If you’re in the business of picture framing, finding the right frame and supplies is crucial to your success. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 10 places where you can get picture frame supplies for your business. Whether you’re looking for the right frame, mat board, or tools, these suppliers have got you covered.
The Picture Framing Industry in 2023
According to market research, the picture-framing industry in the US is projected to decline by 2.1% in 2023, with a 3.9% annual decline on average between 2018 and 2023. While the declining life cycle stage and low barriers to entry are negative factors affecting the industry, there is still potential for growth through the increasing number of households earning over $100,000.
As consumers in this demographic generate an estimated 50% of industry revenue, the industry could potentially capitalize on their rising demand for artwork framing services. If you’re exploring other opportunities, check out 50 handmade businesses you can start from home here.
Top Places to Buy Picture Frame Supplies Online
For businesses looking for the perfect frame for their products, there are countless shopping options online. Here is a list of the top places to buy picture frame supplies on the web:
Amazon is a top source for online picture frame supplies with a vast selection, competitive prices, and fast shipping options.
Small Business Deals
Etsy is a popular online marketplace for unique and handmade picture frame supplies, offering a variety of styles and customization options.
3. Frame Destination
Frame Destination sells high-quality framing supplies from top brands, including mat board, mount board, spacers, glass, and acrylic.
4. Dick Blick Art Materials
Dick Blick Art Materials offers a wide range of frames and framing supplies, including specialty frames, mat boards, glazing materials, and picture-hanging hardware.
5. Jerry’s Artarama
Jerry’s Artarama is a top online source for picture frame supplies, offering expert service and a curated selection of high-quality materials with fast, free shipping.
6. Framing 4 Yourself
Framing 4 Yourself offers affordable tools, supplies, and free tutorials for at-home picture framing. They’re the top online source for picture frame supplies.
7. United Mfrs Supplies
United Mfrs Supplies is the top choice for picture framers to buy supplies online. With the best quality, largest selection, and lowest prices, customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
8. American Frame
9. Artistic Wholesale Supply
Artistic Wholesale Supply offers a vast selection of high-quality picture framing supplies, chop service, and custom orders. They offer local delivery and nationwide shipping.
10. Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff
Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff offers online picture frame supplies, including ready-made frames, framing tools, glues, adhesives, and hardware for hanging artwork.
Essential Picture Framing Supplies
When it comes to running a successful picture-framing business, having the right stock of supplies is essential. Once you invest in the right materials, check out 16 craft supply storage ideas to keep your materials organized. Here are some of the most important supplies that every picture frame business should have on hand.
Wood is one of the most traditional and popular materials used for picture frames. It is versatile, durable, and comes in a wide variety of types, finishes, and colors. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and walnut are prized for their strength and fine grain, while softer woods like pine are easier to shape and more affordable. Wood frames can be carved, stained, or painted, allowing for a high degree of customization. They provide a classic look that can range from rustic to elegant, fitting seamlessly into most décor styles.
Metal frames, commonly made from aluminum or steel, offer a sleek, modern look. They are known for their durability and strength, making them an excellent choice for larger pieces of art or posters. Metal frames are often thinner than wood, which can give the artwork a more streamlined appearance. They are also resistant to warping and can handle more humid environments better than wood. Metals like bronze, silver, or brass are also used for more decorative and luxurious frames.
Plastic and Acrylic
Plastic and acrylic frames are lightweight, affordable, and come in a vast array of colors and styles. They can mimic the look of more expensive materials like wood or metal and are relatively durable and easy to maintain. Acrylic frames, in particular, offer a clear, glass-like appearance that can be virtually invisible, putting the focus entirely on the artwork. These materials are excellent for casual settings or for those who prefer a contemporary look.
Glass is not commonly used for the frame itself but is often a component of the frame, used to protect the artwork. However, borderless or clip frames entirely made of glass are also available. These frames offer a minimalistic and modern presentation, making the artwork appear as if it’s floating. Glass can be treated in various ways, such as being tempered for strength or coated to reduce glare.
Bamboo frames are becoming increasingly popular due to their sustainability and eco-friendliness. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant, making it a renewable resource. Bamboo frames have a distinctive natural grain pattern and a warm, organic feel. They can be a great choice for those seeking a more natural or exotic aesthetic. Their lightweight and strength also make them practical for various applications.
