Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This Year, Give Creative, Personalized Gifts

This Year, Give Creative, Personalized Gifts

The holidays are a great excuse to get creative with gifts that will delight your friends and family. A little imagination and the right frame are all you need to turn ordinary objects into great gifts. Here are a few ideas.

A Framed Photo

As a photographer, you probably take plenty of candid snaps at your family gatherings. The right frame can elevate that photo of a rousing game of Twister or a child tearing into her presents with great anticipation, and turn it into a fond memory. Try pairing a Radius Colorcast frame and its splash of color with a black and white print. We can even print and frame your photo or artwork and send it to the recipient.

An Heirloom Decoration

Is there a holiday decoration from your childhood that means Christmas to you and your siblings? Turn it into art with one of our frames. Preserve the cardboard Santa you made in Kindergarten so your mom can display it on her wall. And your sister may have long ago forgotten about the now-frayed stocking she received as a baby, but in the right frame, it’ll take on a whole new life and add a nostalgic touch to her holiday décor each year. Pair it with an elegant Neo Florentine Nielsen 97.

Framed Holiday Music

Does Dad love Nat King Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song”? Then the framed album cover would make a great gift. Does a family member have a favorite Christmas carol? Showcase the sheet music in a beautiful frame. The wide-edged Standard Plus One will help it stand out.

Your Framed Art

Your painting, drawing or photography makes a heartfelt gift when joined with a thoughtful frame choice. Look through our wide assortment of metal and solid wood frames, or if you need help choosing a frame, stop in or contact us.

Frame Accessories

Looking for a gift for the artist in your life? Give them tools to make their DIY framing easier. Our Essentials Framing Kit is a great place to start. A Point Driver is a must-have for anyone who frames often. And our DIY Framing Fundamentals book will answer any questions they have about the process.

An American Frame Gift Card

You may not know someone’s taste enough to select a frame for them. An American Frame gift card gives her the freedom to choose the frames that fit her personality, art and décor.

For more ideas, browse our past gift idea blogs.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Four Ways to Frame a Picasso

Four Ways to Frame a Picasso

When you think of artists who defied convention, Pablo Picasso undoubtedly comes to mind. He was born on this day - October 25th - in 1881, and even though he died in 1973, his surreal works remain among the most sought-after in the art world. In 2015, his Version O from the “Les Femmes d'Alger” series sold for $179.4 million at Christie's New York.

Whether you’re displaying an actual Picasso print or drawing inspiration from him in your own work, consider a frame that complements the art, but doesn’t overwhelm it. Here are some suggestions, using a Picasso-inspired print.

A Gold Wood Frame


Picasso often displayed his own work in antique gilded frames. You can achieve a similar look with one of our gold wood frames. We suggest this gold and black wood frame if you want an elegant antique feel.

A Black Frame


Sometimes, a brilliant painting needs little fanfare. Let it stand on its own with a simple black metal frame. Metal not your style? An understated black wood frame will work just as well.

A Blue Metal Frame


Displaying a piece from Picasso’s famous blue period? Enhance the somber feel with a blue frame, like our lovely lapis blue model that takes its name from the semi-precious stone of the same hue.

A Dash of Color


Picasso was a bold artist who pushed social boundaries and popularized a variety of styles, from surrealism to cubism. We think bold art deserves a bold frame, and our colored metal frames in shocking hues like Tornado Red and Cyber Green fit the bill.

Need more framing advice? Contact us.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Stephanie Sherman


Raised among the rolling hills and sprawling fields of Kansas, Stephanie Sherman found herself wandering the world around her at an early age.

“I would run off and find places to explore. My parents could never find me,” she explains. “It’s in our nature to find new places, to see what’s beyond our borders. I guess I’m still doing that.”

Stephanie’s passion for art has only deepened with age. She’s tried her hand at acrylic paint, watercolor and pottery, but has a special fondness for photography.

“Photography is all about capturing that split-second moment. I think photographers are masters of time because we can freeze it in one frame.”

Dabbling in wedding and portrait work for years has pulled Stephanie back to her roots. Turning a passionate hobby into a full-time career, she’s crafted captivating and dramatic fine art photography. With an eye for beautiful, haunting imagery, Stephanie captures the spirit of natural settings and minimalism.
AF: Do you consider yourself a photographer or an artist?

