Mirror Framing: A Reflection on Getting the Reflection Just Right

You already know that Artists Frame Service is the country's largest custom picture framing store, but you might not know that we frame more than just art. From hinged shadowboxes and wedding dresses to sports jerseys and keepsakes, there’s almost no limit to what we can frame. But what is one of the most overlooked, yet jaw-dropping and immensely practical items you could possibly hang in your space? A custom framed mirror. And as Dr. Phil so wisely says, "It's hard to see your own face without a mirror".

Iron and Bronze “Stonehenge” frame with “Bramble” accent and beveled mirror

Iron and Bronze “Stonehenge” frame with “Bramble” accent and beveled mirror

Framed mirrors provide an instant visual impact to any space and any décor. Just like we have a variety of options for our framed art, a framed mirror can be made with a traditional beveled edge or sleek and modern flat glass. You also have the choice between clear or vintage and distressed finishes for the mirror glass. Custom framed mirrors can be made from any of our 1000 stock frames and can be ready in as little as one week. And when it is ready, our expert team of installers will hang your framed mirror in the perfect spot.

Our installers measure and prep the wall for the mirror. MEasure twice, hammer once!

Our installers measure and prep the wall for the mirror. MEasure twice, hammer once!

A cleat bar IS INSTALLED TO hold the extra weight of the mirror.

A cleat bar IS INSTALLED TO hold the extra weight of the mirror.

Recently, our customers ordered a stunning framed mirror to go over the mantle in their living room. They have a gorgeous view out the window looking south on Lincoln Park and Lake Shore Drive and were hoping to capture some of the light and color in the mirror to bring the lakefront indoors.

The VIEW OUT THE WINDOW LOOKING SOUTH ON LAKE SHORE DRIVE.

The VIEW OUT THE WINDOW LOOKING SOUTH ON LAKE SHORE DRIVE.

Based off of pictures the client provided of the space, we chose a chunky modern profile paired with a warm richly-textured accent frame. The colors work well with the décor and bring a more modern look while not clashing with their vintage fireplace. The frame was made to fit perfectly within a specific area on the wall bordered by the existing architectural moulding. 

the mirror is installed at an angle to bring the beautiful outside in.

the mirror is installed at an angle to bring the beautiful outside in.

After seeing it installed, we realized that the mirror was reflecting the ceiling rather than the view. So, we uninstalled the framed mirror, brought it back to the showroom, and added on a custom backing that allows the mirror to tilt down at an angle. We re-installed the mirror in the same place, with added support, and made a final adjustment by lowering it down an inch and a half to make absolutely sure that the clients weren’t just satisfied, they were thrilled.

The fantastic final result.

The fantastic final result.

For inspiration to design your own custom mirror frame for your living room, bathroom, bedroom, or even your office, check out our mirror framing page to see photos of other framed mirrors we’ve created. If you have questions about custom mirror framing or any of the other services we provide at Artists Frame Service, be sure to contact us

What is Art?

WHAT IS ART? 

Marc Chagall said, “art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.” Pablo Picasso, meanwhile, thought that “art is a lie that makes us realize truth,” whereas Paul Cezanne contemplated that the definition of art might be “the reproduction of what the senses perceive in nature, seen through the veil of the soul.” Or, as Marcel Duchamp’s infamous “Fountain” exhibition of 1917 tried to show, maybe art is just anything that’s displayed in a museum or gallery—or even your home.

At Artists Frame Service, we believe that art is in the eye of the beholder and that it can be anything you want it to be. That belief is reflected in the wide variety of art that we’ve framed for our clients over the years—from limited edition prints to acrylic paintings, even sports jerseys or needlework.

In the interest of encouraging the next generation, we recently ran a scholarship competition and asked aspiring high school artists: what do you think art is, and what does it mean to you? 

We received numerous great entries, but chose Claire Krueger of Novi, Michigan to receive the award. Claire will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in the fall as an aspiring fashion designer. We wish her a bright and creativity filled future! See some of her work here including her duct tape prom dress. 

HERE IS AN ABBREVIATED VERSION OF CLAIRE'S WINNING ANSWER TO OUR QUERY; WHAT IS ART?

Art is a house, in which an idea makes itself at home. Everyone has ideas, good ideas, bad ideas, world-shattering ideas, and ideas that simply disappear, and it takes a skilled artist to capture that idea on paper. Or off paper, any method to keep the idea alive. Art lives through different times, it can be as short-lived as a sketch at the bottom of a recycling bin, or as long lived as a statue that has suffered through times of war yet lives to tell the tale. Art is a means for the idea to live through the centuries. No matter the length of the life span, if it is created it is art.

Of course there is the good and the bad. There is the Mona Lisa and the stuff that hangs on your mother’s fridge, but the quality of the execution doesn't diminish the value of the art. Other than becoming a home to an idea art serves everyone a different purpose. To the artist it can be stress relief, a career or way to preserve your name into the unforeseeable future. To the observer it can be an adventure, inspiration, or even comfort.

Art inspires and drives more ideas and more art. It has followed us through the ages and grown with us, as it’s creation and destruction paralleled that of our own. Art has become our window into the past as well as our window into the future and it becomes the mind's playground. Since everything, including art, is open to interpretation the meaning of art becomes virtually infinite, and it is that incredible nature which makes makes me proud to call myself an artist.

Picture Frames:Beyond Wood

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Picture frames have been made out of wood since the beginning of picture framing time. In the store we carry over 1000 options in natural hard woods, reclaimed wood from old mid-western houses , barn wood, and eco-friendly forested wood from Europe with exotic wood veneers.

But when it comes to creative framing, there are plenty of opportunities to think "outside of the log" and create an amazing frame with alternative materials….

LEATHER

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Craftsmen in Peru, working for a generations-old company that originally made saddles and horse accoutrements, have harnessed their knowledge to make custom leather-wrapped furniture and frames. Many examples have hand-tooling and unique accents and each piece is a work of art.

ACRYLIC

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Prisma custom acrylic frames are made one-at-a-time right here in Chicago. Light reflects and bounces through the acrylic which gives these frames a quality of depth unlike any other frame we’ve ever seen. Customize your own combination of color, pattern and shape to create a frame like no other. Read more about Prisma and see more examples here.

Each Prisma is designed for your piece and made to order right here in chicago from solid hi-grade acrylic! Awesome!

Each Prisma is designed for your piece and made to order right here in chicago from solid hi-grade acrylic! Awesome!

WELDED STEEL

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While usually considered an industrial look for modern art and photography, we often recommend a steel frame for wedding photography and ketubahs. These frames really reflect the idea of permanence and a welded bond for life. Steel is also a recyclable material so it’s an earth friendly choice. Steel frames are available in a variety of tones and finishes. Read more about steel frames and see more examples here.

FAUX FINISH

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Framing designers are getting ever more creative these days and wrapping wood frames with all manner of materials. Come in to pet our faux fur, be bedazzled by our glitter frames and covet the other various and supple vinyl, cork and faux-leather frames.

The moral of the story is we’ve got a lot of interesting options and something for everyone. Some of these are not your Grandma’s frames, but then again, we haven't met your Grandma! 

Come in soon to shop our ever-changing eclectic selection and experience the best custom framing in Chicago!

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.