Framing serves three purposes:
We've all used the thumbtack and Scotch tape techniques at some time in our past. However, if something is important to you, consider having it professionally framed. If it has value, financial or sentimental, framing will make it look better and last longer.
What can I frame?
You name it! Here are just a few examples...
We also sell some ready made display cases for sports and other items...
What is a standard size frame?
Mass-produced picture frames come in a limited number of pre-built sizes. They are designed to match common photograph and document sizes. The most readily available standard sized frames are 4"x6", 5"x7", 8"x10", 8 ½”x11, 9”x12”, 11"x14" and 16"x20", and 20”x24”. Standard poster frames are also available in larger sizes. If an item being framed is not the same size as a standard sized frame, it can sometimes be matted to fit. It may not be properly proportioned but this may provide some savings over having a custom frame made. Frāmagine can cut mats to adapt non-standard paper and photos to standard frames.
Isn't it cheaper to use a ready-made frame?
Mass-produced frames can provide a quick solution at a lower initial cost. But unfortunately they offer little protection against two things that are most destructive to the objects placed in them – ultra-violet light and lignin based acids. In fact, the mats and glass used to make factory ready-mades affordable often accelerate degradation. Tape damage, effects from condensation, glass adhesion, and cockling are also common when factory-made frames are used for extended periods. The use of a ready-made frame should be considered a temporary framing solution until the artwork, photograph, or document can be properly mounted and framed. In the long run it may be more expensive to restore an item framed in a ready-made frame and, if it is left in this type of frame for too long the object may not be recoverable.
Should I get a wood or metal frame?
Most people will start by considering which particular frame looks best on their artwork, regardless of what it is made from. However, there are some basic differences between frame materials, and these should be considered before making a purchase:
Wood – Today, wood is still the preferred choice for frame material. It has the widest selection of styles and colors. It is strong, versatile and provides advantages for conservation framing that other materials do not. From an environmental standpoint wood is an excellent choice for framing. Today’s manufacturers are increasingly using wood harvested from managed forests under programs that insure net-gain reforestation.
Bonanzawood® – Manufactured by Framerica® Corporation, this frame moulding is made of medium density fiberboard (MDF). It is a recycled, compressed wood product with a laminated surface. Available in a wide variety of wood grain, gold and silver, and black finishes. It is sturdy, attractive, and lower in cost than wood. Because it is a recycled product, this material is a good framing option for anyone watching their environmental impact.
Metal – Metal frames are a modern, durable alternative to wood frames. No longer limited to chrome, today's metals come in a wide variety of styles and colors. Top quality metal frames are about three times sturdier than a wood frame of the same width. They will withstand abuse, and might be considered in frame-unfriendly environments such as an industrial setting or gymnasium. Their slim profile makes metal frames ideal for hallways and staircases. From a conservation standpoint, metals are not as desirable as woods because an effective dust cover is generally not applied to the back of the frame.
Polystyrene – Polystyrene frames are actually made from a dense form of Styrofoam. These frames are used for inexpensive, mass-produced factory art commonly sold in discount and department stores. Some frame shops are also selling it as a low cost alternative to wood. When new, polystyrene frames are sometimes hard to visually distinguish from wood. Polystyrene has definite disadvantages. The finishes are easily marred. But the biggest drawback is that they are far less sturdy than any other framing options. An accident or bump that might only dent a wood or metal frame may shatter a poly frame. Mending these frames is usually futile.
Resin – Resin frames are usually only found as factory ready-mades in smaller sizes. Resin is a heavy composite that will not accept framer’s points or screws. So they generally are only seen in smaller novelty design tabletop frames.
Plastic – Plastic frames are quite often the least expensive of frames. They are usually composed of a hollow plastic shell, filled with an inexpensive filler, like pressed paper or foam. This filler material makes these frames structurally weak, limiting them in size and to holding inferior glazing materials like 1/16" styrene. Because of the lack of structural integrity of today's plastic frames, they are generally only used for inexpensive poster frames.
What is a mat?
A mat is the thick paper-like material you often see surrounding artwork. Mats have several functions:
What is bottom weighting?