Composite or MDF
Composite frames or those made from MDF are made by binding wood fibers with resin. These frames are cost-effective and can be made to look like real wood or other materials. They are stable, don’t warp easily, and are great for larger frames. MDF frames can be finished with veneers, laminates, or paints, offering a wide range of aesthetic options. However, they might not be as durable as solid wood or metal frames.
Resin frames are made from synthetic polymers and can be molded into intricate designs and patterns. They are lightweight, often more affordable than traditional materials, and can imitate the look of more expensive materials like carved wood or stone. Resin frames can come in a myriad of colors and finishes, from glossy to matte, and can be a great choice for decorative or themed frames.
|Wood||Classic to rustic, highly varied||High||Moderate to high, depending on the wood type||Moderate||High (carving, staining, painting)||Variable (sustainable sources are more eco-friendly)|
|Metal||Sleek, modern||Very high||Moderate to high, depending on the metal||Moderate to heavy||Low to moderate (color, finish)||Moderate (recyclable, but energy-intensive to produce)|
|Plastic/Acrylic||Contemporary, versatile||Moderate||Low||Light||High (colors, styles)||Negative (non-biodegradable, but recyclable options exist)|
|Glass||Minimalistic, modern||Low (fragile)||Low to moderate||Moderate to heavy||Low (mainly size and shape)||Moderate (recyclable but energy-intensive to produce)|
|Bamboo||Natural, organic||Moderate to high||Moderate||Light||Moderate (staining, cutting)||Positive (fast-growing, renewable)|
|Composite/MDF||Versatile, imitates other materials||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Moderate (paints, veneers)||Negative (uses resin, but uses wood byproducts)|
|Resin||Decorative, varied||Moderate||Low to moderate||Light to moderate||High (molds, colors, finishes)||Negative (non-biodegradable, derived from petrochemicals)|
Mat board is a cardboard-like material that serves as a border within the frame, separating the glass from the artwork. It provides an aesthetic enhancement and can be cut into various shapes and sizes. Mats can come in different colors and textures, allowing for customization to complement or contrast the artwork. They also prevent the artwork from touching the glass, which is important for conservation purposes.
Decorative moulding is used to add intricate details and designs to the frame’s surface. It can be made of wood, plaster, resin, or composite materials and comes in various styles, from classical to modern. Moulding is typically applied to the front of a frame and can be painted, gilded, or left in its natural state depending on the desired effect.
Gesso is a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, or other white pigment. It’s used as a preparatory coating for wooden picture frames before painting. Gesso smoothens the surface and ensures that paint colors remain true by preventing them from being absorbed by the wood.
Gold Leaf or Metal Leaf
Gold leaf, or imitation metal leaf, is used to add a luxurious finish to picture frames. Thin sheets of gold or metal are applied to the frame’s surface using a special adhesive called ‘size’. This technique requires precision and is often used for ornate, classical frames or to create highlights and details on more contemporary designs.
Acrylic paint is a versatile and commonly used medium to color and decorate frames. It comes in a wide range of colors, can be easily mixed, and dries quickly. It adheres well to different surfaces, including wood and plastic, making it suitable for various types of frames.
For wood frames, stains provide some extra color and finishing without completely covering the natural grain.
Varnish or Sealer
Varnish or sealer is applied as a finishing touch to protect the frame and any decorative elements from moisture, dust, and UV rays. It can provide a glossy or matte finish and helps to preserve the frame’s appearance over time.
Decorative Paper or Fabric
Decorative paper or fabric can be adhered to the frame surface to add patterns, textures, or colors. This can range from simple wrapping paper to luxurious fabrics like silk or velvet. They are typically glued onto the frame and then sealed for durability.
Stencils are used to apply specific designs, patterns, or motifs onto the frame. They can be used with paints, stains, or gilding to create repeated patterns or thematic designs that enhance the artwork being framed.
Beads and Rhinestones
Beads, rhinestones, and other small decorative elements can be glued onto the frame to add sparkle, color, and texture. These embellishments are often used in crafting and DIY projects to create unique and personalized frames.
