A Money-Saving Tip for Framing Art

I love gallery walls and art on walls in general, which as we all know, means lots of framing. Unfortunately, for most of my art, the custom framing cost significantly more than the actual print. Custom framing looks great, but a lot of the time, there are just better uses for your money. If you’re framing a valuable, old, or delicate piece, perhaps it is worth it to get acid-free matting and special UV-blocking glass and whatnot. But when I’m framing an art print I bought on Etsy for 15 bucks, do I want to spend 150-200 dollars on a custom frame job? Not really. Most of the time the reason I custom framed in the past was because my picture was a non-standard shape, and I couldn’t find a frame where the mat opening would fit it. Enter my smart Mom, who enlightened me to this fantastic idea: Buy a frame at West Elm, where the wood of the frame is pretty huge but the actual framable portion inside the mat is only 8×10. Take it to a framer and have them cut the mat to fit your piece. Voila! It takes the framer literally two minutes and they might charge you 5 bucks for it, or just do it for free. They also might give you an attitude about it, but that’s just because they want your 200 bucks and they’re mad that you figured out a way to not give it to them! 

That’s what I did to frame my Garance Dore print that I blogged about on Friday, and as you can see, it looks perfect if I do say so myself:

I used this 16 x 20 West Elm frame, which is big but has a mat opening of just 8×10. The print is 11×14, so they just cut the opening to the right size and as far as I’m concerned, it looks as good as custom for a much lower price. West Elm’s gallery frames come in black or white, and a variety of sizes (there’s even one that’s bigger than this 16 x 20), so honestly you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that will work for your piece. So if like me, you’re framing lots of art and looking to do it on a budget, hopefully this tip will come in handy!
image 1 and 3 my own. image 2 from here

Leave a Comment

  1. Oh my gosh. My world has been FOREVER changed.

    Published 6.2.14 · Reply
  2. Love your art

    Published 6.2.14 · Reply
  3. Such a clever idea! I will be using that in the future!
    xo Tia | http://www.bigcitytyro.com

    Published 6.2.14 · Reply
  4. That is so simple and so genius. It's the little things!

    Published 6.2.14 · Reply
  5. Alex wrote:

    Perfect, I'm like you, so many prints but I don't want to spend a fortune on framing!

    Published 6.2.14 · Reply
    • Yup, there are definitely other things I'd rather spend that money on!

      Published 6.4.14 · Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks Jackie for (I believe) answering my question on framing and giving all of us a great, new way to frame our beloved prints. I found an art store in my city this morning who will make a matt for you for free, any size, if you buy one of their ready-made frame! Such a good idea. Thanks from The Hague, NL. Debbie

    Published 6.3.14 · Reply
  7. Holly wrote:

    What an amazing idea! You are too smart

    Published 6.4.14 · Reply
  8. Thanks Monica! Hope you can make it work πŸ™‚

    Published 6.4.14 · Reply
  9. Yay so happy to hear that! Good luck with your gallery walls πŸ™‚

    Published 6.4.14 · Reply
  10. Emily wrote:

    I love this tip! I'm moving into my first apartment next year, but there's no way I'd be able to afford a framed gallery wall. So, I'm cheating and using washi tape, haha. Eventually I would love to do this, though! Float frames would also work nicely if it's just a flat print!

    Published 6.16.14 · Reply
  11. Thanks for mentioning having a framer cut the mat to first any art piece. I’m wanting to frame a new painting I got yesterday from a botanical garden without spending a lot. I’ll be sure to remember these tips and take it to a framer to cut.

    Published 9.17.20 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      So happy to hear that!

      Published 9.23.20 · Reply