Another way to frame inexpensively is by restoring used frames. Where can you find used frames? A good source for used frames is flea markets, second hand stores and yard sales.
Choosing A Good Used Frameis not as difficult as you may think. Take your tape measure with you because frames and framed art found here may or may not meet the usual size requirements of the standard canvas sizes sold in the art store. The frame probably won’t be in pristine condition eiher so you may have to do some refinishing. I recommend wood or metal frames because they are easiest to clean up and refurbish. Because of the difficulty of repairing the faux carvings, I prefer to stay away from the more ornate frames with raised plaster designs.
Metal Frames: A good used metal frame may have scratches, but it will be square (no warping) without bent edges. Depending on the size of the art you are planning to frame, it should probably be at least ¾” to 1” wide. Make sure the corners fit together well without any danger of coming apart. A little rust or scratches are okay as they can be sanded off and smoothed out. Check the sizing with your tape measure to be sure your art will fit. Metal frames are typically used to frame watercolors or pastels, which are done on paper, and while the art paper may be cut to fit the frame, pastels and watercolors are also usually presented with a mat. Unless you have a mat-cutter, you will be using pre-cut mats, which come in the same standard sizes as canvas so making sure the frame is a standard size will cut down on the amount of work you will need to do when you frame the art. The used mat mayalso be reusable depending on its condition but if it free from stains this is an easy fix. Scratches on the glass or plexi means it will have to be replaced, although if the glass is scratched very near the edge of the frame it might not be noticed.
Wood Frames: A used wooden frame may or may not come with a canvas painting or print. The good news here is that after you have checked to make sure you won’t be covering up a lost masterpiece, you will also have a blank canvas or board that you can use to paint yourmasterpiece! (Look for a separate blog on re-using canvas).
Non-fixable issues: Check the frame for warping. Warping can be caused by water damage or just simply damage done to the frame itself. While warping can be corrected it requires wood shop tools like vises and such. Probably not worth your trouble.
Chipped Corners or edges: Unless you are going to go for a distressed or really rustic look this can’t be fixed. It can be minimized with paint but it will still show up to the eyes.
Fixable Issues:check for loose corners. This is an easy fix, usually requiring some wood putty and finish nails. Scratches and stains are also fixable requiring stripping, re-sanding and either re-staining or painting of the wood part of the frame.
Linen Mat Issues On A Wood Frame: The most common flaw in a used wooden frame is the linen mat is stained or discolored. This is a pretty easy fix; just repaint it with off-white or parchment color. A tear in the mat may or may not be fixable, depending on the size of the damage. Usually a little glue and repainting the mat will suffice.
*For How-To procedures on refinishing old frames, please see the blog Refurbishing A Used Frame (part 3 of this series).
There is a new catch phrase going around: Support your own community: buy Local! Guess what? As an artist or writer You are local!
Some of you may feel guilty about promoting sales of your work. For those of you who dofeel guilty about telling friends, past customers, family and acquaintances “Hey, consider buying from me when selecting art for your home or office or buying a book as a gift, let’s consider a few things. Do you know what the 80/20 Rule is? Well it says that 80% of money spent locally stays in circulation locally. By promoting theideaof buying your art, you are contributing to the health of your neighborhood! When someone buys art from you, they provide you with money, which you in return spend on groceries, rent, clothing and other stuff (which hopefully youalso bought in a local business!)
Sales tax spent with you supports local infrastructure, police, fire and schools. Money stays with the community when spent in local businesses. The Tax Policy Center: (clickhere for the entire article), says, “Local governments received transfers from both the federal and state governments equal to about one-seventh of total revenue. From their own sources, they collected about $700 billion, or 17 percent of all government revenue.” When your friends and family buy from you, they are helping to return money to their local economy, so youshould feel no hesitation in pointing out to them that your workcan be a resource for their decorating projects!
Spending money locally shows pride in their community culture and local products. As a person who lives in the area you are more apt to locally recirculate money your friends’ family and acquaintances spent with you on your art in the form of purchases from other local business, thus supporting the local work force. When you give some of that money to local charities, even if it is just the local boy or Girl Scout troop, or maybe the local food bank, you are keeping money spent with you in movement. It’s a fiscal circle that keeps people working to make the stuff they and others buy.
“I’m an artist/writer, not a business person”,you shout. Well, I hate to break this to you, but anyone who wants to sell his or her art or books isin business. According to Wikipedia, “a business(also known as enterprise or firm) is an organization or person engaged in the trade or sale of goods, services, or both to consumers”. Q.E.D. Business is NOT a dirty word. Businesses allow us as consumers to buy food, clothes, and gas. It allows us to find a place to live (real estate sales and rentals), and most likely it employs a lot of us who are not fortunate enough to be able to make a living selling our work. OOPS!There is that word “sell” again.
