My mission? Find a frame for a 12-inch by 12-inch photo print I bought at a street festival last fall. Since this is a nonstandard size, I knew I would have to purchase a custom frame for my item.
My first stop? A major arts-and-crafts supply store that offers custom framing. Armed with a 50-percent-off coupon, I thought I could easily get my item framed for around $60. After all, it was already matted —all I needed was the frame. I was so sure that I’d get a decent price that I brought my print to the store, expecting to return in a few days to pick it up. To be honest, I didn’t really care for the store’s selection of frames, but I was willing to settle for one that looked decent because 50 percent off seemed like a great deal. That was, until I got the price quote. I don’t recall the exact amount, but it was around $130. I took my hummingbird photo print and returned home.
I didn’t bother going to other major or locally owned framing shops, because I figured the results would be about the same. Instead, I turned to an online resource I’d used before in a similar situation: SendAFrame.com. The company may not have the fanciest website, and you may never have heard of it before, but it’s a great place to go if you need a custom frame. Plus, you get a product made in the USA.
SendAFrame.com is a lot like quick-service restaurants where you build your own meal. In the website’s custom-framing section, you pick the size of frame you want, the material you want it to be built from, the frame width and the frame color. You choose whether to have a matte included with your frame, and what shape, size and color it should be. Want a mounting board? You can add that to your order as well.
Have a question? I got a quick answer to mine from a friendly customer service representative using the website’s chat feature.
After you place your order, SendAFrame.com builds your frame by hand. My item was constructed and shipped quickly. The only criticism I have is that the instructions enclosed with the frame were confusing, and the metal hanger we had to attach to the frame was of poor quality. The latter is easily rectified by purchasing your own hook at a local hardware store.
If your order totals $49 or more, it ships free. My order was close to that price at $42.50, so I got a small photo album from the site to get free shipping. If I’d gone with pay-your-own shipping, my order total would actually have been higher than it was with the photo album.
Speaking of photo albums, SendAFrame.com has a good selection of those as well. I’ve previously purchased a product from their “build-your-own” photo album line. This allows me to select the album, which has a three-ring-binder style, and then choose the photo print sizes I want it to hold. In my case, I had a lot of 8 x 10 photos to keep, so I bought a package of 8 x 10 sheets, as well as some that held other nonstandard-size photos.
The custom frame I purchased from SendAFrame.com cost about 2/3 less than the price quoted at my local chain store. I got good customer service, fast shipping and a beautiful, high-quality wood frame. The next time I need a custom frame, I’ll go straight to this website.