10 Tips for Choosing the Right Custom Frame

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There are some who have said that getting something custom framed is intimidating and a real pain. We couldn't disagree more.  Framing requires a lot of decision making, but it's not a chore when you work with a professional well-trained consultant. We're here to make great recommendations and walk you painlessly through the process.

HERE ARE TEN THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING FOR CUSTOM PICTURE FRAMING:

1. KNOW YOUR STYLE

Give your framer a little info on what else you have in your home or space where the art is going to hang. Do you prefer a modern and clean look, more traditional or an eclectic mix?

2. BE OPINIONATED, BUT ALSO OPEN-MINDED

We know you came here for our advice, but the first thing we will likely ask you is if you had anything in mind for the piece. We really want to know your ideas. We might agree or we might push you to go a little farther and imagine something even greater than you initially thought. It's a collaboration.

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3. CONSIDER THE SPACE

Your art can be dressed up or dressed down. Something going in the kitchen would be framed differently than the same piece going over the fireplace. Do you want to make a big statement or play it cool?

4. CELEBRATE DIVERSITY

Sometimes people ask us for a black frame only because every other frame in the room is black. Trust us. They won't notice that all your frames are the same color. People will notice how amazing your art looks with the perfect frame in the perfect color. Don't be afraid to mix it up.

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5. YOU LEARNED IT ALL IN ART CLASS 101

Line, shape, color and texture are the fundamentals of art and the things we're identifying in your piece to make frame suggestions. The right frame will highlight one or more of these aspects. We're going for that "It looks like it was made just for this piece of art" moment.

6. SIZE MATTERS

Part of our job is making sure the frame is strong enough to support everything going inside of it. Don't get upset if your tiny thin frame dreams are crushed. We just want everything to be safe and last a long time on your wall because....

7. GOOD FRAMING LASTS A LIFETIME....OR EVEN LONGER

What we're framing today will very likely be an heirloom for your kids or grand-kids. We always recommend the best preservation museum quality mat boards and UV protective glass. You wouldn't be framing it if it wasn't important to you, so let's take the best care possible.

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8. FIND THE LOVE THAT LASTS A LIFETIME

If we've narrowed down the design to a couple options and you can't decide which frame to go with, remember you will be looking at this piece every day. Go with the frame that will bring you joy and make your heart sing instead of just go "meh".

9. BUDGET

We'll always show you what we think works best with the art first. If it doesn't fit your budget, we can adjust the design. Keep in mind that you're going to be looking at this art for a long time. Going with what you really love can actually save money since you won't want to re-frame it down the road.

10. CONGRATULATE YOURSELF

How often in life do you get to buy a product that's completely custom-made? You're not getting a cookie-cutter mass produced thing. You're buying a one-of-a-kind hand-crafted item. Skilled hands are going to take care and make sure it's done just so. Enjoy the moment. You deserve it. 

Time for Spring Cleaning

We’ve changed our clocks, the birds are chirping and the tulips, daffodils and crocus are beginning to appear. That can only mean two things. First – it’s Spring! Second – it’s time for spring cleaning.

Snow bells and crocus popping up for spring.

Snow bells and crocus popping up for spring.

Here are some dos and don’ts for cleaning your exquisitely framed items.

How to Clean your Picture Frames:

clean frames with just a light dusting to avoid damaging fragile finishes.

clean frames with just a light dusting to avoid damaging fragile finishes.

Most finishes on your frames are pretty delicate. It’s not recommended to really clean them at all beyond a light dusting. Gold and silver leaf finishes in particular can be scratched or completely rubbed off if you go to town with any kind of spray cleaner. If you must, a slightly damp soft cotton cloth or an old t-shirt can be used to gently wipe them down.

 

How to Clean Glass:

we put glass care labels on the back of every frame.

we put glass care labels on the back of every frame.

Check the back of your framing for our sticker to identify the type of glass and find our recommended care instructions.  Most glass can be cleaned with paper towels and any kind of ammonia-free spray cleaner. A soft cotton cloth or old t-shirt works too.  Always spray the cleaner on the rag rather than directly on the glass. This makes sure you don’t over-spray with drips getting under the glass or get any spray on the frame itself. Wipe in steady circular motions.

 

How to Clean Museum Glass:

always spray the cleaner on the cloth and never directly on the glass.

always spray the cleaner on the cloth and never directly on the glass.

The magical secret to Museum glass that makes it look invisible is the anti-reflective coating. This coating on the surface is a little more delicate than regular glass and can scratch like eyeglasses if you use something too abrasive.  We recommend avoiding paper towels and instead use a soft cotton cloth or a micro-fiber cloth. Any ammonia-free glass cleaner will work. We do carry a great product for purchase in store as well as micro-fiber cloths. If there are still some stubborn streaks or fingerprints left on the glass, using a solution of 50/50 water and rubbing alcohol as a spot treatment should lift off any oil residue.

Non-streak ammonia-free cleaner available for purchase in store. works great on all glass, acrylic and mirrors.

Non-streak ammonia-free cleaner available for purchase in store. works great on all glass, acrylic and mirrors.


How to Clean Acrylic and Plexiglas

novus products are great for cleaning acrylic and plexiglas.

novus products are great for cleaning acrylic and plexiglas.

