Why Does Custom Framing Cost So Much?

Generally there is sticker shock when you see how much it is going to cost to custom frame a picture or piece of artwork. The reason they are so expensive is because it is custom and done by hand. Especially if you pick more expensive materials it will drastically increase cost.

The first major cost is going to be the frame materials themselves. The frame can be quite expensive depending on which one you pick. The suppliers themselves are going to charge the custom framer a lot of money for real wood frames. Especially the bigger wood frames are not cheap to make. When you start factoring in what type of wood is being used in the frame, the price can start adding up really quickly.

The next major cost is the glass. If you want non-glare or museum quality glass this is going to cost you. You can go with the cheapest form of glass, but glass still isn’t free. Consider how much it costs to get a window or storm door and you’ll see that glass costs. Depending on how valuable the item is that you are getting framed, glass can be a huge expense.

Another cost is going to be the matting. Although on the surface it seems like matting should be pretty cheap if it is just a piece of cardboard, it really isn’t cheap. Matting itself is a lot more than just cardboard especially if you go with acid free matting. If you don’t get the acid free matting you will see your picture or artwork degrade over time.

The final and major cost is the labor itself. It takes a master framer to cut the glass, the frame, and the matting perfectly to leave absolutely no gaps and perfect mounting. Keep in mind, some of the labor costs you are paying for include the expensive machines required to cut the matting, glass, and frame. As long as you purchase online or go to a reputable framer, they will tell you how much each portion of the framing process costs. This way you can take the estimate of each part and negotiate on your next estimate.