If I had a $1 for every time I’ve been asked this question I’d be on a plane on my way to a luxury far away holiday by now.
They are very different, but each has its own spot in the market place. So, here is the lowdown on what you need to know in order to choose what’s right for you, the things you’d like to frame and your budget.
A custom made frame is exactly that – a frame made from scratch to your unique specifications. You can choose all the components – the size, the moulding, the mount board colour and size, how it’s finished… As you’re choosing the components it will look exactly how you want it to look.
Materials are different too. Custom made frames should be made from high quality materials – without an acid content and with high quality glass or acrylic. For instance, mdf should not be used as backing. The frames should be sealed at the back to keep out environmental elements such as pollution and condensation, giving whatever you’re framing longevity. You’d like it to last, even be passed down.
If you’ve got an awkward sized print or object that you can’t buy a ready-made frame for such as memorabilia and prints in non-standard sizes custom framing is ideal.
Custom made frames are more expensive. There is a lot of time involved in producing a custom made frame. People often ask why a small custom made frame is relatively more expensive than a bigger one – the answer is that it involves equal amount of hard grafting to create a beautiful end result. And your image comes finished and ready to hang.
Ready Made Frames
Ready-made frames are made to standard sizes, in standard mouldings (not a massive choice and variety) with standard mount sizes. As they are mass produced the individual elements (mounts, glass etc.) cannot be changed.
There is less choice, ready-made frames come in standard sizes, and are not made to measure – which is fine if what you’re framing is a standard size.
As these frames are produced in larger volumes the components are a less expensive version of custom frames, ie the glass is not as high quality and the mounts and backing (often mdf) are not acid free, or sealed, so longevity is less.
Ready-made frames are cheaper and more affordable, and conveniently available off the shelf. You do have to put your own picture in it yourself.
So, do we go ready or custom made?
This really depends on what you’re framing, and of course your budget.
If you’re framing something that is not too precious, of standard size and on a budget have a look at ready-made frames. Ready made frames are readily available from just about anywhere now – Kmart, BigW & Ikea.
If what you’re framing is precious, or is a limited edition art or print, an artwork, an art piece you’re selling, irreplaceable, a beautiful print, old photos or awkwardly sized then always go custom. In these instances you’ll be glad you spent a bit more on exactly what you want, and a piece that will last a very long time.
If you want high quality, reasonably priced and custom check out YourFramer!