Who is the cheapest framer near me?

You need some framing done and you need it done at the right price.

Maybe you have seen some frames in the department stores, and you see that white/black frames with white mats look to be in fashion.  And the thinner the frame the more affordable it will be – right?  Well, no.

When you walk into a Framing shop there are a couple of things we can recommend that will help you receive maximum value from the experience.

Firstly, white/black frames with white mats look great in very few environments, and they may cost the same as a tailored-to-complement-the-art frame with a mat that completes the image being framed.  The frame and mat combination that is tailored to the art will look better in the variety of environments it will hang in it’s lifetime (which can be long).

The cost difference between a tailored moulding and a small black frame may be less than 5% of the overall job.  The (say) blue mat that accentuates with the eyes/sea/flowers in the image costs exactly the same as the white mat, which maybe accentuates the white paper the print was printed on.

The labour is a significant percentage of the total cost of having a frame built.  There is at least an hour of love that goes into designing, documenting, making and wrapping each frame ready for you to hang.  The labour charge will be so similar for a badly designed and executed frame from one shop that another shop with great design and execution will charge.

So the message is, go in with an open mind, and look for a frame designer that is capable of great design first and foremost.  When the quoted value for the frame is above what you were looking to pay, ask how the design can be modified to meet your budget.  This way, you can choose the increments that add most value, should you wish to.

After all, great value is a function of how much you like something, and how long it gives you that feeling.  You can always spend less, but if you don’t like it much on day one and it is ruined in a couple of years by poor quality components, you have received next to zero value.

On the flip side of that, if you cared enough about your art (photo, print, poster, certificate, needlework, canvas etc etc) to take it to a good framer and they make a design that you really like, and the framed item gives you lasting contentment/inspiration/joy/pride (which may grow the more time passes) then you have received excellent value indeed.

Why has my picture gone yellow?

What a nuisance! The one thing that makes it possible for us to enjoy art unfortunately also contributes more than any single other factor to destroying it.  Yes, if you can see a picture/object, chances are that it is being damaged by UV light.  Just as we get sunburnt on a beach in Summer, our art does too by exposure to UV light.

Luckily, the sunblock that protects our skin on the beach is also available for glass, and it is perfectly clear!  Wouldn’t be much good if it was like Zinc Cream!

There are essentially only two types of glass available, in three finishes.  The types are;

  1. Regular (blocks between 45% and 70% of damaging UV light)
  2. UV Block (blocks 99% of damaging UV light).

The three finishes that are available are

  1. Clear (Has reflection)
  2. Anti-Reflective (Super clear and almost no reflection)
  3. Diffused (Hazy in appearance)

As with your skin and sunblock, it is better to consider how much UV gets through, rather than how much is blocked.  With a UV-Blocking glass, <1% gets through.  With the very best standard glass >30% gets through. It is at least 30 times worse for your art!

For those of you that wear glasses, your optometrist may have offered you coated lenses for an additional charge (~$50?).  This coating is the same as that used on our anti-reflective glass, and $50 will buy you an enormous amount of it compared to the two small pieces that protect your eyes.

Glass is one of the greatest variables in the cost of having framing done.  While there is a significant difference in the cost of UV-Blocking glass and Regular glass, the overall impact on the price of your framed piece is typically less than 20% depending on choice of finish.  We regularly quote on different options so that you can choose both a look and price that you feel is great value.

The best framing glass is from TruVue in America, and Matisse Framing exclusively use TruVue glazing products in all our framing.  They provide us with technical data sheets, which are available to you, and explain reflection, light transmission, UV protection and many other facets for each type of glass we use.

If you are shopping around, please be aware that the vast majority of glass used in custom framing businesses in Australia is imported from China, and it has no technical data available.  Hopefully interestingly, TruVue specify their glass at 25% thicker than the Chinese glass, offering superior physical protection as well as UV protection.