Tag Archives: custom 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.

There’s always room for improvement

Anyone who’s done custom framing before knows how much different the art can look with just a slight change to the framing design. Here’s a great example – a customer brought us a water-color painting that she’d custom framed at another store several years ago. She didn’t feel that the mat colors or the frame worked with her living space anymore. We began by changing the mat colors. The choice to use 3 mats in the original design was a good one because it affords greater subtlety than one or even two mats. So we kept that idea – here’s the before…

… and the after.

The first frame had a paper-wrapped finish, whereas the Big Picture Collection are all frames with a real veneer. When we showed the customer how we sometimes stack two frames together to create a truly unique look, she really liked that idea. You can see the smaller, simpler frame on the inside edge of the larger, copper frame – it acts as a nice break between the more obvious frame and the taupe mat.

Before (left) and after (right)

Don’t ever be afraid to improve an old piece of your art that’s already framed. And when you do, take advantage of the custom aspect and add that extra mat or include a second frame. That choice will pay you back for many years.

The #1 way to manage your holidays

It’s that time of year when we all start to feel our lives being taken over. Winter weather, holiday shopping, family get-togethers, events at school – it all gets pretty hectic. The best way to stay ahead of the game is to take out your to-do list right now and get a handle on your schedule before it gets a handle on you!

#1 Take advantage of the big 50% OFF Custom Framing Sale at Big Picture Framing. You need to decorate your walls before the holiday party? Cousin Lola’s coming over and you forgot to frame that photo she gave you? Need a gift for that hard-to-shop-for someone? That’s what this sale is for, people! The timing is perfect – save money and get stuff checked off that to-do list before everyone else is out there shopping at the same time. And before it’s too late.

Need a custom poster frame? We’ve got a special for that!

The Big Deal Poster Special frame comes in gold, silver, matte black, and anodic black.

We know that sometimes you want to hang some art that only needs a basic custom frame – a concert poster, a building floor plan, a sports poster, something for a college dorm room – anything that simply needs to stay on the wall. This month we’re spotlighting our Big Deal Poster Special. It’s an offer we have all the time that includes a custom metal frame, conservation clear glass, and dry-mounting. Unlike an off-the-shelf poster frame, we can cut this to practically any size. It’s a better made product than a ready-made frame and like all of our custom work, it’s covered by our unconditional lifetime guarantee. The price depends on the size of your picture, but the Big Deal Poster Special starts at just $59.88. We can even add a mat for a small fee.
So the next time you have something that doesn’t fit a pre-fab frame or that you don’t trust to an inferior product, but you don’t need a unique design, try out this perfect custom solution at any of our 14 (soon to be 15!) locations.

The BDPS frame works great on sports posters.

Saturday Evening Post custom framing cover from 1955

The cover illustration on this Saturday Evening Post from April 30, 1955 caught our eye when it showed up on the Larson-Juhl Facebook page. We couldn’t tell what the original source of the image was, so after a little sleuthing (thanks inter-webs!) we found a copy of the issue on eBay. Of course, none of the content has anything to do with framing, instead full of articles like “My Husband Crashed in the Jungle,” and “Why Britain Thinks We Don’t Know What We’re Doing”. Needless to say, we were pretty tickled by the sight of such a disgruntled old-timey clerk – the complete opposite of what we practice when it comes to customer service. That lady should’ve come to us!
The oddest thing of all was the little write-up inside that told a story behind the image. Here’s the exact text without any changes to wording or punctuation –

“So the amateur paintress has come up with this floral tempest erupting from a teapot. With Mr. Dohanos’ help. The painting is really not bad and it is not really good, and a creative hobby does wonders for the soul, which graceful comment lets us out of further art criticism, thank heaven. Turning to economics, it says on the framer’s sign that time is money, and it says here that a good picture frame is money, too, which observation illustrates the law of supply and demand, and gets us out of that, too. Turning finally to physics, even if the lady eventually decides not to frame her painting after all, it won’t matter much to posterity, for that pitcher is going to slide off the table and bust. Illustrating Newton’s
law of gravity.”

The thrilling conclusion of framing antique purses

We were so excited to see these finished that we couldn’t wait to post photos of the last two antique purses we’ve been working on. Each design uses two suede mats in the front and one behind the purses. The customer loves bright, rich colors so that’s why we often use the fabric mats for her – it’s a smart design choice, too, ’cause any mat with a paper surface would probably pale in comparison to the colors in the beaded purses. The green mat also features a V-groove in it – that white outline near the edge of the opening. The frames are hand-finished, Italian frames by Roma. Major kudos to Jamie for coming up with the designs in the first place, not to mention the excellent mounting job she did – you can’t even see the thread that’s securing the purses.

A puzzling frame design

Yes, we frame puzzles. Quite a few, in fact. We finally put the pieces together and realized there ought to be a puzzle alongside the other framing examples we have on display in-store. This one of Van Gogh’s “Stary Night” seemed like a logical choice. But about a month after putting it up, somebody bought it. At that point, we knew we were onto something, so the search was on to find a replacement. This puzzle of both Fenway Park and the Boston skyline in the background was perfect! It took a fraction of the time that Vincent’s painting did – ugh, those repeating colors! – so the only thing left is the custom design. Any suggestions?
Check back before too long to see what it ends up looking like.

You have to cut HOW MANY holes?!

A stack of snapshots printed at CVS: $8.99
A professionally cut mat with openings to hold each photo: $varies
The way they look in a custom frame hanging in your home: priceless.

One of our customers had a great idea for their grandmother’s birthday gift. They took photos of the 19 (!) grandkids, each one posed with something in the shape of a letter. When the photos were laid out, it spelled “Happy Birthday Grammy”. They just needed the pics framed together to complete the gift. So we explained that the best way to display them and the safest method for the photos, was to cut a multi-opening mat. Multi-opening
mats are tricky under normal circumstances, but this was 19 photos, each one a slightly different size. Yikes!
We began by mapping out the diagram in the image above. But because the arrangement is not symmetrical, that means that we have to draw it on the back of the mat in reverse. Typically, we manage that in our heads, however this was so complex that we scanned the first diagram into a computer and flipped it so as to avoid any human error. Now we had a map showing us exactly where to make the 76 cuts that would give us 19 openings. Oh yeah, and it required an oversize mat. After copying the diagram onto the back of the mat, it was a matter of a steady hand, an hour, and a lot of patience.