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Framing Options for Paper Prints

Framing Options for Paper Prints

Getting your paper prints framed is an important step to keep them safe. Being displayed behind glass prevents dust and dirt from gathering on the surface, as well as preventing any damage from mishandling. Choosing how to frame your print can be overwhelming if you’ve never done it before, so we’d like to help break down the options you have. 

Local Custom Framing

If your print is a non-standard size, or you’d simply like to choose exactly what materials are used to frame your print, custom framing is the way to go. Working with a local framer allows you to see all the options in person, and work directly with an expert who can help guide you through the process. If you’d like to have your print framed locally, you’ll need to choose between a dedicated framing shop or working with the custom framing department at a store like Michaels. 

Frame corners stacked on top of each other

Dedicated Frame Shops 

One advantage right off the bat of working with a dedicated frame shop is that these are often small, locally-owned businesses, and supporting small businesses is always a great option. There are of course large chain framers with brick-and-mortar stores, so you’ll have to look around at what is available in your area and choose what works best for you. 

Working with an expert

Either way, the big advantage of working with a dedicated frame shop is that you’ll be working with someone who has made framing their career. They know the ins and outs and are truly experts in the art of framing. They’ll be able to explain all of the options to you, and can help you pick out options that work for whatever budget you may have. If you plan to have custom framing done regularly, it can be great to establish a relationship with a local framer. 

Framing work done in house

Another plus to working with a local framer is that they will be doing the framing work in-house. That means your print won’t need to be shipped out anywhere, risking getting damaged along the way. Instead, your print will be safely stored at the frame shop until the frame is ready, when it will be carefully sealed into the frame. And again, no additional shipping will be required to get your framed print back to you, you’ll just need to pick it up. 

Shipping prints, framed or unframed, can absolutely be done safely. We ship your prints to you confidently, knowing they are packaged as safely as possible to arrive undamaged. However, accidents can still happen, packages can be mishandled, and damage can occur. To help minimize risk, it’s a great idea to reduce the number of times your print will have to be shipped to different locations. (As a side note, if you ever have an issue with a package you’ve received from us, please contact us!)

Wide variety of options

If you’ve ever been into or walked past a frame shop you’ve likely seen the wall covered in sample frame corners. Working with a local framer you’ll be able to choose from myriad frame options and be able to hold those sample frame corners next to your print to see if you like how it looks. There will be options for every style and budget, and your framer can help you find the right fit for you. 

In-Store Framers

Frame corners in a row

Many craft stores, such as Michaels, offer custom framing

in their frame department. If you don’t have any dedicated frame shops in your area, this can be a great option to get the flexibility of custom framing. 

Work not always done in store

Depending on your specific location, the actual framing may not be done in-store. You’ll want to ask if the framing is done in-store or if they’ll be shipping your print to another location. As mentioned above, there is nothing inherently wrong with shipping a print, you’ll just want to be informed if the print is being shipped so you can decide if that’s what you want to do. 

Less Expensive

Oftentimes, custom framing at chain stores will be less expensive than working with a local framer/small business. If you’re on a tight budget, this may be the better option for you. As with other custom framing options, you’ll be able to work directly with an associate who can help you choose options that fit within your budget. 

Online Custom Framing

If you don’t have any local options, or if it’s difficult for you to get around, there are also online resources for custom framing. There are many options, and the services they offer vary, so you’ll need to do some research to decide which one works best for you. Reading customer reviews should be on your to-do list, as these testimonials will help you understand the quality and service being offered. 

A vintage color photograph feauturing two yellow N2S planes
Click here to shop this image!

Full Service 

With services like Framebridge, you can ship your prints or artwork to have them custom framed. With Framebridge specifically, you are even able to upload a photo of your print so that you can see what it will look like in the frame options. Their website guides you through the process with easy-to-follow steps. While it isn’t quite the same as working directly with a framer in-store, they do offer an option to have a designer put together a few framing options for you to choose from if you don’t want to design the entire frame yourself.  

Shipping your print

If you are using an online framer like Framebridge, you’ll need to send them your print. You can often choose whether you’d like to have them send you the packaging or use your own packaging. Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to make sure your print is safely packaged. When you receive your print from us, it’ll be in an archival plastic sleeve, and you’ll want to keep it in that sleeve to protect the surface during shipping. We recommend sandwiching the print between cardboard to keep it flat and provide some extra protection inside the box. Ultimately, you could reuse the packaging we shipped your print to you in to send it off to a framer! 

Frame Only

Some online frame services offer full-service framing if you are having a digital file printed by them, but don’t offer the option to mail in your prints or artwork for framing. Instead, you can pick out framing options to have a frame custom-made and sent out to you, which you will have to put the print into yourself. If you’d prefer not to ship your print, and feel comfortable putting the print into the frame then this could be a great option for you. 

Pre-made Frames 

If you don’t want to deal with the extra costs and time of custom framing, you could opt for a pre-made frame from craft stores or other big box stores. The biggest factor to consider here is that pre-made frames are available in standard sizes. Most of our images are offered in standard sizes, but depending on the original proportions and composition, we do have some images that are available only in non-standard sizes. 

Pre-made frames will either be sold in a standard size with no mat, so the full paper size of the print would need to fit the exact frame size, or they are sold with a mat that has a standard-size opening. In the case of the latter, the total paper size isn’t a concern, as you’ll just need to line up the image area with the mat opening.  

Photo in a frame with no mat
Here's an example of a frame with no mat. Like this image? Click here to shop! 


If you’re in a rush, buying a pre-made frame in-store is certainly the fastest way to go. You’ll be limited to the selection available in-store, but you will still have a range to choose from, varying from very basic, inexpensive frames, to pricier, more elaborate options.


Shopping online for pre-made frames gives you a wider range of options, as you’ll have access to a store’s full catalog, rather than just what they have in stock on any given day. Since you won’t be able to see the frame in person, just make sure you measure your print carefully and know exactly what you need. When your frame arrives, be sure to give it a close inspection for any damage from shipping.

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