Custom Framing Art Tips, Cost, and Frame Selection Ideas

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at my local framer’s… which is honestly one of my favorite places and design tasks. While I love a good budget frame or am happy taking the DIY approach, some art or photographs really warrant the assistance of a professional. Take it from an interior designer who has selected hundreds of frames over the years, framing can really make or break a work of art. Today, I’m sharing what custom framing costs (which is probably less than you might imagine), how to find & work with your local framer, and I’m spilling my best frame selection & layout ideas. Check it out!

Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -

Custom Framing Cost

Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -

First, I wanted to share a little insight on budgeting for custom framing, because the cost can really vary. I’ve paid anywhere from $40 per work to $250. What causes the vast price difference? Frame style, material, and complexity. Frames made of resin are significantly less expensive than wood frames, and the more ornate or decorative- the higher the price. Frame material (or mouldings as they’re referred to in the industry) can range anywhere from $5 per linear foot to $90. You can always request an estimate from your framer, which will include the frame itself, glass (if needed), and a mat (depending on your design).

Some cost examples throughout my home? The horse gallery in my home office cost around $500 to frame (for all five, so $100 per piece). Derby, our beloved horse portrait (last seen in my holiday living room) cost only $50 for a simple floated canvas frame… and it’s an oversized work! The four giant photographs in the maroon guest room – those cost around $400 for the set.

How to Process Works

Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -

By now, my framer knows me and my aesthetic very well, so his suggestions are always spot on. The pros always have the best ideas, so don’t hesitate to as your framer to brainstorm. I always show up with a general idea of what I’m looking for. I arrive with the following…

  • Art in hand… ready to go.
  • An idea of frame color or style.
  • Swatches (if color matching).
  • Rough size or scale parameters.
  • A budget.
Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -

Now you’re ready for the fun part… playing with materials and making a framing mood board of sorts. Here’s how the process works…

  • Let your framer know your price range.
  • They’ll guide you to frames within your budget or make suggestions, in which you can pull samples from the wall to play with.
  • You can also grab mats to mock up alongside the different frame styles.
  • Once you land on a combination you love, you’ll need to specify the size (frame size and mat size).
  • You’ll also need to decide on glass, if applicable.
  • Your framer will price it out for you, in which you’ll approve the design.
  • My framer is usually 3-6 weeks booked out, so that’s my typical lead time for picking my artwork up.

Tips for Choosing a Frame & Mat

Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -

Curious about the most recent item I dropped off to my framer? The above artifact is an antique tattoo needle from our recent trip to Thailand that Emmett obsessed over, and I’m finally getting it framed for him. He wants to hang it in his office at Mapleleaf. Dimensional objects are especially fun to put in deep frames atop a linen mat. This frame size will be oblong. Anyway, moving onto tips for choosing a frame & mat of your own…

Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -

Here are some ideas for choosing a frame and / or mat. It’s fun to get creative with the materials and scale.

  • Try repeating a color found within the artwork when choosing the frame.
  • Play with scale… I love an oversized mat with lots of negative space.
  • Weight your mat toward the top or bottom- the artwork doesn’t always have to be centered.
  • Choose classic frame colors and materials- I love wooden frames and gilded options… as well as linen mats.
  • Don’t forget about dimension… deeper frames create more dimension and you can have your artwork floated.
  • Consider your personal aesthetic. When going custom, I love to design something that seamlessly blends with the decor in my home or has a vintage / antique look.
Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -


Are the little frames on your kitchen backsplash with the Italian artwork custom?

No- those actually came from a local shop, but I found the same ones that I added to my Amazon frame board! I framed those little ones myself. Like I said, I do appreciate a good DIY!

How do you find a good local framer?

My framer is a wholesale framer (to the trade), but I always rely on word of mouth from friends, Google (good reviews), and every time I’ve moved to a new area… I’ve wandered into multiple frame shops just to take a peek.

Do you have any ideas or tips for displaying artwork upright (not on the wall)?

