Monday, August 08, 2011

Suffering for the sake of art

We've been thinking about blowing up some of my photos and putting them up in our house. 

A cool water scene, slightly abstract, taken while we were in Colorado fishing...yeah, that one struck us as a good fit for the living room.

Once we made that decision, I trudged off to the photography shop and using a flash drive, had a 24x36 inch enlargement made.
Secure that such as size was considered "standard", I then began looking about for nice clear birch simple pictures frames at local thrift shops and standard picture frame shops.

Seems the world is still in black, silver, and brass land, at least in terms of picture frames.  Nary a single birch frame was to be found, at the thrift shops no frames close to the size that I need were found.

Worse, at the picture frame shops, the frames were all exactly 24x36 inches, which left no room for any kind of matting.

Next stop: IKEA.

I knew they had knew they had birch colored frames.  It only took a few minutes to discover that their "standard" sizes were not 24x36  inches; their Ribba frame was 28 3/4 inches by 40 1/2 inches.

Hmmmm....that left room for matting, and the ph neutral matting was included in the price.
The mat opening however was 19 1/4 inches by 27 1/4 inches. 
I would have to lose from the picture about five inches on one side of the picture and nine inches on the other side...something I was not willing to see happen.

Wish I had known that I would be using those dimensions when I originally had the print printed just a tad over $40 after tax.

The IKEA frame price was pretty sweet though: $24.99. It was light and easy to handle because of the use of acrylic "glass" instead of real glass.

I figured I would just go for it and make it work.
By attaching the photo to the surface of the mat, I got the piece to look like it did in the photo above.

We looked at it, and immediately wanted a MUCH BIGGER mat and frame.
And after noting that the acrylic sheeting reflected more than it revealed the photo, we also decided we wanted museum quality non- reflective glass.

I began visiting custom frame shops, trying to find someone who carried a simple birch frame.  Not such an easy thing to find I soon discovered.
Each shop assured me that the cost of non-reflective museum glass would be about $300 in a size that worked for my picture plus mat border. 
My second non-reflective option: Non glare.

I didn't want the fuzzy looking traditional non-glare glass I defaulted to a standard kind of glass which for some reason actually reflects and glares less than acrylic.

I also decided that while I would have liked a slightly heavier looking frame, in the end I decided that the one that was basically the same size as the IKEA frame would be fine.

Another bit of bad news: I could have two inches of matting around the picture at one price,  but once I went up to three inches the price skyrocketed into a different price category. Two inches would do, but the picture would get double matting. 

In the end, we paid 10 times more for a custom frame/glass/mat than we paid for the IKEA original set up (the picture at the top of this post) in order to get this look:

Instead of this look:
I am not sure that most folks would or could see much difference.
For some reason, neither Bernie or I could stand the original matting being narrower on the sides than on the top and bottom as it was originally. 
The whole "make it work" for us just didn't actually.

Here's the saving grace:

The picture is attached to a backing with photograph corners. 
The back can be pulled out, and the picture can be switched out seasonally with other photographs as desired.
I've already got my eye on a great photo for autumn, and another one for winter.
Bernie now wants to see more of my pictures up on the walls.
I've got the IKEA frame, now empty, and can have glass cut to replace the acrylic if I want.
A slightly different crop size will be used on the next picture I have printed for that frame.
Hoo boy.
What seemed like such an easy project sure turned out to be an experience with a steep learning curve.
Just sharing in case anyone else out there has a hankering for blowing up and framing their own big-bigger-biggest photos.


Vicki said...

I know the mat size difference doesn't seem to be huge, but the eye can pick up those little details without the brain realizing it, and it can affect your overall impression of the total finished work. I see the difference, and I like the slightly larger mat.

Now, here's a tip. My sis-in-law and I, while shopping for frames to arrange on my mother's wall, discovered the ready-to-hang "artwork" at places such as Hobby Lobby and even Target is sometimes nicely framed and matted and affordably priced, and once in a while, on sale and under museum-quality glass. We took the "artwork" apart, removing the print, and added our own photos. Sometimes, we spray-painted the frame to suit us.

Now...I've got to complete my "mission" of choosing my photos for framing! :)

ellen b. said...

Oh we've done the same kind of suffering over framing art. It really isn't as easy as it seems...
It turned out beautiful...

Judy said...

I know whereof you speak! I had three 'safari' prints enlarged to fit frames I had purchased...only to find the mat opening was 1/16" too big for the photo. So off they went to the art shop...where I had custom frames made...and a hefty bill I hadn't originally planned on.

I like the idea of changing up your artwork for each season. Looks great!

Dolores said...

Hmmm. In addition to getting glass cut to fit the IKEA frame, can you not get a mat cut the size you want?

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Dolores: I think I will have a second mat cut to create a double mat for the left over Ikea frame. Having a different mat cut for the first blow up picture wouldn't work as the porportions of the picture vs the porportions of the frame would still lead to uneven sized matting unless I edited out some of the picture.

It probably would have been cheaper to just reprint the photo sized down, but I wasn't sure if it would require a custom print I just couldn't bear to think of another (at least) $40 going out for printing.

Once I figure out printing dimensions/cost for the IKEA frame/mat, I will post those numbers. Hoping it will be easy to figure out the right dimensions to print after reading Judy's comment.

Vee said...

Jill, you're so good at learning new things, how about taking a mat and framing course? Bet you could save a lot of money by learning how to do it yourself and especially if you'd like to use more of your photography. Very good idea that one btw!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

It looks wonderful over your mantle Jill. It's never easy though!

Kathy said...

I'm in the midst of painting old frames.....getting the right look is not such an easy process. I really like what you did!

L&D said...

I love this idea. I've only recently started framing photos I've taken. Such a nice touch.

Pamela Gordon said...

HI Jill, Vee referred me to your post as I just posted about hanging some of my photos over the sofa but in smaller framed groupings. I would love to do larger ones too but they are costly. I've thought of having them done on canvas as well - another big expense. Your's turned out beautifully. It's a great photo and I guess when it's your own art the $$$ are worth it. I may change mine out in the future and I don't know if I want the black frames but I was going the cheap route using what I had on hand. :) Pamela