Picture Frames, Picture Framing and Picture Framers' Blog

Welcome to our weblog about picture framers, picture frames and picture framing. It is published and maintained with the goal to share information, knowledge, tips, ideas and opinions about this industry. All posts are grouped in the sections listed below. For help with orders, please visit our Store Help and FAQS page, or use our Contact page.

MDF Wood Frames Instead of PVC Plastic Frames Help Reduce Global Warming

Many of our Staff,  Customers and people we know,  grew  up in the 1970’s, 1980s’ or even earlier.  MDF-wood-picture-frameBack then plastic was fantastic, it was so cheap and convenient, we couldn’t make, buy or use enough of  the staff.  It was literally and still largely is, ubiquitous, and the picture framing industry was no different from the others.  While the custom picture framers never bought much, if any, of the plastic stuff,  just about everyone else did.   PVC ( plastic ) mouldings were, and still are,  a major part  of the mass-produced photo frames and picture frames.  Just about every picture frames wholesaler, discount chain, department store, chemist chain and discount shop sold and still sells,  plastic picture frames.  Whether solid or extruded, it was all the same stuff,  cheap PVC.  This type of plastic was the cheapest material with which make frames,  and the mass market never much sought after the best, it always hungered for the cheapest.  But, as  Bob Dylan sung back in 1964 ...

 
Made in Australia? Are you kidding?

Some weeks ago a senior Customer came to our factory wanting us to make some custom size glass clip frames.  The picture frames no longer made in australiadesired, odd-size clip frames were to match other existing ones on her family wall.  There had been new additions to her clan, she said, and she wanted the wall photos decor to match. She volunteered that she was a pensioner and could not afford to pay much.  Also, she helpfully added, she knew what the prices of the clip frames should be.  Since the special size clip frames that she wanted were smaller than the A3 clip frames she saw on our display for $6.65, hers should be cheaper, maybe around $5 each.  We then pointed to her that none of our clip frames are made here in Australia but are all imported  from Asia, and that’s why they are so cheap.  “What, don’t you people make them?  Aren’t these made here in Australia?”  she gasped in disbelief, amost shocked by the revelation. No, we replied ...

 
In Praise of White Picture Frames

It wasn’t really that long ago that white frames were thought of, insipid, bland and without character.  Older picture framers clearly remember the times when white picture frames were only for special  occasions, special persons or special places. Only the occasional Customer would only come in asking for frames in this colour. We would be told that the frames were for a  wedding, and of course the bride would be wearing white. Or for baby or little girl’s room, since white invariably brings innocence and purity to mind. Or that there would be a special event with that white as the dominating theme. Or that a hospital, rest home or similar care or welfare institution needed them.  Other than for those reasons, Customers just didn’t want them or asked for them. Perhaps it ...

 
Why "composite wood" MDF picture frames are supplanting "real wood" picture frames

In a nutshell, this is happening because more customers want cheap picture frames than expensive picture frames, it’s that simple.  But the reasons for and background to this answer are  deeper and more, complicated. From the probable beginnings of approximately 2000 years ago men ( and women ) cut real wood from real tree forests to make the four sticks needed for a picture frame.  These ancient picture framers appreciated that wood has a texture and grain which can  be sealed, polished and varnished for that attractive and unique appearance, since each section of wood is always lightly different from the others. I addition, solid timber has always had many positive qualities. It’s abundant, durable, tough and can be finished beautifully .   Properly cured solid wood is strong ...

 
Framing graffiti art : Controversial art or visual abomination?

Where did graffiti come from:   The word graffiti comes from the Italian nouns “graffito” and  “graffio” meaning “a little scratch”.  It has been assimilated into the English language to denote any casual writing or design marked on a wall or timber structure.  Oddly enough though, if it’s been done on a rock it’s rack it’ called a petroglyph.  There’s no great need to describe what a graffito or graffiti are.  The oldest ones seem to date back tp 2,500 years BC and,  unsurprisingly, are erotic and depict both genitalia and coitus, thus some things never change.  They are as varied as humanity is, all-encompassing, ubiquitous and immemorial.  Indeed, in a recent study, a sociologist from Michigan State University sociologist found that during one year of US news coverage, most blogs, interviews, reports and linked graffiti to antisocial activities and visual pollution. However in our ..

 
Planning your first art exhibition

So, you’ve been doodling, drawing, painting, sculpting, modelling, welding, photographing or otherwise crafting your art for years. Now you are confident and ready and want the world to see your artistic works which deserves to be seen, viewed, admired and hopefully, sold. Having curated the picture framing and picture frames aspect of exhibitions  for many years, we can suggest a few helpful ways towards your inaugural show.  1.  Plan your exhibition: It always pays to mindmap one’s art exhibitions, especially inaugural ones. You will find it useful to both explore or ponder pertinent and strategic questions, some of which may be: What goals are you seeking to achieve? What atmosphere are you seeking to create,  Will there be a social or community visual message or declaration? Will it be a small intimate event or a large public one? Will it be a solo or a group ...

