5 Mistakes When Ordering Custom Picture Frames

Buying a custom picture frame has never been easier. Instead of lugging your painting to a custom frame shop—which are now fewer and farther between—with online frame shops you can simply view, click, and order. Even though it’s easier, there are some common mistakes almost everyone makes when ordering a custom frame online, especially if it’s their first time.

1. Choosing high-grade materials when you don’t need them.

A frame package comprises not just the frame but the mat board, mount board and glazing, all of which are available in varying degrees of conservation quality. It’s natural to want the best of the best, but sometimes the best materials for your frame package are not necessarily the most expensive.

For example, there are three different types of mat board in regards to its material: cotton rag, alpha cellulose and paper. Cotton rag is considered to be fit for long-term preservation in museums, and it is also the most expensive.

The Bainbridge Alphamat, made of alpha cellulose, also meets museum standards for preservation, but many other alpha cellulose mat boards do not. Alpha cellulose is cheaper than cotton rag, making it a great middle ground for those who want to keep the costs down but still protect artwork.

Paper mat board, being the most economical, is sometimes overlooked due to its status as being suitable for “temporary framing”—but temporary may be what you need. If you’re planning on framing photographs or prints that can be easily reproduced, paper mat board is a great choice. It’s affordable, attractive and still high quality; it can, of course, cause damage over time to photographs and other artwork due to its acidity, but this process takes time. For easily reproducible work, the potential for long-term fading may not matter.

The same goes for mount board, which is also available in various levels of conservation quality, as well as the glazing. Clear UV filter glass is important for a museum, but standard acrylic glazing may be fine for a simple framed photo in a dark corner of the living room.

2. Relying on a computer monitor to find the right color.

Mat boards are traditionally neutral colors, such as white or cream, but they are now offered in pastel pinks and yellows, deep reds and blues, organic greens and more to help add extra visual appeal to a framed piece. Some new metal picture frames go beyond the standard silver or black, such as the Nielsen Profile 117V, which is offered in metallic red, blue and green.

The true color of the mat board or a colorful picture frame can be difficult to see on computer monitors since the displayed colors can vary wildly depending on the age of the monitor or the computer’s graphics card. When you are attempting to complement colors in a photograph or piece of artwork, it is important to find the right match. To avoid throwing away money on the wrong color mat board or a frame that doesn’t suit, first order a mat board sample pack or frame moulding samples.

3. Doing it yourself without the proper equipment.

When ordering a full frame package from an online shop, there’s not much assembly needed: adhere the artwork to the mat board if necessary, slide it in the frame, attach the hanging kit and hang. Some customers, however, want to take a more hands-on approach to their frames.

Frame Destination offers uncut and full sheet mat board for those who want to create their own look. At-home framers can use sharp blades, rulers and patience to cut their own mat boards, but without the proper cutting tools or experience, you may not get the results you desire. Online custom frame shops such as Frame Destination use computerized cutting machines that precisely and cleanly cut single or multiple mat board windows without wasting any material.

4. Fiddling too much with custom sizes.

Online frame shops can offer the ability to tweak the size of the frame, mat board, mount board and points to create a unique frame package. However, sometimes the standard sizes will work best—they are standard for a reason! Unless you are absolutely sure that the sizes you choose are the sizes you want, stick with the standard sizes, or ask the frame shop for advice.

5. Not asking for advice.

Speaking of advice—just because it is an online shop doesn’t mean there is no one to answer your questions. If you’re not sure whether you should choose a metal or wood frame, or you’re struggling to create the perfect double mat, you can contact the frame shop to get in touch with real, live framing professionals. In addition to providing information about specific framing components, they can help you find the right look regarding the mat board color or frame style.

Online frame shops are becoming the go-to resource for custom frames. Avoid the most common mistakes when ordering custom picture frames to ensure you receive the right frame the first time.

About the author

author

Mark Rogers is an amateur photographer and the founder of Frame Destination, Inc. In 2004 Mark realized the framing industry was not keeping up with the evolution of photography via new digital technology and started Frame Destination in his garage. Now his company has thousands of do-it-yourself framing customers across the US that it helps with its 11,000 square feet production facility in Dallas, TX.

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