Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How To Resize Thrift Store Frames And Save SO MUCH MONEY

If you collect art like me, then you know custom framing is on par with unicorn blood for pricing. But what else can you do when the thing you want to frame is a funky size? Mats can only get you so far, since it looks weird if the mat is really wide on one side and skinny on the other.

Enter... JOHN.

With a solution.

He even forgoes power tools this time, just to show you this can be done with minimal tools & cheap supplies.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy one of my favorite activities in the whole wide world:  
watching John build stuff.



We've done this for a lot of the frames in our house, which John will show you in the video. Even if your art is a standard size, this way is usually cheaper - especially for big pieces! Keep in mind we often repaint our frames, though, so when you're shopping keep an eye out for ones with good design/structure regardless of the finish. You'll be amazed what a coat of gold or silver paint followed by some quick aging can do.


I hope you guys find this useful! This video was actually a request from one of you readers, so please, keep those suggestions coming. What do you want to see us build, fix, or modify next?

And as always, if you have any questions, hit us up in the comments!

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UPDATE: Since it's a FAQ, John's shirt is from Woot. ;)

35 comments:

  1. What a great and clear little tutorial! And John's voice is so wonderful for this sort of thing, so calm and reassuring.

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  2. oh, wow i love how he staples it in! just diagonal in the corner!! i never thought of that!
    i have a piece of art and a frame that i painted that i couldn't figure out how to mount it but now i know and will put it together tonight! thanks!!

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  3. Getting a new office with no windows and an industrial tan paint scheme, but want it to feel welcoming to students at office hours and still have a cool but subtle vintage/ steampunk vibe. Would LOVE a tutorial for adding color without having to paint, and how to make filing boxes/ other storage solutions both fun, steampunky, and practical!

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  4. Wow! John - you're brilliant. That is all ... :-)

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  5. I could not love this more! Awesome turtorial

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  6. Excellent tutorial. I loved it and John's voice is so soothing. Can he read me a story?

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  7. Nice video, makes me want to go thrift shopping. Also is that a holy hand grenade behind John?

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  8. Thanks for this great tutorial.
    Just one question. You said it was easy to cut plexiglass. What is your method?
    Thanks again

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    1. Generally, I just use a razor blade to score it in a straight line a few times. Then I turn it over, place a straight edge along the score mark, and bend the plexi glass up snapping it. Glass works more or less the same way but you need to use a glass cutter and if you miss one spot, the glass will break incorrectly or even shatter. No fun at all.

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    2. Much thanks!
      And especially for the quick reply!
      I've tried using a Dremel and a Jig Saw...and all it does is melt.

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  9. Jen and John,

    Excellent video! I have a sh!tload of frames from the thrift store and have been waiting to frame things once I get the power tools and now, thanks to you, I don't need to wait any more. Nice frames for three or four dollars are too good to pass up and in the past I have used them for other projects but now I can get out some of the other frame-able items and get started. FIY - last year my husband found a picture in a large frame that he loved for $8. The frame needed cleaned and the mat was stained so he took it to our favorite framer to have the mat replaced. The bill for just the mat was (don't faint) $100. We cleaned the frame. He is expected to love this picture for YEARS to come. lol

    Maureen

    P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh!

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  10. Great video! But I need to know the most important information - WHERE did he get that BB-8 shirt?!!?? I need it!! :)

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  11. This. Is. Brilliant. It seems my sister and I are always saving up the money to frame our oddly shaped crafts and art. You just saved us a ton. Thanks!

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  12. Great video! I loved John's narrating. I've been collecting miscellaneous cabinet doors with which to do this, but I hadn't quite worked out the process yet of how to make them into frames. Now I know - thanks for making this video!

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  13. Thank you! The video was very easy to follow, and I feel that I can do something similar. A local thrift store has great frames that I now know how to use for textile art and more.

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  14. I kind of want John just to read books soothingly.

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  15. I am gobsmacked at how simple you make this out to be! I DO have an awkwardly-sized piece of art (thanks to an Epbot post recommendation by Jen a couple of years ago), and it IS currently on my wall in a too-big frame with mismatched top/side ratio! I may have to rectify this. One question - did you just use the staples (that you put in) to act similarly as the little bendy things Ikea frames have (I know I am not explaining this well...)? If so, do you find that there is sometimes some literal "wiggle room"? I suppose if that were the case a small bit of paper could be used as a wedge to ensure a tight fit.

    -Lisa

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    1. Yeah, I'm just using the staple to hold the art in. Because I make the glass fit the art and the frame fit the glass, it fits almost perfectly and doesn't move all that much. I never saw the point of using a hundred staples to secure art that will almost never move. If you do have some wiggle room, though, you can use cardboard or paper or foamboard to wedge in there and make everything a little tighter.

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    2. Thanks so much!
      Lisa

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  16. Uhh... that thrift store piece you picked up is also currently hanging in my parents' dining room...

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  17. I haven't actually watched the video yet (work computers don't like YouTube), but I am seriously in love with John's t-shirt!

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  18. Now, I want to go frame shopping. Thanks! :)

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  19. First - make sure your mat and backing board are acid free. Otherwise your art work can be stained. Second - where did John get his tshirt? Third - can we have a video on painting over a frame? Or gilding?

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  20. This was great timing for this video for me. I just picked up a print at a con last weekend. It's a weird size too but the artist told me a dual record album frame would work. Heck, I think it's time to hit the thrift store now! :)

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  21. Thank you so much!! I've been meaning to do this with an old frame that's been gathering dust in a corner for years, and now I have some soothingly narrated instructions that will help me accomplish this! :D

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  22. I can’t view the video, it says it is restricted.

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  23. Wow, that was clear and straight forward. Now I want to frame something. Thank you, John!! Please make more :)

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  24. John and Jen, do you guys have any experience/suggestions for hanging a mask? I just bought an amazing replica of Jareth's masquerade mask, and I'd love to hang it up on my wall but I have no idea how to do so! The mask is a bit heavy due to the large horns, so however I hang it up I want to make sure it's good and secure. If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them!

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  25. I love watching your videos! My only suggestion is to use a mic for every section - the section where John was discussing the tools we would need (in the garage) was a little on the quiet side. But this is a cool tip and it makes me want to hurry up and find cool art to put on our (embarassingly, after 3 years in this house) completely bare walls. :)

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  26. John needs to make ASMR videos. And this is a great tutorial, BTW. Thanks a lot for showing us your tricks!

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  27. This is a great plan for getting some inexpensive art on the wall! However, I worked as a professional picture framer for 9 years and I can't not comment on the importance of using acid free products and conservation glass on art that you want to last for years. Conservation glass blocks out 99% of UV rays which cause fading. Non-acid free backing and matting will turn your artwork yellow and become very brittle over time. One other tip for a more archival framing is to use either a mat or glass spacers to lift your artwork from the glass. Artwork coming in direct contact with the glass runs the risk of sticking to the glass due to moisture. Posters and art that are easy to replace don't necessarily need conservation framing, but original artwork and irreplaceable photographs should be framed in a way that will protect them. To save money, you can take a frame that you've purchased from the thrift store and cut down to size to a frame shop and they will most likely be able to cut an acid free mat and conservation glass to fit. You can even take the pieces home to assemble yourself if you want to save a few more dollars. Happy Framing!

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  28. You guys are amazing!! I am SO excited to try this out on the multiple pieces of art that I've totally neglected to frame, because expensive! Thanks for the tutorial!

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