August 15, 20080 found this helpful
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.
By Carrie from Yakima, WA
Hardware Store For 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 Frames to Look New
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!
Thrift Stores Or Buy Unfinished
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.
Replacement Glass for Cheap
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? $3. I'd put off replacing the glass for some time because I was sure it would cost me a fortune! Nice surprise!
Check Clearance at Craft Stores
Don't forget the craft stores. I always check the clearance aisles in the craft store. They always have damaged frames. Usually, all they need are the scuffs touched up but they are wonderful bargains. Remember to buy the frames in standard sizes, like 8x10, 11x14, 16x20, etc. If you get an oddball size, you'll never use it.
Frugal Framing Advice
I took a class in Picture Framing to learn how to make my own frame. The machines used for cutting the diagonal corners of the wood trims are very expensive (many years ago, about £1000 GB pounds). So if you want to make your own, you would need to do it as part of a class to access the cutting machines.
The cheapest way is to hoard old frames. You can paint them, stick braid on and be as creative as you like. Your local glassworks will cut new glass if you need it. Don't bother trying to cut old glass yourself, if it is more than 15 years old, glass is too brittle to cut.
If you want a new frame you may find a horrible framed picture in a dollar store, throw away the picture and keep the frame. This is often cheaper than buying an empty frame. I had a studio portrait taken once, at huge expense, and I swear that this is the way that the photographer framed it.
A word of warning - do not use the wide brown plastic parcel tape to seal up the back of your frames. It leaves a mark on your wall which you cannot get off - you have to redecorate.
By Julia in UK
September 21, 20041 found this helpful
Here is a way to make a very nice framed picture without the high cost.
Find a picture you love. I've had luck finding these in magazines and catalogs.
Use acrylic paint ($.59 to $1.29 a little bottle) to paint any old plain frame. Choose a color that's in your picture. Those frames for certificates that usually come in black are prime candidates for this project, as they're usually cheap. Takes maybe 4 coats to get it all covered depending on your color choice.
You can use shiny nail polish to put detail color, a border or design on your frame. Or use another complimenting color of acrylic paint for detail, if desired.
For your "mat", cut a piece of brown paper to fit into the frame. Grocery bags (back plain side) work very well for this. Sponge water color onto brown paper. You can also just paint the brown paper, or color it with markers.
A good thing about making a mat is if your picture doesn't exactly fit centered in your frame, the mat takes up the extra space and makes it look good.
Now carefully cut out your picture, cut a piece of cardboard (like a cereal box) 1/4" wider than your picture on all sides, and color the edges of the cardboard with black marker. Glue your picture onto this. Gives it depth.
Glue your picture with its backing onto your "mat", put into your newly painted frame, and enjoy!
Note: If you're not too good a painter, like me, don't fret. Enjoy your framed picture anyway. Just call it "folk art"! LOL
Sometimes when shopping for a picture frame, you may come across a framed mirror that would work perfectly, and often at a better price than the frame alone.
To modify a framed mirror for your picture or artwork, simply remove the back, place a piece of glass in first, and sandwich the item to be displayed between the glass and mirror before replacing the back.
Another method is a piece of double-sided tape can be used to adhere the item to the mirror. You end up with an interesting floating piece of art with a mirrored border.
You can also have matting either along the inside edge of your frame, along the artwork itself, or floating between mirrored edges to achieve the look you want. For additional interest, there can be cutouts in the matting, as well as, even lettering, look especially attractive with the mirror set in behind. With this floating method of framing, you aren't limited by the size of the artwork or picture.
By Laurie from TN