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Shadowbox Assembly Tips From The Experts

The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can do with a Shadowbox. We’ve highlighted everything from the traditional to the unique on the blog. If the dates on the blog posts we’ve linked are any indication, shadowboxes were and still are a popular choice when it comes to picture frame design.

We’ve given you the ideas on what to put in them, now we’re back with tips on how to accomplish those projects. We got with our retail team to give us their top best tips on shadowbox design.

Materials

If your ultimate goal is to create a one of a kind shadowbox, then you must have the proper materials to get the job done. According to Ethan Clifton, Frame USA Retail Manager, these are the must-have materials for your shadowbox project.

Jersey in Shadowbox

  1. Sewing Kit

A traditional way to use our shadowbox is to frame jerseys or clothing items. When you are framing these fabrics, you want to be able to adhere them to the back of the frame. If you don’t, they will end up in a jumbled mess at the bottom of the box as soon as you try and hang the frame.

Sewing kit & Straight Pins

 

There are three ways of accomplishing this task, the first is a method that has been done for years but requires time and patience. It involves a regular old sewing kit. You will want to choose a thread that closely matches the fabric colors where you are planning on sewing. You will sew the fabric directly onto the foam core back. Another thing that you can do is order a solid sheet of matboard in a color that compliments or allows for the jersey or fabric to stand out. Whichever backing you decide allows you to accomplish your goal you will want to sew your fabric

Depending on the size of your piece you may find it easier to sew if you wrap it around a piece of foam core. This will allow for the fabric to lay totally flat inside the frame.

  1. Tag Gun

Tag Gun Hidden Tag tag inside Shadowbox Jersey

A more modern way of adhering fabrics is to use a tag gun. You know those annoying little plastic pieces that come on new clothing and attach the price tag to it? That’s what we’re talking about! You can purchase a gun from most craft stores or Amazon and the tags come in a variety of different colors. When you use the tag gun the actual tag can be almost invisible within the finished piece. If for some reason you are only able to find a certain color, you can always disguise the tag within the folds of the fabric such as the crook of the arm.

  1. Straight Pins
Sleeping Cap in a Shadowbox
1920’s Sleeping cap Framed in our Shadowbox Elite with a linen mat.

Shadowbox Straight Pins

For those fabrics that may be too fragile to sew or too important to sew you will want to choose a deeper shadowbox that has room for you to stick the piece with straight pins. This allows for there to be very little alterations to the delicate piece. The pins also serve as an interesting element to the overall design, almost as though you have a piece of a museum right on your wall.

  1. Archival Glue

Jersey’s or fabrics aren’t the only thing that can be framed inside a shadowbox so what about things that can’t be sewed or pinned? Ethan recommends using archival glue on the back of those items. Surprisingly, you probably already have this glue lying around your house; we’re talking about super glue!  A little dot on the back of the item goes a long way to ensure that it stays secure.

Composition

Now that you have the materials to secure your pieces you’ll want to decide on a layout. When in doubt, center your pieces inside. If you are adhering multiple items, the best way to accomplish a unique composition is to utilize that foam-core again. Choose foam core with a variety of depths. Doing this will allow you to elevate the different pieces to new levels. This tip is especially useful when you are using a shadowbox as a unique art piece to your home vs the traditional fabric framing.

Whatever your idea is, these tips will allow you to frame it like the pros. If your piece is delicate and you don’t want to even attempt to frame it, take it to your local frame shop or if you’re near Cincinnati, stop by and let Ethan and his team do

Custom jersey frame

A Jersey Frame For A Special Jersey!

About a month ago, I purchased a very special custom jersey frame, here at Frame USA. I finally decided that it was time to frame an important jersey that I have had for years. The jersey belonged to my dad, who was a pretty good athlete when he was younger. He was a three sport athlete in high school, and went on to play both football and baseball at Kent State before moving on to the NFL. His last two years in college, he was an all American offensive lineman and even kicked a little. In 1991, Kent State inducted him into their Hall of Fame.