Absolutely! I like to lean art on a ledge or against a wall, but I love an easel vignette. We just added these new brass frame easels to the shop (pictured below in Jordan’s house). We also have some budget friendly notched easels and plaster easels.

Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -


Having a BA in Fine Art and Art History, I’m really into collecting unique pieces, vintage art, originals, I try to keep the Tuesday Made shop well curated, and I always have my eyes peeled for works that fit in our own home. A big part of being an art lover, includes the frame (and picture lights, too!). I hope this post was helpful, if you’re planning to have any pieces framed. Looking for more artwork related posts? I’ll link some good ones for you below!

Custom Framing Art Cost and Frame Selection Tips -

We’re working to wrap up our basement kitchen renovation, which will definitely include some new art… and old favorites! Do you have any art that needs framed? I have a stack just waiting for me to take the time. Here’s to a great week ahead, that may warrant a trip to the framer!

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  1. Good morning! So many helpful tips…on a subject that generally confounds me. First of all, I must say that your framer’s pricing sounds extremely reasonable. I have only had a few pieces professionally framed because my frugal heart has been bruised by the cost. Part of my problem is that I don’t know how to start the process with a reasonable budget. I choose what’s beautiful, and then get hit with the estimate.🤯 Worst idea ever because then I’m faced with an uncomfortable cost or starting over. My greater dilemma though is: To Mat or Not to Mat. I’ve generally thought that a canvas doesn’t need a mat, but other pieces do. Then I acquired a large work on paper that would seem enormous with matting…and an expensive mistake if I dislike the result. So. Rolled up in the mailing tube it sits. Welp. My best case scenario is finding art I love already framed. Ha. Seriously, just thinking about framing something stresses me out. I’m going to reread your tips and other posts to bolster my confidence. All of your artwork provides fabulous inspiration. Thanks for all of your designer insight on this topic. Meanwhile, my garden still awaits because we woke to snow on Saturday! Ha. My inside seeds have begun to sprout though, so that’s a start. BTW, seeing Emmett’s expert social media post about the hutch definitely cranked up the excitement on your basement progress!😉 Can’t wait! Cheers to a super week, Sarah!💜

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Good morning, Peggi! My framer is amazing- I’m so thankful to have such a talent nearby. I thinking sharing the budget upfront is KEY because then they’ll only show you frames within that scope. If I go in without a budget and freely choose… game over, haha. It also helps the decision paralysis of narrowing it down. To mat or not to mat is a personal preference and dependent on the art, how much space you need to fill, as well as the budget. I also like layering mats- which I failed to mention in this post! I hardly ever mat a canvas. Best case is always finding pretty vintage art that has an amazing frame that’s in good shape. We also had a bunch of rain and snow over the weekend. I’m sorry your garden plans we’re squashed due to the weather. Hopefully this coming weekend! That’s exciting to hear about your inside seeds sprouting though. Ha, Emmett is cracking me up with his project filming lately. It’s pretty fun to see it through his lens, but I’d do everything differently. Lol! It’s looking so good though and his carpentry skills on that hutch are super. Can’t wait to share more! Have a fabulous week! xo

