Framing FAQ

Do you do conservation framing?

Yes, we do conservation framing, preservation framing, and museum quality framing. In fact we don’t even carry “regular” mats anymore. We use rag and alphacellulose mats exclusively because their surface papers hold their color longer and they don’t damage the art in any way. We use acid-free backing and ultraviolet light filtering glass when appropriate to keep your valuable or irreplaceable art protected.

Can you get me a poster I found on the internet?

Yes, we can often order posters that you find on the Internet. We do not have access to absolutely everything that you can find online, but we do have access to thousands of images.  And please stop in to see what we have in stock.  You might be surprised at how a little editing of the selection can help you find what you want quickly and easily.

 

Do you clean and repair oil paintings?

We work with an oil painting conservator and restorationist who can do amazing things to breathe new life into your old, dark, damaged painting. Bring in your painting for a consultation and a quote.

Do you deliver?

Yes, we deliver, and we can pick up work, as well. Please call to make arrangements – 651-645-7862.

Do you repair old prints and documents?

Oftentimes, it is possible. We work with a local paper conservator who offers many services to our customers. He can stabilize old paper documents that are falling apart, bleach paper that has yellowed or contains stains, remove or lessen mold and mildew growth (called “foxing”) on paper and help with many other paper related problems. His rates are quite reasonable and our customers have been quite satisfied with his work. If you have an old map or antique etching that has been damaged, please feel free to bring it by and we will have our conservator take a look at it. He will be able to give you an idea about what he can and cannot do along with an estimate for his services.

Do you sell art?

Yes, we have an eclectic collection of everything from inexpensive reproductions to original paintings, from antique prints and maps to original graphics. And we have access to a great deal more art than we have in the store. We can often help you track down art you want that we don’t have.

How do I hang a picture?

The first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to do with your overall decorating. Consider how your piece relates to the other elements in your home – the doors, windows, furniture, etc. Ask someone to hold it up against the wall to see what placement looks best. As a rule of thumb, eye-level is best (keeping in mind that eye-level isn’t the same for everyone). Try it higher or lower, centered or off-center.

Once you have determined where it will hang, make sure you have some good quality picture hooks for the wall. We get a lot of repair business due to bad hooks or nails. Use one hook for smaller pictures, two hooks for larger ones. If you’re using the good picture hooks that we have at Carter Avenue, you don’t need to find a stud in the wall to hang your picture safely. If you live in a house with old plaster walls, it’s a good idea to pre-drill your holes to prevent crumbling.

Measure the picture to find the center and the correct height from the ceiling to hang it from. Use a pencil to make a small mark on the wall where the nail will be pounded into the wall. Make certain the picture wire is resting on the hook and not just on the nail when you hang up the picture. If you didn’t put the nail in at the correct height, it is sometimes possible to lengthen or shorten the wire on the back rather than pound another hole in the wall. The hangers on metal frames can be easily adjusted with a screwdriver.

Always feel free to call us with your framing questions.

How long does it take to get something framed?

Most framing projects are completed in one week. Some special order materials slow us down a bit, but we can often get your framing done even quicker if you are in a hurry. We do our best to accomodate rush orders. Please call us or stop in to discuss your project!

How much does framing cost?

That is like asking “how much does a car cost?” It depends on which model, what extras, and what size. Framing prices depend on how big your picture is and what components and services your picture needs. We don’t know the answers to those questions until we look at your picture with you, measure it, and design a beautiful and appropriate framing treatment for it. We do framing to work with your budget. Bring in your art. We’ll give you exact prices based on what frame and extras you select. And of course, there is no obligation if you don’t like the price.

How wide should my mat be?

Mat width is usually determined by a number of factors such as the size of the piece, the scale of the room where the piece will be hung, the graphic strength of the work, the mat colors, and the look desired. Standard mat width is getting wider generally. Exaggerating the mat dimensions is sometimes done for a gallery or fine art look. The mat serves as a buffer between the frame and the work of art. It is essentially a place for the work of art to be. It should relate to the work of art and enhance the work rather than distract from it. Generally, wider is better than narrower, within limits.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in framing is to have a mat that is too small. The picture can look insignificant, crowded, or chopped off. We are glad to help you determine the width of the mat, with your input, of course.

I don’t know what I want. Can you help me?

Of course! That’s what we do. You can’t possibly know what mats and frames are available. We have 2000 mouldings and 600 mats available to choose from, as well as fillets, spacers, and a lot of tricks up our sleeves to help make your art look its best. Just bring your art in. We’ll look at it with you, help you evaluate where you will be using it, and help you find an appropriate and beautiful framing treatment that will go well with your decor and fit your budget.

Working with your framer

Is it worth it to do my own framing?

If you have the right tools and skills and have lots of free time, doing your own framing can be rewarding. If you need help with some part of your project, like the mat or the glass, for example, we are happy to help.

There is more to framing, however, than some people think. First of all, there is the design. Good framing is more than four sticks of lumber and a mat. The design needs to consider the style of the art, the visual strength of the work, the era the art is from, colors of the art, and any structural issues. Good design makes a huge difference. Then there is the equipment. We use a $17,000 computerized mat cutter that cuts to within 1/1000th of an inch and gives us amazing mat-cutting capabilities. We join our frames with a pneumatic V-nailer that nails from below to eliminate nail holes at the corners of the frame. We have a $6000 40″X60″ heat and vacuum press to keep prints from rippling. We have very precise wall cutters for sizing backing, mats, and glass. We use custom framing specific hand tools to do the fitting. We have access to the finest moulding and conservation materials available, many of which are only available to custom framers. And we have years of experience but still continue in our framing education and research to provide you the best framing design and execution available in the industry.