From the 1930’s until the mid 1970’s the college football, all-star team would play a game against the reigning Super Bowl champs. This jersey is what my dad wore during the 1967 edition, against the Green Bay Packers. In 2007, my dad passed away unexpectedly, and I have had his jersey ever since. Knowing that Frame USA offers jersey frames, I decided that framing my dad’s would be really nice and I already knew the perfect place!

Between the frame mats, which our retail manager Ethan helped me pick out, and the custom paint job to match the jersey, the final product looks great. Before this process, I actually did not know that Frame USA could do custom paint jobs for the frames. They even put foamcore inside the jersey just to make sure it stays unwrinkled and flat. Frame USA did a fantastic job with the jersey frame. If my dad was still around today, I know that he would be very impressed as well. This jersey really means a lot to me and I am so glad to finally have it framed!

Custom jersey frame

 

Written by Jonathon Brooks, e-Commerce Markets Analyst at Frame USA

Frame Matting Basics

When it comes to framing a photo or artwork that you created, frame matting plays an important role. Frame matting is responsible for providing that extra “pop” to your artwork or photo, without losing focus of the work itself. At Frame USA, we offer not only a variety of colors, but we also offer a range of mat corner cuts and various grades of matboard. When trying to determine what size matboard you should order, think of how much matting you want to be shown. Typically this is about 2 inches on each side of your piece. However, this reveal can be as narrow, or as wide, as you’d prefer! Another thing that you need to remember when matting your artwork is that in order for your image to not fall through, there is a slight overlap of the mat and printed piece.. This will usually deduct about ¼ inch from each side. Or if there are some markings that you’d like to cover, we can make any custom opening to do so! This is done so your artwork will sit securely behind the mat.

Carefully choosing the right frame and mat to go along with your artwork adds more character, and can really help the whole frame pop!

Without frame matting

Framed piece without frame matting Framed piece without matting added Framed piece without adding a matboard

with frame matting

Framed piece with frame matting Framed piece with frame matting Framed piece with matboard added

 

Custom Picture Frame Upgrades

As a wholesale and custom picture frame expert, I work with many different customers on many different jobs. These orders can range from 5 custom picture frames all the way to 5,000. Over the time I have spent here, I have found that a good amount of customers are not aware of all the added upgrades we offer to any custom or standard frame that we sell.

Custom Picture Frame Backing Upgrade

A common upgrade that we offer, that is also economical, are our backing upgrades. For any flat back or easel back frames (frames 8×12 and smaller), we offer the choice of a Black or White Foam Core upgrade. This would be to replace our standard Corrugated (Cardboard), black cardboard, or easel backing. Foam Core is thicker, sturdier, and has a more professional look that a lot of our picture store gallery and photography customers choose to improve the overall look of their frame. Not only does Foam Core improve the sturdiness and appearance of the back, it also applies more pressure to the mat and picture to fit more snug against the glass. This is an upgrade you can choose for any frame online when you click the custom button. You can also call in and ask for a Foam Core upgrade.

Custom picture frame options for all frames Frame USA backing options

Frame Glazing Upgrade Options

Another common upgrade that we offer is glass. As many customers know, we do not offer real glass on any frame size over 11×14. This is due to shipping concerns and the overall fragileness of a glass sheet bigger than 11×14. We use styrene for any frame larger than 11×14, but we also offer an Acrylic glazing upgrade. This gives the frame a real glass look without the worry of it shattering during shipping. Acrylic is 1/8th of an inch thick and resembles the weight and appearance of real glass.

I always highly recommend Acrylic upgrades for any customer concerned about not being able to have real glass in their larger frames. The cost of Acrylic varies by the size of the frame, but most upgrades won’t break the budget! This upgrade is not offered as a one click on our website, unless you are using our “Design A Frame” feature. You will find both of these upgrades while creating your own custom picture frame. Otherwise, they can be easily quoted by myself or any sales representative.  All you have to do is give us a call and we can break down all of the custom picture frame upgrades we offer!

