Hi, my name’s Clair. Quality Control Specialist for Frame USA by day, Artist by night.
If you’re like me, you love art. You love books stores, pop-up art shows, old classic movies and home remodeling TV shows. Most importantly you love creating and decorating your home/work space with the images you love. Be it posters, reproduction, original art, or family photos. You surround yourself with what makes you happy; with what makes you, uniquely you.
If that sounds about right then you might agree that there is no better feeling in the world than finishing or buying a piece of art that you love. However, there’s no worse feeling than the one that usually follows when you ask yourself, “how am I going to hanging this?” and quickly realize your spending is not over.
Perhaps like me you’ve tried to cut corners when it comes to framing. Let’s be honest, Framing can be expensive. So, you own several bulging portfolios and enough cardboard tubes to build the world’s largest telescope. I mean, it’s not enough that we as artists and art coinsures have to spend money to make art and acquire art, but we must also spend money if we plan at all to enjoy it.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years of arting and framing, whether you’re selling or buying there’s simply no arguing the effectiveness of a fantastic framing Job. I see it all the time in our Custom framing shop. Customers bring in old sentimental images probably worth nothing more than something you could find at a yard sale. But, because it’s special to them, they invest, and the final product is always breathtaking. Just imagine the effect quality framing has on something truly unique and timeless. It’s magical. Just ask our Raving fans!
I promise, nothing will enhance the appeal of your artwork, whatever it is, more than a beautiful frame. And let’s face it, appeal is essential if you ever want to be a professional artist, impress your in laws, or get that promotion you’ve been working so hard for.
That’s why we at frame USA pride ourselves in not only the quality of our frames, which I personally see to on a daily basis, but the affordability of our picture frames. Each woods frame at frame USA is cut, joined, filled, and hand quality checked right here in our American home base facility ensuring not only quality and affordability, (like I’ve mentioned) But also that your money stays here in our wonderful U.S. of A.
We know the importance of arting and framing and the impact it has logistically and visually in your homes, offices, studios and galleries. Let us be the ones to make your art something really special; something that demands to be noticed. It’s what we do best.
To mat or not to mat? That is a valid question when putting art and photos into picture frames. When should you use a mat? What color mat should you use? Do I need acid free matting? There are no wrong answers (well, when it comes to mat measurements there can be wrong answers) to these questions but there are some typical things that people tend to do that might be helpful if you’re wondering what you should do about matting your piece before framing it. So let’s do a quick, easy-breezy run down of some common mat ideas.
WHEN SHOULD YOU MAT?
Not every picture you put in a frame needs a mat. If you just want to pop in one of the kids’ 5×7 or 8×10 school photos into a picture frame of the same size, and you’re just going to change it out the following year–those probably don’t need matted. Matted photos are usually ones that you plan on keeping framed indefinitely and that you want to give a little extra oomph to. The purpose of a mat is to give the picture some extra space in the frame so that you can use a larger picture frame to add dramatic weight to whatever the artwork is that you’re framing. A family portrait that you’re hanging in the living room, or a special art print that you’ve purchased and want to put in a nice, righ frame. These are the typical kinds of pictures you want to mat. Of course, you can mat anything you like but if you’re wondering, “Does this need matted?” this is a good rule of thumb.
Also, when you have a piece that is an unusual size but you’d like to try and get it into a standard sized frame–that is a time you’d want to get a mat. The mat will go to the inside edges of the frame and the opening then can be centered and made the size of the piece. The only caveat with this is that the vertical sides of the mat may be different than the horizontal so that one dimension has more space than the other, but this is a solution to that problem.
WHAT SIZE MAT AND OPENING SHOULD I GET?