Stephanie: I’m a fine art photographer and have been shooting for over 15 years. While I end up shooting a variety of subjects, my heart lies with photographing environments or moments in a way that make people feel something or, at the very least, allow you a sense of a mood. I want the viewers to feel like they could be there. I’m also a mother and wife and have made time with my family and my aspirations of being a successful artist my priorities.

AF: Do you use American Frame products for business or personal framing?

Stephanie: Mostly business, but some personal. I’m self-employed and selling my artwork is my source of income. My website is

AF: Where do the frames you buy from us go?

Stephanie: It varies. Most of my clients are either in New York or California. I work with a high-end home decor company that sells my artwork. So, most of my work ends up in the homes of those who frequent the site. A hotel in Rhode Island purchased 10-15 framed prints from me for use in their rooms.  I also sell to interior designers for their clients.

AF: What sorts of items do you frame?

Stephanie: I frame strictly photographs. A good mix of color and black and white photography ends up in your frames. The majority of what I sell is coastal.

AF: What is your favorite American Frame product?

Stephanie: I regularly use AF152 and AF206 for selling, but my favorite for personal use is

Studio 95192. It’s a thick matte white frame that’s perfect for my more minimalist black and white pieces. I also love the Hot Press Bright paper for printing. The texture and quality in the print for that particular paper really make my photographs the best they can be.

AF: Why do you work with American Frame?

Stephanie: It started with a recommendation from online blogs and forums. After visiting your site and many others, I saw that yours had the lowest prices and had the most to offer. I can have my work framed and get a high-quality print directly from your site, and ship it straight to my customer if needed. The customer service has always been great. You guys do well to accommodate my most panicked moments when a client needs something quickly.

One time I was heading out of town and my client needed their artwork delivered quickly. There wasn’t enough time to get it to me before my trip and still be able to send it to my customer before their deadline. I called American Frame’s customer service and told them my situation. I was able to send you all the materials and inserts that I normally place in my packages and you sent it directly to my customer in a non-branded box. That really saved me. And that was back before you offered non-branding as a service.

AF: Thank you, Stephanie, for being such a wonderful customer.

Stephanie: Thank you! You’ve done a great job. Your performance helps me stay productive and keeps me in business.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Different FRAME of Mind

You’ve likely seen graffiti on passing box cars, decrepit buildings, and highway overpasses.
But have you ever seen it framed?

Two Australians are elevating graffiti - and further legitimizing it - by presenting it as - in a way - framed art.

SKR3AM and JINKS are contemporary street artists in Melbourne who work from their home base RedlightStudio. Actually, it’s difficult to label what they make as “graffiti,” as
the term suggests illegal and undesirable expressions. That’s not the case here.

We were excited to learn that their signature work includes an element we know very well.
According to their website, the artists used “a combination of picture frames, either collected or custom made” to create “a unique trademarked process, placing each frame strategically over the mural, creating an elegant effect.”
Watch it happen in their video below.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Frames have existed for more than 2,200 years.

Some of the first known frames were used with the Egyptian portraits of the dead. Also known as Fayum mummy portraits, these works of art were framed with wood and fabric. It's believed they were displayed in the home of the deceased person before being permanently placed on the mummy.

Fayum portraits are considered to be the oldest modernist paintings and the first forms of framed art. An artist would paint an image of the deceased using a technique known as encaustic. The process required mixing colored pigment with heated beeswax.

 Imported hardwoods, such as cedar, cypress, oak, lime and sycamore were cut into thin panels and smoothed. The portraits were then painted on those panels. The finished portrait would be placed into layers of wrapping that enclosed the body, and then surrounded by bands of cloth. That gave the effect of a window-like opening through which the face of the deceased could be seen, essentially framing the portrait.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Framing Watercolor Paintings: Avoiding Common Issues