Glazing and backing options for your custom picture frame

Written by Alex Himes, Inside Sales Representative at Frame USA

Custom Framing Online — Holiday Memories Edition

The build up to the holiday season is always so exciting. Once New Years passes and you get to that first week back on a normal schedule… that excitement is gone. In this technology filled world sometimes its hard to keep the memories alive. Sure, you probably take hundreds of photos to remember the events. Those photos probably are also shared on social media or through online photo albums, but ultimately, they are forgotten about until you stumble across them a few years later. What if there was a way to keep that excitement alive? Custom Framing is the answer!

Custom Framing Online

We know what you might be thinking,

“I would love to be able to get my holiday photographs custom framed, but finding a shop that won’t cost a fortune and give me a high-quality finished piece is hard!”

We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be hard. There is a way for you to get a custom framed piece without ever leaving your couch. Our Design a Frame feature was built with this particular predicament in mind, it specializes in Custom Framing Online. It takes you through each level of custom framing that you would go through at a framing shop, from the comfort of your home.

Picture/ Image

The first Design a Frame step is ultimately what prompted you to get a custom framed piece in the first place. In other words, The Photo! We give you the option to either upload a photo and have it printed or just order the frame and mat for an already printed photo. Your first step in the process is to enter in the image size. This can be the actual size of the image or your desired size of the image if you are having us print it. If you are having us print your image for you, the easiest way to determine the actual size of the image is to print it out on regular copy paper and measure it with a ruler or tape measure.

 

Once you have the image measured you will input that size into Design a Frame. If you are having us print your picture for you upload that image into Design A Frame. The orientation of your photo will determine which measurement goes in which box. For instance, this particular image measured at 5.75 wide by 11 inches tall. The length measurement is where you will put the height of your image and the width is the width.

The best part about using our Design A Frame feature is that you only need to know two measurements—the measurement of the image you are framing and how wide you want the mat to be. The custom frame size is automatically formulated from those two measurements. Design a Frame defaults to a black frame with a standard 1” smooth white matte. The next step is for you to decide if you want to keep the default frame or choose a different option.

Frame

You have the options to filter by Metal, Poster or Wood Frames. If you have a specific color in mind you can also choose a color filter that will give you all the frames that have an option within that color family.

Mat

Once you have the perfect frame selected you will move on to your mat selection. We offer Standard, Premium, Black Core, Acid Free, and Suede mats in a number of different colors. During this part of the process you have to enter in how wide you want the mat and decide if you want to add a second or third mat as well as how much of them you want to be revealed. The default is 0.25”.

Glazing/Backing

Once your mat colors are selected you will move on to the fourth and final step in the online custom framing process: Glazing and Backing. The particular glazing options offered are determined by the size of your overall frame. The three options available are Glass, Styrene, or Acrylic. Glass is only offered on frames that are 11×14 and smaller. The three backing options are white foam core, black foam core and the default Cardboard.  Once you have decided between them you are ready to add it to your cart and finalize your order!

Finished Masterpiece

You have now successfully made it through the online custom framing process. The next step is to find the perfect place for your finished masterpiece. Your new piece will serve as a constant reminder of your precious holiday memories whether sitting on a shelf or hanging on the wall.

BONUS:

We have a Design A Frame sale going on RIGHT NOW. Use the coupon code MEMORIES for 15% off your order until January 9 , 2020 at 11:59 PM EST.

How To Install A Sawtooth Frame Hanger

 

There is nothing more frustrating than receiving your picture frame order and then realizing you have no idea how to hang it on the wall! At Frame USA we offer two options for hanging the picture frames that you purchase. All of our picture frames that are 9×12 or larger will automatically ship with a sawtooth Frame hanger. We also sell a wire Frame hanging kit separately if you are more interested in this route. Since the sawtooth Frame hanger is not something that customers typically see when purchasing from your chain store we thought we would give you a step by step process in installing this handy dandy hanger.

