Category Archives: Getting the Most Out of Framing


Oh, hi there. We didn’t see you come in – we’ve been busy working out, getting ready for the 117th Boston Marathon. There’s been a lot of lawn chair folding and closing, some intense elbow bending, and we usually finish up with some rapid clapping combined with an alternating “WHOOP-WHOOP!” and “GOOOOOOO!”
But if you’re not like us and you actually run in a marathon, then you’ve got some runner’s memorabilia. It’s one of the more common, non 2D items that we custom frame. It’s nice to remember that level of accomplishment with something other than a jar of sweat and bleeding nipples. It’s fun for us too when we have something to frame that’s more of a challenge than a flat image. The design requires different considerations, like which method to use so that the glass doesn’t sit on the medal or other objects. And the actual construction and attachment takes more time to get it just right. There are a lot of different design options we can use to make any of those items look terrific!
So until you make it in with your bib number, shirt, and finish line photo, we’re gonna keep at our workout regiment. Time for another 50 reps of Chariots of Fire…


Now is the time to custom frame

Halley’s Comet. A royal coronation. The Centennial Exposition. Some events don’t come around very often. Like this. The big one. Our half off sale. That’s right, 50% off all custom framing.
Oh, yeah – we can hear some of you out there. “Pffft, half off – that’s no big deal. Places do that all the time!” Not us. Remember, when stores give you a discounted price, the value is only as good as the number that’s being discounted. Our normal, everyday 30% discount is taken off of standard framing industry list prices. We don’t start with a built-in markup. We’re not a big box store that’s part of a nationwide chain with lots of overhead costs to cover. So we’re able to stand behind our guarantee that you can’t get any of our custom frames for less anywhere else.
ImageProxyThat means that when we do our world-renowned 50% off sale, you better believe it’s a true value. Great, you’re gonna save a bucket of money – now what?
Well, this would be a great time to bring in anything from Dad’s game winning golf putter to that menu you kept from the family’s trip to Disney World. Quilts, sports jerseys, diplomas, vinyl records, army medals – bring in whatever you’ve got and let us show you how custom framing can look amazing on anything that you want to display and protect.

To custom frame or not to custom frame?

Quick! You need a frame for that sports photo so you can give it as a gift when you get to the birthday party – what do you do?! Grab a ready made frame off the shelf at Target on your way, right? Wrong-o-mondo! It certainly seems like the way to go because they’re cheap and accessible, but that knee-jerk reaction is only going to bring heart ache and headache, either in the future or as soon as you try to put your image in the frame. We’re going to give you the ins and outs of custom vs ready made frames so there won’t be any guess-work when you’re getting ready to display that special picture.
The 4 ways that store-bought frames fall short of custom frames are appearance, size, construction, and versatility. These 4 qualities may sound highfalutin for your typical snapshot. We often hear the phrase, “It’s not like it’s a piece of art.” Well, maybe it’s not going in a museum, but you made it important when you decided to display it in your living space or give it to someone to hang in theirs. So rather than waste $20, spend a little more to do it right. Here’s why…


Ready made frames are going to look like just that. They don’t look unique and that laminate finish just gave it away like free perfume samples at Macy’s. You’ve got a better selection when you go with a custom frame and therefore a better chance of finding something that looks great with the image you’re displaying. A custom choice also means you’ll get the right…


When we say “size”, what we really means is “shape.” Sure you can find a frame big enough for whatever you’re framing, but is it the right shape? Frames on the shelf come in predetermined shapes. You may get lucky and find your image is already a standard shape. But be careful – if you use a frame that’s the same size as your photo or art, that means there’s no room for a mat. Our customers have already learned that a mat is important for more than just looks. The mat is what keeps the glass from touching your art. Glass can stick to or otherwise damage what you’re framing and it starts to look bad. A custom frame allows for a uniform amount of mat space all the way around your art. Ready made frames that come with a mat are disproportionate – there isn’t the same width of mat on the sides as there is on the top. That’s weird – no one would ever do that by design. Next time you see one, check it out.


