Thursday, July 14, 2016

When it Comes to Wood Frames, Quality Trumps Quantity

Just as an artist takes time and care in choosing each canvas and blending every color, our framers assemble each wood frame to be unique and customized for your use. Our commitment to creating original, high-class, customized wood frames is matched by the way we assemble each order.

Today, we’re letting you in on the secret. Here are the standards we follow at American Frame to create the wood frames you rely on, ensuring we help you love your art and frame it right:

1.Quality materials



Just as artists select the finest paints to make their creations, the professionals at American Frame use high-quality raw materials sourced from approved suppliers. Mouldings are hand-picked, and only the finest sticks are pulled. Plus, over 70% of what we sell is from American manufacturers.

2.Consistent inspection



At American Frame, we are lucky to have meticulous hands-on crafters who scan for knots and imperfections. If one is found, it is cleanly cut from the frame with a precision saw and smoothed to perfection.

3.Variety


Retailers want to offer a variety of choices to their customers — and we are no exception. We offer a wide range of styles, colors, and textures in both frames and mats to fit the uniqueness of your project.

4.Handcrafting



Once our frames are cut, they are sent down specific paths to be assembled — by hand. After passing inspection for imperfections, the corners are glued and the frames are secured with “v-nails.” The wood frames are then given a professional frame-shop finish with putty and polish before they are wiped clean. At the same time, acrylic sheets, mounting boards, and mats are being prepared.

After all the pieces are constructed, they come together as a single, carefully packaged order that will be safely delivered to your door.


It all comes down to our meticulous process and the promises we stand behind: quality materials, consistent inspection, product variety, top-of-the-line tools, and hand assembly. These methods set American Frame apart from the rest. The next time you receive a wood frame order, you’ll know that each piece was as thoughtfully cared for as the art you decide to showcase in it.

Can you see the care we put into your order? We’d like to see it! Simply post a picture of the wood frames you ordered on social media with the hashtag #framinghappiness.

Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Green Thumb DIY: Frame Your Succulents!

Summer is upon us! It’s time to get outside and get your hands dirty. Picture frames aren’t just for indoor spaces — there are many ways in which they can be incorporated into outdoor settings as well! We're happy to share a fun and simple DIY activity that even the kids can help with. Follow along as we show you how to make a DIY framed succulent planter.


For this project, you will need:

  • 2-by-1-inch cedar board (at least 4 feet in length)
  • Saw
  • Wire mesh fencing with ½-to-1-inch openings (one square foot or larger)
  • Wire snips
  • Hardboard or plywood (enough to cut to 11 ½-by-11 ½ inches)
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Assortment of small succulents native to your region (enough to fill your planter)
  • Outdoor wood glue
  • Hammer
  • 1-inch brad nails (enough for two to three nails on each side of the cedar board frame with extras for securing the hardboard or plywood to the planter frame and a few more if you're using a wooden frame)
  • Cactus or succulent potting soil
  • Frame of your choice

Cut and assemble the cedar frame


  1. Cut the cedar boards to 12 inches in length with mitered corners. (See Images 1 and 1a.) Cut ½-inch-deep-by-½-inch-wide “channels” in the backs of the boards to accommodate the plywood or hardwood backing.
Image 1a
Image 1

  1. Apply outdoor wood glue to the mitered ends of the cedar boards and secure the corners together with the 1-inch brad nails. Do this with all four sides.
  2. Cut an 11 ½-by-11 ½-inch hardwood or plywood square (assuming you’ve cut “channels” into the backs of the cedar boards as instructed in Step 1).
  3. Apply outdoor wood glue to the inside groove of the cedar box and nail hardwood or plywood into place.

Add succulents

  1. Once the glue dries, fill your box with cactus or succulent potting soil.
  1. Place mesh on top of your frame and staple it down, securing it to the face of the cedar frame. Then cut off excess using wire snips.
  1. Add the succulents into the frame by carefully poking their roots through the mesh and into the soil.
  1. Once they are all in place, add more soil around and between the plants as needed.
  2. Be sure to leave the frame lying flat while plants take root, about 7-10 days after planting, keeping the best growing conditions for your succulents in mind.
  3. Once the succulents are in place, measure the outside of the box. Use those dimensions when ordering your frame. Be sure to pay attention to the rabbet depth of the frame to make sure it can accommodate the depth of the cedar frame. This is especially important with metal frames.