Hanging hardware such as D-rings, wire, sawtooth hangers, or picture hooks is essential for mounting the frame on a wall. The type of hardware used depends on the frame’s size and weight and the mounting surface.
|Mat Board||Separation, aesthetic enhancement||Inside the frame||Highly customizable||Moderate||High||Low to moderate|
|Decorative Moulding||Detailing and design||On the frame's surface||Varies with material||High||High||Moderate to high|
|Gesso||Surface preparation||On the frame's surface before painting||Usually covered by paint||Moderate||Low||Low|
|Gold Leaf / Metal Leaf||Luxurious finish||On the frame's surface||Luxurious, shiny||Moderate (delicate)||Moderate||High|
|Acrylic Paint||Coloring and decoration||On the frame's surface||Highly customizable||Moderate||High||Low to moderate|
|Stain||Coloring and finishing||On the frame's surface (wood)||Natural, enhances grain||Moderate||Moderate||Low to moderate|
|Varnish or Sealer||Protection and finishing||On the frame's surface (final coat)||Glossy or matte||High||Low||Low to moderate|
|Decorative Paper or Fabric||Patterns and textures||On the frame's surface||Highly customizable||Moderate||High||Low to moderate|
|Stencils||Specific designs and patterns||On the frame's surface||Customizable||Varies||High||Low|
|Beads and Rhinestones||Embellishments and texture||On the frame's surface||Sparkly, colorful||Low (risk of falling off)||High||Low|
|Hanging Hardware||Mounting and display||On the frame's back||Not typically visible||High||Moderate||Low|
Picture Frame Tools for Business
Picture frame accessories and tools are essential for any successful picture-framing business. Here are some of the most important ones a business might need:
Measuring Tape or Ruler
Precision is crucial in frame making, and a measuring tape or a ruler is used to measure the dimensions of the artwork, matting, and glass. It ensures that the frame fits the artwork perfectly. Rulers or metal yardsticks are often used for straight, precise measurements, while a measuring tape can be more versatile for larger and irregular dimensions.
Miter Saw or Miter Box with Hand Saw
A miter saw, either manual or powered, is used to cut the frame material (often wood or MDF) at a 45-degree angle, allowing the pieces to fit together neatly at the corners. A miter box paired with a hand saw can serve a similar purpose for those who prefer manual tools or are working on a smaller scale. The precision of these cuts is crucial for a seamless appearance of the frame.
Clamps or V-Nails
Once the frame pieces are cut, clamps are used to hold them in place and ensure a tight fit at the corners while the glue dries. V-nails can also be used for reinforcing the corners from the backside of the frame. They are driven into the mitered corners using a special v-nail gun or a manual joiner, providing additional stability to the frame.
Sanding tools are used to smooth out the edges and surfaces of the frame material, especially after cutting. Sandpaper with varying grits can be used manually for detailed work, while a power sander can expedite the process for larger surfaces. Sanding is essential for a professional finish, particularly if the frame will be stained or painted.
Wood Glue or Adhesive
Wood glue is used to bond the mitered corners of the frame together. It’s essential to choose a strong adhesive designed for the material you are working with, whether it’s wood, metal, or another substance. The glue helps to hold the frame securely, in conjunction with mechanical fasteners like V-nails or staples.
Staple Gun or Brad Nailer
A staple gun or brad nailer is used to attach the backing board to the frame, securing the artwork and the glass in place. These tools can also be used for reinforcing the corners of the frame along with or instead of V-nails.
Framer’s Points or Point Driver
Framer’s points are small, flat pieces of metal that are inserted into the frame to hold the glass, matting, and artwork in place. A point driver is a tool used to insert framer’s points into the wood easily and accurately.
If the frame requires a glass front, a glass cutter is used to score and cut the glass to the correct size. It is a handheld tool with a small wheel or diamond tip used to create a precise break line on the glass.
Picture Frame Cutter or Chopper
For professional framers or those making frames in larger quantities, a picture frame cutter or chopper is a specialized tool that cuts frame mouldings to the precise length and angle required. It’s more accurate and much faster than manual cutting methods.
Mat cutters are essential tools that allow picture framers to cut mats to precise dimensions. They come in various styles and sizes, from manual handheld cutters to large-scale electric cutters.
Mounting presses are used to adhere artwork and other materials to foam boards or other backing materials. They come in various sizes and types, including manual and pneumatic models.
