Wednesday, November 7, 2018

EVAC Project Brings Veterans’ Stories to Life

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

And when it comes to stories of battles, life-saving actions, and other snippets of life in the military, a painting or drawing is worth just as much.

The Experiencing Veterans and Artists Collaborations (EVAC) Project pairs artists with veterans to bring their firsthand accounts of their time in the military to life. American Frame is proud to host the EVAC Project in our showroom November 5th through November 30th.

Attendees can read the stories of Veterans from every branch of the military from World War II through the Post-9/11 era, then see the artist’s interpretation of the same story.

For veteran Michael, the Army was a chance to test himself and improve his skills. He served from 2005 to 2013 and was stationed in Iraq for some of that time. What started as a four-month deployment there eventually stretched into 18 months.

“It’s interesting the way the mind and the body all works together,” he said. “You don’t think you can carry that much weight or exist in that much heat. And then you do.”

Participant Ernest served in the Army from 1970 to ‘71. He recalls saving a fellow soldier injured by a landmine by sticking his fingers in the man’s chest wound to stop blood loss. He put him on a helicopter but assumed he had died until he encountered him years later at an Army reunion.

“The only way I would know you is if you had a bunch of holes in your chest,” Ernest told the man. “He looked at me and unbuttoned his shirt and pulled his T-shirt up.  I put my fingers back in those holes. He had lived. But for 29 years I thought he had died. Stuff like that gets burned into your mind and it just doesn’t go away.”

Artist Susan Chouteau’s painting depicts Ernest and the man he saved, both of their hands covering the holes in his chest.
Lauren, who also told her story as part of the project, served in the Army during Vietnam and remembers the hatred she faced upon her return from the unpopular war.
 “I expected a welcome. I thought that's what it was all about. When our plane landed, there was a gaggle of women on the other side of the chain link fence. And I thought ‘Wow this is great. A welcome.’ Well it was welcome in terms of jeers, accusations of “baby killer,” of spitting. Being gone one month short of four years, I hadn't had any knowledge of the animus that existed against Vietnam. It was exceedingly painful. People around me acted like I had leprosy.”
Nick remembers joining the Navy in 2002 to escape a hard life as a gay man in a small town. He said eventually, hiding who he was became even harder.

“It takes a toll on your energy and your soul,” he said. “Just lying about yourself and who you are every single day for five years is pretty exhausting. Even if you have friends who know and don’t care, you still have to lie.”
Leonard, who also told his story, served in the Army from 1944 to 1946, starting when he was just 18.

“The Battle of the Bulge was first. My first real combat. I crossed the Rhine River on my 19th birthday,” he said “From there, we went down to these concentration camps, and that was something.  Humans stacked up, some of them half dead, some of them dead. Something I don’t want to see again. There were some in their bunks that we took out that were still alive, but they didn’t know it.”

See more of the stories for yourself when the EVAC project comes to American Frame. A reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, November 9th, with a silent auction running until 7 p.m.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Mirror, Mirror, in a Frame

Frames aren’t just for photographs and paintings. They can add style to a mirror, turning it into a focal point of the room. If you’re thinking of using one of our frames to make your own mirror, here are some things to keep in mind.
First, choose the right frame. You’ll want something thick enough to support the heavy mirrored glass. We like Allure, Palladio, Silver and Gold, and Metallics frames for mirrors.


Once you’ve chosen a few frames you like, order samples. It’s an easy, affordable way to ensure the mirrors will fit inside the frames. We offer free samples of all our frames. Corner samples can be ordered for a small fee. When it’s time to order the frame, insert the exact size of the mirror, leaving no room for a mat. You will want to order a mounting board, however.

Now, build your framed mirror.

1.            First, gather your assembled frame, mirror and backing board. If you don’t have a mirror, you can get one custom-cut at many hardware and glass shops. Keep in mind that the inside lip of the frame will reflect on the front of the mirror. To avoid unfinished wood reflecting in your mirror, we suggest painting or coloring the inside lip. Use a permanent marker or our Picture Frame Touch Up Kit.

2.            After your frame dries completely, build your art stack with your mirror on top of the mounting board, and gently place the mirror in the back of it. If you’re looking at the back of the frame, the mounting board should be the first thing you see.

3.            Secure the mounting board to the frame using a point driver and flexi points.

4.            Finally, hang your mirror. It will be heavy, so you’ll need extra support. We recommend the Hangman Wood Frame Hanging System. It’s an extra-strong wall mounting hardware system for wood frames and can hold up to 200 lbs. This video explains how to use it.

