Thursday, March 20, 2014

Live & Learn -- Custom Framing

We moved into our new house a little over a year ago now, and I'll admit it's taken us a while to settle in. That's what happens when you practically quadruple your square footage and decide that you don't want all your furniture to come from IKEA anymore.
So one month, one room, and one paycheck at a time, we've been working on furnishing and decorating our new home. And as you can imagine, as Baby Boy's birthday looms and my nesting instincts kick in full force, my franticness to get the house in order has taken on a new level of hysteria.
This week we focused on the media room upstairs.
A couple years ago, Stew's dad gave him a whole trunk full of stuff from his childhood bedroom, and it contained all kinds of cool sports memorabilia. I thought it would be fun to have some of the posters framed and hang them in the media room, giving it a sort of "sports" theme (whatever you do, DO NOT call it a Man Cave).
Hence the lessons I learned about custom framing.
Watch out my friends... what a complete and total scam!
I had heard that custom framing can be quite expensive, so I started gathering some handy dandy coupons in order to make it affordable for us. I mean hot damn, look at these deals! 70% off at Michaels and 60% off at Aaron Brothers... a steal of a deal!
Oh poor, naïve Sarah.
First, we went into Michaels to get a price quote, and excitedly reviewed the custom framing package pricing on the wall. We had three 24x36 posters, so we saw we could get a deluxe package including the frame, assembly, two mats and glass for just $205 a poster... and that would be before our 70% off coupon was applied! Totally affordable. We had the sales person do some mockups for us and then she crunched the numbers. This is where Stew almost lost his mind...
Our quote was $290 PER POSTER, which included the 70% discount! I'm sorry, but that math just did not add up for us. When Stew asked why the price was so much more expensive than advertised, the girl just shrugged and said, "Those prices aren't even remotely correct; I have no idea why we even have them up there. But as you can see you're saving $471 per poster, so this is an excellent deal."
So the advertised price of $205 was really $761 for one stinking poster.
Needless to say, we walked away.
Next door at Aaron Brothers, we marched into the framing section and immediately asked if the prices on the wall were accurate, or if they were completely unrealistic like Michaels. Here, the sales person apologetically explained that indeed, the advertised prices weren't really realistic. But then she went immediately to the computer and started crunching numbers to try and help us find a cost effective way to have our posters framed.
Eventually we found a solution: Buying frames off the sales floor, and then paying for a framing services package that included dry mounting, preservation spacing and fitting, and hardware on each frame. All for a grand total of $344 for all three posters. Not bad, considering that I originally thought that custom framing would be about $100 per poster.
And I think they turned out pretty well! 
So live and learn, folks: custom framing is NOT necessarily affordable, but some stores are much better than others at working within your budget. So be sure you shop around!
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  1. They can do that?!! Surely that's false advertising and they can get in loads of trouble?!

  2. Holy crap!!! Their custom framing must be done by magical elves or something for them to charge so much. I do like how your posters came out and boy what a price difference !!! Oh and I loved the whole "That's what happens when you practically quadruple your square footage and decide that you don't want all your furniture to come from IKEA anymore" thats how the hubby and I feel when we talk about how we want our new home to be furnished lol

  3. That is so ridiculous. Thank you for sharing your findings! I have a couple pieces of artwork I need framed....

  4. Don't even get me started on custom framing! Joel bought me a couple beautiful, water color paintings of trees for Christmas last year and I did just what you did. Collected coupons, waited for a sale and went into the store with high hopes of a good deal. And yes, we did get something like 60% or 70% of the price, but good heavens! It was an eye opener! I am so happy with the finished product, but did it really have to cost an arm and a leg to have it done? I know for a fact that my trip to the emergency room cost me less money than custom framing for two 11x14 images (or some similar size). A TRIP TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM! Riddle me that! :)

    P.S. The posters turned out great!

  5. I am so glad you posted this! I ALWAYS see Michaels advertising their customer framing and as you did I always get coupons for such "great" deals. How disappointing that they clearly advertise the wrong prices!! I always wanted to go in there and get framing work done, but not anymore! Haha! So glad you guys found a better deal and they look great!

  6. WHAT?!?!? I can't believe Michael's was so far off on their advertised price!!!

  7. They turned out well! I can't believe Michael's was so off base!!!!!! WTF?!

  8. I've never done custom framing for that purpose. WAY too expensive. But crazy how much more it was at Michael's!

  9. Oh man! Michael's is WAY expensive! I've found that you get the best prices when you go to a local framing shop instead of the bigger stores. :)

  10. Wow that is crazy! I'm glad you got it figured out though... They look awesome. Josh and I wanted to frame some records and their covers and quickly realized we could do it out selves for way cheaper, but we know it doesn't look as good as it could!

  11. Good to know you had those posters professionally mounted, etc. The first (and last) time I went to Michaels with my 70% off coupon, I was thinking the same thing, "Great deal" but yea, $200 for a frame was beyond ridiculous. My lesson is to buy prints, photos that are "standard" size (stuff you can find off the floor). Your idea is a great alternative too.

  12. Well, that's pretty good stuff to know! :)

  13. Custom framing is shockingly expensive! For our first Christmas post-marriage, I had a art print that my husband already owned framed....and yeah, that was the only thing he got for Christmas. It's definitely a good idea to shop around and use coupons...I know there's DIY options but when it's something that you want to really make sure is preserved well then I think it's worth it to have it done by's just sadly expensive!


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