This is a big one, because it’s probably the quality that’s going to fail the fastest and in the biggest way. Ready made frames simply aren’t made as well as a custom frame. We can’t tell you how many times customers have brought us broken glass because the ready made frame fell off the wall. Or it fell for a different reason and the frame itself didn’t survive. This can be because of the way they’re hung on the wall. Store-bought frames rarely take a wire on the back. Instead they use one of the metal clasps shown below.A true wire that can be attached to a custom frame is going to not only make it more secure, but much easier to hang.Whether it’s wood or metal, custom frames are joined differently at the corners. Take a look at the back of this custom frame’s corner. It’s made of real wood and there’s enough of it so that several nails can be used to hold it together.Custom frames are more sturdy. The nice thing about that is that you can put lots of different kinds of art in them – they have more…


If you ever have to frame something that’s not just paper or a photograph – something thicker or heavier or not made of paper – you’re not going to have much luck with a store-bought frame. Typically, they’re too shallow. Look at the channel of the metal frame on the left vs the open back of the custom wood frame on the right. That metal channel has to hold the glass, your art, and the backing at least – your art, a mat, and any additional support might take up even more space. Even if you pick a ready made off the shelf that’s wood, it’ll likely have a closed back with clasps or springs that limit how much material you can fit inside the frame. Often times, when photographs are printed, they’re mounted on a board. However thin that board may seem to you, fitting it in one of these frames is gonna be all but impossible.

There ya go. A crash course in why most ready made frames are probably the last thing you want to put your art in. If you keep this in mind, you’ll be impressed every day you look at it hanging on your wall.

We’ve got the best deal for framed movie posters

A lot of our customers bring us movie posters to frame. Sometimes it’s the finishing touch in their new man cave/home theater. Sometimes it’s for a kid’s room. And sometimes it’s the perfect finishing touch on a wall that needed some extra pizzazz. But rather than bring us a movie poster that you paid full price for elsewhere, did you know that we can order them for you at 60% off?
Go to our website here to take advantage of our 60% off posters and custom framing offer. You can choose from an enormous inventory of images. If we order it for you and custom frame it, you save 60% off the price of the poster and 60% off the framing! Not only will you have some slick new wall art, but you’ll have money left over to actually go out to the movies.
Here’s just a small sampling of what’s available –

It’s clear! Put glass on your painting

wa201201A09_00Would you frame a picture with no glass? How about displaying a photograph without glass, or your child’s drawing? Of course you’d put glass over all of this art. These aren’t the kind of items that you’d want to dust or otherwise clean. And if it’s conservation glass, they’ll be protected from fading. So why shouldn’t you put glass over a painting?
You absolutely should! The mayor of Boston found this out on a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow – you can see the video here. When the TV show came to Boston, Mayor Menino presented them with a winter painting by native son Aldro Hibbard. It was a winter scene in Vermont done in 1948.
10parkman_ 015-2095The appraiser was Colleene Fesko. When valuing the piece she said, “Beautiful painting, framed under glass. That has kept the painting in very good condition and is quite clean, doesn’t need any restoration. And a beautiful, hand-carved frame. For insurance, I would think that we would value the piece at between $45,000 and $50,000.” The Boston Globe followed up with an article that pointed out, “Because it had been framed behind glass, Fesko said, it had maintained excellent quality.”
Not all the paintings we take in are worth that much monetarily, but our customers still want their art to last and not get dirty or damaged. Here’s the world’s simplest solution! Put glass over your paintings like you would anything else for the very same reasons and you’ll get the best value out of your framing.
We recommend museum glass because it’s 99% reflection free and provides greater clarity of color. The diminished glare means that you’ll be able to see each brush stroke and really appreciate your art. There are also have several ways to frame a painting that keep the glass from touching it, so that it’s safe, such as a stacked frame or linen liner.

Nothing succeeds like a unique Christmas gift

army medalsThis collection of army medals and photos was one of the really special jobs that was brought to us during the holidays. The customer was excited to surprise her husband with some of his father’s photos and mementos from WW II, including a Purple Heart award. Pieces like this offer many challenges from the beginning of the design process to the final fitting. But for this post, we just wanted to share some behind-the-scenes pics of what goes into constructing a mat that will display several 3D objects.
Once the openings in the mat were cut, we mounted the photos. They’re flat, so that’s easy.

multi mat with photosThe next step was to create some thickness under the mat. This is necessary because you never want glass touching any item that you’re framing. We used black foam core to get just enough depth for the medals.
mat with build-up

army medalsThe biggest part of the whole job was attaching each medal. We mounted them on pieces of a black suede mat, which is so dark that it almost disappears.

medals collageOne of our staff ran into the customer and her husband at a restaurant after she’d given him the frame. They both took the time to express their satisfaction and he was clearly pleased with the way these important items were showcased.

Do you have any of your own mementos that you’d like to custom frame?Framed army medals

Everything you wanted to know about framing in 2012 but were afraid to ask

new Lexington storeLast week, we showcased our favorite stories from the world of art in 2012. Today, we’re gonna reflect on this year’s posts from the world of Big Picture Framing. After all, it was a very big year for us, full of many successes. We opened store #15 in Lexington. Things have been working out great there – kudos to Jane, Emily, and the rest of the staff. We started giving all of our stores a fresh look – Natick, our second oldest store, was the latest to get a face lift. Our Newton Center location moved a short distance and became our new store in Newtonville. We’re looking forward to more exciting reveals in 2013!