 
Of styles and trends: The empty white walls minimalist polemic

This happens even before walking into a new spec, or recently renovated home. You know the feel, you recognize the look and you know what to expect, right? Basically it’s about all, bare, white or pale empty walls, bare floors and sparse furnishings. It’s minimalism at its worst, and ugliest, maybe. Well, it’s definitely the ugliest for picture framers because the average home seems to now feature one quarter of the wall décor it had  twenty years ago. And by definition, this means that they're only doing one quarter of the work they did a generation earlier. Good folks once decorated their  homes to remind them of seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each season always had, and still has, its moods and colours, but why is the all-white so popular? Surely it isn’t polar winter all year round? And while this has been .. 

 
Let a Thousand Failures Wilt, or how modern society has failed our children

Some time ago we had a teenager come by looking for work. His personality wasn’t that flash but we progressed with the interview on to some basic skills test.  We asked him to count some picture framing moulding sticks, wrapped in 7 packs,  6 sticks per 1 pack. Most people can do this easily in their head, i.e.: 6x7 = 42.  But the lad asked us for a calculator . We asked why he couldn’t work it out by himself and he said that he hadn’t been taught how.  Where had he been taught we inquired, Emmaus Catholic College, he replied. He added that his College didn’t teach arithmetic or maths manually or longhand because everyone had calculators. A while later we had another young man come in to work with us casually, part time,  in the warehouse. He’d been out of work for a while and we kind of felt for him. We realized that he wasn’t the fastest or the brightest employee we ...

 
The new "Transterior" decor trend in picture frames and picture framing

Transterior is quite a recent interior design term.  In a nutshell, it’s that place in the house choose to build and have where the inside and the outside are made to come together. It is meant to connect, and evoke a feeling of transition, between the external nature outdoors and the internal, man-made indoors.  Years ago people called this the “outside room” the ‘sunroom’ even, where that alfresco ambience could be, if not met, at least hinted at.  This space can further define as the border where bricks meet the grass, as a verandah or sliding external door does.  Often it’s just the ‘family room’ because that room tends to lead directly onto to the outside garden or back yard.   In that place, space or room, the décor and picture frames may be designed and styled with earthy, unfinished, natural, organic or handmade furniture, décor and materials.   Many architectural ...

 
Who or what, killed all the picture framing shops?

Beginning only 20-odd years ago or so, the advent of the internet, while creating new industries and new jobs, also destroyed comparatively more industries and jobs than it created.  Back then online sales for picture frames or photo frame didn’t exist, now these are a majority, and are increasing all the time.  Again, during this time,  picture frames stores and picture framing shop have decreased dramatically, both here in Australia and in the United States. Taking a look across the Pacific, at the U.S. with about 15 times our population, latest statistics tell us that there are only about 7,000 shops left, or around 75%  less than at the 1980’s peak.  Australia paints a similar, if not worse, picture.  With devastating figures as these, picture framing shop proprietors, when asked, will nearly always blame the internet as the leading cause of their failing and failing industry ...  

 
A Picture Framer’s Seven Deadly Sins

Alas, this post is distillation of many conversations, hundreds of observations and a multitude of  picture framers’ trade talk over many years. While it is partly a reflection on the occasional failings of our industry’s practitioners it is also meant to be a septet of helpful pointers on how to avoid unintentionally alienate  customers. Customer alienation can be triggered quite easily, and even if unintended and not meant.  Picture framers do have bad their days,  which can put them in a bad mood.  And it is this very mood which they sometimes subconsciously mirror and inadvertently transfer to their exterior and interactive behaviour, with and towards others, customers included.  And below is our list of mortal transgressions:  1st Arrogance. Regrettably, picture framers often fail by this and in this.   Customers dislike being talked down by us, the ‘experts’.  Framers need to be ...

 
Picture Framing Consumers: Baby-Boomers vs Millennials

It was around the time of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) , or a few years after this millennium began, that picture framers throughout the world began noticing that the spending patterns and behaviour of their customer had changed. For those frames who entered the framing industry in the golden years of breaching whales and leaping dolphins posters this was a cultural and financial shock. Kodak, Borders, One.Tel, and other corporate, lost customers by their tens of thousands and soon fell by the wayside. And yet, at much the same time, those same customers began queuing for hours, foolishly grateful for the opportunity to buy iPads and iPhones at full prices. And, before queuing for the privilege, many of those customers would have consumed expensive organic mashed avocado breakfasts washed down by hand-made macchiatos and served by hipster baristas.  So what ...