Affordable ways to frame an oversized print?
June 21, 2021 4:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to acquire some large-scale artwork for my home (at least 44x60") and boy, the framing costs are insane! Is there any affordable DIY method or do I just need to save up $800 per piece for framing?

I was hoping to budget more like $500 total for a framed oversize piece; nice prints come in around $250 at that size, and I could definitely find cheaper prints, but the framing cost turns out to be the real budget-breaker.

I don't love the look of raw unframed canvas, and I have crafty but NOT artistic skills. I've DIY'ed most of my previous art framing by purchasing complete frames and matting/assembling myself, but I can't find any place that sells frames as large as 44x60", besides custom framing shops.

Any creative ideas or secret sources that I've overlooked?
posted by serelliya to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Attach a wood frame to an unframed canvas?
posted by quaking fajita at 4:39 PM on June 21, 2021


I'm hoping to figure out a framing solution for a 42" x 42" print on paper (printed with a steamroller!), and my best idea so far is to use a magnetic poster frame - no glass, just strips of wood to hold it. The mass-produced ones I've seen on Amazon only go up to 40" wide, but this custom hanger frame site goes up to 49".
posted by dreamyshade at 4:42 PM on June 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Frame Destination sells preassembled (incl backing and acrylic) up to 40x60". I used them for a 30x40" print with mat and it came out to $350 shipped. Assembling was no mean feat even at that size.
posted by supercres at 4:49 PM on June 21, 2021


You may have already checked this, but from a quick test on American Frame, it seemed to allow me to configure a metal frame that large (though I did run into limitations on mounting board and acrylic — those you might need to source elsewhere if you need them — maybe you don't if it's a canvas).
posted by primethyme at 4:50 PM on June 21, 2021


Best answer: How handy are you, considering you matted them yourself in the past? Is ordering lengths of wooden frame and building a frame yourself an option? It can be done with just 45 degree angles, glue and staples.

That is assuming you're not looking for glass, which there is no cheap way around. And you'd probably want to also cut backing board to size, so access to power tools a big plus.
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:10 PM on June 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: The largest backing board and plexi goes to 48x96, but it's hard to source if you are not a shop. If you want to do it yourself, probably the cheapest way is to get a metal frame and hardware from a DIY custom framing place on the internet and get foamcore and plexi cut to size from a local shop (and rent a Uhaul to get it home.) Depending on the item and the frame depth you also may need multiple backing boards (though you can sandwich scrap pieces in as filler between two full-size boards to save money.)

You can also do wood moulding, but it has to be hella big and stong to hold the weight of the whole package and is much harder to join securely at the corners. Frame moulding comes in 8 or 12 foot sticks, but it is much much cheaper to use wood moulding/trim and stain and finish it yourself. I would not mat something that big (why make it bigger?) but then the plexi is going to be touching it, which has longterm consequences for the art. Any spacer you get is likely to sag or fail at that size, and the plexi is going to bow inward anyway, unless you stack with a wood+fabric wrap spacer which is $$$.

To be honest, as a former framer, I would urge you to go smaller (keep the whole package under 40x60) if that's an option, and spend the money to get the pros to do it. You will have more options and spend less time on it for a better result if you pay the $800 for them to do it vs. the $500+ for you to do it. It's a giant, wall-size thing you're going to look at every day and notice every flaw in, pay the extra and do it right.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:27 PM on June 21, 2021 [4 favorites]


I did a few 36"x54" DIY custom wood frames from American Frame for about $250 each. They often have discounts (I think I got a 20% discount for signing up on the mailing list). Assembling the first one took some effort, but the next two, not so bad. Be sure to buy the linen tape for mounting.

Another option is PosterHanger, which doesn't really frame and protect the work, but is certainly a lot less inexpensive.
posted by ShooBoo at 5:42 PM on June 21, 2021


Can you get the canvas stretched/on wood? If so, you can paint the four sides black and hang it like that.
posted by dianeF at 5:43 PM on June 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


Basic metal custom frames of that size are under $300 at pictureframes.com, with additional coupon codes widely available. I've used them many times and they are perfectly decent.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:57 PM on June 21, 2021


Personally, I think framed artwork without a matte looks awful. Having the art pressed right up against the glass looks really cheap, and it's generally not evenly pressed against the glass, which makes it look even worse. So, if it were me, I'd need to include the price and size of a matte, which might make the whole thing well out range price wise. But if you have a Michael's near you, they regularly run 40% or 50% off coupons for framing.

You could mount it on gator board (it's heavy duty foam-cor), but that wouldn't;t provide any kind of protection.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:19 PM on June 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


Repurpose the frame of a thrifted piece of art?
posted by oceano at 8:47 PM on June 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


This probably won't work for you, since you "don't love the look of raw unframed canvas," but we have a print on handmade paper that is attached by small rare earth magnets to a sheet of steel. Upside: very inexpensive, quick and easy. Upside for me, downside for you: makes the qualities of the paper very visible. Downside: Doesn't protect the art at all.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 12:53 PM on June 23, 2021


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