One of the questions my friends and customers often ask is, “Where can I find a frame?” I usually end up rattling off a list of stores I use, and explain where the best price is. When I frame my artwork to sell, I generally don't spend more than $30 on the framing materials, and I cut my own mat board. This saves the up-front cost of framing, and makes your art more presentable. Of course, some customers will prefer to frame themselves, and that is fine. This is another reason to budget the initial framing costs, or find out before transaction if they would like you to do the framing.
Here is a list of stores I use, located in the United States:
1. Big Lots - I don’t always find a good frame there, however I have gotten some screaming deals on pre-cut 16x20 mats ($3.00 each) with 8x10” openings. These I can cut to larger sizes if I need. Stock is always random.
2. Tuesday Morning - I have found some great 16x20 frames for $10-$15. Stock is always random.
3. Marshall’s & Marshall’s Home Goods / Ross / TJ Maxx - Great frames with mats included, and you can also buy framed home decor, and take the innards out to use the frame, glass, hanging hardware and sometimes the backing board. Prices range from $7.99-$12.99 for 11x14 frames. Stock is always random.
4. Thrift Stores / Garage Sales - Generally, I stop into Goodwill, and they will have either empty frames with glass, or framed artwork I can take apart to use the frame, glass, etc. One time, I was STOKED to find 4 matching black frames, 2 of 9x12, 2 of 11x14. This is always random, but quite often these frames are good solid wood core, and not the ligthweight plasticy stuff that is most often seen.
5. Hobby Lobby - I will only purchase frames from them if I have a 50% off coupon. Good thing is, they often have coupons and sales.
6. Michael’s Arts & Crafts - I will only purchase frames from this store if there is a 40% off Frames sale, which happens often.
7. Jerry’s Artarama - They never have sales on frames, (if they do, I am unfamiliar with it) but I have a rule, that if a frame or glass breaks, I will buy art glass (UV protected) and a better frame for the piece of art in question, if the budget allows. I will say that you can get standard sizes from Jerry’s of heavy wood-core frames for a decent price without a sale. I believe I spent around $40 for a frame with a 24x30" opening. The frame was gorgeous, and 4" wide You do then have to buy your glass and backing board, but otherwise I found it worth my money.