Bottom weighting is accomplished by cutting a mat wider at the bottom than on its sides and top. This style is widely used as the standard in Europe while evenly balanced mats are more common in America. Bottom weighting can actually have a functional purpose. Many works of art have a focal point that is lower than the physical center of the image. This is common with landscapes that show an expanse of sky. By increasing the size of the bottom mat border the focal point is raised within the frame. This technique may lead to a better balanced look.
What kind of mats should I use?
For protecting artwork, only conservation or museum grade mats should be used. There are three basic types of mats used in picture framing.
Regular or paper mat – These mats, while being cost effective, contain a product called lignin. Over time lignin breaks down creating an acidic gas that can leave a burn mark on artwork. The color of the mat will also change over time and the white bevel will gradually darken to a light brown color. Because art sellers and artists generally want to maximize their profit, this type of mat is often used on pre-matted artwork. For this reason art sold with these mats should be rematted before framing. Frāmagine does not stock or sell paper mats with lignin.
Alpha cellulose mat – Cellulose is the chief material in all plant life. Alpha cellulose is the purest form of this material. These mats are buffered to maintain a slightly alkaline pH. They are considered to be preservation quality. As long as the buffering agents are active these mats will not harm artwork, nor will they fade. Alpha cellulose mats provide protection from acids for many years.
Rag mat – Made from cotton linters, rag mats are naturally lignin free. Some rag mats are made with a buffered color surface paper and are considered preservation grade. Rag mats may also be 100% cotton rag, and tinted only with inert pigments with a solid color throughout. These are considered museum grade mat boards.
What about fabric mats?
The use of fabric mats can really add a distinct elegance to your framed art. Whether it is suede, linen, silk or various other fabrics, the colors and textures of fabric take your framing design to a new level. There is a wide range of fabric types and colors that come pre-covered onto alpha cellulose and rag mats. The majority of these mats, though, are not preservation grade. This is because the fabric does not meet standards for bleed resistance. Some fabric mats, like Bainbridge’s Alpha Linens®, are preservation quality and can be used on higher forms of artwork.
If you cannot find a pre-covered fabric mat to suit your needs, mats can be hand wrapped with virtually any fabric. Frāmagine has a large selection of fabrics from which to choose. You may also bring in your own fabric for us to wrap.
How many mats should I use?
The use of two mats is most common -- a wide outer mat, plus a narrow amount of inner mat exposed from under the outer mat. The color of the outer mat is often selected to expand the feeling of the image being framed. The color of the inner mat is often chosen to accent secondary or tertiary colors within the image.
Sometimes no mat is necessary. Sometimes three, four, or even six mats might look best. Each mat adds depth and multiple mats can expand the number of accent colors. There is no set rule for determining how many mats should be used. The artwork and framing budget are the significant determining factors. Keep in mind that the effect of matting should always be to enhance the artwork, not to overwhelm it.
What is a liner?
Liners are special frames, usually covered with linen or other fabric, that are designed to fit inside the main frame around a picture. Like mats, they provide visual separation between a frame and artwork. Liners also add much more depth and dimension than mats. Generally liners are used when framing artwork on canvas, such as original oil or acrylic paintings or giclée prints on canvas. But they may also be used in combination with mats to give other types of framed art a look of sophistication or flair. White, black, and oatmeal colored liners have been commonly used for years but now liners can be custom wrapped using almost any fabric to create unique, beautiful, and truly spectacular frames.
What is mounting?
Mounting is the process of securing and holding artwork or artifacts in place. There are a number of ways to mount items for framing. But the most critical consideration is the importance of preservation. Some items have little long term value and are framed strictly for decorative purposes. Permanent mounting often provides the best looking, most secure and least expensive alternative for these things. Other items have value, either financial or sentimental, that will be diminished if a permanent mounting is used. In these cases conservation mounting techniques should be used. Before framing anything you should understand its value to you, your family members, or as an investment. Once you know this your framer can help determine the besttype of mounting technique for your project.