 

Picture frames
The back of our standard picture frame. Taped to the top is our sawtooth hanger. Poster frames come with a hanger attached to the backing, and wire hangers can be requested for larger pieces.

Materials Needed:

Total Install Time: 40 Seconds

Sawtooth Install Materials

  • Hammer
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Sawtooth Hanger
  • Picture Frame

Instructions:

  1.  The first step in  installing the sawtooth hanger is to decide which orientation you want the frame to be in. The sawtooth hanger can be installed either vertically or horizontally.
  2. Once this has been decided and your materials have been gathered lay your frame on a flat sturdy surface. We recommend using something that you can comfortably stand at such as a kitchen table.
  3. You will want to use the measuring tape to find the halfway point on the back of your frame. both vertically and horizontally. This is to ensure that the sawtooth will be centered on the frame.
  4. Mark this with your pen or pencil. This mark will be where you will sit the center of your hanger on.
  5. Now that you know exactly where the sawtooth will be adhere you want to use the hammer and tap the hardware into the frame. You want to make sure that your taps are firm but not too firm so that you don’t damage the picture frame itself.

Now that your sawtooth is fully inserted, your frame is ready to hang!

If you prefer to follow along to a video vs reading written instructions check out the video below! Interested in purchasing additional sawtooth hangers now that you have become an expert installer, click here!

Frame USA’s Gift Guide, Part 3

The clock is ticking, but you are almost there! You are almost completely done with your holiday shopping. To check off the rest of your list, Frame USA’s Gift Guide has a few more wonderful gift ideas that your recipients are bound to adore!

In-Laws

Barnwood Trays being displayed for Frame USA's Gift Guide

It’s sometimes difficult to find the right gift that you know your in-laws will adore. But we have a great idea, whether you are extremely close with them or still trying to get there. Our Barnwood Tray is a unique, and classy, piece that they will most definitely appreciate! You can buy it with a mirror to make it more decorative, or you can get more personal and add a family photograph that can be seen by all!

 

New Parents

Baby's First Year Collage Frame displayed proudly for Frame USA's Gift Guide

Help honor the new parents in your circle, and focus on their adorable new baby! Our Baby’s First Year Collage Frame and My First Year Frame are excellent gifts for parents that just had a new child, or their kid just turned a year old. These frames are a precious way to document the newborn’s first year, month to month. Both of these frames have twelve same-size openings, and one separate opening for another photograph. As an extra bonus, our Baby’s First Year Collage lets you engrave the baby’s name on the top of the mat. How cute?!

 

Teachers

Colori picture frames being used for high quality teacher prints, as per Frame USA's Gift Guide

Teachers can be tricky because you don’t always know them extremely well, but you know they deserve something truly special. Gift your children’s teacher a framed, high-quality print that they can hang in their room! We can even help with our Colori Medium or Large Picture Frame. These frames are simple, yet trendy, with all of their colorful options. You can try and match the teacher’s room or match your print. But what better way to say thank you to those that help raise your children?

 

Now that you have the full Frame USA’s Gift Guide, you are ready to go and start wrapping these affordable frames that are also high quality and make for fabulous home decor! We have shown you custom and personal gifts for your family, friends, and all those people that impact your lives on the daily! There is no doubt that this holiday season is sure to be special!

 

Happy Holidays from our family, here at Frame USA, to yours! 

Frame USA’s Framing Gift Guide, Part 2

Now that you already have some of your shopping done, using our Frame USA’s Framing Gift Guide Part 1, you can move on to the next people on your list! Frame USA’s Framing Gift Guide Part 2 is here to show you some more wonderful, custom gifts that your friends and family are sure to love!

Spouse / Significant Other

Shadowbox showcasing memories for a loved one

What could be a better gift than memories, for your other half? If you have a ton of movie tickets, postcards, photo booth photos, or other types of souvenirs sitting around, then you finally have a way to organize and showcase them! With the help of our Shadowbox Frames, you can create the perfect box stuffed full with all of your amazing memories. They are the perfect frame to display items because they are deeper than a normal frame, and can hold wider objects.