Oh, don’t worry – we covered some actual framing, as well. Our mat selection got freshened up with several new specialty mats. We discussed a framer’s reasoning behind the proper way to frame something with a lot of helpful do’s and don’ts. three-railroad-spikesAnd if you ever doubted the benefits of Museum Glass, “It reflects well on us but not on your art” is the post for you. Lots of people think that all the frames in their home need to be the same, so we talked about some other design options when we helped a customer frame his collection of antique maps.

We shared some really challenging jobs – things you might never think to put in a frame, like these railroad spikes. Customers often bring us puzzles to frame but don’t know what to expect so we covered the in’s & out’s of framing your favorite jigsaw puzzle.

All in all, 2012 brought us a lot of joys, not the least of which was the pleasure of continuing to serve our customers who make all of these things possible. The staff at Big Picture Framing always look forward to the interesting and diverse items that our customers bring us and we love showing them beautiful design choices. We’re excited to see what fantastic art 2013 will bring!

We did it again! Merry Christmas

Well, we made it through another holiday season of last minute custom framing. This is our time of the year to shine, when most other framers have to say “no” to custom orders 2 weeks before the 25th. We do all our production work “in house”, so it allows us a faster turn-around time. Each of our stores will get a phone call at about 11am this morning on Christmas Eve to announce the cut-off time at our saw-room. At that point, Bob & Barry – the owners of BPF themselves, will hit the road just like Santa and deliver those final frames. Still framing frame postEveryone on our staff did what it took to make this year a success. Whether it was Chris & his staff at our Needham location producing an enormous number of framed art, or the Shrewsbury staff staying late until everything was finished, or other framers like Lydia, Laurie, McKenzy, and Jamie traveling to help cover at other stores, or Rebecca working on her days off in the warehouse, the staff at all our stores take a lot of pride in saying “yes” to every customer and making sure their gifts are ready in time. Arguably, Frank and his staff in the saw room have the largest task, cutting every frame for every store. As long as the moulding is in stock, they say yes to all our phone calls. You may not believe in Santa Claus, but those guys will make you believe in his elves.
So great job, everybody! Tomorrow we’ll be able to enjoy the holiday as well as the warm feeling inside that we helped make a lot of other people’s holiday complete.

Get them custom framing for the holidays

FramingElfWhether you love shopping for Christmas gifts or hate it, the goal is the same. We all want to find the perfect gift – something that the person will love, use, and be impressed by. That’s a tall order to fill when you’re in the retail and online trenches. But maybe it’d be easier if you consider thinking outside the box… and inside the frame. Custom framing always impresses. Your loved one will use it everyday when they look at it on the wall in their living or work space. And how much will they love it? You can insure they’ll treasure it forever if you frame something that they already cherish. Here’re some actual jobs that we’ve done that might inspire some your own ideas.

These tools were a gift to the customer’s husband – the very first ones he used at his life-long job.

Framing your child’s art as a gift to your spouse is always a great idea.

If you’re giving to a sports fan, we can frame a jersey or shirt of their favorite team.

Many veterans have mementos that are kept out of sight where they can’t be appreciated. Framing medals and old photos will mean a lot to the recipient and anyone else who sees them.

Souvenirs from special events like baseball games or concerts can be framed in many different ways.

Don’t worry if none of the above apply to you. We can help you get creative with even the most mundane possessions. These three ties were worn to work everyday by a father/husband – why simply throw them away when you can use them to decorate and inspire memories?

The longest art we’ve ever custom framed

Spider-Man bannerHow far would you go to decorate your child’s bedroom? How about custom framing a 10 foot long Spider-Man banner? One of our customers is tricking out his young son’s room with a Marvel Comic Book theme. He’s starting with this enormous vinyl Spider-Man picture that a friend who works at a comic shop got for him. Typically, only retailers would have access to something like it.

Okay, we get it, Jake.  It's a long picture.

Okay, we get it, Jake. It’s a long picture.

We had to use plexiglass to frame it – glass would have been too heavy and not safe for a child’s bedroom. We started with the idea to use a wood frame – a wood frame would have made the long piece more rigid. But the length was too long to get proper mitred corners, so we went with a metal moulding and it ended up working out great! We just hope the customer isn’t driving a Volkswagen Beetle when he comes to pick it up.
"#*$& lint, #@$% static cling *#@&$ dust"

“#*$& lint, #@$% static cling *#@&$ dust”

Framed Spider-Man banner