Permanent mounting is irreversible. An object is attached, usually using adhesives, to a backing material that will hold it securely in place within a frame. Permanent mounts can hold paper and other thin objects flat to avoid waving or cockling, and can minimize creases or folds. Permanent mounting techniques can also avoid the use of visible attachments such as straps, wires, thread, or other mounting materials that might detract from the appearance of a framed object because they are visible to the viewer. But remember, with permanent mounting artwork or objects cannot be dismounted and returned to original condition. If an item is determined to be of significant value after framing, that value will almost certainly be diminished by a permanent mounting that cannot be undone.
Conservation Mounting holds artwork and artifacts in place without subjecting it to irreversible mounting processes. The objective of conservation mounting is to make it possible to remove the objects from the frame at a later date without evidence of it having been framed and in its original condition.
What is dry mounting?
Dry mounting is a process which flattens and permanently mounts artwork to the backing board. The 'dry' part of the term means that no risky wet adhesives are used in the mounting process. Instead, a sheet of dry adhesive material is placed between the artwork and the backing board. Then both are placed into a large vacuum press which flattens the artwork as it heats the adhesive to cause a permanent bond to the backing board. Our heat/vacuum drymount presses can mount artwork as large as 40" x 60".
Dry mounting serves two purposes:
What should NOT be dry mounted?
You should not dry mount any artwork which would be reduced in value by being permanently attached to the backing board. This would include original artwork, limited editions and any collectable piece. In the minds of collectors, mounted artwork is not as valuable as the same artwork in its original form.
You should not drymount art which will melt at 190 degrees. This would include wax-based artwork, fax paper and some of today's color copies. In these cases, a careful wet mounting process should be employed in a cold press.
What is wet mounting?
Wet mounting is different from dry mounting only by the type of adhesive used to attach the artwork to its backing board. A spray glue or paste is applied between the artwork and the backing rather than using a sheet of dry adhesive. The wet mounted piece is usually processed with a vacuum press as if it were being dry mounted, except without heat being applied.
The disadvantages of wet mounting are that:
What is glazing?
Glazing is the general term for a clear coating that protects artwork while allowing you see it. There are many forms of glazing, including glass, acrylic, lamination and styrene. And there are many forms within each of these glazing categories, such as clear, non-glare, reduced reflection and U.V. protective. There is no single glazing material that is perfect for all framing conditions. And there are advantages and disadvantages to using each.
* Regular clear glass has been the most common type of glazing. It is durable and more scratch-resistant than non-glass forms of glazing material. Common disadvantages are that most forms are brittle and breakable, and weigh more than acrylic glazing alternatives. Glass inherently provides a low level of U.V. filtering (less than 50%). Regular clear glass will generally be the least expensive glazing.
* In locations where reflection from strong lighting might be a problem, reflection control glass may improve your ability to view the framed artwork. Its ability to diffuse light also tends to make the image it protects less distinct. Sometimes the softer image caused by reflection control glass is desirable, but sometimes it masks sharp details. The quality of reflection control glass varies considerably and its use should be carefully considered. Reflection control glass will cost more than clear glass. The main benefit of reflection control glass is the reduction of glare. It does not provide any additional U.V. protection.
* Anti-Reflection (or AR) glass is a special, optically coated glass that significantly reduces reflection and glare. It serves the same purpose as reflection control glass, but without softening or diffusion of the image. In most lighting situations artwork appears to be unglazed. People often feel compelled to reach out and touch the glazing to make sure it's there. The advantage of AR glass is its incredible visual clarity. The U.V. filtering properties of AR glass are the same as regular clear and reflection control glass.
* Framing grade acrylic makes an excellent glazing. It is lighter than glass and less prone to breaking. This makes it an ideal material for artwork that will be placed in a child’s room, high activity area, or public location. Acrylic will scratch more easily than glass, especially lower grades which are sometimes called plexi-glass. Acrylic is available with the same clear, reflection control, and AR finishes as glass. Acrylic is a more expensive glazing than glass.
