Don’t Condemn Your Artwork To An Early Grave

Because it’s Halloween season, I thought I’d send out a reminder about keeping your artwork alive and well.

Don’t condemn your art to an early grave

Let’s be honest, most people want to frame their artwork as economically as possible. That’s especially true if the artwork is just an inexpensive print or poster, child’s drawing or a family snapshot.  Custom framing seems to exceed the budget for many items, so many people often resort to using inexpensive (cheap) readymade materials to try and get these things on the wall.   And although these options may seem, in the short-term, to do the job, they can contribute to the premature demise of your artwork.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good bargain as much as the next person and my wife and I rarely even go out to eat without a coupon.  But I also know that in order to properly frame and preserve artwork, there are a few things to consider beyond just the price tag.  Over time, the savings that you perceive now may come back to create more expense because you either have to redo it later or replace your artwork altogether. Here are just some of the facts:

  1. You’ve chosen your artwork because you value it whether anyone else “gets it” or not.
  2. You want it to last for more than a few years or else you’d just thumb-tack it to the wall like in the college dorm days.
  3. You brought it in to the frame shop because you want to create a “permanent home” for it.
  4. You want a frame design that brings out the best in the artwork and that will create a safe and appropriate environment for the image.
  5. In short, you want a design that compliments the artwork, gets along with your décor and doesn’t require a second mortgage or repeated plasma donations to pay for the thing.

It is often a value judgment on your part, as the customer, as to how much you’re willing or able to spend to make your artwork the best is can be. It is always our goal to create a design that compliments your artwork without breaking the bank.  While not every artwork is precious or collectible, we want to at least give it the best chance to look good and last for as long as possible. We’re happy to assist you in finding ways to economize on the framing without sacrificing your art on the altar of frugality.  Here are some of the things to remember to help you avoid those pitfalls.

  1. Most art is not “standard size” and often, you will probably need an irregularly cut mat in order to accommodate your piece in a readymade frame (without cropping or trimming).
  2. Most art requires a mat or at least a spacer to keep the glass from adhering to the artwork.
  3. Most over the counter pre-cut matting and/or frame backing material is not acid-neutral and can potentially burn or discolor your artwork over time.
  4. Most art needs to have a foam-board or comparable backing (not cardboard) and as little glue or adhesive to mount the piece as possible.
  5. Most artwork has no built in resistance to UV light or heat, so the better the glazing and other products that you use in the framing, the longer your art will live.

I have some customers that bring in wrinkled concert posters and spend over $300 to frame it because of the sentimental value alone, while others bring in a high-end limited edition and want a simple black metal frame and no mat.  We want you to do what’s best for the artwork regardless of how much it’s worth or how much you spent on it.  Keep in mind that it can cost virtually the same amount to custom frame a rare Picasso @ 18 ½” x 22 ¾” as it does to frame an inspirational cat poster of the same size. Let us help you make the best choices for your project and always err on the side of conservation rather than conservatism.