Next time I'll remember to ask this question when it's 1987 out.
July 23, 2014 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I've had this little home decor project idea floating around in my head for ages and I need a specific kind of picture frame to pull it off. One of those family collage frame type dealies that everybody's grandma has in the den. But they seem to have dropped out of fashion and I haven't been able to find one anywhere over the course of numerous googlings for the past year and a half.

You know what I mean, right? Those pre-made rectangular frames full of little ovals and squares that you stick pictures in. All I can find is shit like this, which, gross. No idea what they're called (family album frame??), but I specifically and only want the stereotypical grandma's wall look. Need it to have approximately 15 slots.

I realize I could probably DIY one or have one specially made, but this is really just a jokey thing that would amuse me so I don't want to spend a pile of money on it.

posted by phunniemee to Shopping (23 answers total)
You are looking for a 'collage photo mat'. Here's one from amazon, but googling that terms turns up many other options.
posted by ananci at 1:41 PM on July 23, 2014

IKEA has some?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:42 PM on July 23, 2014

Michaels has a variety.
posted by Gungho at 1:43 PM on July 23, 2014

If you have the patience to shop around, I would bet you could find loads of them at estate sales, flea markets, low-end resale shops and the like. It's also the sort of thing for which freecycle can be a goldmine. Another option would be to look on etsy for a seller who does similar work and arrange for a custom piece. It sounds like an expensive way to go, and I honestly think you'd have better luck with my other suggestions, but the to-order items I've gotten from etsy have been very reasonably priced.
posted by DrGail at 1:51 PM on July 23, 2014

Try "photo collage frame" or "multi-photo frame". Amazon has one but it's a little bigger than I was expecting. Maybe try eBay, too.
posted by sportbucket at 1:55 PM on July 23, 2014

eBay is your friend.
posted by harrietthespy at 1:57 PM on July 23, 2014

I can confirm that the Michaels in my 'hood had them a few months ago. Not sure whether or not they still do, however.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:00 PM on July 23, 2014

Fallen out of fashion? I see them everywhere, even Walmart has them.
posted by eq21 at 2:18 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fallen out of fashion? I see them everywhere, even Walmart has them.

You think you see them everywhere, but you do not see them everywhere. I thought I saw them everywhere until I actually wanted one. The specific many ovals for wallet-sized photos has most definitely fallen out of fashion. You can tell this by how there aren't any frames like that when you search for them.

The "Michaels has a variety" link does not actually have any. has too many results to look through all of them, but the first several pages didn't have any.
Ebay didn't have any.

The ones at Ikea could work, but I think my strong preference is to have one with some oval cutouts.

That link to the mat on amazon is the closest one so far!
posted by phunniemee at 2:34 PM on July 23, 2014

Try a search on "collage frame" at Target for many options, in store and online. Maybe one of those suits your needs?
posted by kittydelsol at 2:39 PM on July 23, 2014

walmart has a lot of the frames, but i haven't seen the mats there for a while, same with target - if they have them, they'll want to overcharge you for the frame it comes in. the mall portrait studios used to have cases of them for really cheap, but as they moved from film to digital, they just started printing the photos in a collage layout. i agree that michaels or another craft store with a framing department will be your best bet, but probably not off the shelf - they should cut one for you for relatively cheap, though.

i'm pretty sure that the oval one in your minds eye was specifically from sears portrait studio and i know they stopped making them a long time ago, and then they went out of business very suddenly. if there were any left, chances are they were destroyed.
posted by nadawi at 2:42 PM on July 23, 2014

These seem to be just special mats in a standard frame. Any place that does framing could also custom cut mats, although the pricing may be prohibitive.
posted by ckape at 2:45 PM on July 23, 2014

here's what you do. go to a custom framing place, a mom and pop place. tell them what you want. they should be able to cut it for you. it's the mat that's the issue here, not the frame.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 3:03 PM on July 23, 2014

get a custom mat cut at joann's or michaels. use the 40% off coupon from the sunday paper. Joann's also has an app so the coupon can be scanned from your phone.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:23 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

When you say you want one with ovals, do you mean like this? It also seems like this one might fit your idea really well because it has such a vintage look.

I think @fluffy battle kitten has the best idea -- you seem to have a very clear concept of what you want, so I'd get someone to make it for you.

This isn't what you asked for, but I think your idea would also work really well in a frame like this one because of it's linearity.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:59 PM on July 23, 2014

Here's another one from Etsy.

Just as an FYI, I first did an image search for "fraternity composite mat ovals", which lead me to the word "montage". Searching for "montage oval mat" led me to Etsy.

So "montage" and "composite" may be helpful search terms. "Composite" is what frats and sororities call the big framed collection of member portraits that hangs in the wall.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:11 PM on July 23, 2014

I know the kind you mean; I have one stashed around somewhere. They weren't fancy, at least not the ones I knew - cheap metal frames, paper mats, plastic "glass".

Here's one in a better frame than I'm used to seeing with these.

And here are some mats that might do the trick.

(Edited to put a better link on the second one.)
posted by current resident at 8:35 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Check Goodwill, or any other thrift shop.Whenever I'm there, I always see at least one in the stacks of frames n stuff.
posted by infodiva at 3:58 AM on July 24, 2014

Thirding thrift stores. You may need to clean it up a bit, but you should be able to find one if you shop around at a few different second-hand places.
posted by soelo at 7:30 AM on July 24, 2014

agatha_magatha has come through big time via memail! She had what I consider to basically be the Platonic ideal of this frame just lurking in her closet and she's going to send it to me because she's amazing and a goddamned American hero.
posted by phunniemee at 7:55 AM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

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