What determine the value of a picture frame?

 Frame Wall Pinto

  With the appearance of photography in the 19th Century, most ordinary people started to have the chance of framing something as ornaments. Until then, only the wealth had the mood and the money to collect and enjoy framing arts.

  Then let’s go back to the late twentieth century, where picture frame become a very important decorative element in house interior. And with the proliferation of photography, more people tend to preserve their precious memories about family, friends and even pets in this way. Therefore, a proper frame has always been the first choice of preserving and displaying the photos.

  In most cases, people who run into shops to frame their prints pay more attention to the values of the prints themselves. However, despite of the extra value it add to the prints, the value of the outside frame itself get increasingly attention in recent years.

  The value of a frame is determined by a number of factors including material, sizes, the crafts being used. The selection of the protective cover, whether the frame has a mat or not, the package methods, the cost of labor will all have a significant impact on the value of a frame, not to mention the custom service and extra emotional value.

Material & Size

  As we introduced in the last blog before, most popular frames nowadays are made from mainly three materials: Metal, Plastic and Solid Wood. Plastic frames tend to be the least expensive, followed by metal, and then solid wood.

  Metal frames tend to be modern in style and generally narrow. In most cases, they could be a good traditional framing way as long as the frame has been well anodized and completely acid free.

  Many plastic frames in very high quality plastic frames are also available today. Due to mass production, their unit value is relatively low, therefore making them a good option to help you keep the budget down.

  However, solid wooden picture frames remain the favorite of most art collectors. They are available in various shapes, colors and finish, and are even more sturdy than plastic frames. Moreover, they are comparably safer than metal frames because they have no sharp edges。

  The material being used for making frames must be chosen carefully, as it is obvious that the better materials being used, the better protection your artworks could get. Not only could the better material provide better physical strength for the frame, but also could prevent other chemicals from affecting the prints and problems like discoloring, and sometimes could even add extra aesthetic values. Take wooden picture frames as an example. Specific kinds of wood like pine and fir could give out fragrance, which definitely value up the frame itself. Let alone some rare woods with high ornamental value.

  Of course, the size of the frame will have great impacts on the final value too. Smaller frames are logically cheaper, given that a reduced amount of material is required. Likewise, larger frames will command higher prices.

Frame Contents

Mats and Backings

Frame white mat

  After determining the sizes, you can also decide whether you will need a mat for your art or not. The mat could highlight the picture and make it stand out from regular. Accordingly, this will increase the size and thickness of the frames and therefore the cost in the production process, because more materials are used. That’s why you will find that a plain white mount will be the cheapest option, while the price will increase depending on if you’ve selected a unique board type, no matter if the mount is a v-groove or double mount.

  In addition, backing is also necessarily important like mat which can not be ignored. Imagine a frame uses a very shoddy back board with flimsy hooks attached, would you rely on it while decorating your tables or walls? Absolutely no, instead, you would rather find another frame with stable prop or strong hangers so that you could screw them in to make sure your artworks won’t fall off the wall. Therefore, these relevant accessories would also make a difference to the overall value of the picture frame.


  Another factor might influence the value of the picture frame is the type of cover that you choose. Glass is often used as the standard cover board of picture frame, they could fit different frames as long as being cut into proper size easily. Just because of its mass production, glass covers are relatively cheap at price. Besides, it’s also significant to note that due to the physical properties of glass, covers made of this material are fragile and heavy.

  However, there are other options you can choose. Acrylic board has become popular these days, given that they are light in weight and can even offer protection against UV Rays. Accordingly, frames using this material will be added with higher value but still will be affordable for most people.

Custom Service

Custom Service

  Ready-made frames are normally produced in factories where the labor costs are comparably low for each frame. On the other hand, custom frames are made by experienced craftsmen or online manufacturer teams like us, which means the labor cost will also be higher. In other words, the more time spent making a frame, the more attention and care has been spent to make sure the quality is quite right.

  Besides, sometimes the manufacturer will highlight their brand personality in the designs, therefore to provide either hedonistic and symbolic value to the target customers, and even make them develop an emotional attachment to the frames and the brand itself.

  Of course, speaking of custom, you could also make picture frames all by yourself. After all, what could be more thoughtful than a personalized gift that lasts for years? In this case, this kind of frames will be added with a totally different but still important value--Sentimental Value.

Sentimental Value

  There’s no doubt that picture frames could be the best method to display artworks and decorate your table or wall, however, they could also be a great carrier of happy memories. When used as mementos, they will be endowed with special sentimental value, which could continuously grow with time.

  In this case, antique frames, especially wooden picture frames, with their intricate designs, evoke a time past when craftsmanship was fine art unto itself. And at the same time, just like how it affects fine wines, the passage of time could increase the value of the picture frames.


  Transportation will also have an impact on the price of a frame, not just in terms of the distance traveled but also the packaging methods involved to make sure the frame arrives safe and sound.

  Some manufacturers may also charge extra money for offering customized wrapping like gift boxes, or specially protective packaging. Therefore, packaging should also be taken into consideration while calculating the value of a picture frame.

Places to get picture frames

Big brand high street stores

  You’ll quite often find the cheap frames in supermarkets like Walmart and IKEA. These companies operate at the highest economy of scale and typically offer the lowest price due to cheap materials and a lack of attention to detail. Typically the products provided by these shops will give your artworks only basic protection instead of much genuine protection.

Local frame shops

Local Frame Store

  Local frame shops open regularly so that customers can walk in at any time. They will make the time to talk with the customer, review their artwork, and help them choose the best picture frame, mat, and other contents. They may also offer other services such as shadow box arrangements, personalization, and multiple-opening mats.

Online frame shops

  Thanks to the development of the internet, despite picking frames in stores, people could easily purchase picture frames online. Generally, online framing retailers will have a vast amount of raw (uncut) stock to choose from, since they have large premises with space for stock, advanced semi-automatic equipment and highly trained machine operators. They are also flexible in the type of customers they could serve, with the ability to cater for orders of all types – from standards to custom, from individual frames for wedding decoration to hotel refurbishment projects which requires hundreds of frames. The only downside is that lead time may be slightly longer when compared to an off-the-shelf product.

Garage sales

Garage Sale Frames

  Lots of people may sort out frames they no longer use to place them out during their annual garage sales. Usually they do this not for making their money back but only for  making a little bit of money and reducing the clutter in their homes. You might have to go through several of these sales for looking, but when you find the right ones, it's all worth it!

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