Tag Archives: shadow box

Arrowheads in a Roma shadow box

Do you collect anything? Arrowheads are still a popular collectible, and this recent custom job at our Harvard Square location is proof. The customer did it as a gift to a geologist in Texas. All the arrowheads were ones the geologist had collected over the course of the last several decades. The framer designed the arrangement on a silk mat, using museum glass. Each arrowhead had to be sewn onto the mat by hand. They’re shadowboxed in one of our Roma frames – a line of hand finished frames from Italy. Great job, guys! arrowheads

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Unusual custom framing 101: an antique purse

What’s the most interesting collectible you’ve ever heard of? You may not have answered “antique purses”, but you have to admit that it’s a pretty unique idea. We’ve been hip deep in ’em thanks to a regular customer who’s framed almost too many to count. This current assortment is particularly beautiful, so we thought we’d give you a behind-the-scenes while showing them off. They’re always challenging to design for two reasons: one, we’ve gotta come up with a frame that’s deserving enough, and two, the design has to accommodate the shape and depth of each purse.
This turquoise one needed an even deeper frame than normal because of the ornate clasp at the top. So we stacked two frames together. Inside the inner-most frame, we built walls out of black foam-core to hold the mats at the front, creating a shallow shadow box. But this wasn’t deep enough, so…
…we bought ourselves a little bit more room by attaching spacers to the glass that went inside the outer frame.

When the frames were stacked together, there were several elements – the spacers, the thickness of the inner frame, the mats, and lastly the foam-core walls – between the glass and the purse itself.

The purse was carefully sewn onto a mat. This has to be done with three things in mind: it can’t damage the purse, it should be practically invisible so as not to be distracting, and it has to be secure so that it doesn’t come loose over time.

Below, you can see the final result. There’s also a fillet on the inside of the inner frame. We always use museum glass on these purses. While you may notice a glare in the photo, standard conservation glass would be much more reflective. We took several photos, but simply could not capture just how impressive this is in person. All of the different elements came together in such a way that it looks as though the purse and framing were all made by the same artisan at the same time. And that’s the goal of custom framing.

Here’s one more example that’s nearly finished. We used one of the hand-finished, Italian Roma frames, a suede mat on the top followed by a fillet, and a silk mat. We hope to have more photos for you soon of the other finished purses.
Do you have a special collection that you would like to see framed?

It reflects well on us, but not on your art

There’s no feeling like knowing that you’ve made every customer happy all of the time. And this week, we had a particularly fantastic customer service experience that proved out two of the ways that Big Picture Framing does that – our lifetime guarantee on every custom frame job and the fact that we always show beautiful design options.
A couple of weeks ago, a customer who was new to us, brought in his prized Purdue basketball jersey. The framer helping him suggested a design involving two frames stacked together to create a shadow box and a suede mat. When it came time to talk about the glass, his options were conservation clear glass or Museum glass. They both protect against 99% of light that will harm the shirt, but the Museum glass has the virtue of
reflecting less than 1% of that light – practically glare free! The customer loved the great design, but like many of us he wanted to save some money if he could. Even tho’ we guarantee the lowest price on all of our custom materials, he chose to go with the conservation glass, which looks the same as your typical window glass. We explained that because of our design guarantee, if he ever wanted to upgrade to the non-glare option, he’d only have to pay the difference in the price of materials. It’d be just as if he’d gotten the Museum glass to begin with.
Three days after picking up his framed jersey, he called us asking if we meant what we said about changing out the glass. Of course! We had to laugh to ourselves because people often think our guarantee sounds too good to be true. Or that we won’t always honor it. But we like nothing better than making people happy with the work we do, no questions asked. Not only did we upgrade his glass, we did it in 24 hours so that he could have it back in time to bring good luck for a big game.
The proof is in the pudding, so in case you haven’t seen Museum glass in action, this job was a perfect example. A classic before & after scenario: the conservation clear is on the left and the newly installed Museum glass is on the right.

How to frame a soccer shoe

We’d like to tell you the occasion for framing this soccer team shadow box, but we don’t want to ruin a surprise for the lucky recipient. So let’s just look at the framing job. If you remember two posts ago, the design involved attaching the shoe to the background. This meant that you’d be looking down onto the shoe and it didn’t look very shoe-like. And while we could’ve made it secure, it would’ve been a real chore wrestling it into place. Instead, we decided to display it at the bottom so that it’s sitting on the floor of the box. Now it looks more shoe-like and it didn’t require every MacGyver trick in the book.