Have questions? Read this blog, or call our knowledgeable staff. We’ll be happy to help.

Framed Keepsakes They’ll Treasure

When you think of holiday gifts, frames may not be the first thing to come to mind. But they’re an easy way to turn ordinary objects into treasured mementos with a personal touch other presents lack.
Paired with the right mat and mounting boards, a framed item will protect keepsakes and remind your loved one of fond memories whenever they look at it.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for framed gifts.

Whether you snapped the shot yourself or found it in a long-forgotten family album, a photograph is always a heartwarming gift. Select one that depicts a cherished memory like a family reunion, wedding, or graduation or lift their spirits with a funny, candid shot. Have an old pile of black and white photos or Polaroids? Frame them together in a custom collage mat.

Musical Gifts
Looking for a gift for the music lover in your life? Frame a copy of their favorite vinyl record along with the album cover art. Or, display the sheet music to their favorite tune, or a holiday classic like Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song.” Other mementos, like concert tickets, Playbills, programs, or set lists also make lovely musical gifts.

Dried Flowers
From crisp leaves to dried herbs, plants make gorgeous statement pieces for anyone who loves nature. Framed mistletoe or spruce branches double as holiday decorations, while a dried bouquet makes a pretty gift that can be displayed year-round.

Surprise your favorite sports fan with a framed jersey. A jersey display case lets you frame without adding holes to the garment. Maybe your husband has a T-shirt from college that no longer fits. Adding a frame transforms it into a conversation piece. You could do the same with a graduation cap and tassel, a wedding veil, a baby blanket, or any other item with sentimental value.

Notes and Letters

You might not think to frame letters, but they can be an unexpected and appreciated gift. Give your spouse some of your favorite love letters in an elegant frame to show you’ve kept them all these years. Frame correspondence from family members who live far away to keep a piece of them close to you. Genealogy buffs would love a print and framed family tree, while a cooking enthusiast would appreciate a framed family recipe.
Gift Cards

It can sometimes be hard to guess the type of frames and mats a friend may like. American Frame Gift Cards are a perfect solution that lets them choose frames, mats, and accessories themselves. They’re also great for anyone you know who creates, collects, or enjoys art.
Need help choosing the right frames or accessories for your gift? Contact us.
You can also visit our new Gifts page on our website for ideas year round.

Frame Sealing Tape and Why It’s Important

If framed art has an enemy, it’s acids. They can yellow and decay your paper-based photographs, newspaper clippings, and paintings. And they may be hiding in your framing materials, ready to destroy your art when exposed to light.
Luckily, keeping acids out of your frame display is as easy as sticking to archival and conservation-quality products, including mats, mounting boards, and sealing tape.

Frame sealing tape is used to seal rabbets in wood frame displays to keep acids from migrating. It can also be used to seal frame backs or packages to protect against mildew, mold, corrosive gasses, and other contaminants. It’s another layer of protection to keep anything that may harm far from it.

I-Film Self-Adhesive Frame Sealing Tape is made from archival polyethylene material embedded with a non-yellowing copper matrix, which is coated with an acrylic adhesive. It’s strong, flexible, and puncture resistant, making application easy, even on raw wood. And its Corrosion Intercept® Protection (CIT) stops acid, corrosive gases, mildew and mold before they reach your art.

Need help choosing conservation-quality products for your framing project? Call us. We’re happy to help.

An Easy Lesson on Entering Frame Dimensions

At American Frame, we want the framing process to be as easy as possible. That’s why we created the “CUSTOMIZE THIS FRAME” feature on our website. After selecting a frame, this design tool walks you through the remaining steps, from inputting the correct frame size to choosing accessories like mat and mounting boards.

But for first-time framers, questions may still arise. When buying a frame, our “CUSTOMIZE THIS FRAME” tool lets you choose between designing by inputting the “Art size” and the “Frame size” Recently, a customer called to inquire about the difference between these two measurements.

“Art size” refers to the measurements of the art itself. If you’d like to play with mat board choices and proportions, designing by art size will automatically calculate them for you.

“Frame Size” here refers to the matted dimensions of the frame, and accounts for the art, mat board, and acrylic. If you know the size of the frame and mat you need, enter it here. Perhaps you’re replacing a frame you already own and want the same size mat.

