Matting and framing your own photos?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by fiveoboy01, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. fiveoboy01
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    fiveoboy01 New Member

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    Anyone do this?

    It's relatively expensive for me to have it done, I'd like to be able to do this myself, cutting the mat and frames. Is there an online supply store that carries supplies for doing this? Link?

    Thanks.
  2. Alphaem
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    Alphaem New Member

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  3. Tulsa
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    Tulsa New Member

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    I have thought about making my own, but the price for the equiptment to cut large mats just does not justify. I would not be opposed to making my own frames, but I will leave that to the pros. Not sure if you have Hobby Lobby up there, but they regularly have 1/2 off frames, you can get a nice 16x20 for about $15, and custom cut mats are about $8-12.
  4. Johnboy2978
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    Johnboy2978 Well-Known Member

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    I began cutting my own and doing my own framing early on in the hobby. It quickly became much too cost prohibitive to have it done professionally. Mat cutting is very easy and you can teach yourself in just a few minutes. There is some $ investment though up front, but it will pay for itself virtually the first time you do it.

    First, you need a decent mat cutter. I use a Fletcher MatMate I think it's called. It can cut a piece of mat board up to 42". I think you can find it on ebay for probably $150 or less. I'm not sure where you are located, but in the US, you should have either a hobby lobby or Michael's somewhere close by. I go to Hobby Lobby as they are the cheapest, and buy up mat board when I need it. Usually, a sheet of 36x42 costs me about $5. I usually buy my glass from them as well. A 16x20 piece of glass is usually about $6 on sale (and they have sales frequently, especially around the holidays). I also do some stained glass as a hobby so I have all those glass cutting tools, but you can pick up a simple pistol grip glass cutter for under $5 on ebay as well, then all you need is a straight edge. For frames I go to American Frame - Picture Frames Wood Metal Canvas Custom Photo Printing Custom Art - American Frame and I use the simple gallery frame which costs me about $8/frame. The nice thing about doing your own framing is that you don't have to settle for the traditional sizes and don't pay extra for odd sizes.

    So all of that sounds like a big upfront expense. However, the first time I took 4 16x20 prints to be professionally matted and framed, it exceeded $300. Eeeks. I'll never pay that again, and I can now mat and frame my own for about $15 or less. Buy in bulk too.
  5. fiveoboy01
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    fiveoboy01 New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. There is a Hobby Lobby not too far away, I'll check it out.

    For the actual frame, do you buy a long piece of stock and then cut it(with the appropriate angle of course) to make the frame?
  6. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    I get my mat and framing supplies from www.documounts.com.

    They do all the cutting. I just do the assembly.
  7. c.cloudwalker
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    c.cloudwalker New Member

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    Neither one is that hard to learn and neither one requires very expensive tools compared to the cost of having it done by a decent frame shop.

    Of the two, mats are the easier to do and I use Logan's cutters. I started with a 4000 which is fine for smaller mat openings. Approximately 9x12 for me but it depends on the person and you may do bigger ones. I found the push style a bit iffy as it is easier to be smooth when pulling. When I started doing larger mats, I got their board mounted 450.

    Products

    As for frames, when I was showing photos in galleries, we used aluminum section frames. Not the prettiest but it worked just fine. There was also a company that offered section frames in wood that were quite nice and I'll try and remember the name of it. As for making your own frames, I learned to do it fairly easily but I'm pretty good with tools and wood so it could take you a bit longer but it is not that hard.

    One thing I did for really cheap frames is go to auctions. Where I lived then I was picking up really beautiful old frames (not always top notch condition but nice) for $2 to $5. The art was ugly and no one was bidding so I'd get them cheap. And, with the fact that I cut my own mats, so long as the frame was big enough, its size didn't matter.

    In a way, what you do/can do frame wise depends on the end use of the photos.

    Cheers.
  8. erichards
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    erichards New Member

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    I've never done my own frame making. However if you want to do your own mats that's pretty easy. Just measure accurately (measure twice cut once) and have a table to cut on that you don't mind scaring a bit that is bigger than your mat. Also, I go to Dick Blick and find a mat I like and have them cut the larger mat to the size I want (the frame size) and cut the window myself. (I usually use a 45 degree angle on the window side). It saves you a lot over custom framing.
    Note: I also wait until i have a few prints to mat before doing this so it all works out buying the larger mat and having them cut it into smaller pieces.
  9. astrostu
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    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    I've done my own matting for my photos for about 2 years now. And after sending photos as presents to both my Aunt and parents and them mentioning that it cost them over $100 to matte and frame each, I'll be matting for gifts in the future, as well.
  10. Big
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    Big New Member

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    I make my own frames usually. I haven't made many but there's nothing like the pride you take with hanging a frame you've made holding a beautiful picture you've taken.

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