* Lamination is a light-duty glazing which protects the surface of artwork from dirt and liquids, but not necessarily from physical penetration. Lamination is a thin film of plastic material which is applied to the surface of a previously mounted piece of flat art. A heat/vacuum drymount press is used to fuse the plastic film permanently to the surface of the artwork. The cost of lamination is similar to that of other glazings. It's major advantages are that it is lightweight, it does not require a frame to hold it onto the artwork, and it is penetrable (by push-pins, for instance.) The lamination material used at Frāmagine is inherently U.V. protective, and it is available with a matte or faux canvas finish.
* Frāmagine does not stock the glazing material called styrene plastic. It is typically thinner than quality framing-grade acrylic, it is soft and susceptible to scratches, it warps and bows easily, and it yellows over time. It's only redeeming value is that it is cheap - but you'll have to buy it from a less quality conscious organization.
What does UV light have to do with framing?
Ultraviolet (or UV) light is the band of light rays that fades vibrant colors and breaks down paper causing yellowing and brittleness. Constant exposure to ultraviolet light rays can severely damage artwork or valuable artifacts. Natural light contains the most harmful level of UV light rays, but UV light is also emitted by fluorescent, halogen, and even incandescent lights. Framed items should never be located where they are exposed directly to natural light. But in order to view artwork it must be exposed to some light. One of the most significant recent developments in framing technology is the availability of glazing that blocks UV light rays.
Artwork and artifacts that have any value, monetary or sentimental, really should be protected from light damage. TruVue glass and acrylic glazing products used in our shop now have an effective UV filtering level of 99%.
All of the glass and acrylic finishes mentioned previously are also available with UV protection. Here is a list of the various rigid glazing products available at Frāmagine and their UV enhanced counterparts:
Premium clear glass .............................. Conservation clear glass
Premium clear acrylic ........................... Conservation clear acrylic
Reflection control glass ......................... Conservation reflection control glass
Reflection control acrylic ...................... Conservation reflection control acrylic
Anti-reflection glass .............................. Museum glass
Optium acrylic ...................................... Optium museum acrylic
Choosing glass for your framing project need not be a confusing issue. A knowledgeable framer can help you determine the right choice based on the value of your artwork, the planned location for your finished project, and your budget.
How is the back of the frame sealed?
The sealing on the back of a frame is primarily functional, not decorative. The purpose of sealing the back of the frame is to keep unwanted elements away from the contents of the frame. Insects, dust, dirt, airborne grease and contaminants can all harm artwork and photographs. A proper seal will protect against these elements.
Frames are sealed in several ways:
Paper backing: In the USA paper backing is most common. Adhesive is applied around the entire perimeter of the back of the frame to provide a tight seal. Then a backing, usually kraft paper or Tyvek® is applied and then trimmed.
Framing tape backing: This is a European style of backing. Brown, black or white framing tape is applied around the perimeter of the back of the frame to seal the gap between the frame and the backing board. This can be more durable than a paper backing but it makes later access to the frame’s contents more difficult and does not have a clean, finished appearance.
Oil paintings on canvas: At one time it was thought that canvas artwork, especially oil paintings, should either not have a backing or that the backing should be vented so the paint could “breath”. Extensive research has determined this is not the case. Framed canvas art benefits from a sealed back for the same reasons as paper artwork. To properly protect canvas from back punctures and tears, it is also recommended that a protective 4-ply layer be attached to the back of the stretcher frame prior to applying the backing.
Metal frames: Metal frames are generally not backed. Their shape and construction make application of a backing difficult. But when correctly assembled and properly fitted, the nature of the frame’s mechanics provide sufficient protection for most art.
What is preservation framing?
Conservation framing (also known as preservation framing) is the professional application of knowledge, materials and techniques to the framing of valuable art, historic documents, and valuable artifacts in a manner that does not permanently alter those objects. In short, it does everything possible to ensure that when an item is later removed from the frame it will not show evidence of having been framed, thus preserving its long-term value.