When cleaning acrylic, it’s best to use mild soap and water or a product designed for cleaning plastics. Regular glass cleaner is not recommended. Paper towels also can be a little abrasive, so we prefer a soft cotton or micro-fiber cloth. If you should find a little scratch in your acrylic, we suggest the Novus brand of products that can be used to buff out minor scratches.  #3 for a deep scratch, #2 for an artificial scratch and #1 for an all-purpose every day polish and shine.


Bring in the Big (air) Guns

sometimes little bugs can get in your framing. we can get them out!

sometimes little bugs can get in your framing. we can get them out!

A little light spring cleaning you can handle on your own but you might find yourself in need of professional help. We often have customers bring us framed items that have been in the basement or in storage and now have signs of mold or insects. We’ll be happy to open your framing and air blast out anything creepy crawly. With a little refresh of the matting and glass or new backing paper and wire your older treasures can be made good as new.


Give Walls a Fresh Look

empty wall in need of artwork and expert installer at work.

empty wall in need of artwork and expert installer at work.

Ready for a new look for spring? We can help rearrange and rehang your collection. Contact us today to schedule one of our experienced installers.  

NEW!! TROPICAL Colors ARE IN for Spring!

Vibrant sunset over the malecon in Havana, Cuba.

Vibrant sunset over the malecon in Havana, Cuba.

When visiting Havana, a prime spot for people watching and catching a breeze is the famous long sweeping harbor front; the malecon. Now in for spring is a collection of 16 colorful frames named for this area and inspired by the vibrant culture, classic cars, colorful architecture and amazing people of Cuba. 

16 bright colors of the malecon frame collection

16 bright colors of the malecon frame collection

As we slowly inch toward a possible relaxation of our long-standing embargo against Cuba, there are increasingly accessible loopholes allowing US citizens to visit. These travel images, stories and photos of daily Cuban life and culture are now flooding social media sites. I even just saw a series of Cuban travel videos posted by popular European travel guru Rick Steves. Taste mavens in the design industries are predicting this influx of colorful tropical scenery and time-capsuled architecture and design will branch out and have an effect on our own sense of decor. 

The Malecon frame collection is wrapped in viscose fabric which gives a sexy, supple, and smooth-to-the-touch leather-like texture. Colors range from supple black to bright and poppy hot pink and orange. Some colors are a perfect match for framing sports memorabilia. The Salsa Red and Butterfly Blue in particular will suit all your Cubs framing needs. 

A souvenir purchased in Cuba. Framed in bahama blue from the malecon collection.

A souvenir purchased in Cuba. Framed in bahama blue from the malecon collection.

Stop in today to see and feel the Malecon range. Time to shake off some of that winter with some jazzy warm color on the wall.  As always, we're here to bring you the latest and greatest in custom picture framing for all your fine and funky art. Ay carumba!

Christo's "gates" framed in orange hibiscus from the malecon collection.

Christo's "gates" framed in orange hibiscus from the malecon collection.

Can You Frame The Love?

Chocolate goes right to your waist and flowers only last a week, but fine framing is a gift that lasts a lifetime. With Valentine's Day upon us, it's time to give that special someone a gift that's not only romantic but also practical. 

designing custom Framing for wedding decorations

designing custom Framing for wedding decorations

WEDDING PICTURES

Maybe like a lot of couples, your wedding was a year ago but the wedding pictures are still in the envelope from the photographer. You can schedule a romantic date with one of our framing consultants and select custom framing together and proudly display your love for all to see. We're open Valentine's Day from 11 am to 5 pm. 

Custom framed professional wedding photograph.

Custom framed professional wedding photograph.

ROMANTIC MEMENTOS

You could also frame a romantic token of your relationship. Some ideas we've seen and framed include the champagne cork from the proposal, the first rose you ever gave her or the only rose that didn't disintegrate when she threw her dried bouquet at you in a fit of anger. You might also consider something more conventional like framing your ketubah or wedding invitation.

Custom Framed Dried Flower

SWEETHEART PORTRAITS

Are you busy and running out of time? Is it too cold to leave the house? A printed and framed pic of you and your sweetie is an almost instant no-hassle gift. Send us the file through our handy link here, give us a rough idea of what size and style frame you're after and we can email you suggestions and pricing. Your gift will be ready for pick up when you need it and we even gift wrap. Honestly, It's like having a personal shopper.

We print and frame your personal pictures.

We print and frame your personal pictures.

SPORTS MEMORABILIA

Need a Valentine idea for him? Consider a gift celebrating the other love of his life. Custom framing of that special sports jerseys, ticket, game ball or picture from the stands is sure to warm his heart. Framing sports memorabilia - we're in it to win it. 

Custom framing for all sorts of sports memorabilia.

Custom framing for all sorts of sports memorabilia.

CRAFTY GIFTS

When your child makes a sweet home-made Valentine for Mommy or Daddy, preserve it in a custom ready-made frame option. They're only little for such a short time, but framing lasts a lifetime. 

Custom Framed Home-made Valentine

Wishing you the sweetest of holidays and love all around! Happy Valentine's Day, Chicago!