Option 1 – Purchase Ready-Made Frames
Ready-Made frames are complete frame packages available in retail outlets like Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby and Michaels. Many of these frames are non-archival and only available in standard frame sizes such as 8×10, 11×14, 16×20, and 18×24. The advantage of purchasing ready-made frames is that they are inexpensive, usually because they are manufactured overseas. The disadvantage is that you cannot mix and match frame choices, mat colors, and different types of glazing or backing.
Option 2 – Purchase Pre-Cut Framing Materials
Professional framing supply companies sell picture framing materials – frames, glass, Acrylic, mat board, and foam core backing board that is already pre-cut for easy photo art framing. Many of these framing supply companies have online stores that allow you to order components in the exact dimensions needed to frame your custom-sized artwork. The advantage of purchasing pre-cut framing materials is that they save you a tremendous amount of time and labor (vs custom framing) and provide you with a greater selection of sizes and colors. The disadvantage is that pre-cut materials are more expensive than un-cut materials.
Option 3 – Purchase Un-Cut Materials
A lot of framing supply companies provide the option of purchasing uncut picture framing materials so you can cut and design the frame’s components yourself. To properly work with raw materials you need a mat-cutter and a glass or acrylic cutter. And if you are really ambitious, a miter saw for cutting the frame moulding. The advantage of purchasing un-cut framing materials is that they are cheaper than pre-cut materials. The disadvantage is that working with un-cut materials requires time, labor, and specialty equipment. In addition, raw picture framing materials tend to be very large, for example – 32”x40” sheets of mat board and 10 foot sticks of moulding, which increases shipping costs and creates storage issues.