I'd always heard a lot of good things about Framers' Workroom up in Tenleytown, so when I finally got around to framing an 18th century print that I bought last year at a little antique print store in Paris, I figured I'd give them a try. Turned out to be instant gratification- I walked in at 3:30 pm on Saturday and walked out at 5pm with a custom-framed piece. Score!
The great thing about Framers' Workroom is that, if you so choose, there is a "DIY" component- I saved $100 in labor by putting everything together at the end after they cut the mat and glass and custom built the frame. But this isn't scary or sloppy DIY. Basically, they have a bunch of large workstations set up with all of the tools you need, and the framer walks you through every step of the process (who am I kidding, I think she actually did most of it while I just got in the way!). Here's a little step by step.
Once Framers' Workroom brought out my mat, frame, and glass, I centered and positioned my artwork on the backing. Since my print was an antique and we didn't want to damage it, we slid the corners of the print into clear sticky tabs that secured to the back. So nothing is actually sticky on the print.
We flipped the mat back over and things were looking very promising! I had actually selected a variation of a french mat where they inset the lighter color mat into the darker one. It's a detail that makes a huge difference, and it was only a few extra dollars.
Next I cleaned the glass and positioned it on top of the mat. Then we flipped the whole thing over and placed it into the frame. Finally, I used a handy staple-gun type contraption that puts tabs into the frame to hold the picture in place.
Next, around the edge of the frame, I applied a thin layer of tape that then peels off to create a sticky surface. Then we placed a large sheet of brown paper over the back, sealed it against the sticky edges, and cut it to size with a razor blade. Sounds complicated, but actually super easy.
Then it was just a matter of screwing in the "eyes" on the edge of the frame, and stringing the wire on. Again, they were with me every step of the way here. They packaged it up and off I went.
When I got home, I was thrilled to unwrap the finished result.
I had gone round and round over what kind of frame to choose, and chose a nice weathered silver that I think compliments the black and white print quite well.
I hung it on my entry wall (and of course it is so hard to take pictures of art due to the glare of the glass). I might not be going back to Paris this summer (boo), but at least I will remember it every time I see this!
I'd recommend paying a visit to Framers' Workroom - it's actually a lot of fun to get involved in the process! If you're not looking for a custom made frame, they have quite a few pre-made frames in a variety of sizes that are a HUGE step up from what you'd find pre-made at a big box store. Now, what can I frame next?