  2. Good morning! I’ve never had artwork custom framed, but I have a stack of art that needs to be- a few stills, a few oil paintings, and a few sketches. Sadly the only custom framers I know of in my area are Hobby Lobby and Micheal’s. I have it on my list to find a framing shop here in town- surely we have one somewhere! The idea of selecting exactly how I want my art to look is both exhilarating and overwhelming. Your selections are always gorgeous, perfectly complement the work, and seamlessly integrate into your spaces. I doubt I could accomplish all of those! I can’t wait to see the art you’ve selected for the entry and upstairs hall- this renovation has me so excited. I’m still not over the thrill of the stripes and the contrast with the stairs and sconces. In other renovation news- your antiquing of the mirror turned out so beautifully, and complements the cabinetry color in the basement so well! I will be anxiously waiting for that tutorial. It seems a productive weekend was had at chateau Gibson- we spent quite a bit of time outside prepping for the garden, and I can’t wait for that to really get going. Happy Monday!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Good morning, Lauren! I’ve had things framed at Michael’s before, and it was surprisingly more expensive than the small business / local shop. Hopefully you can find something in town! You could definitely get that look- you have an amazing design eye (give yourself some credit, girl)!! I am equally as excited about the entryway renovation. While we wait on art, we’ve moved to the basement renovation. I’m trying to photograph that reveal for early March (super soon). It’s looking good down there and I can’t wait to share! Next time you’re in Salt Lake, you’ll have to come over for a cocktail. The antique mirror was a super fun project. I’ve got that tutorial on the calendar for early next week. We’ve been in productive renovation mode, as we’re heading to Kentucky later this week to see our family. Trying to cross things off the list before we fly, ha! Hope you had a fun weekend and your week is off to an amazing start! xo

  3. Happy Monday morning 🌞
    Great post of framing tips Sarah! You have an incredibly talented and trained eye for framing, matting and material selection. Custom framing is incredibly costly in our area but the few pieces I’ve had professionally framed over the years were totally worth the investment. I have very simple taste in my approach to frames but if I’m framing a piece with glass I will always pay more for a non-glare glass. I want to see my artwork in any light without reflection or glare as I move my pieces from room to room periodically. That’s probably the most important factor for me as the artwork itself is my focus. Now I also have lots of DIY artwork with more decorative frames which are very pretty but I’m particular in which pieces get the professional investment of custom framing. You are totally right in the varying cost based upon the frame. And as you’ve illustrated in this post the frame selection is incredible. It can be very daunting trying to choose a frame within a specific budget, especially when other costs are factored in such as mattes and glass considerations. You certainly have an amazing eye for art and always pair frames, mattes and artwork beautifully. Your training has paid off as we all admire 😍 all the stunning pieces within your home. Speaking of, can’t wait to see what you choose for your foyer. I mean the beautiful stripes, and stunning millwork will set the most perfect setting for custom artwork. It’s going to be gorgeous, so excited 😆
    On a personal note, I’ve been busy gardening since we arrived and things are shaping up nicely. All my hedges are trimmed, beds are mulched and the plants are looking much happier. It’s been a wonderful trip thus far and we are enjoying every moment 😎🌴❤️ cheers to a productive and enjoyable week ahead!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Hi Colleen! I do love my framer. I feel lucky to have a trustworthy and talented source nearby. Artwork is very special to me, but they make it easy to hand over. I agree that simple and classic framing can be best.. and non glare glass is always a worthy splurge! Framing can really elevate the art. Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your experience! I love to hear that you’ve been busy in the garden. We’re currently buried under snow, so I’m living vicariously through reading your sun-filled comments. It sounds like your landscaping is on point! Hope you’re having the best weekend :) xo

  4. I often had counted cross-stitch pieces professionally framed – and was blessed to have a framer that also did needlework and understood the hours of work involved. Over the years we did simple and inexpensive as well as complicated, ornate and expensive.

    I also had a piece of inherited NASA memorabilia reframed and we found a letter between the mounting board and the backing – my framer attached a clear page protector to the backing for the letter so it could be seen without taking the piece apart.

    Another framer also cut custom mats for me when I made a gallery wall. I had an assortment of simple and ornate frames (black for the color photos and rosewood for the B&W ones) with different shades of white mats that didn’t always fit the photos. We picked out a white mat board with a black core that tied everything together. I dropped off the frames with notes of the photo sizes and then assembled everything at home – perfect blend of professional & DIY.

    I have tried the frame department at big box stores (JoAnn or Michaels) – personnel is usually competent but creativity is hit or miss. And their pricing is usually high unless you have a coupon or catch a sale.

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Your cross-stitch pieces sound amazing, Cheryl! It sounds like you have a fabulous framer who is very talented. Thanks for sharing your special pieces and experience going to the custom route.