Here are tips and advice from the ThriftyFun community on saving money on picture frames.
Picture frames are really expensive, but I love the look of really big, thick frames. I can always find awesome, old frames at garage sales for $1 or less, but usually without the glass. What to do? Dollar store frames, while very cheap and made of plastic, have glass! Just get the right size and for $2 you have a sturdy frame with cheap, perfect-sized glass.
If it's a larger piece of glass you are in need of, you can get a piece of glass cut at a hardware store and it's usually not too expensive. I have found very nice framed prints with glass at garage sales that I bought cheaply, just for the nice frame! This is what I did for our family portrait. I found a beautiful oak frame the size I needed. I don't even recall what was in the frame but it wasn't something I wanted or cared for. Seems it was a 10x13 size and was a buck.
Paint your old frames. I recently spray painted about 100 frames for my mother. She had wood ones and wanted them to match her new decor. So a few bucks later for spray paint and they look brand new!
I selectively purchase used frames in good condition from local thrift stores. Also, you can buy unfinished frames from the hardware stores and stain them or paint them to fit in with your decor.
I had a huge frame - 2 feet by 3 feet at least, with a broken glass. Took it to the glass store in our small town and they cut me a new piece and installed it. Total cost? $3. I'd put off replacing the glass for some time because I was sure it would cost me a fortune! Nice surprise!
Don't forget the craft stores. I always check the clearance aisles in the craft store. They always have damaged frames. Usually, all they need are the scuffs touched up but they are wonderful bargains. Remember to buy the frames in standard sizes, like 8x10, 11x14, 16x20, etc. If you get an oddball size, you'll never use it.
I took a class in Picture Framing to learn how to make my own frame. The machines used for cutting the diagonal corners of the wood trims are very expensive (many years ago, about £1000 GB pounds). So if you want to make your own, you would need to do it as part of a class to access the cutting machines.
The cheapest way is to hoard old frames. You can paint them, stick braid on and be as creative as you like. Your local glassworks will cut new glass if you need it. Don't bother trying to cut old glass yourself, if it is more than 15 years old, glass is too brittle to cut.
If you want a new frame you may find a horrible framed picture in a dollar store, throw away the picture and keep the frame. This is often cheaper than buying an empty frame. I had a studio portrait taken once, at huge expense, and I swear that this is the way that the photographer framed it.
A word of warning - do not use the wide brown plastic parcel tape to seal up the back of your frames. It leaves a mark on your wall which you cannot get off - you have to redecorate.
By Julia in UK
I don't know if my 'tip' will save any money but it may be of interest to some. Polarized glass is available. This type of glass cuts way down on reflected glare from your pictures, if that problem shows up.
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