Let’s Talk Framing – Part 1

Custom Framing

What makes custom framing different from simply purchasing a ready-made frame is that we partner with you, the customer, to create a framing design that fits you, the art, and the display location. You aren’t limited to standard frame sizes and mat openings. The design fits around the art, not vice versa.

The materials and supplies are custom ordered from our suppliers once a frame design is finalized and the customer places the order with us. Materials typically arrive in about a week, although it might take longer depending on how the supplier ships and other factors beyond our immediate control. Most framing orders are started in about a week and finished within two weeks of placing the order.


Custom Framing can help protect your art, photographs, and memorabilia in ways that off-the-shelf frames typically cannot.

One of the most important parts in a framing job is the glazing (the glass or acrylic that covers the art). All our glazing is 99% UV blocking, meaning the work inside is protected from light that can fade and damage the art. Glazing can also protect the work from accidental physical damage such as something hitting it or splashing onto it. The glazing takes the damage, limiting what reaches the art. Glazing can also reduce the amount of dust and harmful environmental pollution from contacting the art.

For larger pieces where weight is a concern, or for pieces that hang where broken glass may become a concern (impact or vibrations causing art to drop, for example), acrylic glazing may be an option to consider.

A custom framed piece is typically matted or spacers placed around the edge to prevent the art itself from contacting the glazing. Prolonged direct contact may lead to damage of the art and by placing a gap, we are able to prevent this type of damage from occurring.

We use conservation backing boards and place dust protection paper on the back of most framed pieces (we don’t do it for metal frames and most canvas pieces). This additional step helps improve the protection and longevity of your art. (Side note: when you use off-the-shelf frames, please replace any cardboard you find with acid-free materials!)


Not surprisingly, custom framing is not inexpensive. A smaller piece, such as an 8×10, matted and framed typically begins at just over $100 using less expensive frame and mat choices.

Frame selection is the greatest determinant of cost. A simple, fairly narrow and shallow, flat-profile frame is less costly than one that uses lots of wood and/or features ornamentation. Metal frames typically run about the same price as wood frames.

Glazing type can also have a huge effect on cost. We offer the following glazing choices (from most economical to most costly): Conservation Clear Glass, Conservation Reflection Control Glass, Museum Glass, Conservation Acrylic, Conservation Reflection Control Acrylic, and Museum Grade Acrylic.

There are numerous types of mats available. Standard 4-ply conservation grade paper mats are the most economical. Additional cost can purchase textured mats, suede mats, 8-ply thick mats, linen mats, and more.

As much as we would like to offer lower prices, shipping materials up to Alaska is a costly proposition, especially for large and heavy items such as glazing and matboards. We hope you understand.

Future Installments

Next time we will discuss our value priced package which can bring many of the features of custom framing discussed above at a more economical price point.

And in subsequent installments we will discuss other features we can offer you to highlight the artwork you have.


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