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The cost of frames/framing

I think a lot of us are aware of the prices we pay for canvases/linen/boards, and for paints and brushes. However the price for good frames (and framing here) is considerably more expensive than everything else.

Just something I've recently become more aware of!


  • I think it's expensive everywhere, although you might find that some of your local framers charge a lot more than others for the same frame and service. If you paint in standard sizes like 12x16, 16x20, 18x24, etc. then you might be able to find frames already made for more reasonable prices. I found one recently for $30 that would have been $170 from the same store if I had it custom made by them.
  • If you know any carpenters or hobby wood workers they can rabbet any kind of wood for you then all you need is a miter box  and a fine-tooth back-saw to make the corners. and finish it yourself. 
  • You are speaking to someone who can't be trusted with any kind of sharp tools.. :)
  • SummerSummer -
    edited November 2018
    Folks:  Tip: Visit second hand stores.  Take a look at the art that is for sale.  Select frames that can be re-used and throw the paintings away.  I did this for decades!  Now we make our own.  Summer

    Edit:  As an afterthought, I got the best frames from a thrift store on an Army base.  The paintings came from all over the world and some of the frames were even hand made by craftsmen.  Some were so good they should have been in a gallery.  Obviously relatives having to clean out a house because of a move, divorce, or a death.  Hmm. 
  • I’ve recently begun making my own frames.  I am not good at this, but I hope that with enough practice I’ll be adequate, which is all I want.

    At this point I have all the equipment, lots of varied framing stock, and low skill.

    I’ll post my failures and efforts once I have more to show.

    It looks like I can frame a picture for 10% - 20% of the professional cost.  At a lower quality, for now.
  • I emphasise.. I broke a saw the last time I tried to cut wood.
  • I too intend to make my own frames, when I'm further down the line with finished paintings  :)
  • It's too bad you don't have Michael's stores where you are - they often have 70% off CUSTOM frames - it is incredible.  Like @Summer ; there are so many beautiful frames at the Goodwill/ salvage stores - even tacky prints can have nice frames - for just a few dollars you can get a beautiful frame.  

    Full price is a heartbreaker!!!!   
  • SummerSummer -
    edited November 2018
    I hear you @Richard_P.  Don't ignore what you know about yourself to stay safe please.  Summer
  • Well @Richard_P we all have our gifts and our limitations. Recognizing your limitations is a gift. But my point is that sometimes a friend or neighbor has skills enough and the right tools to make simple frames from common woods that can be painted or stained. Just as an alternative to custom frames from a custom shop. My wife did custom matting and frames cheaper than Michaels and the markup was still outrageous. She ordered the frame pieces already cut and assembled (by me sometimes) them in her shop. 
  • Richard_P

    I have often seen prints, fully glazed and framed for giveaway prices. These are sometimes in a bundled lot in places like Gumtree or at auction sales. Op shops have large stocks of unwanted pictures in frames going for the price of a cup of coffee.

    This pair on GumTree for £55.


  • PaulB

    This is a good video making frames on a table saw.

  • I've never used these (as my framer is very reasonably priced!), but, if I were in the US, I would definitely give them a try:  I wish I could buy the frame pieces from them, then my guy could make all I need, but these are pre-made.
  • Framing here is not expensive for smaller works but bigger frames are more expensive. Wood frames are almost gone from the market and needs to be specially ordered. So, these are going to be more expensive than usual. Framing and stretching are a problem zone as often one needs to wait.
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