Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Price is NOT Right

At the risk of spending an entire week complaining I need to make my feelings known on the subject of framing. I'm talking about going to a craft or decorating store and having an item framed. I needed a mirror that in a size that you can't find easily - 36 x 36 inches. My idea was to have a frame made and mount a mirror in the frame.


One of the conservative and less costly frame styles would have cost $300! That's $2 per lineal inch. Unless it's formed out of magical unicorn dust I'm not paying $2 an inch. I was stunned to say the least.

That was six months ago and I went back to the frame department yesterday with the intention of getting a new mat cut for this etching that I found at the resale shop for $2.99.


The mat is brown and I thought it would look better with a black mat. It's just slightly larger than the standard 10 x 12.


So I drive over to the craft store and the young woman measures the outside and measures the inside, enters everything into her computer and look at me without batting and, really guess how much the mat would cost.

$19.87. Almost $20! Plain black mat board, nothing fancy, no double mat.

It was the icing on a very challenging week. I'll tell you more about that later.

That's it. I'm done complaining. I'm going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head. Poke me with a fork, I'm done!!!!


Lucy said...

Prices on frames are outrageous. It's become a rip-off.

Significant Snail said...

I wonder if the local high school art instructor would provide this service via one of the students? Sometimes kids have to learn these things in art class and I've seen some very good work by art students.

Several years ago I ordered some frames on line - I think it was American Frame Co.. or something like that. You can choose from many styles/materials and they cut to spec for you. Was much cheaper than the local alternatives.

Lori said...

For $300 you could probably your ownmat cutter and miter saw and make your own!

We have a local Ben Franklin that is the most reasonable place I've found around and they still aren't cheap but that's where I end up taking everythingI need done. The big craft stores are way out of reach for me plus I have to drive an hour to get to one.

Dee said...

Great source for "odd" frame sizes...flea markets...thrift stores...garage sales...that have ugly pictures in them. Not sure how many you have in your area though. :-( My motto...never pass up a might need THAT size some day! :-)

chocolatechic said...


I second a high school art class, or even a local JVS or college.

They might do that sort of thing for very cheep.

Pieceful Afternoon said...

I agree with you on frame and mat prices. I bought a used frame that had a mat the size I wanted so I painted the frame shiny black (to go with the picture) and I sponge painted the mat a dark grey - and it looks terrific. Those hard to fit sizes are a problem - and I have one right now - it is 20x27 - so I am thinking of finding one of those frame places online that sell individual side pieces and then you put it together when it arrives - and at about 1/10th the cost, even with shipping.

I've used the make-it-yourself frames before and really liked them.

If all else fails - get yourself a miter saw (or a friendly carpenter) and some pretty molding and make your own frame - I've done that too.

Arlene said...

OH honey, I have a tip for you. Jump out of bed - this is exciting. Spray paint the brown matt..cost of spray paint $2...and it works great. I have done it many a time. THEN jump go back to bed with that said blanket over head - and giggle.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

There, there! It is awful that's for sure. Wait! Is there a tutorial out here in Blogland that will help? I'm off to find out. (I know, though, that some things one just wishes could be easily and inexpensively done by SOMEBODY ELSE for a change.)

martina said...

I received a used fancy schmancy mat cutter from a friend three years ago. Still feel intimidated by it and haven't learned how to cut mats! You are right, frames and mats are expensive in stores. Thank goodness for Goodwill and garage sales.

Mary said...

take a glass of wine to bed with you and I love the idea of spray painting the mat. Love quick and aha tips.

Ali said...

This is not related to framing at all but the etching is of the Cliff House restaurant in San Fransico. I have a photo of it right over my bed . It burned down in 1906 in the earthquake. They rebuilt it several times. Anywho, it is nice to see a good etching.

Sabina said...

Yes, frames are so very overpriced. Everytime I head out for one my husband winces!!

Cindy L said...

I look for frames on sale at our local craft store, and luckily, my artist-husband knows how to cut them down and restructure them, if need be. Resale shops are also great spots for frames, but even those are getting pricier lately.
Your etching looks lovely, btw!

Heather said...

Custom frames and matting prices are a joke. I think it is a total waste of money. Then again I am just cheap. If I need big frames I hunt the local Goodwills, Salvation Army and Flea Markets. If I cant find one I like I go to Home Depot or Lowe's, buy trim and have my husband cut them to make a frame! Saves SO much money and gives a great custom look. As for the mats- I spray paint them. Light misted coats as not to saturate them..........takes longer but saves a lot of money.
I am having a giveaway- stop by if you want to participate!!
Have a great weekend!!

Jenni said...

I think I would have taken a black Sharpie to that brown mat and changed the color myself.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

That's why I've met so many people at Goodwill looking for matted pictures. Quite a few have told me they are just buying them for the frame and mat and not the picture itself.