Is my old art worth reframing?

This is probably a dangerous question to ask a picture framer, but the truth is the answer lies with you. As basic as it sounds, the main question to ask is: do you really like the picture? We can certainly update the framing for the picture that you framed in the “do-it-yourself” frame shop during college and transform your artwork into something that will look good in your house today. If you paid almost nothing for the picture, but you still love it, or even have some kind of nostalgic attachment to it, then it’s probably worth re-framing. Conversely, if a picture that you don’t like very much falls off the wall and breaks the glass, you might be better off to spend your money framing something that you love rather than putting that ho-hum piece back up on the wall. In any case, the opinion that matters most is yours. Saving good art from bad framing is one of the most valuable things a frame shop can do and we love to do it.

What if I don’t like it when it is completed?

We fix it. Our work is guaranteed. The last thing we want is for our customers to be unhappy about anything we have framed. Of course we ask you to help us make the right choices the first time. If someone else is going to have veto rights over your framing selection, bring them in so we can avoid an unnecessary re-do. But if there is a quality problem or a design problem, we will work with you to make you happy.

What is a Certified Picture Framer?

Contrary to what many people think, the designation “CPF” on our business cards does not mean that you want to bring your taxes to us. CPF’s have to pass a written test administered by the Professional Picture Framers Association covering a wide range of topics from the names of moulding profiles to how to properly frame a painting that’s going to be hanging on a sailboat (that’s a real question). You need to work for at least one year as a picture framer before you’re even allowed to take the test. The CPF test is difficult enough that most framers don’t pass on their first attempt (although we all did).

Basically, what the CPF designation lets you know is that you’re dealing with a framer who has experience and expertise. There is no rule that says anyone has to become a CPF before they call themselves a picture framer, but when you work with a CPF, you know that you’re not working with a minimum wage mall worker who was just hired last week.

When are you open?

Weekdays 10-5:30, Saturday 10-4, or by appointment.
Closed Sundays and the following holidays:
Memorial Day
July 4th
Labor Day
Thanksgiving
December 24 & 25
December 31 & January 1

When is your next sale?

You don’t have to wait for a sale at the Carter Avenue Frame Shop since you always get our best price every day for paying when you order. We prefer to offer good prices all the time rather than artificially raising regular prices and offering “sales” all the time. Don’t be fooled by the 50% or 60% Off Sale at chain craft stores. The chains’ so-called sale prices are comparable to our regular prices. We always offer a 10% discount from our everyday low prices for paying when you order. We don’t play games with pricing. Stop in for a no-obligation design and price quote!

Why is my art fading?

Almost all art fades given enough light and enough time. Some art media fade quicker than others. Watercolors and color photos are particularly susceptible to fading. Of course, the best way to protect your art and keep if from fading is to put it in a dark temperature and humidity-controlled vault. However, it is hard to enjoy your art under these conditions. Using conservation glass helps significantly to slow fading of your art by filtering out the ultraviolet part of the light. If you have light-sensitive art, you might consider displaying it in a place that does not have intense light. Bring your art in for an evaluation. We have UV-filtering glass and acrylic that will significantly help with your problem.

Why is my paper art rippling?

The answer is — it depends. Most posters, photos and inexpensive prints should be permanently dry mounted and shouldn’t be rippling. However, if you are framing an original or collectible piece of artwork, the proper mounting technique will not necessarily prevent rippling. In order to keep the artwork in its original condition, the framer doesn’t permanently adhere the artwork to its backing board. In most cases, the artwork is hinged to its mat or backing board with an acid-free paper and reversible adhesive with minimal contact to the artwork.

What causes the problem? Usually changes in temperature and humidity are involved, and sometimes improper framing plays a part. Paper absorbs and releases moisture at different rates throughout the year, especially in Minnesota, and sometimes the moisture will stretch the paper fibers enough to cause a noticeable ripple. In general, paper artwork will ripple more during the humid summer months and relax in the dry winter months. If the work was framed improperly in such a way as to not allow the paper to expand and contract without rippling, that could also be a factor.

So what can be done about the rippling of original artwork? In some cases rippling is just a natural part of the art and the paper it is painted on. If you want to preserve your artwork properly, you live with a little rippling. Sometimes move your artwork out of a hostile environment (away from a radiator, out of the bathroom, etc.,) can help. Something else you can try is adjusting the lighting or placement of a picture so the rippling becomes less obvious. As a last resort, paper artwork can be dry mounted to keep it flat, especially in cases where resale isn’t a concern. However, keep in mind that dry mounting is, for all practical purposes, permanent. If your picture was framed improperly, sometimes framing it properly can help alleviate the problem.

Obviously, we haven’t covered every framing situation here. At Carter Avenue we realize that every situation and customer is unique, so bring in any art you have questions about and we’ll help you make an informed decision about how to take care of your art.

Why is my print turning yellow?

Bad quality framing materials like mats and backing have lignin in them, a component of the trees that the paper was made from. Unfortunately, lignin is acidic and reacts with light to cause “burning” of other paper with which it comes into contact. You will often see a yellowing of the surface paper of the mat and the art, especially along the bevel of the mat. The mat out-gasses along the bevel, and these gases interact with light to discolor the art. Bring your art to us for evaluation and possible upgrading of your mat, backing, and glass to conservation quality materials.