Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Framing is f***ing expensive

That's right - you know what I'm talking about. You're too old to be thumbtacking posters to your wall (no seriously - you are) but you don't make enough money to bleed hundreds of dollars on that nice print that deserves a good mat and frame. Isn't there some middle ground here on the framing thing?!

In fact, there is. And believe me - I dropped $300 on stunning wall piece that has a place of honor in my home, but i choked when the lady in the downtown frame shop told me the bill. Framing is a skill and it takes one person applying their labor to get it done, so that means the prices seem disproportionate to the product and they continue to go up, not down. And in a world where we're used to new technology products plummeting in price within a year or two, framing a simple piece carries a sticker shock that's particularly jarring.

BUT - there's still a way around it. And for god's sake - you DO need to frame that stuff on your wall or pull out that nice poster you've always wanted to hang and haven't gotten around to.

If you don't mind doing a little assembly yourself, there are websites where you can buy your custom frame and mat in the size and color you need and they send it to you to put together for FAR less than having the little old guy in the art and frame shop do it for you (sorry, little old guy. you're just too damn expensive).

Frames by Mail
appears to be the leader and it has thousands of options and even helpful instructions for putting your frame together when it arrives. It claims to have "The largest collection of Custom and Ready Made picture frames on the Internet."

On the website I assembled a frame for a 16x20 Modigliani print of mine that needs a better home. For a gorgeous black wood frame with gold accents, a 2 inch mat, and backing with plexiglass front, the total with shipping comes to $65.60. The interface is super user-friendly and automatically calculates the cost with each step - it also visualizes your finished frame so you can see what it looks like.

The print I paid $300 for is only slightly larger and the frame is more plain because I was scrimping. That is a HUGE price difference. You now have NO EXCUSE to not dig out that print you picked up in Europe in college or that great poster of your home state.

FBM also has a cool feature where you can upload a picture and have it framed and sent to you. Great for wedding pictures, the family reunion portrait, or that sweet picture of you and your partner.

Disclaimer: if you spend money framing a motivational poster, something sports-related, or anything by Monet, I wash my hands of you.

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