    Don’t know which frame to choose? Our Canvas Plus and Rustic collections are great places to start!
  4. Once your wooden frame arrives, secure the custom picture frame to the cedar frame with 1-inch brad nails. If using a metal frame, just follow the assembly instructions included with the frame.

Have you ever used a frame to dress up your outdoor space? Be sure to share your finished framing projects with us on social media using #framinghappiness!

Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Framing for Coastal Themes

The salty smell in the breeze. The sand in your toes. The sun setting behind the ocean waves. Whether you live near the beach or just dream of it, we’ve all seen enough movies to know that, when it comes to relaxation, the ocean is the place to be. And what better way to bring that sense of peace and rest into your home than by decorating with a coastal theme?

Coastal decor has been popular for quite a while but seems to have reached its apex in the past few years. With the global economy forcing many of us to move frequently  and often to places we would rather not live  taking the beach with you no matter where you go has great appeal.

Luckily, coastal styling is so popular that it’s not difficult or expensive to achieve anymore. DIY blogger Kim Wilson’s Sand and Sisal lists a few must-have color palettes and themes that can help you get started on your coastal design.


In touch with nature

Echoing her thoughts, we suggest that you consider the more natural elements — sun, sand, sky, and surf — to guide your inspiration.

Beautiful imagery, isn’t it? Now let’s apply that to coastal-style framing. No doubt you’ll have some
images you’d like to add to your room: perhaps beach photographs from a vacation or paintings that fit the theme and color scheme.

American Frame carries an entire line of coastal-themed wooden frames. Here are some coastal elements we’ve applied to our frames to add a splash of realism to your interior design:

  1. Natural, worn, or whitewashed woods and finishes
    Natural or worn looks easily convey a beachy setting, no matter what art you are framing. Consider this white wood frame to start!
  2. Neutral tones: blue, grey, and white
    Stick to the basics here and you may expect to feel the ocean breeze right outside your door. Touches like this grey wooden frame can help bring more nautical neutrals to your walls.
  1. Sand, seagrass, and beadboard textures
    Let’s not just look at the beach; let’s feel the beach. Bainbridge offers some wonderful mats to pair with wooden frames, such as this sandmat board with this grey wood frame.


Our versatile mats and frames can help you enhance the art you love and frame it right.  

What kind of image would you frame in coastal style?

We want to see the finished product! When you’ve framed and hung your pieces, upload a photo to your favorite social media site with the hashtag #framinghappiness and we’ll take a look! We want to see how our customers are using our products to brighten and embolden spaces across the world.


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Display Your Diploma with Personality

Whew! What a busy month it has been! Graduation ceremonies are very involved: dressing up in robes, sitting through inspirational speeches, walking to the stage to receive your diploma — and that’s just graduation morning. Once you’ve survived that, there are parties, dinners, and (hopefully) gifts to open. It’s not unwarranted: You’ve worked hard to get here and you deserve a celebration.

All these ceremonies and parties are short-lived. You can’t take them with you on your next adventure as a reminder of the fruits of your hard work. But there is one thing you can take: your diploma.

So much more than a piece of paper, your diploma is four, six, or eight years of hard work ready to be displayed with pride. It should be decorated and formatted to reflect the same dedication you put into your degree. Skip the overpriced standard black frame and give your certificate a custom-framed home.

Building your own custom frame is the perfect project for a beginner because it is simple and allows you to be creative.

At American Frame, we have a wide variety of Diploma Wood Frames for you to choose from, all of which are 20% off with free shipping for a limited time! And our website will guide you through the design process step by step to make your selections simple.

Assemble your frame kit

Once you’ve chosen your frame, it’s time to build it! Follow these steps and your diploma will be expertly framed in no time!
  1. Are you using a double mat? Secure the mats together by applying ATG tape to the back of the top mat and adhering it to the bottom mat.
  2. Once the top and bottom mats are aligned, press down firmly.
  3. Using linen tape, create a t-hinge to attach the diploma to the mounting board.
  4. Use a strip of linen tape to hinge the mat to the mounting board.
  5. Being mindful of dust, peel off the last piece of the acrylic’s protective paper and place in on the “art stack” or the stack made up of the mats, diploma, and mounting board.
  6. Flip the diploma, mats, and mounting board face down into the back of your frame. Use a point driver to secure the art stack in the frame. Watch this video to see how to use a point driver.
Voila! There you have it: your very own custom-framed diploma.