Again, with sizing, there is no one right thing to do. If you’re basing the size of your frame on the size of your mat you start with the mat width. That is how much matting you want around your photo or art. A good safe, round number is 2″. A lot of people use this number. It’s not too much matting or too little. If your photo is small-ish (5×7) and you don’t want the frame to be much bigger, you can drop this down to 1″. And of course if you’re going for a certain look where you want a lot of space, or just a thin edge, you can do those too. The thinnest you can go, however, is 3/4″ because you must account for the lip of the frame taking up a little on each side. And speaking of accounting for the lip, you will also want to take into consideration making your mat opening slightly smaller than your piece (unless your piece has already built in a border around it to accomodate matting–in which case you can make your exact image size the opening size). For this example we’ll assume your piece has no border. You need to make the opening at least 1/4″ smaller than your actual paper or whatever physical medium your image is on. This is so the piece has something to fall against when put up to the opening and can be taped to the inside of the mat. We recommend 1/2″ total (which works out to be 1/4″ per side because there are two sides). Once you have your opening and how wide you want your mat, you can come up with your outer dimensions. Again, because the lip of any frame will take up a little of the mat, it’s nearly impossible to get the exact amount of space (unless you have the frame in hand and can measure the lip exactly), So for example, if your piece is an 11×14 photo and you want 2″ of matting you would:
Take 11×14 and remove 1/2″ from each side to get 10.5×13.5. This is your opening size. Then add 4″ to each side (this is taking both sides into account) to get 14.5×17.5. This is your outside dimensions and the opening size of your frame. Or, if you want a standard sized frame, a 16×20 would give you about 3.25″ of matting all the way around.
SHOULD I GET ACID FREE?
Most paper products contain some acidic chemicals. The amounts are minute, but over time they can discolor or damage a piece that they’ve been attached to for a long period of time. If the piece you’re matting and putting in a picture frame is not particularly special to you or is not valuable or will never be removed from it’s frame then you can probably safely use any standard or premium mat. It takes a long time for any damage to occur, if it ever does. However, if the piece is a one of a kind, a limited edition or something with sentimental value, you may want to consider acid free. Acid free mats are a little more expensive and don’t come in as many colors but they will not mar or damage your piece, even after years and years. If you are going to choose an acid free mat you’ll also want to be sure and affix your piece with acid free tape.
There are a lot of other questions that can go into matting; multiple openings, double and triple mats, color choices and textured mats. When you have specific questions about matting, you can always call the customer service department at Frame USA (800-577-5920) or live chat them through the website and they will help you choose and size the right mat for your piece. You can also use our Build-A-Frame service to do a step by step process that shows you what the mat and frame will look like (and you can even upload an image and compare it against your wall color to see how it will look) to make things even easier. Or if you know exactly what you want, feel free to go straight to Mat Designers and put in an order.
Matting may seem complicated once you get into it, but don’t overthink it and always ask questions. Your framed art piece will be better for it.
Giving gifts is hard. Whether it might be for a friend or loved one that you want to give something personal to. Or maybe it’s for a school or work event and you want to give the recipient something will keep and remember. It can be tricky choosing something. A really perfect choice, for nearly any situation is custom engraved picture frames from Frame USA.
A picture frame is a gift that you can tailor to whomever you’re giving it to on many levels. First off, you have the photo or art that you’ll put into it. Maybe it’s a brother or sister and you’ve found a picture from when you were kids. It was thought lost but you turned it up. Now you can get a nice photo frame to put it in and give it to your loved one. Already this is a nice, thoughtful present, but you can take it a step further by making it a true custom picture frame. You can have it laser engraved. We are able to engrave text and logos by burning away a line of the finish or top layer of the wood on a wood picture frame to show the wood beneath. It’s a very tight, classy look. You could engrave your picture frame to say, “Me and my big bro” on the top frame rail and “Myrtle Beach, 1993″ on the bottom of the frame. Or both lines on the same frame rail. Or a line on every frame rail. There are a lot of options for how to make your custom frame and many standard fonts to choose from. This idea works well for wedding anniversaries, baby showers, anything where a date is involved that you can engrave on your frame or to commemorate an event. For friends and family, an ideal wood picture frame to engrave is our Engrave-It frame. As the name suggests, it is made specifically to be laser engraved. It has a wide profile and a rich honey finish. Text and logos show up great when the wood shows through.
