Thrifty Art Tip

>> 7.06.2010

My #1 thrifty art tip: First find the frame... then make the art.

I know, a true artist created based off of inspiration, etc... but have you ever tried to get something custom framed before($$$)?! I cannot even count the number of paintings and drawings that are sitting in a file in my garage right now because I made them with oddly sized paper and couldn't find affordable frames off of the shelf. So now, I shop first for great deals on frames then set them aside until I find the inspiration to make art to go inside.

Just recently, we put an IKEA frame (that I picked up a few months ago for $10 in the "as-is" section) to use for a custom piece:

The beachy print wasn't working for our space, so we used a little Photoshop action to add a three inch white border around a meaningful photograph and added it to the frame instead:

$10 for the frame + $15 for the print (half of with Groupon)= $25 for a custom piece!

If you'd like to add a faux mat border and you're not a Photoshop whiz like Nate, just paste your favorite image into a PowerPoint slide and re-size it to make a border. Save the slide as a ".jpg" and send it to your local printer.

As for the photograph, Nate actually took it for me as an anniversary present.

It's "our" bench in "our" park...
...the same park we celebrated July 4th in this past weekend (along with thousands of our closest friends):

Playing Scrabble on the 4th has become a bit of a tradition.

Do you have any art framing tricks that you keep up your sleeve?
How did you spend your weekend?


Mrs. Chic July 6, 2010 at 10:18 AM  

The extra white border is a great idea!!

I recently found out that buying custom mattes via Micheals is a super thrifty way to go, I got a large custom matte for around $6.00 for a 20x19 print! I think if you buy stock frames/or thrift store frames, spend a few extra bucks on custom mattes, the low price will surprise you

hiphousegirl July 6, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

What a great idea. I have the same problem as you do- I have piles of unframed art! I really need to get on the ball and get some frames.

hiphousegirl July 6, 2010 at 6:40 PM  

Oh and PS- I was actually in Canada for the 4th of July- how unpatriotic of me! I was sad to miss the fireworks (even though I caught a few on their creatively-named Canada Day).

Paula July 8, 2010 at 10:17 PM  

What a great idea! Lucky for me, I am somewhat proficient in Photoshop. Where do you get your prints made?

Mrs. Chic, thanks for the tip about Michaels. I just had our first ever family portraits done (this is BIG because we've been married nearly 12 years and have three children) and I apparently chose a funky size for our portrait! I think it's 16 x 20 or something and I've been unable to find a frame that size. What would you recommend as far as a matte size to make it a standard size? Does the matte have to be a uniform size all the way around or say, could there be 2" on the two sides and 3" on the upper and lower margins?

Paula July 8, 2010 at 10:18 PM  

P.S. I LOVE the photo that your hubby took for your anniversary! What a thoughtful gift!

One more thing, I think I see Dora The Explorer in the reflection of the beachy picture! LOL!

Julie,  July 8, 2010 at 10:39 PM  

My dad has a matte cutter, and I asked for my own for Christmas a few years back. This works great for framing odd-sized prints. I can usually find an appropriate frame at Michael's or Joann's (with a 40% off coupon, of course!) and then get some matte board that I cut to size. It ends up looking like a super-swanky custom piece! And, especially by getting the cutter as a gift, it really ends up being inexpensive.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog July 9, 2010 at 7:55 AM  

@Paula~ We use a local print shop called Precision Camera, but I'm sure any camera shop would be a safe bet. Nate likes using camera shops because they use very high quality paper.

I'm trying to remember what show was running in the background... I think it was Tour de France :).

Dayka (Life +Style) July 9, 2010 at 8:11 PM  

that last photo is really great--wow.

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