Happy framing!

Did you take the leap and create your own frame? We want to see it! Hop on your preferred social media site and show us your custom diploma-framing job by uploading a picture and using the hashtag #framinghappiness. We look forward to seeing how yours turned out!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It All Comes Down to the Paper

Darren White Photography
Darren White Photography
A task like choosing photography paper as a novice — or even as a seasoned professional — can be daunting. There are many materials to choose from along with finishes, shades, and textures. Luckily, we have many customers who can provide excellent recommendations based on years of experience.

We talked to Darren White, a well-known photographer who’s been at his craft for almost 20 years. White has some great suggestions for selecting paper and using American Frame’s resources to build your photography business.

Falling into your passion

You could say White began his career at a young age: At just 12 years old, he started taking pictures while skateboarding around town with his friends. By the time he was 18, he was getting paid to photograph sporting events, weddings, and family reunions. These early jobs enabled him to build his business and work in a more artistic direction. Now 99.9% of the work he does is in the area of his passion: landscapes.

On his reasons for pursuing photography, White says, “What drew me to doing what I do now was the beauty of our world — how I see it, how you see it, and how we all see it differently.”

For this reason, White takes special care to give his customers unique and powerful experiences with each photograph.

“I try to give people a sense of place and a sense of emotion so they feel something when they look at my images. We can all appreciate how beautiful our world is, and we all know it needs to be documented.”

Paper pleasers

When it comes to printing paper, White’s selections are as unique as each photograph. He mixes it up among the Canson Baryta, Moab Lasal, Epson Hot Press Bright, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, and the Epson Somerset Velvet.

“I can honestly say that I don’t have one single favorite. Each image lends itself to a different paper. I do like the Baryta papers for their slight sheen and texture, but not all images work on those papers.”

How do you pick which paper will work best? As with all things, it depends.

“It boils down to the image itself,” says White. “Is there water in the photo? Is it moving or still? What colors are present? Are they warm or cool tones? What about light — is it day or night? It completely depends on the effect you’re going for and the elements you want to bring out.”

Testing the waters

With all of those variables in mind, it can be difficult to know where to start. White suggests taking advantage of American Frame’s free printing paper samples. This testing service gives him the opportunity to see how each paper performs.

American Frame, left, has no glare from the matte paper.Competitor, right, has glare from the matte paper.

“You can take one image and print it on any given paper. But if you want the best, you need to print on the right paper that’s going to perform the best for that image.”

And sometimes, it’s trial and error until you get the hang of it.

So why does White choose to go with American Frame? He says he likes the ease of the ordering process and the quality of the prints.

“After I got my very first images back, the image was spot on.”

However, what really sold him was the customer service

“When I had a question, a real person answered the phone and took the time to talk with me. I never felt like I was in a phone queue or asked to be put on hold — that is just miles above and beyond the other labs that I’ve worked with.”

Darren White Photography

Make sure to take a look at Darren White’s incredible work on his Facebook page, where he also has a very informative side-by-side comparison between American Frame and a competitor. We are honored to have talented artists like White working with us and look forward to more opportunities to bring the beauty of the world to life for customers around the world.

Ready to print but not sure where to start? Check out American Frame’s printing paper samples or give us a call at (800) 537-0944 and we can help you get started!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Moms Flourish in the Artist's Studio

Mother’s Day is upon us, and we at American Frame are excited to share with you the story of one of our dedicated artists, Cady Driver. Specializing in watercolor and ink, Driver has built her career while raising three children in her North Carolina home.

Driver began painting at just 17 years old. She started with acrylics, focusing on crafty projects like painting dishes, stools, and furniture. When she began having children, she focused more on painting murals and donated her talents to local hospitals. About eight years ago, she moved on to watercolors and began selling her paintings as well as teaching classes. She even has an Etsy shop where she sells her own adult coloring book pages! Driver is dedicating the proceeds of her artwork sales to fund the adoption of her fourth son, Alexander, a special needs child from China who will join his family in Raleigh later this year.

According to Driver, her business really took off about three years ago when she started getting her work in galleries and doing shows, occasionally winning prizes. She says this is really the key to starting an art career.

“For an artist, the hardest thing is just getting your name out there along with your work,” says Driver, “so you really need a venue where you can be part of shows that are going on.”

