How do I find the frames/supplies I need?
February 6, 2007 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Where do I get or find supplies to make the frames I want for my photo show? I want the flat glass+backing kind that have the clips to sandwich the whole thing together. In weird sizes

I need to buy(cheap) or make (cheap) frames for 40+ items for an art show coming up. I want the glass-art-board sandwich kind that clips together. I am willing to have glass cut but I don't know how to do this on the cheap. I am willing to buy frames that are existing now, but can't find the right size. I need 8 inch (plus and inch or two is ok, but not desirable) by 16 (plus and inch or two is fine here to, but not ideal) and I need 8" square as well.
Where do I look? What do I do? Oh great wizards of framing, help me now!
posted by henryis to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: one more thing - I want this specific type of frame since I am working with a tight space (don't want to waste it on frame + gap between pictures) and because the work I am showing is individual pages (or spreads) of a book, so very flat is part of the look I want
posted by henryis at 12:59 PM on February 6, 2007

Do you have a Home Depot type store near you, or a local mirror and glass supply place? They'll cut the glass and polish the edges for you (the edges can't be raw), for a good price, and save you the hassle of measuring and clean-up. I've had a few done by my local hardware store, and I was really pleased. I took the glass home and used clips like these, which worked really well.
posted by iconomy at 1:16 PM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I would hit Lowe's or Home Depot. They have those clips you're talking about as well as glass. You could use cardboard for the backing or "hardboard" (ask in lumber). Also consider plexiglass-- could be lighter and maybe cheaper. If they don't have glass maybe call a few framers in the area and ask about the cost of just glass cut to your dimensions. I've heard of do-it-yourself framing which is much cheaper than Michael's or the like...

Good luck!
posted by orangemiles at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2007

I second the plexiglass idea - Home Depot has several varieties, and while they won't cut it for you, they do sell a tool so that you can easily cut it yourself (which would be much less hazardous than with glass).
posted by sarahsynonymous at 1:19 PM on February 6, 2007

Just look up some glass places in the phone book (not auto glass). Tell them what you want and if they can't do it ask them to recommend someone who can. Cutting glass into rectangles is pretty trivial stuff, though you'll have to be careful with the edges. I'm not sure the best way to prevent them from cutting you but the glass place likely might have some ideas or do something about it for you.

The art board of course is easy for you to cut to the right sizes. But finding the clips might be a bit harder. Your best bet there may be talking to a frame company and see if they have them or can get them, or know where you can.
posted by 6550 at 1:20 PM on February 6, 2007

Don't go with plexiglas. You want this to look professional and plexiglas will scratch way too easily.
posted by 6550 at 1:22 PM on February 6, 2007

I think the biggest obstacle would be getting custom sizes of the kind of backing board that has holes to receive the clips (usually masonite). So ideally whatever you'd use to clip the glass and backing together would be one-size-fits-all. Along those lines, this DIY project might be of use to you.

Hardware stores will cut glass for you in custom sizes; though I don't know how expensive it would get. My local art store charges $15 to cut a 16x20 piece of plexi. If you can rejigger the sizes to be more standard (e.g. use 9x12, 11x14 or 16x20 instead of 8x16), it becomes simpler and cheaper to buy in bulk. For instance, Utrecht has a 12x16 clip frame for $7.59.

Alternatively, if the show will let you put lots of holes in the walls, mirror clips (or 4 screws; 2 on the top edge, two on the bottom edge) would work to keep the images on the wall without resorting to frames. You'd just need glass for each one, or even a long piece of glass to cover a few of them in a row.

Or, if you use plexi rather than glass, a few regular office bull-clips could hold the sandwich together and a regular nail could hang the top bull-clip. Or you could screw the plexi to the wall over a row of images. I've never had a problem with plexi getting scratched; in fact, many art shows demand that works be framed under plexi when the work is to be shipped.
posted by xo at 1:28 PM on February 6, 2007

One product name is Swiss Clips, a quick googling gave me quite a few places to buy them for less around $8 a set.

Light Impressions has a number of clips for even cheaper. I searched for "clips".

I'd have someone cut the glass for you and you can easily cut masonite for the backing yourself.
posted by advicepig at 2:23 PM on February 6, 2007

I had a need for just the ones you are looking for...IKEA was my savior...
posted by photodegas at 3:01 PM on February 6, 2007

For clips, you can use binder clips $12/box of 144. Pick a size that works well with the glass/plexi, mat, backing you use. Remove the 'handles' on the front. They come in black, gold or silver, and you could paint them.
posted by theora55 at 3:16 PM on February 6, 2007

I've used foam-core as backing, can get it in black or white and probably other colors but I've just used those.

1 - Get the glass cut in the sizes you need at the place with the best price.
2 - Have your matte (s) cut to the size of the glass
3 - Cut the foam-core yourself - also to the size of the glass - using your handy-dandy razor knife
4 - Use these clips which are held onto and hold together the glass and matte and foam core, fastened together in the back using included string.

It's real easy, lots easier than it sounds, quite inexpensive, and it looks quite nice. Your largest expense will be hiring someone to cut your matte material to size.

If this blows your skirt up at all, email me and I can send a couple of pics of some paintings I've used this for, so you can see how it looks and see how easily it's done.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:38 AM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Don't use binder clips, 8x16 sheets of glass are a little heavy and you don't want a bunch of these things falling apart in the middle of an exhibition. It could actually be dangerous.

Follow dancestoblue's suggestion. As far as getting the glass, find a decent place. I wouldn't recommend a hardware store even though the price might be a little better. Get basic window glass but make sure the edges are finished well. Crappy cutting will be apparent and will make your display look less than perfect. Always show your work in the best light.
posted by JJ86 at 6:43 AM on February 7, 2007

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