Framing Watercolor Paintings: Avoiding Common Issues

Framing watercolor paintings is easier than you think. All you need is a few techniques to avoid some common issues.
First-time framers can be weary of framing their watercolor paintings. That’s because as the art dries, it leaves ripples in the paper - sometimes subtle, but often, more dramatic. That prevents the painting from lying flat against a mat.
“And that can leave the end result looking sloppy or warped,” said Chris Brown, our Commercial Department Framing Assistant.
But making it work can be simple.
Some artists address the issue by embracing it. They start with deckled edge paper, and use a narrow mat to show the edges, even if they are warped.
Some watercolorists intentionally rip the paper to make the edges look worn. You can also apply that “floating” technique if you’ve painted too close to the edge of the paper and you don’t want any of your work obscured by the frame.
You can dry mount the paper before painting it. That allows the paper to lay smooth once the painting is finished. One drawback: you need to choose the mat and frame size before you start working.
If your watercolor paper ripples during painting, you may be able to fix it and still achieve a flat mount. Brown suggests evenly misting the back of the paper with water, then laying the work face down. Layer paper towels over the back and place a heavier layer, like Plexiglas, on the back. Finally, add another heavy layer, such as books. Check the painting 24 hours later to see if the ripples have disappeared. If not, repeat the process.
“Some people are uncomfortable using the water method with a watercolor. They think they might damage the piece,” Brown said. “But I would recommend practicing this if you can.”
Another challenge: potential ripping caused by adhesives. We recommend reversible tape. It’s easily peeled off and reapplied without causing harm to your delicate art. Brown prefers gummed tape, which can be easily removed with a damp cotton swab.
“If I’m questioning this method, I use a small sample to test a corner of the paper,” Brown said. “I find that self-adhesive tape doesn’t often hold too well with soft but dense watercolor paper.”

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sisters Act

The thought of working with your sister might send you sprinting in the opposite direction. For them, it’s a meaningful, long term-journey. In honor of ‘sister’s day’ Laura Jajko and Dana Dunbar agreed to share their story of what it’s like to be sisters in the workplace.
What is it like to work with your sister?
Laura: For me, we’ve been working together  for so long it’s natural. I really don’t think about the fact of being sisters on a day to day basis. We have very different complementary skill sets and we rely on each other to perform. Dana’s expertise is more operational and financial, mine is more on the sales and marketing side. But we are equally passionate about running a really great company for our employees while driving value for our customers, who all really depend on us. I often laugh that ‘my younger sister signs my paychecks.’ (And that’s a good thing! I think she’s the smarter one.)
So you’re probably looking for the drama here, right? Of course we have disagreements, but not many. And when we do, we always cede to the one who has that responsibility in their court. I don’t choose the accountants and bankers, she doesn’t choose the marketing team.

Dana: It’s an adventure. Laura is always pushing the needle. She’s not interested in sitting still and continually challenges me with new ideas. Every time we talk, Laura gives me a nugget to think about. Our brainstorming sessions are the most fun. Everything is on the table and nothing is off limits. I can be a little nerdy and she is okay with that.
It’s nice to have a partner that you know you can trust and who aligns with your values. Laura knows how to motivate and she cares about her team. Laura leads by example. She never asks me or anyone to do something she, herself, is not willing to do. Her energy drives me to be better and do better. Bottom line, Laura makes my job fun and interesting.

Are you close friends outside of the workplace?
Laura: I would say we were really close years ago when we lived in the same neighborhood between 2000-2006. We used to get up every morning at 5am to walk or workout together. Since then we don’t have so many occasions to simply socialize, but we have lunches together a few days a week and of course there are family get-togethers that are important to us.
Dana: We’re never really outside the workplace but yes, we are close. Laura and I talk daily and now that she has a granddaughter, our conversations include an Ella update which invariably leads to texts of cute baby faces and tricks. I’m looking forward to some sister time at the Rauschenberg exhibit  next month. It will be a good opportunity to catch up and be inspired. 
What do you admire most about your sister?
Laura: I find her commitment to her community amazing. She recently stopped an $11M road expansion in her neighborhood – literally by creating a movement, without the need for any fundraising. She’s our very own Erin Brockovich! 
Dana: Laura’s fearlessness. She’ll put herself out there like no one else I know.
We were at an e-commerce marketing conference a few years ago where Laura was asked to be a speaker. Throughout the event, speakers emphasized the importance of testing the data. It became their mantra: ”you must continually test the data.” During a Q and A, someone asked Laura about testing the data and she honestly said we don’t always have the time to test because we have to execute.  The comments on social media were hilarious. Laura voiced what attendees were thinking, but no one had the guts to say publicly. There were a lot of heavy hitters there, it would have been easier to say we test until the cows come home, but she didn’t because we don’t.
What would you want to announce to her here on this blog?
Laura: Dana, you’re my favorite sisterJ.
Dana: Well, Laura may already know this, but this long and layered relationship of ours we call a “sister act” is just getting started. Our mission is much bigger than the both of us and I’m looking ahead with enthusiasm to see where it takes us. I couldn’t imagine a better partner for the task. 

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