Being a mother and an artist poses a very specific challenge for many women, and Driver is no stranger to this. She had three kids in three years and says that, while she never viewed being a mother as a burden, she did work hard to maintain consistent schedules to ensure she had time to paint.

“I remember when they were younger, I’d either always take time in the afternoon when they were napping to at least work on some aspect of my art or I would just incorporate them into what I was doing,” Driver says. “If I was painting, I’d get them a canvas or finger paint in the driveway with the hose. They loved it!”

Her family is a huge part of Driver’s inspiration and process. Many of her works feature her family or the families of those close to her.

Her advice to mothers who are working toward careers as artists is to take full advantage of every moment they can find. When Driver’s children were small, she would take a travel paint pallet to the ballet studio, bring her sketchbook to the park while they played on the swings, or practice drawing while she waited in the car during other extracurricular activities.

“Take your sketchbook with you everywhere,” says Driver.

Ready for your next framing project? Free shipping on orders of $125 or more!* Contact us at (800) 537-0944 or AmericanFrame.com for more information!

* One coupon per order.

Creating your own space is important. Driver suggests that artists carve a room out where they can have all their materials set up and ready to go when inspiration strikes.

Carving out time for themselves is also difficult for mothers. For artists, it can be especially hard to justify spending time and money on art classes when they have dance lessons or basketball uniforms to pay for. Driver suggests bypassing that entirely, making your artistic passions come to life in the time and budget you have.

“We used to live next to an art institute, and every time we drove by, I thought of how badly I wanted to be an artist and how expensive the classes would be,” Driver says. “Then one day, I decided that I could teach myself. So I went to the library to pick up books, I bought supplies, and I’ve been painting ever since.”

We’re very excited to be able to support Driver in her career with custom frames that make her artwork stand out.

“I do have to say that without American Frame, I definitely wouldn’t be able to afford framing my art for gallery shows. I absolutely love their products and I recommend them all the time to their artists and my own customers who need to frame art,” Driver says. “Every customer that I ship unframed art to gets one of their fliers in their shipment.”

Be sure to visit her website to view her amazing pieces at artbycady.com. We wish Driver the best of luck in her art career and, most especially, with Alexander's adoption! We hope to see her growing family continue to inspire her work!

Happy Mother’s Day!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Enjoy Eco-Friendly Framing


We are artists. We consistently reach beyond our consumerist natures and see the effects of our actions and habits. We feel connected to the environment. We have innate desires to preserve and protect the world around us, which gives us such inspiration.

Wall Gallery Framing


To support this effort of conservationism, we carry a number of eco-friendly frames in collections like Basic, Infinity, and EcoCare and we participate in eco-friendly programs and business practices.

Green frames

Eco-friendly FramingWe have found that, though many of our customers desire to buy more environmentally friendly products, many are unaware that these frames are available to them. We keep our standards high, considering each piece of the frame — from wood to glue to finish — before labeling it eco-friendly. Of the frames we offer, there are two main types of eco-friendly frames: wood and aluminum.

For a wood frame to be labeled eco-friendly, it must

  • be manufactured out of solid wood,
  • be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),
  • have a non-toxic finish, and
  • have non-toxic gessos.

While not often thought about, aluminum frames are the most eco-friendly frames you can buy! Aluminum frames are

  • 100% recyclable,
  • the number-one most environmentally conscious mouldings you can choose, and
  • 100% archival.

Maintaining our commitment to environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to stay local. 80% of all our frames are made in the United States. Products made in America are held to higher environmental standards in manufacturing than in other parts of the world.

Green process

To be truly eco-conscious, the process has to match the hardware. That is why we challenge the industry standards. Our suppliers are almost exclusively American, and our production and process are focused on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Certified Carbon Neutral Shipment
Unique in our industry, we participate in the UPS CarbonNeutral Fund. Every package we ship is carbon neutral.

From our door to your wall, we are committed to environmentally conscious framing.

Do you frame your photos in “green?” Comment below to share how you invest in eco-friendly framing and decor!

Ready for your next framing project? Check out our eco-friendly frames! Enjoy enjoy 15% off everything sitewide! Use code "LOVEYOURART" at checkout.* Contact us at (800) 537-0944 or AmericanFrame.com for more information!

* One coupon per order.

Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.
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