Engraved frames are particularly well suited to awards ceremonies for schools and corporate events. Again, for work anniversaries or retirment, a beautiful wood picture frame like our American Hardwoods or Coffee Bean series. These are both wide, flat frames with a slightly beveled edge and rich, dark colors that really contrast well when the finish is burned away to reveal the wood of the frame. These are great for graduation photos with the grad’s high school or college name engraved and maybe their years of attendance. Or maybe your PTA wants to present something to a particularly inspirational teacher, this is a gift where they’re name and room number–or a message of thanks, can be engraved. For corporate giveaways at tradeshows, simple logos can also be engraved as well. it is a sharp look and has the feel of a substantial promotional product but is also very affordable.
There’s no right or wrong way to create your engraved picture frames. There are so many options for text and graphics. You can get creative with it and give someone something really memorable. Engraved picture frames are made to impress.
Whether you work in an office, a restaurant a garage or a factory, you’re going to have things hanging on the walls. Inspirational “Successories” posters, a copy of your drink menu, safety guidelines and certificates, or even just prints to spruce up your decor. This isn’t a dorm room where you can just tack them to the wall, this is your business. You need nice picture frames to hang your art and photos in. You don’t necessarily want plastic poster frames but maybe you’re also not looking for wood picture frames either–you want something more sleek and modern. A perfect solution for your framing needs would be metal picture frames.
Metal picture frames are a great way to show off your business’s wall hangings. There are many benefits to choosing metal frames. For one thing, they’re versatile when it comes to styling. They have slim profiles giving them a sleek, modern look that would be at home in any office setting. Most come in a shiny or “flat” finish so you can decide how much attention you want drawn to the image being framed. You can choose a flat finish frame if you have neutral images that you want to blend into the overall decor, or you can go with shiny if you want to make sure people’s eyes are being caught and focused on your piece. Another benefit to metal picture frames is that they’re lightweight. They’re easy to move around and wall mount. In addition to their lightness, metal frames are also sturdy. Another consideration that is specific to food-service type businesses is that metal picture frames are easily cleaned. If you’ve got pictures hanging up at your tables, food particles can easily find their way up there. With metal frames it’s a snap to just wipe them down and keep them fresh and sparkling. The same goes for a garage where dust and grease are omnipresent. A good scrub with a damp cloth will have metal frames looking like new.
At Frame USA we have several different styles of metal picture frame, each one having its own profile and color options. Our most basic and popular metal frames are our Metal I and Metal II series. These frames have the same profile– a 3/8″ width with a rounded face–but differ in color choices and finish. Metal I has the shiny finish with the more basic colors–white, blue, red gold and silver.
Metal II has the more flat, “brushed” finish with more elegant colors like bronze, old world and blue pewter, contrast silver, among others.
Let’s say you like the look of the Metal I and Metal II but you want something a little thicker and heavier. Our Heavy Metal picture frames give you the same rounded face but with a 5/8″ width and a heavier build. It comes in four colors, shiny black, flat black, gold and silver and is ideal for more labor oriented shops that need to display safety regulations and certifications.
Maybe you aren’t a huge fan of the rounded face, though. You want something flat and you want some different colors choices for your frames. We’ve got you covered
there too. Our Glory Metal picture frames have a 5/8″ profile with a flat face, and in addition to the normal black, silver, gold and bronze also features a purple, evergreen and a steel grey. These picture frames would do well holding menus and specials or even posters in a theater lobby.
All of these frames come complete with glazing, backing and hanging hardware, all pre-assembled. “That’s all fine and good,” you say, “but I’ve already got a guy that cuts plexiglass for me and I use special backing. Do you have something I can just put together myself?” As a matter of fact we do! Our U-Frame-It kits come in two different styles; a 7/8″ depth and a 1″ depth, both feature the same colors. These include two frame sections in a certain size (so if you want to build an 11×17 you would buy one kit of 11″ and one kit of 17″) that start at 8″ and go all the way up to 51″. You can mix and
match to build any combination of sizes for your framed art.
So when you’re thinking about dressing up your business and you’re wondering what kind of frames you want to use, consider metal picture frames. They’re a solid solution that rocks!
The Newest T-Shirt Frame Product Line: Frame-A-Tee
Throughout a persons lifetime it is inevitable that they will have been given and or purchased a large amount of T-shirts.
