Do you know that professional framing is one of the biggest investments you will make when collecting a piece of art? The cost can account for up to 75% of the price of your final purchase. And of the total framing value, framing mats have the biggest profit margin over any other component that protects and visually enhances your artwork. It’s a great service, however, not always cost effective for the average working artist.
For any artist, how our artwork is framed will, most times, determine if the artwork will sell. The framing should be appealing and complementary and show off the art without competing with it. We all want our artwork to sell so it is important to know all we can about how to to make our artwork look its best.
The cost of professional framing can be a disadvantage for the beginning or intermediate artist. In order to make your artwork appealing in price and for you to make a profit, you may have to make some tough choices when considering how you will present your artwork.
REDUCE YOUR FRAMING INVESTMENT-
There are several ways to lower the overall cost of framing and still have professional results.
1. Reuse frames from thrift stores, antique stores, and yard sales. Re-invent them by changing the color or finish to suit your needs. This may require you to paint on sizes that will be accommodated by the used frames.
2. Make your own frames from moldings and found wood or materials. This will require the appropriate equipment, but it will be worth the investment if you are needing volumes of frames.
3. Buy pre-made frames and mats and use them as they are or, again, re-invent them. Just be aware that most mats are sold with photo standard measurements and will not accommodate watercolor paper sizes. However, Cheap Joe’s has a complete line of mats that are designed with the watercolor artist in mind.
4. Present your artwork without a frame, but display it professionally with a mat, backboard, and acetate envelope. Make up your own, or buy them conveniently packaged from Cheap Joe’s in a variety of styles, sizes, and quantities. Check out the Perfect Show Mat System.
5. Cut your own mats as you need them and create custom sizes and shapes. As an artist, with the right information and lots of practice and experience, you can do a professional framing job yourself with just a small initial investment.
6. Make a small piece of artwork look more substantial by doubling up on the matting, or you can beef up a simple frame by attaching a smaller frame into the opening of a larger frame.
7. Choose the style of frame to suit your style of artwork. For example, you would not want to use a barn wood frame for a contemporary abstract painting.
THE COMPONENTS OF FRAMING-
A finished frame is made up of several layers, each one with a specific job to do.
1. Frame- Displays and protects the artwork.
2. Glazing- Glass or Acrylic panel which protects the artwork from dust, dirt and sometimes UV light.
3. Window Mat- Enhances and keeps artwork from touching glazing panel.
4. Artwork- Different mediums require different framing methods.
5. Back mat- Artwork is mounted to back mat to suspend it inside the mat window for viewing.
6. Backing Board- Helps to support materials and “fill” the rabbet area (depth) so it is flush with the back of the frame.
7. Framing Points- Inserted around the perimeter of the frame, they keep all of the components securely in position.
8. Backing Paper- Used to conceal the backing material for a clean finished appearance.
9. Hanging Hardware- Attached to frame to enable hanging on a wall.
10. Wall protector buttons- Self adhesive felt or rubber buttons placed on the lower corners of the back of the frame to keep it from marking the wall. Scotch brand rubber pads are a suitable product.
Many of these components are packaged together for convenience or sold separately. You also have the option of assembling all of the materials yourself which is more cost effective. “The more you do yourself, the lower the overall investment.” With the advantage of great products and instruction to aid us in creating our own professional mats and frames, we can save an average of 75% of the cost of framing after the initial investment in equipment has been recovered.
LOGAN GRAPHIC PRODUCTS, INC. VISITS CHEAP JOE’S
Logan is the first name in mat cutting. They are a small family owned company which has been in business since the 1974, and are still located in the Chicago, IL area.
Brian Buell, Global Director of Sales for Logan, visited Cheap Joe’s for a special presentation on their current line of mat cutters. Logan makes several products that aid in producing your own frames, however, they are best known for their mat cutters. It is what they do most, and what they do best!
Logan has been designing Do It Yourself mat cutters from the beginning and expanding their offerings over the years. They have a level of mat cutters that fit the needs of beginners all the way up to professional production framers. Brian’s advice is to pick the mat cutter level that suits your needs. Buying the best and most expensive cutter will not benefit the person cutting 2-3 mats a year.
With all of these choices, there really is something for everyone with pricing of just over $90.00 up to $900.00.
LOGAN MAT CUTTERS AVAILABLE AT CHEAP JOE’S:
Brian shared some tips on how to get the best results when cutting your own mats.
1. Always use a slip sheet (scrap mat board) for bevel cuts and never for straight cuts.
2. Do not use Vyco board as a slip sheet. This will instantly dull your blade and may cause damage to your mat board.
3. Always make your marks on the back and cut with the color side down.
4. Match your level of need to the level of mat cutter designs.
5. Stand at the end of a large table and pull the cutting head to yourself and not away.
6. For Lefties Only- Logan does not make a left-handed mat cutter, however, there are suggestions online for left hand users.
7. Change the blade when needed, usually after cutting 6-10 mat openings on average. Blades are inexpensive while mat board can be expensive and a dull blade can tear the surface. Save your mat board! Change blades frequently.
Most Logan mat cutters use the #270 blade, however, check your individual model for the appropriate blade number.
8. Do The Math- calculate the measurements of your cuts and record them on the back.
Measure the “viewable area” width (the width minus 1/2 inch for overlapping, subtract from mat board width, and divide by 2. This should equal the amount of border you will have showing on each side of your artwork.
8 x 10 art in a 12×16 mat=
12 x 16 width mat board minus
7.5 x 9.5 viewable area =
4.5 x 6.5 divided by 2=
2.25 x 3.25 border
And, of course, if this seems too much like homework you can always go to (http://www.logangraphic.com/border-calculator/#Calculator/startCalc) and use the Logan Border Calculator to get the measurements! I just love it! They even have a Mobile Web App for the mat calculator for all of you Smart Phone Smarties!
9. All standard 4-ply mat board is “buffered” and pH neutral making it an archival product. The only mat product that is naturally acid- free is what is called “museum board” which is 100% cotton rag board. This product is used in museum presentations, but is not necessary to use for professional framing. Don’t be afraid of using a buffered pH neutral mat board, it is archival.
10. You WILL have over cuts on the back, this is to make sure the cut on the front is complete. If you have over cuts on the front when cutting to your marks, your blade may be too deep and need adjusting.
Logan has a great website that is easy to navigate to find an enormous amount of information on everything framing! They have a great blog with how to YouTube videos, downloadable manuals and PDFs, product information all easily accessible online.
THE CHEAP JOE’S CALL CENTER IS MAKING THE CUT!
As well as, mat cutting equipment, Cheap Joe’s has spent years acquiring all sorts of framing materials that make it easier and more cost effective for artists to finish their art and present a professional looking product.
Everything you need to professionally frame your artwork!
A Special Thank You, goes out to Brian Buell and also to Logan Graphics, Inc. for all of the great information and advise and for making such a practical and dependable mat cutter that will suit any artist’s need! Check out their website for loads of information about their products, great info videos, charts and tools to help you with all of your framing needs!
So, if you are creating art, matting art, framing art, exhibiting art, and selling art, on a consistent basis, investing in framing equipment will save you lots of money!
And if you need advice on product or materials, give us a call at 1-800-227-2788! We are ready and waiting to help you with your selection and any questions you may have on framing or any art stuff!
Happy “Make the Cut” Day!
Have fun cutting your own mats,
and keep making art to fill them up!