Framing – Lessons Learned
When it comes to frames and you don’t know what to do, ask your local framer! Obvious, no? I would say not-so-obvious to me. I’d like to share this last week’s framing lesson in the hope that it might save another “do-your-own” framer some frustration.
I have been framing my artwork for the past 13 years, give or take. I started out using wood frames that I painted myself to match the art. After ten years, I was pretty good at my own process. The paintings looked good and I received compliments on the framing.
Things in the art world change and framing is no exception. In the past few years, I’ve been submitting to exhibitions that require metal framing. Consequently, I’ve had to learn how to put together metal frames. How hard can it be? There are step-by-step instructions that come with the frame; easy as can be.
The metal frames are fairly easy to put together and yet there was a problem. The hanging hardware that comes with the frames is the “snap in” kind. They are not easy to snap in. If you get the hardware to “snap in” without bending the frame or hardware, you’re lucky. If you get the hardware snapped into the track without raising your blood pressure, you’re also lucky.
Naturally, when I first had trouble with the hanging hardware, I did a search on the internet. I found an article on Cheap Joes Art Supplies’ Blog about sliding the “snap in” hardware, rather than snapping it in. Its a good article and I found it helpful.
However, they hint at the next problem with the snap in hardware. It doesn’t stay where it’s supposed to; snap in becomes slide in and keep on sliding in. I knew there had to be a better way.
This week, I finally had a pivotal moment. As my frustration level started to rise I thought there has to be a better way. After all, framers do this everyday. Then, AHA! Why don’t I ask the art supply store where I bought the frame for recommendations? They have on-site framers. They have to know a better solution.
I called our local art store, Central Art Supply in Medford, OR where I buy my frames. I talked to their framer and asked how they get the snap-in hangers to work. She told me they don’t use the snap-ins; they use screw in types like “Euro-hangers”. I was so excited, I forgot to ask her if they had any in stock. Another phone call and a trip to the store and I was set. (I found examples of screw-in type hanging hardware at United Mfrs, Supply Inc).
For less than $2.00, I had six Euro-hangers. It took me just a few painless minutes to slide the hangers down the frame track. Screw in place and voila! A secure hanger for my frame! Sometimes the simplest things make me so happy.
The other thing the framer told me was how to deal with the ends of the hanging wire. She suggested wrapping them with masking tape. I had been trying different tapes like black electrician’s tape, but the tape wasn’t holding. Good old masking tape does the trick! The ends are neat and tidy. I don’t have to worry about wire gouging anyone. The framer said that they have gone to the plastic encased wire so the ends are not a problem.
Support your local art supply store and framer. The internet can not beat a live person to talk to about a problem.
Bottom Line #2.
I can learn new tricks! The challenge – asking, and knowing who to ask!