How Much Does Framing Cost?
Hey, y'all. So I've been getting this question a lot lately--like, an awful lot--and I think it deserves an Upright Answer On The Interwebs. The question is, of course, "how much does custom framing cost?".
It's hard to answer that question. Framing's developed a bit of a reputation as a boutique industry that isn't very transparent about pricing mostly BECAUSE it's hard to answer that question. We're not trying to lie to you, or to hide expenses. It's just hard to really tell you until we see what it is you're looking to frame.
Therefore, the best way to get an answer to your question is to come see us. We can pick out a thing you like, or at least get some ideas, and give you a pretty accurate quote that way. But, given that not everybody has a lot of time to do this and not everybody wants to be out and about in the 'rona, let us tell you a little about how frame shops price.
Material costs, as you might imagine, vary astonishingly. I've got some frames on the wall I sell for three dollars a foot and some (very few!) I sell for three hundred. If you need six feet of moulding to make a frame for your picture, that means your frame alone could cost eighteen hundred dollars...or eighteen. Is your picture a priceless original, is it the focus piece of your wall, is it the one item you'd toss in your car in the path of a Cat 5 hurricane? Then it might be worth a close-cornered, hand-gilded, eighteen hundred dollar beauty crafted by New York artisans in a workshop that, at least in my imagination, has hardwood floors, stained glass windows, and church acoustics. Is it your niece Patsy's college attempt at splatter painting, which you're putting on the wall mostly because she's coming to visit next Tuesday, after which point it'll be returned to the dark basement from whence it came? Eighteen broncos, bucko.
We try to have something for everybody.
And we're just talking about the frame there, you guys. Do you want to add matting, conservation-grade glass, maybe a fillet? Are you bringing me something labor intensive, like a cross-stitch or unfixed pastel? Is your piece damaged and you want some repair work done? These things can all affect the final answer to our titular question, and can affect them quite a lot. A good set of general guidelines is:
*If I want a super big or ornate frame, it's going to be more expensive.
*If I want a lot of matting, or specialty textured mats, it's going to be more expensive.
*If I want something done that might take a lot of time--arranging small things in a shadowbox, stretching a cross-stitch, etc.--it's going to be more expensive.
Other than these rough pointers, all I can give you without seeing the picture, knowing its size, and having some idea of how you expect to frame it is a very general idea. Diplomas around 11x14 with two mats and a frame tend to run around 150-200 dollars. A 16x20 canvas in a float frame will probably run in the same range. Shadowboxing an adult's jersey might be around four hundred dollars. And these are all, mind you, VERY rough ideas.
You can always call or email us and ask for a price, but we'll need certain key information to help us help you. If you call us for a price, you will need to know these three things to get even a roughly useful answer:
--The size of the piece
--Whether or not you'll want matting and glazing on it, and whether you want those materials to be the highest conservation quality, aaaand
--A rough idea of the sort of frame you'd like on there.
If we know all that, we can give you an idea. If we don't know that, our answer will tend to be something like 'between fifty and eight hundred dollars', which is no answer at all, really. We want to help you, we really do, but there are roughly 2500 frame choices, four hundred mat choices, and six glazing choices in the shop, and without adding in additional things like sizing and labor and the possibility of more than one mat, that means there are almost three thousand individual choices here, and a chance of roughly one in six million that I will guess how you're going to end up framing your picture well enough to price it for you. When you start adding in all the sizing possibilities and weird little framey stuff I can do for you, we start reaching a stars-in-the-galaxy kind of number, and well, please have some information ready for me or bring your picture in, because I find the contemplation of infinity a little scary.
(A note--options are, in actuality, very good and not scary. We are here, and we are trained and good at our jobs, specifically so you don't have to be scared of all the options, because you say 'green frame' and I, sherpa of the sample wall, select green frames for you and help you decide what you like and what works. So don't you be scared. Consider us your guides!)
Okay. So we got a little off the rails on this one. But, to recap:
1) We are happy to help you with pricing over the phone or by email, but you'll get a much more accurate answer in person.
2) If you do want to ask by email or phone, we'll be able to help you best if you know the size of your piece and have some idea how you want to frame it.
3) We try to have something for everybody! While most of our frames do run between ten and twenty dollars a foot, there are multiple options available at both other ends of the spectrum.
And, to end this post with an example--because we like those things--here are three out of six million possible ways to frame a cute little picture by Doug Kazantzis (who some of y'all may have heard of. This guy, remember him?). The picture itself is four by six, and after the matting it runs between 8x10 and 12x14, depending on the style:
1) Sweet but Simple
Not bad, right? That's a cute frame on there. Depending on where it was going in my house I could be perfectly happy with this.
Includes: regular glass, acid-free backing, our labor, customer's own mat, and inexpensive but very cute frame
Price Before Tax: 48.15
2) The Game Changer
You need to adjust the mat colors to fit the picture in your room, and you'd like anti-glare glass because there's a ceiling light right overhead. Frame is mid-price and matches your pine credenza.
Includes: anti-glare glass, acid-free backing, our labor, two acid-free mats, and mid-price frame
Price Before Tax: 136.36
3) Step Into My Luxury Library
This is a prized family possession and is reclining in state over a bust of Cicero in a library full to bursting with leatherbound books. Glass is both anti-glare and UV protective, and the framing, oh buddy, look at that finish.
Includes: Museum glass, acid-free backing, our labor, two acid-free fabric mats, one fillet, and high-end frame
Price Before Tax: 330.68
Most of your choices, to be honest, are more likely to fall in category one and two than three, but three is out there, if you've been wondering what to stick over Cicero.
Hopefully this helps. A last reminder: we are ALWAYS here to talk to you about framing. You are not wasting our time or asking silly questions: this is an obscure subject most people don't know very much about, and most people have only had to do it a few times in their lives. We're here to help! You can always call us at 910-791-3799 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Feel free to ask for Emily, I'm totally the funny one.