The T-Shirt hording probably started in high school during pep rally’s and concerts. Continued on after graduation, maybe you went Greek in college and got a new t-shirt every event, or maybe you were an avid sports fan and really represented your college well with spirit wear.
After college and probably even before you may have participated in a charity event/race and received a T-shirt for participating or you wanted to rep your favorite professional sports team with T-shirts. Next thing you know you have an entire dresser filled with just T-shirts. If you’re like me, you probably only wear a quarter of the T-Shirts you have in your possession.
So what do you do with the other T-Shirts!?
If none of your T-shirts have any sentimental value attached you could just donate them to goodwill or a homeless shelter.
If you have a large group of shirts you can’t bare to part with you could take them to a seamstress and have them made into a blanket, so the memories are still there but the shirts aren’t taking up space.
However you are bound to have at least one or two T-shirts that you couldn’t bare to part with or the idea of them being chopped up tears you up inside. Thanks to a Frame USA Employee you now have a way to properly display and protect your beloved shirts: Frame-A-Tee
We took one of our popular wood moldings, In-Depth and turned it into an outlet for clearing out your closet, and decorating your home!
Frame-A-Tee comes in 2 classic colors, Natural, and Black.
After testing these frames out we have come up with 3 standard sizes that work for all sizes of T-shirts: 12×12, 14×14 and 14×18.
Each T-Shirt Frame will include the following:
2 pieces of Black Foamcore
2 pieces of Cardboard
wire kit for hanging
All of our employees are so excited about this product and we think our customers are really going to love these. So pull out your T-shirt collection, choose your favorites preserve the memories with Frame USA’s Newest Product: Frame-A-Tee.
A Day In The life Of A Customer Service Representative as told by a Customer Service Representative
Last week I gave my account of a day in the life of a customer service representative at Frame USA. Today I got one of our real life CS Reps to talk about what its really like.
The title, “Customer Service Representative” may not sound glamorous. It probably makes you think of dead-eyed office drones answering calls with the same, canned responses while they fiddle with their social media. At Frame USA, however, that is not the case at all. As a Customer Service rep here, there are so many different tasks and responsibilities, that we couldn’t be robots, even if we wanted to.
When it comes to answering calls, there’s no possible way to throw out tired, pre-rehearsed phrases and clichés. The custom nature of our products makes for a wide array of different questions and concerns from customers, many of whom are unfamiliar with framing, matting and production. With so many different frame styles, virtually every call is a different story and we have to know what we’re talking about so we can represent Frame USA with confidence and to make sure the customer is getting exactly what they want.
In addition to phone calls, we here in customer service are also fielding emails of every conceivable nature. Customers looking for price quotes; sales reps placing large, complex orders; poster questions; returns and assistance with damaged items…the list goes on.
The customer service team at Frame USA also works closely with every other department to make sure that processes are working smoothly and customers are receiving what they need in a timely manner. We run up and down stairs, around corners and throughout every nook and cranny of the building to get things done.
Being a customer service rep may never garner us magazine covers or inspire songs to be written but it is a daily adventure at Frame USA and it’s never boring.
We want to help businesses get the custom frames they need for their hotel, restaurant, corporate office or gallery.
We’ve made it easy and economical for our customers to purchase picture frames in bulk.
Here’s a 4 step process to make bulk volume ordering as simple as: lather, rinse, and repeat (which is what you’ll be doing once you get your picture frame order) .
Pick out the picture frames and/or mats that you absolutely love. We have a huge selection to choose from many of which are able to be laser engraved with a custom message.
When you have the picture frames you would like to order fill out our custom quote form. Once you this is complete one of our customer service agents will get back to you with your price within 8 hours.
So you have received your custom quote back from one of our agents, your next step is to place your order. But before you do that I bet you want to save even more, right? Here’s how: Volume Discounts.
We have two very not so secret discount codes available for our customers that spend big with us. There is a banner located right on the homepage of our website that when you click on it you find the codes.
These volume discounts are offered in two tiers:
7.5% Off your entire order. Offer only valid on ordersfrom $750-$999.99. Cannot be combined with any other promotion/discount. Enter coupon code: 7.5off750 at checkout.