Local Business Can Support Local Artists and Writers
Local business can provide a mutual support base by being willing to allow artists and writers to display their work for sale in their stores and offices. The artist or writer will come in to see their art and most likely buy something from the business. They will also promote the business by telling their sphere of friends and family about having art or books on display in the business and urging them to come and see it.
Allowing creative people to promote shows, book signings, sales and event by displaying flyers in local business helps develop a mutual dependency.
Local Artists Offer
1 on 1 personal contact with artist/writer
Unique Versatile gifts for each individual
or Books From Local Writers & Artists
What value does the community receive when they purchase art from a local artist rather than from a national chain store?
Well-made handcrafted items give a cachet to their office, home and gift giving. When giving gifts it shows the buyer not only thought enough of the person receiving the gift to take into account that person’s personal tastes, but also took the time to check the gift out carefully.
Buying art and books from local artists and writers gives the opportunity for a one-on-one personal experience and gives buyers an opportunity to develop a personal and professional relationship with the artist or writer.
Books and Art are individually created unique, versatile items. Why buy something indistinguishable from what everyone else is buying?
What YOU As The Artist Or Writer Can Do To Promote Sales In Your Neighborhood This Holiday Season:
Remind past clients, friends, and family, church and organization members that you are a resource for buying holiday gifts or décor items.
Offer items for sale as “Sales specials”.
Offer a bonus or discount off a future purchase if the buyer refers another buyer who actually purchases your work. This type of promotion is done all the time in other industries; it is sometimes called a “referral commission’. No money is actually paid until the other buyer makes his/her purchase and mentions the name (or brings in a coupon) of the referring buyer.
Artists can adapt some art into small affordable reproductions (cards, small prints, puzzles, ornaments, cups, etc.) for sale at a holiday boutique or Studio Open House.
Writers can arrange book signings at local boutiques, stores or other holiday events.
Send past clients, friends and neighboring businesses postcards showing your work and invite them to view it in person at a local book signing, show or gallery.
Take advantage of the local Art Scene by inviting a selected few to come with you on Art Hop nights and show them to galleries where your work is being sold.
Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork; unfortunately, if you don’t frame your art wisely a poor framing job can ultimately ruin the appeal of the painting or photograph altogether. We all want our art to look its best, so artists inexperienced in the art of framing usually begin by using a commercial framer. A commercial framer will give you a nice, professional looking frame for your art. They will also give you sticker shock when quoting the price. Depending on the size of the frame wanted, a commercial framer can charge anywhere from $200 to $600 for a simple frame for a painting. Keep in mind that the cost can go much higher if you want an elaborate, ornate frame for your art. Contrary to popular supposition, using a metal frame is not cheaper (metal frames are favored by watercolorists and pastel artists). A commercial framer must not only charge you for the materials, but also for the labor it takes to actually frame the art.
The simplest way to avoid this type of sticker shock is to do your own framing. This isn’t really that hard; the first step is finding an inexpensive frame that looks good. The local art store will have a variety of frames to select from in standard sizes so watch the sales flyers for Coupons from your local art store and use them. Depending on the size of the art you are framing, you may be able to find suitable frames from other sources also. Dollar and discount stores such as Walmart and Target typically have photo frames available in sizes that can be adapted to art. Words of warning here however; make sure that the frames you purchase from this source are made of wood and not plastic or acrylic. Plastic or acrylic frames can’t easily be adapted to the hanging methods required by most art shows. The saw-tooth or eyelet hangers that come with the frames probably won’t be accepted at a professional art show or gallery. Another difficulty is sizing. Take your tape measure with you; some of the frames sold at these places are not the standard sizes used by artists. Frames that look to be 11 x 14 can turn out to be 10 x 13 or some other odd size that won’t fit canvas or canvas boards sold to painters.
Another good source for finding inexpensive frames is On-line catalogs or internet stores. Typically these sites will charge less than your local art store because you are circumventing the middleman’s markup. This is my favorite source when purchasing new frames because the cost is usually 30 to 50% less than that of my local retail store. Of course the shipping does add an extra fee which cuts down on the savings somewhat. I buy frames from these places in bulk once or twice a year because there is an additional discount if you buy at least 3 or 4 frames at the same time. Think ahead and sign up for the stores e-mail program so you will be notified when they are having a sale. If you can’t afford the initial cost of buying in bulk up front, you might consider buying in bulk and sharing the cost with other artists. Some good sources of Catalogs are to name only a few:
Another way to frame inexpensively is to find used frames and refurbish them. Where can you find used frames? Well the two main sources I have found for used frames are second hand stores and yard sales. Again, take your tape measure with you because framed art found here may or may not meet the size requirements of standard canvas sizes sold in the art store. The frame probably won’t be in pristine condition so you may have to do some refurbishing and refinishing. Look for wooden or metal frames because they are easiest to clean up and refurbish. This subject is covered in more detail in Part two How To Find A Good Used Frame, Part three of this series on inexpensive framing covers ways to refurbish a used frame, and Part four explains how to refinish one of those ornate frames.