A shoe! Gesundheit.


When a customer brought us this soccer team project, we weren’t worried in the least. We’ve done our share of multi-item shadow boxes before. When he took out the soccer shoe and asked if we could include it, we said, “We can frame that!” After he left, we said, “We can frame that?” Ah yes, even for the professionals some tasks can be daunting. But a big part of custom framing is problem solving and getting clever in the craft department. One of our full-time framers, Jamie, is a wizard with such challenges. We don’t wanna ruin the mystique of how she got it on there, but believe us – it ain’t comin’ off.

We’ll post the results after it’s completed. This last pic will give you an idea of what we have left to finish. That shadow box frame will have to be put together and made to look pretty before everything is fit. Whew!

If you could frame one Bruins jersey… ?

Ok, one more Bruins post then we’ll drop the subject. (Until the next time they make it to the finals.) Even if you’re not a sports fan and you’re tired of the subject, ya gotta admit that we’re allowed to be excited about this piece that we finished recently. Of all the Bruins items coming in over the past couple of weeks, this was a stand-out. It’s a jersey signed by Tim Thomas, yes. But it’s the style worn in the 2010 Winter Classic game against the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s hard to tell in these photos, but the giveaway is that instead of the standard black and yellow, it’s a dark brown and yellow. The third Winter Classic was held at Fenway Park on January 1 and the result was a dramatic 2–1 overtime win for Boston, making the Bruins the first home team to win an NHL outdoor game.
Our standard practice is to stitch the shirt to a mat that makes up the back wall of the frame. In this case we used a black, suede mat. We typically design any sports jersey with a suede mat – the color is deeper than any paper mat and if you display fabric on paper, it often looks odd. We then construct walls made out of the mat inside the shadow box in order to hold up the glass and keep it off the shirt. That amount of labor combined with the size of your typical jersey makes a job like this as much as it is, but we think you’ll agree that it’s worth the amazing results. This thing was impressive! – even to those of us who don’t follow hockey. It’s going to make an amazing addition to the customer’s man cave and since we did it right, it’ll last the ages.

Did that frame just go “vroom-vroom”?



This autographed racing suit was one of the trickier items we’ve ever had to frame, to be sure. We approached it the same way we would if it were a sports jersey – we sewed it to the mat that you see behind it. But that took some real problem solving because of A) the thickness and weight of the suit, and B) all the folding to make it smaller. It didn’t have to be folded, but the customer didn’t want it full size. We did the sewing in stages as we folded it. All of our little behind-the-scenes tricks ended up working out great. Sorry, no pic of the finished product, but it looks just like you see in the last photo, with a simple black shadow box frame around it. And museum glass, of course.



Hockey sticks, medals, and photos – oh my!

Seeing as everyone’s still winding down from last night’s big game, we thought we’d take a break from our Monday format. So we climbed into the archive and dug up some custom jobs we’ve done that are each sports related. You can custom frame anything like this of your own for 40% off all thru February.

The wrestling medals with signed t-shirt was the kind of challenge that really hasn’t been seen since. It was truly one-of-a-kind. Altho’, one could say the same thing about the Bruins hockey stick. As unusual as the hockey stick was, the really tricky part was displaying the other collectibles around it. The four issues of S.I. turned out very striking – we like how it’s longer across and perfect for over a bar, TV, or mantle. And after a runner completes any marathon, what better way to capture such a memorable moment than with a medal and photos at the finish line?
What sports mementos do you have?

You Can Frame That? – orange tutu

Stick around, and you’ll learn that we frame a lot more articles of clothing than one might expect. Today’s example certainly stands out for a few reasons.

It’s not a sports jersey, which is what we often put in shadow boxes. A shadow box is neccessary so that the glass won’t touch the fabric. But it also had to compliment its feminine nature and design. So we built a shadow box out of two frames – one for the front, and one turned on its side to make the sides of the box. The dress was sewn to the mat in the back of the box, and the mat at the front enhances the overall look as well as adding support to the glass.
What favorite piece of clothing would you like to frame?