I love framing works of art. It can make all the difference and give a piece of art a new life! In this post, I’d like to share three things I’ve learned about framing and composing works of art.
Frame something unique
My first tip is to frame something unique! I wrote an article about art collection if you want to refer back to that for some ideas on collecting art for your home.
I found this embroidered wool rug (same here) at a consignment store, knowing it would look perfect on a blank wall in our house. I was hunting for something big but couldn’t find the right one…until I found this!
I love the colors and textures but know that framing it will be quite expensive. I ordered it for almost a year but ended up taking it to the frame shop to get frame ideas and quotes.
The lady at the frame shop told me it would take two people three hours to sew it by hand onto the baseboard.
It was the method they used to preserve the work and not damage it during framing. When I picked up the cake, I was very pleased with the finished product.
Another unique piece is this postcard from the St. Louis in 1906. I found it on eBay a while ago.
It has small holes cut out with colored paper or thin paper underneath and when you hold it to the light… it looks like it’s glowing. Here it is with the light behind it. See how it glows?
It’s a delicate and beautiful souvenir from 115 years ago! I’ve always loved the history of the St. Louis because my great-grandmother came to this fair and it’s neat to know I have a bit of her history in the house.
I wanted to frame this postcard with the idea that I could still hold it up to the light and see it light up. I brought two pieces of glass and the frames made sure not to hurt the postcard but carefully glued it to the center of the glass.
It looks elegant and is safe to enjoy for years to come!
My friend and I recently went to an antiques mall and we came across a stall with baskets full of old paintings. We stood in the booth for over an hour pulling out old photos and showing each other.
The baskets are filled with collections of family memorabilia of vacations, baby’s first steps, and sons going to war. In the pile of papers I found this picture and in pencil on the back it had the date 1931.
I immediately fell in love with it. Composition of two dogs on either side, paddles on the bottom lead your eyes to the man in the middle rowing. It reminds me of a photo by one of my favorite photographers, Jacque Henri Lartigue.
I bought the photo and took it to our local hobby store to find a frame. I found a frame and took it to the framing department to have them cut a translucent layer to fit.
A few minutes later they came out! Just under $10 for them to make me and stitch the photos, blurs and frames together.
Now this particular photo can be enjoyed and not hidden in a basket at an antiques mall. When you want to frame a photo, consider getting a slightly larger frame and custom blurring your photo.
It looks timeless and also draws your eye to the photo. You can also buy pre-cut pads for your painting, but in my case I needed a custom one!
Tips for buying used frames
Next, I want to share my favorite tips for buying used frames. If I’m at a thrift store and find a picture frame that I love (that’s a good price!), I’ll usually buy it… even if I don’t care for the artwork inside the frame. .
Frame making can be quite expensive, so if I could buy a used piece of art and just buy it for the frame, it would reduce the cost considerably! I have a handful of used frames just waiting to be recycled and have some new artwork in them.
I would look at eBay, EBTH, or thrift stores to find artwork that might fit a particular frame. Once I find the right piece, I bring the used artwork and frames into the frame shop. In my experience, it’s usually around $10-$15 for them to swap the piece, seal the back, and put in a new sling. So easy!
Once, when I was getting something framed, the woman at the frame shop said that you don’t want the frame to distract from the artwork. While I agree with that (mostly), I can’t help but love the beautiful big frames you see when you enter art museums.
The paintings over the centuries are wrapped in gilded gold and in my opinion the picture frame is distracting but only because it is so beautiful!!
I love the juxtaposition of these wonderful abstract paintings by my friend Kendra with gold frames around them. It’s classic and cool at the same time.
I found a large gold frame on Craigslist with nothing next to it and kept it in the garage until I found the perfect piece to fit in it.
Do you remember the postcard from the St. Louis mentioned above? Well, before I took the postcard to the framer, I took it into our local camera/photo print shop, they scanned it and put the file on a plate.
When I got home, I opened Photoshop and increased the saturation, sharpened it a bit and removed any dust. I have submitted the file to be printed at a larger size.
I printed it just a little smaller than the gold frame I saved because I wanted to use a translucent layer around it to embellish it a bit.
I took the enlarged painting and the gold frame to the frame shop and they helped me choose a frosted and glazed panel. Now I can enjoy a big picture of that cute little postcard! I keep it on my desk and love it!
Buy artwork with bad frames
My next tip is to buy artwork with bad frames. A lot of times, I’ll find pieces of the frame and artwork inside that are still intact but the frame has been trashed. Reframing can make all the difference!
If you can, keep the original glasses as buying new glasses can be quite expensive. If all you have to do is bring your framed artwork, keep the artwork and glass, and ask them to swap out the frames, this can be a way to save money!
Whenever I bring in artwork with a bad frame, I NEVER try to get the work out. I let the framers do it because they know what they’re doing. So don’t feel bad about bringing your entire part and having them disassemble it!
I received these pieces on eBay and the frames are terrible. I was a little upset about it when they got the mail, but knew it could be fixed quickly. Here’s a before and after picture with the new frame (sure!).
I hope this encourages you to get some artistic frames or notice the amazing frames and flawless artwork.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Happy framing! – Janae
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