For example, here’s how you’d order a frame for a piece measuring 16 ¾ x 11 ¼. Simply enter those measurements into the  “Art Size,” field. Then, hit “next” to see the other options, including mats, glazing, and mounting. When you reach the mat field,the system will instantly adjust for a 1/8” overlap on all sides of the artwork, so the art won’t fall through the mat window opening. (If you don’t need to overlap your artwork because you are leaving a reveal to let some of the paper show, you can change this overlap to zero.)  In the frame design workflow, the art size will remain the same, and the frame size will change based on your selections. All final dimensions, art size, mat size, and outside frame sizes are always updated through the process under the rendering of the frame kit for reference.

If your artwork is already matted or you’re simply framing a poster, use the “Enter Frame Size” fields. For example, if you bought a matted piece and the outside dimensions of the mat are 16x20, you will enter 16x20 as your frame size. Please note: the complete frame size (or how much wall space is covered by the frame) is always shown in the graphic throughout the process.

If you have other questions along the way or need additional guidance, please call, email, or chat with us. Our expert customer service team loves to turn framing problems into creative solutions.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Enhance the Look of Your Framed Canvas

Linen liners are a great alternative to matting, and an easy way to add style to canvas prints. But if you’ve never used them before, you may need some help deciding which size you need. Here’s a question we recently received by email.

“How much does a liner overlap the painting?  When you say a liner is 3/4" wide, is that how much of the liner shows, or is part of that tucked under the frame, and if so how much is tucked under the frame?”
A linen liner is designed to be used in combination with a frame.  Linen liners are a decorative border that acts as a mat for a stretched canvas.
The composition of linen liners is different than that of mats.  It’s actually a narrow frame made from wood.  To decorate the surface of the wood, linen fabric is affixed to the wood, resulting in a pleasing design.

How do you attach a linen liner to a canvas? The method is basically placing a wood frame around another wood frame and using the provided spring clips or a point driver.  If you order a liner with a wood frame, we will attach it to the frame before shipping it to you. Industry standard dictates frames will overlap the edges of artwork by ¼”.  This is the same across the board for all of our wood frames and linen liners.
The linen liner will overlap the edge of the canvas by ¼”.  When a frame is placed around it, the frame lip will overlap the linen liner by ¼”.  Once framed, the visual portion of a ¾” wide linen liner will only be ½”, since ¼” is tucked under the lip of the frame.  We do carry a wider liner (1 ¼”).  That means the visible portion of the liner will be 1” when the frame lip covers ¼”.
We can ship assembled liners up to 90 UI (united inches) just like our frames. Over that size we can ship unassembled.  This is an inexpensive way to achieve a finished look for your beautiful artwork.
Have more framing questions? We’re here to help. Contact us.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Our Favorite Frames: Staff Picks on Sale

At American Frame, we don’t just understand artists. We are artists. Most of our employees have their own creative endeavors, from photography to painting. And when it’s time to frame their work, they choose from our wide selection of solid-wood and Nielsen metal frames. Here are a few of their top frame selections.
Pewter Wood Picture Frame
A favorite of Shelby from our showroom, this industrial style frame is versatile and on trend. She selected it to frame an architectural drawing project on distressed paper with a deckled edge. The forged metal look perfectly accentuated the rustic feel of the art.

“It’s appealing because it gives the effect of cast metal,” she said. “It emphasizes any kind of metal qualities in your art while giving it a refined characteristic.”

German Silver Metal Picture Frame
Traci, from our commercial framing department, chose this elegant metal frame to adorn a paint-by-numbers rendition of da Vinci’s “Last Supper” and said it perfectly complemented the art and her decor.

“I love the softness of the rounded front on all the Radius frames,” she said.
Black Wood Picture Frame
There’s something to be said for simplicity. That’s why Christine from our showroom loves this basic black frame. Its versatility means she’s used it everywhere, from displaying a collection of tea towels to posters and children’s art.

“It goes with everything,” she said. “And it looks more expensive than it is. It’s a sturdy frame that is great for family portraits, certificates, or framing your kids’ artwork without taking away from the art.”
Brushed Silver Wood Picture Frame
Chris, our commercial framing supervisor, opts for this go-with-everything frame for everything from wedding portraits and graphite drawings, to moody black and white cemetery photographs.

“This frame is simple and elegant,” he said. “I like the rich silver color and the tone harmonizes with a variety of artwork. Basically, it looks amazing with a lot of stuff.”

Shop more of our staff favorite frames on sale now.
Have your own favorite frames? Tell us about them. Tweet a photo of your favorite American Frame products in use to @AmericanFrame using #AmericanFramed or email it to For tips and exciting offers, sign up for our e-Tip newsletter.
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