instead of a framed print. The former are both less expensive than framed prints in the end, and they come ready-to-hang. Canvas is personally my favorite way to display my artwork, and it also happens to be the most affordable, especially at larger sizes.
‣ Check out my selection of canvas gallery wraps here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/klgphoto?section_id=1295569
‣ View my metal print options here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/klgphoto?section_id=14151367