10% Off your entire order. Offer only valid onorders over $1,000. Cannot be combined with any other promotion/discount. Enter coupon code:10%off1000 at checkout.
Place your order, receive your frames and be ecstatic with how your business looks.
This process is a fail-proof method for decorating your business, take advantage of our bulk ordering and volume discounts today!
As 2014 comes to an end, Frame USA reflects on the past year. The accomplishes that we have made, the setbacks and their solutions we have figured out, on our customers and what they seek from us as a company for the upcoming year and most importantly the people that you rarely hear about, our vendors. Every year Frame USA goes through our vendors and selects one particular that has gone above and beyond their line of duty. We turn to our Buyer/Inventory Manager, Leslie Hoctor, who works directly with our vendors for guidance on who should receive this prestigious award. Here is what she has to say about the recipient of Frame USA’s 2014 Vendor of The Year Award:
“Throughout 2014 we have made a successful transition to using more of their corrugated products then in the past. This has been a significant cost savings to us, as well as an increase in quality. Shipping with this vendor is almost always as promised, any delays or glitches are promptly communicated to me. Our salesman from this company, Steve Betz, gives us great service. He has been known to come to our facility for a visit with very little notice on many occasions. In one instance, our packers had a question about how to properly use one of his company’s corrugated products. Steve performed a very gracious impromptu training session and demonstration for them. We all learned a lot from this visit. This company as always been a significant contributor to our December Charity Initiative, Fill The Truck. I feel that our partnership is continually improving and will continue to grow for our mutual benefit in 2015.”
Without further ado…Drumroll please…..
Congratulations to Ackers Packaging on being the recipient of Frame USA 2014 Vendor of the Year Award, Thank you for all that you do for our company, we greatly appreciate it!
Posters are a great way to decorate your bedrooms but we often see people struggling to know how to frame posters. We thought we would help everyone out and give you our suggestions on framing posters! Spoiler Alert: We have a sale on poster frames going on right now, coupon code and more information about the sale are at the bottom of this post!
There are two things that make framing posters so difficult: The Size and the cheap poster prices. Posters are generally large; the standard poster sizes are typically 24×36 and larger. It will come to no surprise to you that large picture frames are going to be more expensive than small frames. So we thought we would give you our products that will make framing posters quick and easy. We have separated out our suggestions based on the age of the recipient.
framing a poster for Young Children:
When it comes to framing posters for children you want to keep it as inexpensive as possible because they are so young and their tastes in things change so rapidly. They may decide that the movie Frozen is there favorite thing in the whole world one minute and then decide the next that their favorite thing in the whole world is actually My Little Pony.
You also have to be worried about safety when it comes to hanging large pieces in your children’s room.
This series is made of Mylar which is a thin plastic channel with colored film on it. The sides of the poster frame slide off and back on for easy assembling. This series is one that will fit in every single group because it is so simple. They are available in all standard poster frame sizes.
FRAMING A POSTER FOR Teenagers:
This group has a pretty wide range of ages in it so there is more options for framing posters.
As mentioned above, our corrugated series is great for all ages, especially young children and teenagers. Another perk of the corrugated series for your older children is that they don’t need help assembling the frame. They can change out their poster choices easily with the slide off strips.
The kids in the middle of this age group are beginning to get more solidified interests and may want to have a sturdier frame. We suggest considering our Foam Core Series. This series is similar to the Corrugated poster frame Series with one difference, instead of cardboard backing it comes with a much sturdier Foam Core Backing.
For kids at the top of this age group, they know their interests, they are thinking about college and life after high school. You want something that makes their room feel like their own space, and give them the option of having something inexpensive but incredibly sturdy. We have a third option in our Mylar Poster Frame Series called The Hardboard Poster Frame Series. This series is perfect for kids who have posters that must last (until they get to college and completely change their interests). Our Hardboard Posterframes are cheap poster frames with an incredibly sturdy backing.
FRAMING A POSTER FOR College Kids:
The three posterframes mentioned above definitely still apply to these kids because college kids are rough and things break so why not give them a cheap poster framing option. Our Corrugated Series is probably the most popular with the dorm crowd because it’s light weight and can be hung using poster mounts on dorm walls.
