How can I frame my art prints without going broke?
February 15, 2010 6:34 AM   Subscribe

How can I frame my art prints without going broke? NYC-centric or online suggestions welcome.

I have lots of prints lying around my house because I refuse to keep taping art up to my wall like a college student. But frames are @&$*ing expensive! I went to Brooklyn Flea and couldn't find many items that fit my sizes. I've browsed online sites like Frames by Mail, but I'm hesitant to order tons of frames sight unseen. Has anyone had luck with this? What are cheap framing classes in Manhattan or Brooklyn?
posted by Hwaet to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure what size you're looking for, but there's a frame shop on 3rd Ave. between St. Mark's and 9th St. with small, cheap frames in a box outside the store. No glass, just the wood.
posted by griphus at 6:45 AM on February 15, 2010

Ikea has a wide range of inexpensive frames. I've had good luck with the Ribba series. They're not too fancy but they look pretty darn good.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:03 AM on February 15, 2010

Acrylic picture frames can be nice and are cheap (apols for UK site - there will be online USian options too).
posted by MuffinMan at 7:22 AM on February 15, 2010

A couple years ago I found a cheap place off of Craigslist located somewhere on the Upper East Side. The trick to getting a custom frame from him was that he only made the wood frame & cut the glass - I had to frame it myself. It worked for a print that has weight to it - a thin poster would need to be properly mounted so it wouldn't ripple in the frame. See if anyone is advertising on Craigslist.
posted by yeti at 7:45 AM on February 15, 2010

I LOVE Frames By Mail. I work for an arts organization and we use them here and I use them at home. I've probably ordered 10-12 frames and I've saved a lot of money this way. The frames have all been the right size and are good quality. I love that I can order frames, mats, and foam backing all at the same time and that it comes all pre-cut. The only problem is that they do not ship glass (they do ship plexi), so I order my glass from a local frame shop once I receive my frames by Frames By Mail.

You must assemble the metal frames (which is easy), but all of my wooden frames have come pre-assembled. Everything is packaged well and comes with instructions. All you'll need is a screwdriver. I highly, highly recommend this company. Seriously - you will be so happy to see all of your art actually framed and on the walls.
posted by jrichards at 7:53 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I use Frame Destination, which works the same way as Frames By Mail. I've been really happy with the quality, service, flexibility/options, and price so far. They DO ship glass (as well as UV and glare resistant acrylic) , and I've been thrilled with what I've ordered.
posted by GodricVT at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've had really good luck with Michael's Arts on 99th and Columbus. They are always having sales from 25-50% off all frames, and they also have custom framing for not too much money.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:15 AM on February 15, 2010

A very inexpensive way would be to use "J-bar". It's the finish strip that you will see at the bottom of a mirror. It comes in a wide range of finishes to fit any decor. We have alot of cut offs that we keep in stock for people that need them just for this purpose. Have them cut the bar 3/16 larger than the mat/picture, have them miter the the corners. The rest is all yours. When the frames are small to medium we charge $10.00 labor and since the J-bar was going to be trashed we give them the material at no charge to build our goodwill.

When you get home cut 1-2 pieces of card board the size of the picture/mat. Lay the frame on the table with the finished side up, tape two metered corners bottom left and right, the tape will be removed later. Turn the "u shaped" frame upside down ( finish side down), slide the clean glass, picture/mat and cardboard into the frame and slide the top down. Stand up and align the finish corners tape again and lay it back down with finish side down.
tape the metal frame to the cardboard with duct tape and your set. Take to paint stirrers, drill a small hole in the middle of each one, run your picture wire through each of them, either connect both ends and twist till the cows come home or twist each end near the sticks. Tape them along the side in a wide area with lots of duct tape. Once you do one it's a piece of cake.
posted by ok at 1:50 PM on February 15, 2010

Wow, I came to this same realization this weekend. I searched high and low for framing classes and the best (well, the only) I can find is at 3rdward in Brooklyn.

It's a little on the pricey side, ($200 + $40 for supplies for non-members) but it's 3 3-hour classes and also comes with a one day shop pass (apparently a $100 value). Which means you can go in and frame a whole bunch of stuff some day. So, if the class is successful it could certainly be worth it in the end.
posted by Anne Onimuss at 4:44 PM on February 15, 2010

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