A Store Breaks Even When Its Sales Equal Its Expenses Framing Your Art – Essential But Needn’t Break the Bank

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Framing Your Art – Essential But Needn’t Break the Bank

Photography is an important part of buying art. For works on paper be it paintings, watercolors, digital paintings, etchings et al framing under glass will protect your money and increase its life.

It can also be a very expensive game. At my 2002 show, framing consumed half of the show’s revenue which meant that a third of my sales were for the framer and after I got a volume discount from the framer. My DIY skills didn’t extend to a professional, custom design job.

Construction is a skill that requires the ability to accurately measure and cut a variety of materials and special tools and equipment for the job. I’m an average DIYer with enough experience to know what I can do. I thought that the damages for the mistakes and the purchase of the necessary materials and equipment would be equal to what the framer paid.

Now I am a bit older and wiser and wiser. Instead of making frames to fit the artwork I now make my artwork to fit the frame. Creating my work on this computer is a very simple process, a few clicks of the mouse and voila the print matches the existing frame. Even for the most traditional artist it is not a big change of mind to work on a scale that can fit into an existing frame.

The good news is that there are as many picture sizes out there as there are art projects to go into. Check out your local thrift store or thrift store and you’ll find beloved frames in all shapes and sizes. Yes, you have to remove the resident here, but it’s not a big job. Cut the art with a plan and you’re on your way. Obviously you’ll need to clean it up, but once you’re done you’ll have a legitimate home for your work for a fraction of the cost.

A friend of mine went this way for his last show. For six months prior to his exhibition he frequented antique shops picking up frames that interested him and related to his works. Some of them gave new life to a coat of paint. His show was not only an artistic success but also a financial success as his design budget came in at several hundred dollars.

Another way to sell secondhand goods is through thrift stores with their stock of high-quality photo prints or DIY stores with their kits. These are available in a variety of finishes almost as long as those found on the local framer. They are available in plastic, wood and metal and most of them are mats and double mats. Obviously the size of the mat opening should be slightly smaller than your art work.

These are not as cheap as thrift stores but require less work to prepare the artwork and are much cheaper than a custom frame. The quality of the material is the same as that used in custom designs and as long as you use acid free tape to protect it for longer life it shouldn’t be a problem.

If you’re buying art online, buying non-printed works is a must, especially because of the prohibitive costs of shipping printed works. The cost of shipping a custom glass work will cost more than a regular job and depending on your purchase may be more than the total cost of the crafting and manufacturing.

I have yet to find a site that does not offer a range of sizes most of which are very close to the available commercial sizes and some sites offer a print service.

For an artist thinking about exhibiting, the cost of using recycled frames or materials can mean getting the work up on the walls for people to see without having to use a credit card. A typical online purchase can mean the difference between open and limited edition print.

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