Art Framing

What You Need to Know and Need to Do

Art framing for art collecting and investing is one of the most essential elements and often most misunderstood.

When you take your art print to get framing and matting, you are getting much more than just art framing.

What You Get When You Get Framed

The person who assists you in framing it is also assisting you to find the right color, style of frame, glass, and other materials involved in protecting your prized possession. Add to this list of what they do choosing and providing the proper materials, assembling the and mounting by industry standards.

I have heard countless stories of art framing and prints that were improperly mounted or substandard materials used resulting in damage to the print. A very few were from framing companies that should have held to industry standards.

It is best to steer clear of the box stores who offer 50% discounts on the framing work. Although the lead person may be trained, the bottom line often is production. In my own experience unless you have a person truly dedicated to the matting and framing you may regret the quality of care you get not only for your print but also the product they offer.

What kind of problems? Little things like installing the UV glass correctly. Handling of the print with a lack of proper care. Some times I have even found it difficult to get honest opinions of best practice from some of the staff at these stores.

When making the sale comes before what is in my best interest the question is, what other things may be compromised on.

These are just a few of the observations from several of these stores where I had work done early in my re-emergence as an artist.

They may have some of the best people in the industry. However, because of their motivations, they can potentially pose a higher risk for art framing of your investment art.

Consider one Framing and Matting Problem

I still use them on occasion for minimal needs. However some of the problems I have experienced...

  • Delivered glass with no indication of which side goes out.
  • Glass cut with jagged edges (risk of breaking when framed).
  • Mats labeled acid free that within a few months the core had yellowed.

    To be fair, they refunded or replaced the mats no questions asked. However, if those pieces had been sold, I would have had an upset customer. I was not compensated for the time and expense of replacing the defective materials.

    If I cannot trust them with something like a mat I buy off the shelf, how can I trust them with an expensive print?

  • Proper Mounting

    The second reason to get a reputable mat and frame company is the mounting. Improper mounting will include permanently mounting it to the backing with some kind of tape. If the print is not mounted in such a way that it can be released with out any damage to the paper your investment will decrease in value.

    And some framers will not use acid free mats. Make sure you get it in writing on your receipt that the mat your paying for is acid free.

    The third reason, if you shop for price you will be surprised that the best quality shops often times are less expensive if not equal in price to the box stores. That means you can get a better value for your art framing from a small business owner.

    Ideally the correctly framed print is better protected than an unframed print. The risk of damage includes water, dirt, dings, dog eared corners, bends, folds, rippling, insects, mold and mildew. Also included on the list is fading from sun or other light sources. The proper framing will protect from all of these.

    If you want to find out how it is going to be mounted, do not ask if it will be done as described above. If you do, you will have a 50-50 chance of getting the correct answer.

    Instead simply ask...How is the piece going to be mounted? If an answer is not forthcoming, ask...How is the print held down to the backing? A good framer will gladly brag about their proper technique. If they in any way indicate an improper technique, pick up your print and leave. No use even taking a chance.

    It’s An Expense, Not an Investment

    Do not expect to recoup the value of the art framing if you resell the print. Frame selection is subjective. Your taste may not be the same as the next person who buys it from you. To increase the chance of recouping part of the cost, purchase the print and framing from the same place you will resell it through.

    There are two reasons for this. One, your print will fit in with the style of art on the walls so need no alteration. Second, customers with similar taste will be visiting the same store and possibly like your frame selection.

    Additional tips to increase the chance of recouping include choosing a reasonably priced frame. Also choose neutral colors that match the print for mat selection.

    Art framing is the most basic aspect of care for the print. There are other concerns regarding care.

    Caring for Art is a second important part of art investing and collecting.

    Learn the basics What to Do and to Avoid in part 7th of 8.


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