Picture Frames, Picture Framing and Picture Framers' Blog

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Why you should not cheaply frame your own football jumper

We thought we should  write this post because of the regular inquiries we receive from customers and sporting fans wanting to Do-Your-Own,  football jumpers, soccer tops, cricket shirts  framing, using  cheap, ready-made, poster frames. Typically they tell us that they have a family football jumper they want quickly framed for a fast approaching birthday or looming event. Often they just don’t only want the jumper framed, they also want photos, tickets, scarves or what have you, combined and all framed together.   They further explain that as their budget is a bit tight,  they are thinking of doing the framing themselves since custom picture framing it would cost an arm and a leg. These callers go on to say that they have seen online our  very cheap 70x100cms black Ready-Made Poster Frames and A0 Black Ready-Made Poster Frames. And the questions they ask us are ... pretty much the same.  Do we think that they will be able to frame their football shirts and any added memorabilia with our ready-made picture frames?  Invariably we say no, but saying no to Customers isn’t easy nowadays  so we always end up engaging in a conversation explaining the why and wherefores our answer is in the negative. Perhaps the most important reason for saying no to ready-made picture frames or poster frames for football jumpers is the fact that people don’t know or won’t know how to properly stretch and mount a jumper or shirt before framing it. The illustration of the green US football shirt herein pretty much shows what we mean by this. It is evident that the shirt has been simply been folded and put inside the frame as it is, without any pre-work or preparation. You might also readily agree that the framed shirt just look terrible and this is largely because it has not been stretched first.  More importantly, it has not been stretched to a pre-cut  “biscuit” or form. A “biscuit” or form, can be a section of acid-free foamboard or mountboard which the picture framer has pre-cut to size and will take the final size and desired shape.  The soft shirt of football jumper is then slipped and stretched over the relatively hard “biscuit” or form, much like putting on a sock on your foot.  This stretching over the biscuit is what renders the shirt or football jumper, taut,  flat, and without folds, pucks or creases. While the prior described steps sound relatively easy, the practice, skill and experience required to accomplish this can require months, if not years or practice, even for a picture framer. And even after a shirt is properly stretched over its biscuit, careful pinning needs to be done to the cuffs, hem, collar stand, yoke, sleeve plackets and sometimes, to the tale as well. The pinning, most commonly done with 2 or 3cms chrome-plated dressmaker’s needles needs to be discreet, so as to be almost invisible,  accurate to retain straightness of folds, and strong, so as not to come undone when for instance, the picture frame is being moved or  transported.  Lastly, the now-stretched shirt or jumper now needs to be fastened to the backing board so as to keep it fixed, centralized within and inside the frame and floating in the centre.  The fastening is achieved by using staples, brads, or again, dressmaker’s pins and the method will vary according to each picture framer’s preference.  Some do-you-own hobbyists use strong  adhesive tapes or glues to do so, however caution should be exercised when using these, for at least two good reasons.Firstly,  adhesives and glues are permanent mounting methods  which are contrary to the reversibility criterion which is paramount when framing valuable art. Secondly, most adhesives and glues tend to degrade, break down and release their grip or hold with age. This means that the stretched jumper could fall down and out of its place of own accord while inside the frame and even if no one is handling the frame. If you have kept on reading, thus far, you will have realized that the biscuit-making, stretching, pinning and mounting are methods and operations that require the right materials, tools, accessories, skill, knowledge and experience. In addition, most custom picture framing of a soccer shirt or football jumper will include 3-dimensional framing, with the shirt or top recessed, or sunk-in, and kept away from the glass, rather than being squashed in. Lastly, the item would also be surrounded by a window mat, so as to give the shirt or top those margins or sides that will make it really stand out and enhance its appearance. Again, these are highly skilled methods and operations not readily known, practised or available to most do-your-own hobbyists.  And as most do-you-own hobbyists, are highly unlikely to have all and each of these skills, they will generally tend to just stick the shirt in  to the frame. This is fast and cheap, but again, if you look at the finished, D.Y.O.photograph in here, the resul is pretty underwhelming, if not downright disappointing.  So in the final analysis,  customers have two main options. The first one is to put the shirt into a ready-made poster frame themselves, which, and as far as we can tell it could cost around $125 and might finish up looking like this:

The second one is to entrust the shirt for custom picture framing to a professional custom picture framer, like ourselves, for around $275 and it would look like one of these:

The two options have two different price tickets and two very different, finished-product, styles and appearances. Which of these two options is best or preferable, is decided by each customer. However, the professional, custom picture framing option invariably the preferable one for any prized or valued collectable. This is because the professionally framed item, should be easily removable, be framed with acid-free or conservation materials, be framed without the glass resting on it and be pinned and fastened without harmful adhesives or glues. These features are very important when conserving valued items. If the conservation and reversibility principles are adhered to,  degradation and deterioration of the art is either greatly minimized or avoided.

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