Michaels custom framing. Should I have shopped around?

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
Member
724 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I had my diploma framed at Michael’s with just a simple frame and some matting and it was about $85. I am guessing my diploma is a bit smaller than the poster so I would say 120 dollars is about normal unless I got ripped off too 🙂 

Post # 4
Member
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Sounds like you didn’t get ripped off. I have had several items custom framed and it always blows me away each time at how much it costs! Did you get it matted at all? I know for my diplomas, I got a small matting and metal basic frame, and it was over $100 a piece. I just got a caricature of Fiance and I done with a simple matte and one of the cheapest wood frames and it was $90. 

What size is the poster? . I have also had some pieces done at one shop, and others are another shop, and the prices are similar. 

Awesome gift and I hope you love how it comes out!

Post # 5
Member
4824 posts
Honey bee

Framing is surprisingly expensive. That sounds abrout right to me. 

Post # 6
Member
9824 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Hmmm… I don’t know the specifics of your order but that does seem high for Michael’s had you not had the coupon. I have been using them for about 3 years with framing stuff and I have never found better prices for the quality.

Post # 6
Member
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Oh, and none of my pieces were done at michaels but prices were very comparable it seems

Post # 7
Member
913 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I get frames online from AmericanFrame.com … you could put in the dimensions of your poster and similar mat and frame options and see what it would have been from them. But with the online option you have to mount and assemble it yourself, so keep that in mind, too.

Post # 9
Member
11356 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

That sounds reasonable to me. I had to have my bridal portrait custom-framed, and I went to Michael’s. I think I paid about $125 (after using a 40-percent-off-custom-framing coupon) for a silver-toned, ornate, wood frame with custom matting and anti-reflective glass. (The pic itself is 8 x 12.)

Post # 10
Member
3799 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Fiance and I have used Michaels several times, once with a coupon and then a few times without.

When I called around to local framing companies the prices were out of this world. Michaels was expensive, but not nearly as bad as the local, ‘privately owned’ places were.

Post # 11
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: October 2018

As a former Certified Framer at Michael’s, I can provide a bit of insight. The majority of the cost comes from the glazing (the glass or acrylic) and the frame itself. In order to cater to people from all lines of life, Michael’s offers many different price ranges. For glazing, the most expensive (but well worth it) glazing is the Masterpiece Acrylic. This stuff doesn’t break – believe me, I dropped large pieces, made accidents while cutting, etc. and the stuff holds up and doesn’t scratch or shatter. It also doesn’t show reflections, doesn’t attract dust, and has 99% UV protection. The coolest part about the Masterpiece Acrylic is that you can have the artwork insured (this would be wise for anything from a Picasso piece to your college daughter’s senior BFA show painting). There is also the conservation clear acrylic, but it’s just not as good. As far as glass, there’s the Masterpiece Glass, the Conservation Clear glass, and the regular cheap-o glass.

Ok, now for the frames – there are many options here. Each frame sample at the shop has a colored rubber band. I think the spectrum goes orange, yellow, green, blue, purple (cheapest to most expensive). There are many reasons for the differences in price. Most notably, many of the blue and purple frames are handmade and hand painted/stained. Those people need to get paid too!

Imagine – the certified framer that helps you design your custom frame needs to get paid, the certified framer who puts a lot of thought and effort into crafting all of the elements together, as no two framing projects are the same and we’re talking about a custom service here (frame, glazing, mats, spacers, the mounting process, which entails a lot of precise measuring – nothing is done for the framer, they literally do everything by hand) with your piece of art safely nestled inside needs to get paid, the people who built the frames need to get paid, the people who designed the frames, the mat suppliers and glazing suppliers, and of course Michael’s the corporation, who provides all of the tools and custom supplies that the framers use in order to create this beautiful thing (air guns, matt cutters, drills, nails, archival tapes, archival backing paper, glass cutters, safety gloves, safety glasses, hammers, mallets, dowels, string, needles, paint, markers, awls, staples, screws, dry mounting machine, and so many more things…

After considering all of that, and the barely above minimum wage payment that the framer receives for producing incredibly beautiful, timeless pieces – 300 dollars doesn’t sound so bad after all, now does it?

If you’re not satisfied with the price quote that you’re given, first think about a few things. 1. The importance of the piece. How would you feel if it was tattered, faded, and yellowed in a few years? 2. Many customers often stated that they only paid 20 dollars for the piece of art that they want to frame – why do they have to pay so much to frame it? Here’s the simplest answer: as an artist, I often sell small-scale works at extremely reasonable prices like 20-60 dollars. These pieces often didn’t take a lot of time (in concept, prep work, and/or production), or they were easily made prints (printmaking, digital photographs, etc.) that’s why they were “cheap” or affordable to a more general public. 3. You’re coming to a custom framing shop for a reason – is the reason just because you can’t find the right size or color? Maybe shopping online for less-common sizes or colors is the right choice for you. If you’re coming to custom framing to elevate and celebrate your piece, consider everything that goes into your custom frame as well as the lasting experience it will give.

However, I have some small, super quick paintings that I’ve made that speak to me more than ones that took months and tireless hours to create – art is very subjective, and the importance of the piece comes from your perception of the work. Is it a family heirloom? Then the price is absolutely worth it. Did you buy it for two bucks at a garage sale? The answer to that one is debatable – you bought it for a reason, do you want to elevate it to an elegant level? If so, plopping it into a ready-made frame is not the answer. Yes, I can make a custom frame for that 5/7 piece for 60 dollars, with the cheapest options – or 1,750, with more expensive, yet far superior quality options. What fits into your budget? Perhaps something in the middle. Is the piece worthy enough to adjust your budget to make it happen? These are things to think about before going to any frame shop.

That being said, I would recommend waiting for a coupon. There are always coupons or sales going on at Michael’s, and that includes custom framing. If there’s not one going on now, there will be in a few days or a week at most.

Post # 12
Member
1743 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Yea – framing is rediciulously expensive no matter where you go.  

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