Complete conservation treatment of a piece of art is not always appropriate, desired or practical. Therefore, there are always degrees of appropriate conservation to be applied. For example, a wrinkled and torn old poster, primarily of sentimental value, might best be dry mounted (not considered a conservation practice) for its best appearance. Then acid free mats and U.V. protective glazing might be used to reduce the likelihood of continued deterioration. A reputable designer should advise you of options and possible consequences when framing an important item.
What are the differences between printed art forms?
Images can be put onto paper in a number of ways. The techniques are many, and the terminology is confusing. Below you will find a brief description of the most common techniques.
Posters: Four color process lithographic reproduction of a painting usually with type on or around the image. Massed produced art is generally considered a poster even though people sometimes refer to them as prints.
Limited Edition Print: A reproduction of original artwork that is limited to printing a specific quantity, after which the plates are destroyed to insure that no more copies will be made. Each piece is numbered and signed by the artist. Limited editions were originally intended as a way for artists to distribute a desirable work of art without greatly diminishing the value of the image. More recently some popular artists have tried to create an illusion of rarity by releasing “limited editions” that are produced in the tens of thousands, often far surpassing demand and the availability of many open edition prints.
Open Edition Print: A reproduction of original artwork that is distributed according to demand. If all available copies are sold, more may be printed.
Offset Lithograph: Four color process lithographic reproduction done on an offset press. Same as poster, limited edition print, etc.
Chromalith Replica: A continuous tone reproduction with hand drawn touch colors, using both serigraphy and lithography.
Giclee': A reproduction of original two-dimensional artwork or a photograph that is printed from a digital file using a high quality continuous inkjet printer and archival grade ink.
Imprint: A dot matrix reproduction with hand drawn touch colors, sometimes with hand work by the artist.
Collotype: A gelatin based plate producing a continuous tone reproduction.
Canvas Transfer: A reproduction that has been adhered to canvas.
Repligraph: A photographic fused film technology producing an image on canvas.
Litho Serigraph: A mixed media reproduction using four-color process separations as a base with silk screen touch colors added.
Etching: The image is cut into a plate by acid and ink is rubbed into the remaining incised area. Wet paper is laid over the inked plate and printed under extreme pressure on an Intaglio press.
Engraving: The image is scratched into a plate then inked and printed like an etching.
Stone Lithograph: An image is drawn or painted with a greasy substance on a limestone slab. The stone is treated to accept water, then inked with a roller and printed on a lithography press.
Original Lithograph: The printing process is the same as a stone lithograph but the image is drawn on an aluminum plate or mylar, which is then transferred to a plate.
Original Serigraph: A silk screen printing process using stencils adhered to silk or nylon mesh through which ink is pushed by a squeegee.
Collograph: An image is created by building up a relief surface with materials such as mat board, cloth, sand, wood, or putty. The surface is then inked by rubbing ink into the textured surface or rolling ink on with a brayer.
Monotype: The image is created by painting on a Plexiglas or metal surface with printer's ink and printing a single copy on an Intaglio press. Ghost images are sometimes printed.
Monoprint: Sometimes used interchangeably with monotype, but the monoprint usually has a common image matrix that is inked differently each time.
Woodcut: An image is created by carving a negative image into a block of wood. The surface is inked with a brayer and printed on a relief press or an Intaglio press.
Linoleum Cut: The same as a woodcut except that the block of wood is replaced by linoleum.
Serilith: A mixed media process combining hand-drawn lithography and hand-drawn serigraphy.
What makes Frāmagine different?
Frāmagine is a locally owned and operated custom framing store that gives you the best of both worlds - a real frame shop where all work is personally designed and crafted with top-notch professional services at affordable and competitive prices!
Our experienced, professional staff knows how to correctly handle the items you bring in for framing. If it's important to you, it's important to us! We not only help with unique designs but when you want something to last our commitment to Professional Picture Framers Association approved preservation standards gives the assurance you need.
We are a self contained framing store. Every project is completed in our fully equipped workshop, so you don't have to worry about your work leaving our premises. We know you’ll love your framing job because you will be working directly with the designers and framers who create it.
