Resources for frames?

Im interested in where to find places to get frames.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   
And any guidelines for selecting frames.


  • GTO

    The most expensive and impressive frames can be found at art framing shops, look for specials, remnants and run outs. Advice is usually free, big range, glass, mounts and hanging hardware avail.

    Department stores usually have a limited range of prepackaged product. Often large prints and posters have a good frame at reasonable prices.

    Similarly home decor outlets will stock framed prints.

    Dollar stores usually stock a good range of low cost plain frames.

    S/H, recycle and thrift shops have lots of framed prints and amateur art. I have seen quite a few beautiful hand made frames for a few dollars.

    Auctions and garage sales.

    Amazon, Gumtree and eBay. Some good buys here.

    Online art supplies catalogues feature frames, some complete with blank canvas.

    Galleries and museums often reframe submissions to give an exhibition an upmarket, uniform look.
    The empty frames go to the stock room or the skip.

    Suggest doing some woodwork and take a framing course. 


  • Thanks @dencal for those suggestions.
  • I just got a bunch delivered from both of these sources.
    If you look at their closeout stock, you can get some deals. I got 18" x 12" frames for an average $25.
    Higher average price, more features (acrylic, backing, h/w ...)

    Guidelines for selecting frames: wish I knew. I go for discreet black frames usually.
  • Thanks @PaulB. I’ll check those out.
  • @PaulB. Do you get them assembled?   It seems like standardizing with something that works with a variety of images would be the way to go.
    Do you like glossy or matte finishes with your paintings.  How do you feel about widths.  Wider the better?  2 1/2 to 3 1/2?   Fillets? Do you use them?  
    Its mind boggling trying to pick something that works.
  • GTO said:
    @PaulB. Do you get them assembled?   It seems like standardizing with something that works with a variety of images would be the way to go.
    Do you like glossy or matte finishes with your paintings.  How do you feel about widths.  Wider the better?  2 1/2 to 3 1/2?   Fillets? Do you use them?  
    Its mind boggling trying to pick something that works.
    Yes, assembled. I try to work on fixed sizes (18x12, 24x16, but these are not standard sizes at all), so I can buy a few of these in advance. Otherwise every frame is different. If you buy a bunch of different ones the same size, then you can try them out.

    Glossy finish, it makes the black darker. I use a lot of dark.

    Widths: Sometimes a robust wide frame looks good, sometimes it doesn't. Today was the actually the first time a gallery asked me for a particular kind of frame, which was odd. I think it's all about their show aesthetic. I don't get frames that are too wide, 2" max.  Wider means more expensive.

    Fillets double the price, so no. Some frames come with a simulated fillet, I do that.

    It is mindboggling, I say just wing it. Some work, some don't, I haven't figured it out at all.
  • I have purchased several very suitable, and not too pricey, from Dick Blick.  Also, as mentioned above, sometimes you can run into EXACTLY what you need at thrift stores and garage sales.  I used to live in a city with about a dozen thrift stores, and I haunted them all.  Finds were not an every day thing, but every once in awhile I found a treasure for very little money ($5 or less).
  • I've been buying ready made frames in standard sizes from a local art store. They have a couple good options that work for my paintings. Prices for ready made frames are much more reasonable. Also for custom framing shop around because prices vary wildly.

    On sale the top frame was $30. Getting the same frame done custom would be more than $130.. Potentially much more

  • Thanks @CJD and @broker12
    BTW CJD your paintings look fabulous in those frames.
  • Thanks - one more point is that you might find for less expensive frames the quality control is really bad. For the ones I've been buying I have to go through a stack of 5-10 just to find a couple frames that don't have visual imperfections like scratches, weird lines, dents, poorly done joins at the corners, and so on.

    On the other hand this is potentially another pro of buying ready made frames because you can inspect them yourself before buying to make sure you get the perfect ones. For custom frames you typically pay first and then you get whatever they give you.. and if you're picky like me there might be a small imperfection that is considered to be acceptable but isn't perfect in your eyes.
  • I have some canvas board oil paintings and I don't know what to get for frames. Should I try a floating frame?
  • Explore

    In my experience canvas boards tend to bend a bit depending on humidity, not a good candidate for a floating frame. A trad frame with a rabbet will hold the edges securely.


  • Thanks Denis, I'll try that
  • I too frequent the thrift stores and find a lot of really great frames.I love the large cove molding styles and most are beautifully made with full back support.Only thing is , they are usually odd sizes ,so have to stretch  my own canvas to fit.
  • Here in the States, we have Hobby Lobby.  When they have frame sales, they can be quite cheap. I needed a bunch of 20x16  inch frames a while ago. They were closing out a big batch and I got 10 frames for 9.95 US each.  They were regularly priced at $40 .  They work great for my paintings going into galleries.  Saves a good deal of money.
  • I’ve used Franken Frames and American Frames.  I’ve got a table saw and chop saw and in the next couple months try making some shadow box frames.
  • I prefer plainer, non-fancy frames with 3 inch or more widths. I buy online in ready-made sizes. I buy the hardware separately because its cheaper. These two have better, more consistent quality than Blick or Jerrysartarama: 

    I haven’t bought any from this source: but the online photos make me drool:

    Making my own frames is something I am UNtalented at, so I don’t do this.

  • edited May 2021
    This is an interesting discussion of frames and quality:

    He uses:

    I am also interested in these frames, though I can't afford the shipping out of country on these.  But they are among the only reasonably priced hidden miter frames that I have seen.

  • @TamDeal the masterworks frames are beautiful.  Still a bit pricey for me at this time but they look great.   
  • As a person who has no business selling their painting, I would just make something like it myself.  But for working artists Stephan's theory is that you make money from selling at higher prices due to art being more presentable, and you make money marking up the cost of the frame.  On the latter that is a 100% markup on the frame, which is reasonable.  On the size of work Stephan sells, it works out to 500 dollars in freeish money.  Of course one needs to be selling art to people who will accept the value proposition.

    But it has the same effect on art one does not sell, the better frame determines the way it is seen.

    It is funny that these simple large frames with invisible joints could be made in plastic, in molds.  That is basically the look they are replicating, but it takes a lot of hand work to make that kind of thing one off, in any size.
  • I've found a good selection of modestly priced frames at Blick Art Supplies

  • edited April 28
    Everything seems to be mdf or plastic these days.
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