How Much Do Picture Frames Cost?

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For those that collect art and photographs, the unframed pieces of your favorite subjects can really pile up if you’re not careful. Selecting a frame that is just right can take a little time, and can sometimes be a bit of a financial investment. If you’ve got a good number of pieces to frame, you might want to know how much frames potentially cost. We researched the price of frames from a number of professional sources, so that we good give you an accurate answer.

The cost of a picture frame will depend on the size of the frame and the materials’ quality. Generally, picture frames will cost between $8 and $200.

Now that we know a range of prices for picture frames, we’ll detail why the range is so wide. You might also be wondering the cheapest place to buy a picture frame or if it’s difficult to craft your own. To see what we’ve discovered, keep reading ahead in this post.

Collection of small old picture frames at the flea market, How Much Do Picture Frames Cost?

What determines the cost of a frame?

As we mentioned earlier in the post, there is quite a wide price range for frames. Here, we’ll look at the most important factors in determining the cost.

The size

The smaller the frame, the less money you’ll expect to hand over to the cashier. If you’re looking to frame smaller 5×7 photographs, you can get them for as little as $8. And if you look for sales at hobby stores or shop at discount shops like Dollar General, you can get them for even less.

The material

What your frame is made from is a significant determining factor in the price. Cheaper metals will, of course, be on the lower end of the price spectrum, while wooden frames will range from $10 to $100. For those who really want to splurge, gold and platinum frames and plated frames are available. Frames that are made from or plated with precious metals are the most expensive on the market.

The quality

While the size and the material are factors in how much your frame will set you back, the frame’s quality is just as important. Cheap frames come in all sizes and most materials, as do well-constructed ones. Less expensive frames tend to be glued or stapled and won’t last nearly as long as ones that are properly cut and joined together. 

This doesn’t mean that you should only buy the best frame made from the best material. Everyone’s budget has limitations. If you’re looking to frame a sizable amount of photos or artwork, there are some terrific ways to do this at a fraction of the cost. We’ll look further into that later in this post.

Colored picture frames painted by acrylic paints, What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Picture Frames?

How much does custom framing cost?

What if the piece you need to be framed isn’t a standard size? Or what if you’d like it professionally framed and matted? The price for these things will also vary on the piece’s size, whether or not it is matted, and what framing material is used. The place you choose to get your piece framed is also an important factor in determining the price.

And let’s not forget about the protective glass. Standard glass also needs to be cut to fit the frame and is typically included in the professional framing and matting price. However, there are better glass options you can choose from, like a sheet with anti-reflective coatings or ultra-violet ray protection. Upgrading your frame’s glass will certainly increase the price, no matter where you get the custom framing completed. 

On average, the hobby store chain Michael’s will charge anywhere from $50 to $400 for custom framing and matting. Of course, this is just the average range. You might have a piece that requires more effort, or it might come in an uncommon size. 

It’s recommended that you get quotes from several places before committing to one. Oftentimes, frame shops and hobby stores will run sales that you can take advantage of. Spending a few moments calling around might save you a lot of money if you have multiple items to frame.

Restorer and framer laboratory craftswome

What are the cheapest places to buy picture frames?

Earlier, we mentioned that we’d cover how to reduce the cost of the framing. This can take a bit more time, but if you have a lot of photos or artwork to frame, it’s totally worth looking into getting frames from these locations.

Thrift stores

Thrift stores and second-hand shops are almost always full of used frames, with or without the original photos or artwork. While it can be a little more difficult to find matching sets in this manner, you will absolutely be able to find numerous styles, colors, and sizes of frames. Even the better quality ones in these stores are priced to sell, with the average price being $1 to $2 a frame. Some places will reduce the price if you buy in bulk, so if you have a lot to frame, make thrift store shopping your first priority. 

Clothes rack, old-fashioned suitcases, garden tools and interior goods selling at garage market in backyard

Garage sales

Lots of people will set aside frames they no longer use and put them out during their annual garage sales. People that do this aren’t usually looking to make their money back; they just want to make a little bit of money and reduce the clutter from their homes. You might have to visit several of these sales to find some, but when you find the right ones, it’s usually worth your time.

Clothes rack, old-fashioned suitcases, garden tools and interior goods selling at garage market in backyard

Estate sales

Lastly, it’s worth looking into the estate sales in your community. The prices are usually set a little bit higher than the typical garage sale, but people that have estate sales will normally have some great frames to choose from. 

Are old picture frames worth anything?

Since you’re able to get old picture frames for almost nothing at thrift shops and garage sales, they can’t possibly be worth any money, right?

You’d be surprised at the value of objects that people donate or discard. Antique frames can fetch a good amount of money if they are in good shape, especially custom-made ones. While you might have to hunt around and dig at multiple thrift stores to find them, frames that have value are certainly out there to be had for pennies on the dollar. 

Can you make your own picture frame?

Collection of small old picture frames at the flea market, How Much Do Picture Frames Cost?

If you have the right tools and the skills it’s possible to make your own picture frame. The quality of your finished product will be, of course, based on your skill level and the material you have chosen. But with a little bit of practice, you will be able to make frames to satisfy all of your framing needs.

Most commonly, people will make their own frames out of wood. This will require a mat cutter, router, hand saw, and other tools. We found that the best list of instructions for making your own frame came from Instructables.

In Closing

The price of picture framing varies greatly based on the size, quality, and material you select. Getting your photos and artwork framed doesn’t have to cost a fortune, as you can always find great sales at framing shops or find used frames at thrift stores and garage sales. Having your photographs and artwork framed protects them from damage and makes them look more uniform and professional when hung in your home or office. 

If you enjoyed reading this post on picture frames, we believe you’ll find the following posts on other types of home decor informative:

What Goes with an Orange Couch? [5 Styling Options Explored]

10 Tips For Organizing and Decorating Your Bathroom Shelves

Should An Entryway Have a Mirror (And How Big Should It Be)?

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