For the kids that want a little bit more elegance for their apartments and dorm rooms we offer two affordable poster frames that have an elegant flair to them. Our Deluxe poster frames and Budget Saver Poster Frame Series are made from polystyrene which is hard plastic frame that is lightweight. They feature a more prominent molding to be a conversation piece in their home away from home.
FRAMING A POSTER FOR Adults:
For those that have graduated college and/or have been in the workforce for quite some time you know what you like, and you have a more flexible budget when it comes to framing posters. You could always go with your traditional black wood frames, but if you still want cheap frames for posters than you will be very interested in our newest posterframe picture frame line. Our Simply Poly Series has all the style of a classic wood picture frame moulding but it’s made out of the same material as our Deluxe and Budget Saver so it should be high on your list of cheap framing options!
We absolutely love Simply Poly here in the office because they are so durable, and versatile but still have such an elegance that none of our other posterframes posses.
Want to know the best part about all of these suggestions? Right now you can get them for 10% off!
Starting today until November 17th at midnight you can get any of our posterframes on Frameusa.com for 10% off the listed price using the coupon code WHITEBOARD. Add that to your list of cheap framing options and you got yourself beautifully framed posters for cheap!
Last week we posted the first part of the life hacks that we provide to our customers and as promised here is part two! We hope that these will serve you well as the holiday season approaches:
Frame USA’s Life Hacks
Life Hack #6: We offer wholesale Prices!
This one is kind of a no-brainer. We value our customers, so when we find one that is planning on ordering only large orders of picture frames, we want to reward them for giving us their business. The only thing they have to do is fill out our B2B form. Once they are approved, they will see a brand new list of pricing for all of our products!
Life Hack #7: We make it easy to save big.
It’s safe to say that our picture frames are inexpensive high quality products, but we love our customers, so we give them numerous opportunities to purchase our products for even lower prices. The best way to stay up to date on our products is to sign up for our email newsletter. (we promise not to bombard your email with useless information) If you by chance love to see and read useless information, well you should check out and follow our social media pages. Not only do we post sales that are exclusive to our followers but we give you insight information into our company!
Life Hack #8: Have a problem? We’re just a chat away.
Just because we’re an online business, doesn’t mean that we aren’t here for you. Our team of customer service agents is here to help you solve any problems or answer any questions that may come your way about our website, or our products. On top of being a critical part of the company these agents are available via live chat (accessible on our website) to help make things easier for you, don’t hesitate to reach out them during business hours (9AM-5PM est)
Life Hack #9: Track your order easily online.
If you’re one of our more active customers, you may be familiar with our tracking system, and you may hate it, well we have heard the complaints and we listened to you and have updated the tracking system. Although it’s not as real time as the Dominos pizza tracker, we’re pretty happy with it and we hope you are too! You are now able to see just what stage of production your order is using our ‘Track My Order’ feature. Not only is this available for our customers that order picture frames online, we have also made it possible for customers that place orders over the phone to use this feature (ask your agent about this the next time you call in!).
Life Hack #10: We will give you 110%
I bet you’re scratching your head about how exactly this is a life hack for you, but trust us it is. Think about your worst shopping experience ever, was it the company’s product that angered you or was it the service you received from that company? More often than not a company that leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth did so by giving you awful service. Not only do we all want exceptional service all the time, we expect it and when a company doesn’t deliver they end up on our list of bad companies. At Frame USA we’re different from your everyday company; on top of creating amazing high quality made in the USA Picture Frames, we are dedicated to creating what we refer to as “raving fans”. Raving Fans are our repeat, loyal, and happy customers. At Frame USA our number one goal is to prove to you why we excel at our work and have you “rave” about our products and services. The employees at Frame USA go about their day with one thing on their minds: how is what I’m doing going to create raving fans. We give our customers 110%,we are prompt, accommodating and understanding; three things you are looking for during the Holiday Season.
Well there you have it, Frame USA’s Top 10 life hacks for our customers . We hope that you enjoyed these and that they have provided some simplicity in your life! Comment and Let us know if you would like this to be a reoccurring theme in which we give you life hacks for things like DIY projects and custom framing!