DIY Affordable Framing of Custom Sized Artwork

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I love decorating, but I have always fallen short when it comes our walls. The task of selecting artwork, framing it and hanging it has always led to hours of frustration followed by nothing actually be hung up. Not to mention the costs associated with the process. But decorated walls are the key to making a house feel like a home, so this year I vowed to get over this decorating hurdle.

If found some bold Marilyn Monroe Warhol prints on Bezar that would match our colorful home. Ideally, to save yourself time and money, you will find already framed prints or prints in a standard size that can easily slide into a frame from Ikea, Target or Michael’s, but what do you do if you find the perfect piece and it’s a custom size? That was the case with my Marilyn Monroe prints. I opted not to buy them framed to save a significant amount of money and then discovered that none of my framing go-to stores carried frames for 24″ x 24″ prints in a style that worked for me (hint – large square prints often require custom frames).

I took to google and found options, but the prices were steep. Next, I went to our local Blick art store to see about custom framing. The prices were significantly more than I wanted to spend, about $160 to $350 a piece! The helpful associate steered me to their Nielsen Framing Kits that can accommodate most sizes of artwork. I opted for the black metal, they also come in different metal finishes and multiple wood (hint- you will need wood glue for the wood models!) finishes.

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The kits range from just over $8 to just under $23 each and you need two for each piece of artwork (this is how you can customize the length and width!). The frames do not include glass or foam board for the back of the artwork. I purchased the foam board from Blick and had them cut it to size for around $6 a piece, with lots left over for future projects.

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I then opted to get the glass from my local hardware store instead of having Blick cut glass for me, which saved me lots of time (you have to order from Blick and it will take a day or more) and money, it’s about $20 cheaper per piece of glass.

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These frames can be assembled in a few easy steps, just follow the packaging directions.

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Here are some tips:

  • Wear gardening gloves with rubber coated fingers when handling the glass (you can find them at the hardware store or Target for a few bucks). Just lightly touching a newly cut glass edge will result in a cut and you won’t even realize it happened. This happened to me the first time and I got blood on the artwork! Definitely not ideal.
  • To avoid buckles in the artwork, place double stick tape on the four corners of the foam board and adhere the print to it.
  • Clean the interior side of the glass with Windex and let it dry fully before sliding the artwork into the frame grooves.
  • Do not tighten the frame corners too much or it will make the frame separate.

What you will need:

  • Two framing kits for each piece of artwork (available here and in-store)
  • Double stick tape to hold the artwork in place
  • Foam board for the backing
  • Glass for the front (optional)
  • Gardening gloves with rubber coated fingers (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Flathead screwdriver and scissors
  • Wood glue if you opt for the wood frames
  • Windex and paper towels or a cloth
  • Nails or screws for hanging the finished product. The framing kits contain the hook the will fit over your nail or screw head, but not the pieces that go into your wall.
  • A roll of newsprint to map out your hanging (I will discuss expert DIY hanging in a future post!)

I saved over $330 by framing these three prints myself and it only took a couple of hours to acquire the materials and complete the framing. Here’s the finished product! Stay tuned for our next post on how to easily hang a perfectly measured gallery wall.

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