Frāmagine offers a selection of over 4300 frame styles to choose from, at regular prices that are competitive with the “discounted” custom framing prices you’ll see at area art, craft, and hobby stores. Our discount programs and any coupons we offer truly are a savings for you, rather than just an adjustment back down to regular prices.
Many of our customers have commented on how impressed they are with the high level of customer service and product quality they receive from Frāmagine at prices that continue to be comparable with the discounted prices elsewhere.
Stop in today to experience the Frāmagine difference for yourself!
Can you help me design my piece?
You're not alone when you arrive at Frāmagine. You will find knowledgeable design personnel on staff at all times, waiting to work with you. If you would like, we will even reserve a design session time to keep you on schedule.
Our trained design team has a great deal of experience helping customers just like you every day. With thousands of frame styles, hundreds of mat colors and a dozen types of glazing, we will expertly help you sift through the infinite number of combinations to make your artwork look its best.
Working on a budget? No problem. We can show you alternatives and advise you on how you might best leverage your dollars. With our computerized pricing system it is easy to try different frames, different mats and different glazings until you find the combination that satisfies your senses and meets your budget.
Do you build my frames, or must I do it?
Our professional craftsman do all of your frame construction right in the store's framing shop. We work closely with you during the design phase to create a clear specification of your project. Then usually within the next few days you return to pick up your framed work of art.
While we normally do the entire framing project, we can also do just a portion of your project for you. If you only need a piece of glass or a mat cut, we can accommodate that as well. We will do as much or as little as you would like us to do -- and you don't lift a tool.
What else does Frāmagine sell?
Tabletop display cases
Sports memorabilia storage boxes
Picture hanging supplies
Antique sports cards, photos, and paper objects suitable for framing
Unique antique artifacts suitable for framing
Watch for specials as we rotate our framing examples
New! – Frames for vinyl banners – any size
How is custom framing priced?
Everyone making an important purchase wants to get the best value, and price is an important consideration in making the buying decision. Pricing custom framing can be frustrating for both the customer and the framer. The difficulty is that every purchase is a one-of-a-kind custom made product. Every job is totally unique with its own set of construction costs. But even when exactly the same framing materials are used by two different framers, the manner of treating the artwork, techniques for building the frame, and methods of assembly will make significant differences in the overall quality of a particular job and will therefore affect the price. Quite often these differences are not readily apparent and only reveal themselves when costly issues arise later in the life of the framed piece.
At Frāmagine we use a computerized system that identifies the materials, construction and preservation techniques, and time necessary for the framing design in order to determine a fair and competitive price for each job. We routinely compare our prices to other shops and framing departments to ensure we are giving our customer the best overall value. We realize that because our shop maintains certain quality and assembly standards, we may not always be the cheapest. But we maintain that we offer the best overall value.
How do your prices compare?
Periodic market analysis shows that our prices are competitive; virtually the same or less than other professional frame shops offering equivalent products and services. At times, other frame shops may quote a job at a significantly lower price. We find that when this occurs, the frame shop is generally using products or techniques that do not meet minimum accepted industry standards. This would include paper mats, cardboard backing, polystyrene frames, knockoff frames using wood or other materials unacceptable to mainstay manufacturers, irreversible glue and tape attachments, second quality glass, and countless other shortcuts. At times, these shops are shipping your artwork to offsite production warehouses where the quality and experience of their staff are questionable. You must also ask yourself if this framer will be around should you encounter problems in the future. At Frāmagine, the people you work with have been here for years. And we don't plan on going anywhere.
Will you match the 50% or 60% off deal at the craft store?
To be a good value, a sale or coupon incentive should reduce an item’s price from what it usually sells for – not a higher price that is rarely if ever actually charged. No store can stay in business selling products for half of what everyone else charges. The only way a retailer can offer 50% or 60% off deals almost all the time is to have list prices that are twice what others fairly charge for similar products and services. Since Frāmagine’s regular prices are already significantly lower it is not possible for us to honor coupons from the stores that utilize this inflated price strategy. We believe we offer the best value in framing. And when we extend a coupon offer or have a sale, we pledge that the discount is based on real, every day prices.
17710 Kenwood Trail Lakeville MN 55044