Dust collectors are essential for keeping the framing workspace clean and free of debris. They come in various sizes and styles, from small tabletop models to large industrial machines.
|Tool||Purpose||Operation||Precision||Versatility||Size of Project||Cost|
|Measuring Tape/Ruler||Measuring dimensions||Manual||High||High||Any||Low|
|Miter Saw/Box||Cutting frame material||Manual or Powered||Very High||Medium||Small to Large||Medium to High|
|Clamps/V-Nails||Securing frame corners||Manual||High||Low||Small to Medium||Low to Medium|
|Sanding Tools||Smoothing edges/surfaces||Manual or Powered||Medium to High||High||Any||Low to Medium|
|Wood Glue/Adhesive||Bonding frame corners||Manual||High||Medium||Any||Low|
|Staple Gun/Brad Nailer||Attaching backing board||Manual or Powered||Medium||Medium||Any||Medium|
|Framer's Points/Driver||Securing glass and artwork||Manual||High||Low||Any||Low to Medium|
|Glass Cutter||Cutting glass to size||Manual||High||Low||Any||Low|
|Frame Cutter/Chopper||Cutting frame mouldings||Manual or Powered||Very High||Low||Large||High|
|Finishing Tools||Applying stains, paints||Manual or Powered||Medium||High||Any||Low to Medium|
|Mat Cutters||Cutting mats to size||Manual or Powered||High||Medium||Any||Medium|
|Mounting Presses||Adhering artwork||Manual or Pneumatic||High||Low||Any||Medium to High|
|Dust Collectors||Keeping workspace clean||Powered||N/A||N/A||Any||Medium to High|
How Much Does It Cost to Make Custom Frames?
The cost of making custom frames can vary depending on several factors such as the materials used, the size and complexity of the frame, and the labor costs. On average, a basic custom frame can cost between $50 to $100, while more elaborate designs with premium materials can cost upwards of several hundred dollars.
Are Picture Framing Businesses Profitable?
Like any business, the profitability of a picture-framing business can vary depending on several factors. However, with the potential for high-profit margins and a loyal customer base, a well-run picture-framing business can be a profitable venture. Here are some key points that can impact the profitability of a picture framing business:
- Location: A store located in an area with high foot traffic, such as a shopping district or near art galleries, can attract more customers. Proximity to artists, photographers, and art collectors can also be beneficial.
- Competition: The presence of other framing businesses in the vicinity can affect profitability. A unique selling proposition or superior quality can help in standing out from competitors.
- Pricing Strategy: Setting the right prices is crucial. Prices should cover costs and desired profit margins while remaining competitive. Offering a range of services at different price points can cater to a broader customer base.
- Quality of Service: High-quality craftsmanship, excellent customer service, and a quick turnaround can lead to repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals, which are invaluable for profitability.
- Market Demand: Understanding market trends and customer preferences can help in offering services that are in demand, such as custom framing for unique items or conservation framing techniques.
- Operational Efficiency: Streamlining operations to reduce waste, optimizing inventory management, and utilizing technology for tasks like design and customer management can help in maximizing profits.
- Diversification of Services: Offering related services such as art restoration, photo printing, or canvas stretching can attract a wider range of customers and increase revenue streams.
- Online Presence: Having an online store or gallery can expand the customer base beyond the local area. Offering online consultations, custom frame design tools, and shipping services can cater to a tech-savvy market.
- Marketing and Promotion: Effective marketing strategies, such as maintaining an active social media presence, collaborating with local artists, and participating in community events, can increase brand visibility and attract customers.
- Partnerships: Building relationships with artists, photographers, galleries, and museums can lead to steady business through referrals and repeat orders.
- Seasonal Opportunities: Capitalizing on holiday seasons and special events by offering promotions or themed framing services can boost sales during peak times.
- Cost Control: Regularly reviewing costs, negotiating with suppliers for better rates, and keeping overheads low without compromising on quality can enhance profitability.
Basically, a picture-framing business has the potential to be profitable if managed strategically. By understanding the market, providing excellent service, and adapting to customer needs, a framing business can establish a strong reputation, generate repeat business, and maintain healthy profit margins.
What Is the Best Website for Picture Frame Supplies?
If you’re looking for where to find wholesale craft supplies and picture frame supplies, there are plenty of options including Framed and Matted, Simply Framed, and American Frame. Shop around to find the right option for your specific needs.
Image: Envato Elements
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