In a comment at the post I published the other day about designing artwork to fit precut mats, photographer FF noted that acquiring frames is an expensive proposition. This is certainly true, even at an outfit such as Aaron Brothers, which has two-for-one sales every few months.
There are two very inexpensive source of frames, some of them quite nice: yard sales and estate sales. People are always trying to unload artwork they’ve tired of. Sometimes they’ll get the most ordinary prints and posters custom-framed. And of course, when they sell the print, they sell the frame and mat with it. You can usually buy these things very cheaply. Remove and throw out the cheesy artwork, and voila! a frame. Install your own mat (if you do this often, it soon becomes cost-effective to buy a mat cutter) and your preferred image or object, and you have a custom-framed work.
Here’s a pastel done by La Maya, whose hobby is painting in pastels and oils. The frame is an estate-sale find.
She cut the two mats herself and placed the entire arrangement in the frame, using her dining-room table as a workspace.
The frame itself is rather interesting, and it works very well with the mats to display the image handsomely. The cost was a fraction of what she would have paid at a frame shop. If you do a lot of photography or painting, it’s well worth stopping at yard or estate sales to check the offerings. Ignore the ugly, faded prints: just search for desirable frames.