Ladygrande (Texas Marie) said...

After your "locating" the source of the print, I found can hear the waves crashing against the cliffs.

lisa said...

Spray painting mats works really well. If you want it to have the white edge though, I would try a smaller framing shop and not one of the craft stores. I agree, it is over priced, but when I took some family heirlooms to a small shop the price was really reasonable and the craftsmanship was exceptional. I do know how to cut mates, but like anything else, sometimes it’s better to go to a professional, and I really don’t consider the “frame shops” at a craft store to be professional. I think if you buy regular mat board it is about $9.00 a sheet (and it’s a huge sheet), then the average cost is about $5.00 for each hole. If you do decide to frame the etching yourself, I would really recommend linen hinge tape. It’s acid free, so you know that it won’t ever turn your print yellow, and it’s not permanent.

Ali said...

Man, this post has me missing San Francisco. The best time to have dinner at the cliff house is the old cliche... a dark and stormy night. you can see the sea lions swimming around seal rock and it is very dramatic.

Louise said...

Framing makes me crazy. We bought a bunch of art recently, some of it unframed. We have yet to bite the bullet and see how much MORE than the art the framing will cost. Scary.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Prices on most anything are rediculous any more. I looked at a wool quilt kit today - not a big quilt - and it was $230. I know wool is pricey but this is stupid. I put it back. blessings, marlene

J'Ollie Primitives said...

I'll volunteer my handy Mr. Sweetie to make you a frame. Those prices are ridiculous!
I think I just found him a new job...

Jeanne said...

I no longer buy anything that needs a mat or framed. The prices are outrageous. If I want anything framed I try to stay in a standard size and go to Walmart, hoping I can find something decent. I am glad I really do not need pictures at this time of my life, thank goodness.

I sympathize, Jeanne

LDF said...

Frames are definately expensive. I took a couple of small 5 x 7 cross-stitch samplers that I particularly treasure in to be framed ... and changed my mind when they quoted over $300 to do it! I've been looking for pretty "previously-loved" frames that I can repaint ever since. Never thought of spray-painting matting. That's a good tip!

Anonymous said...

Go rip a board off your barn and borrow your hubby's mitre saw... problem solved! I am woman hear me roar..... raawr.

The Blue Ridge Gal

Suzanne said...

Lucy - Rip off is a good phrase. There's just no way that the framing stock is that expensive.

S. Snail - I'm going to check that out. My neighbor works at the high school. I'm might also check online for that big frame.

Lori - I thought about asking Santa for a mat cutter but the truth is I don't frame that much to make it worthwhile.

Dee - I agree. I'm now joining the group of people who buy up frames to put in a holding pattern.

Chocolatechic - I never thought of art students.

Pieceful Afternoon - I have a mitre saw and a router. I'm going to look for interesting moldings at the home improvement store.

Arlene - Spray paint....YES. I am going to spray paint the mat.

Vee - I know. I'm not sure if I want to add "frame maker" to my resume. I might give it a try but I wouldn't want to make a habit of it.

Martina - I think I'd be intimidated by the mat cutter also.

Mary - Too bad there aren't any babies in the family because I'd fill a baby bottle up to the brim with some nice Chianti.

Ali - Stupendous information!! I never thought I'd be able to identify this building. I loved the print because it reminded me of a hotel in the Waterton Park in Canada. It was crazy beautiful, with a string quartet playing in the lobby and high tea and such.

Sabina - I don't even tell the Famer's

Cindy - I'm going to keep a closer eye out for frames at craft stores and resale shops. I have the power tools, I just need to experiment.

Heather - I'm cheap too! I tell my kids that we didn't get where we are by being foolish with our resources.

Jenni - Yeah, I thought about doing that also.

Brenda - It never occurred to me until I priced the mat. I'm on the hunt now.

Ladygrande - WOW!! WOW, thanks.

Lisa - Thanks for the information. The mat actually covers the entire etching. I've heard good things about that tape.

Ali - I can just imagine dinner on a dark and stormy night. Such a dramatic and mysterious mental image.

Louise - Would you believe I have an etching we bought on our honeymoon 30 YEARS AGO that we never got framed!! That's crazy.

Marlene - I draw the $$$ line mentally. There are just some lines i will not cross.

J'Ollie - Ha! Wow to have a handyman in the house. Love, LOVE your avatar.

Jeanne - Standard sizes are a good thing as Martha would say.

LDF - OK I thought $300 was steep for a 36" frame but TWO 5 x 7's. Insane.

Blue Ridge Gal - Sadly - no barn on our property. But there are some derelict barns nearby.

Thanks everyone for visiting with me today. Without my faithful readers I'm just alot of hot air!!

- Suzanne