Cheap framing shop?

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Topic: Cheap framing shop?

Recreation and Sports January 10, 2012 at 8:46 am

Cheap framing shop?

Hi everyone,
I have a large poster and a small/medium-sized map that I want to frame, but so far all the websites I’ve checked gave me very high prices. I was wondering if you knew of any framing shops in DC, preferably in the Columbia Heights/Petworth area. Nothing too fancy – just a very basic frame.

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Ha! I have the exact same question, and it’s also for a medium-sized map! I have noticed a lot of groupon Now/Living social deals for custom framing services at 50%. However, I don’t know if they price was up and/or if the places are reputable. I’ll look into it, so let me know anything in either the CH or even NoVa areas as well.


Framesmith DC at 14th and Q is great, and I’ve always found them to be reasonably priced.  It’s by appointment only, but she’s around most weekends so it’s not usually an issue.  Framesmith has amazing sales during the “dog days” festival on 14th St if you can wait until August.
I’ve also tried the frame store on 18th St in Adams Morgan, but wouldn’t recommend them.  The quality is fine, but the prices are random and occasionally outrageous.

Picture framing is a high risk, low rewards type of business. You need skilled labor to do it well and the materials are expensive. Ruin an old photo or peice of art and you’ll have a very unhappy customer. Because materials come in standard sizes, prices can jump unexpectedly as you go up in size. One inch into the larger size material will result in a much higher price.


If you have an odd-sized piece, this can be a tough and expensive search. One thing you can do is find a frame that’s just slightly the wrong size (so, if your piece is a weird 22 x 33.5, you may find a frame that’s 24 x 36). If your off-the-rack frame is smaller than the piece, you can carefully trim the artwork to fit it (use a straight edge and a knife for this). If the frame you find is larger than the art, you can try to purchase a mat to cover up the space. You can also cut your own out of a large piece of mat board (available at art supply stores)…again, use a knife to cut, not scissors. Mat board is typically white-ish, but you can use paint to change the color (house  paint, acrylic paint, wrap it in craft paper…anything goes). If all else fails, try a custom site like American Frame to build your own frame as cheaply as possible, or start clipping those 40% off Michael’s coupons.

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