Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 tips for finding frames on the cheap

{ picture source }
First off, so everyone doesn't think I only give gifts that cost $5 or less, let me say that if you're buying or making a gift for someone, I wouldn't adhere to all of these tips below.  However, if you need to save money or if the recipient would be pleased at your frugality, then by all means, read on...

The biggest tip I can tell you is to look beyond what you see on the shelf in front of you.  You have to have a little imagination and be willing to rethink how you shop from "I need a black 8"x10" frame with 1 1/2" molding in an ornate pattern" to "I need a frame; around 8"x10" works best."

Here are some of my tips for saving money and rethinking frames:

1.  Paint = new life.  Going to paint it anyway?  Look for frames in colors or finishes you normally wouldn't like.  They are likely on sale and with a coat of paint, who cares what they look like now?  That hot pink ornate frame on clearance could be killer with a coat of paint { in a color you actually like }.

2.  Look for clearance frames.  You may find some with small chips or finish flaws that can easily be disguised again with paint. Heck, you may be even going for a distressed look anyway.  I've found a few great frames on clearance only because they had odd-sized mats inside.  People rarely need an 8x10 frame with a mat for two separate photos.  If you don't necessarily need a mat, just look at the overall frame size, not the odd mat inside and I promise you'll find some nice things. 

3.  Rethink.  Think about what you're really using it for and who is really going to inspect it.  If you want a wall of frames only { no pictures, no glass } and no one is going to come up and touch everything, then you can go with some lower end finishes { read plastic }.  Your wedding picture on the mantel...stick with high end.  The free turkey printable you got online that will sit with a bunch of other turkey accessories for only a few weeks during the holidays...couldn't a $5 frame suffice? 

4.  Don't discriminate.  A few years ago I thought I would never step foot inside a discount store { read Dollar stores, WalMart, Big Lots, etc. } to buy a frame for a project.  Yes, there are poorly made pieces that fall apart when you touch them.  But if you look carefully and shop often, there are pieces that are fairly well made and will stand up to your needs; really!

5.  Repurpose.  I had a really cute bee etching I bought from John Furches, a North Carolina artist { love his work! }  The etching was reasonably priced, and then I went to get it framed....groan.  Even with my 50% off coupon, my local crafts store and frame shop wouldn't quote me anything less than $50 for any 8"x8" frame I liked.  I just couldn't do it.  One day while wandering the clearance aisles of Michaels, I saw a hideous print all framed up.  The frame was beautiful; the print literally detracted from the frame... I'm serious.  I just removed the other print, backed my etching with some acid free scrapbook paper I had on hand and put the frame back together.  Oh yeah, and it cost me a whopping $3.50 for the frame!

So next time you need a frame, don't forget to rescue, reimagine, refurbish, recycle, & repurpose.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with pretty much everything you've said. Great post. x