 

Friends

Poster Frames on on display, showing off posters

Sometimes shopping for all your friends isn’t as easy as you might think. Either you have too many complicated ideas or you are just drawing a blank on what would be their perfect gift. Don’t worry. We have a fabulous idea that you can personalize to each friend, and they’ll love it! Use one of our stylish Poster Frames to frame a poster that fits your friend’s interests! You can find art posters, educational posters, inspirational posters, TV / movie posters, and so many more at our Posterservice website. Once you have picked out a poster, or a few, that your friend would appreciate, you have to get a poster frame that’ll make it more modern and sophisticated. All your friends will love their gifts and leave with a smile!

 

Niece / Nephew

Specialty T-Shirt Frames showcasing school spirit

If you are looking for a great gift for your niece or nephew, look no further! Our T-Shirt Frame is the perfect option! You can frame your niece’s old dance t-shirts that don’t fit her anymore, but she just can’t seem to throw away. Or you can frame your nephew’s favorite team jersey. This gift is personal and fun, and there is not a chance that they won’t be excited unwrapping it!

 

You can’t top these creative and personal gifts, can you? I didn’t think so! These custom frames are super fun, and look great hanging on your walls! So continue enjoying all your holiday shopping, and make sure you keep updated for when Frame USA’s Framing Gift Guide Part 3 comes along. We will make sure that everybody has a check mark on your list!

Frame USA’s Framing Gift Guide, Part 1

It is that time of the year again! Where half your friends and family send out their Christmas lists and the other half give you zero hints as to what they would like this year. So what are you supposed to do? What do you get them? Well you’re in luck because we can help give you some awesome gift ideas for everybody on your shopping list! Our Frame USA’s Framing Gift Guide will glide you right into the holidays!

 

Mom and Dad

If there is one thing that parents love, it is their children. And they enjoy showing them off! If you really want to give them something they’ll smile about and truly love, consider gifting them one of our Specialty School Years frames. These frames make it super easy to showcase your school photos from every year, and witness the transformation from year to year.

 

Your Children

Whether it is your four-year old’s finger paintings or your high schooler’s landscape drawing, everybody appreciates some praise and encouragement. Framing your kid’s masterpieces make priceless gifts! They are an amazing way to let them know that you support and love their work. A perfect frame for this would be our Architect Picture Frames because they are thinner and have a simpler design that won’t take away from the piece being framed. They also come in a variety of colors so you can easily compliment your child’s creation!

 

Brothers and Sisters

Does your sibling have a favorite artist or album? Do you two have an album or song that bonds you together? Well then our Frame an Album series is the perfect gift for them! You can choose between our black and natural frames to compliment the record cover or artwork. It’s a great way to honor their favorites or the connection you both share!

 

Now that you have Frame USA’s Framing Gift Guide, you can begin your shopping! But make sure to come back for part 2 and part 3 of the gift guide, to finish off ALL of your shopping!

New Series Spotlight – Gun Metal Picture Frames

A few months back we introduced our brand-new Chalked Series. As of today, our Chalked series is now available and ready to be purchased. In addition to the launch of Chalked, we are also launching a second brand new series called Gun Metal.

Despite the name Gun Metal, this is not a brand-new series that we’re adding to our Metal Line. This new series comes in 3 unique profiles in wood. All of which feature the cutting-edge wood frame color: Gun metal. This series is great for a muted metallic look for any picture that you might want to put in them. They would look great for those beautiful black and white wedding or event photos. Gun Metal comes in three profiles: Narrow, Divet, and Wide.

Gun Metal Divet
Divet
Gun Metal Flat
Narrow
Gun Metal Wide
Wide

Just like all of our other frames, Our New Gun Metal series is American-made in our warehouse in Cincinnati, Ohio. Buying from Frame USA means supporting an American Company and getting the best quality products! Stay tuned for more new series and great blog posts!