WHAT MAKES FASTFRAME DIFFERENT?
FastFrame has become the leader in custom picture framing by offering you expert design and craftsmanship, a fast turnaround time and our exclusive “Design & Craftsmanship Guarantee.”
First, FastFrame stores are individually owned and operated. Each of our dedicated owners and their staff are thoroughly trained in the latest custom picture framing techniques and materials as well as current decorating trends. This allows them to give you the look, style and quality you want to display in your home or office.
Second, because we carry many moulding, mat and glazing products in our stores, our turnaround time is extremely fast. If you need your framed art returned to you quickly, you can get your piece framed and returned to you the same day. Our expert picture framers are able to do this without sacrificing quality and at no additional cost to you. But, what if you select a special order frame or mat? While it may take a bit longer to complete your order, we can still beat the normal industry turnaround time of two weeks or more.
And finally, our “Design and Craftsmanship Guarantee” truly sets us apart in the picture framing industry. Simply put, we will guarantee the craftsmanship of your framed piece for a lifetime and we will guarantee your satisfaction with the design for 30 days from the time of delivery. If you are not completely satisfied with your finished framed artwork, we will redesign and frame your piece, using materials within the same price range, for FREE! If the new design includes a frame or matting that is more expensive than the original selection, we only ask that you pay the difference. We couldn’t offer such an extraordinary guarantee if we were not absolutely sure we could meet or beat your expectations.
That’s the FastFrame difference: Owners dedicated to quality and craftsmanship, fast turnaround and our Design & Craftsmanship Guarantee.
CAN YOU HELP ME DESIGN MY PIECE?
Our design consultants are thoroughly trained in the latest custom framing technology including all the essential techniques of color and design. With thousands of choices in frames, mats and glazing, our design consultants will make sure your frame design is perfect for your art and the decor in your home or office. Every framing decision begins with your personal tastes, your style, your likes and dislikes. We will ask you questions like where the piece is going to hang, what are the colors in the room, what type of furnishings do you have and whether we need to match any existing framing. Only after our design consultants know *your requirements * will they show you the right selection of mats and frames that best enhance your art and *provide you with an irresistible focal point in your room. Depending on the piece, they might suggest using several mats, including fabrics and textures, to enhance the artwork for a more dramatic look. *The choice of frame, from ornate, classic and traditional looks to sleek and simple modern styles, will be tailored to fit your art, your taste and your room. Finally, they will help you choose the perfect glass or acrylic glazing to protect and display your piece. We use only the highest quality glazing products available. With our exclusive training and techniques, the frame you select will be one you’ll love – Guaranteed. If you get your piece home and are not thrilled with the design, return it within 30 days, and we will replace it, within the same price range, using equal quality materials, for FREE.
WHAT CAN I FRAME?
We pride ourselves in our ability to frame practically anything. From prints and posters to limited editions and original works of art to 3-D objects of all kinds. Over the years, our dedicated owners have pretty much seen it all. They have framed TV screens, musical instruments, sports equipment, artifacts, memorabilia, mementos, prizes, awards, ribbons, prints, certificates, mirrors and more. Virtually anything you want to preserve or display, can be framed. Our design consultants take the utmost care when framing your treasures. You can trust us with your most fragile family photos or even a favorite piece of your child’s precious art.
Our stores have all the right materials, use the proper techniques, have the advanced training and know-how to properly frame all of your treasures. We specialize in framing 3-D objects of all kinds from sports memorabilia, your spoon collection, antique plate or grandpa’s war medals. Whatever you wish to frame, our expert designers and craftsmen will frame them in a way that you will be proud to display in your home.
WHAT IS PRESERVATION PLUS™ FRAMING?
Preservation Plus™ Framing is our method where we envelop your artwork in a completely acid-free environment. We use the highest quality mats, mounting boards and framing techniques to shield your valuable and sentimental artwork from the effects of acid degradation and harmful UV light. Our preservation framing allows you to remove the artwork from the frame at a later date, unharmed and unaltered. This will preserve the value of your artwork for years to come. In addition to preservation framing, we offer museum framing, which is the highest form of protective framing available. Your FastFrame design consultant will help you decide which method is right for your artwork. Our preservation and museum standards are very high and have been independently scrutinized by industry experts for content, use of materials and framing techniques. With our preservation and museum framing we also offer free inspections every three years. You can be sure your valuable and sentimental artwork will be properly framed at FastFrame.
WHAT IS MOUNTING?
Mounting is the method used to hold your piece of art in place within the frame. In general, there are three categories used for mounting works of art on paper. The first method is permanent mounting. This method is not reversible and should be used only on artwork of little value such as open edition prints and posters. It should be noted that permanently mounting a piece of art will jeopardize the value of the artwork, either current or future. The second method is semi-permanent. In this method, the artwork can be removed at a later date through the use of heat. While it is not a recommended method of mounting expensive artwork, it can be used on moderately priced open edition prints and your personally created original art. The primary purpose of permanent and semi-permanent mounting *is to flatten the artwork, removing small wrinkles and creases. By using either of these two methods, the artwork will not “cockle,” or ripple *with changes in *humidity. The final type of mounting is hinging. In this method, the artwork is attached to either a backing board or mat using small pieces of tape or other hinging material. Depending upon the value of the artwork, the hinges will be made from either an acid-free, self-adhesive tape, a water-activated linen tape or Japanese paper using a wheat or rice starch adhesive. By using a water activated or Japanese paper hinge, the process can be reversed, returning your artwork to its original state.
WHAT IS DRY MOUNTING?
Dry mounting permanently attaches and flattens your artwork onto a backing board. The process is primarily aesthetic, removing small wrinkles and creases as well as reducing the continual effects of “cockling“ or rippling. The process can be either permanent or semi-permanent. There are several methods and products that may be used for dry mounting. Your FastFrame design consultant will select and explain the method best suited for your artwork. At FastFrame, we use a heat method for dry mounting which involves the use of a vacuum press. The artwork, with backing board and adhesive material, is placed into the press. The heat of the press melts the adhesive while the vacuum removes the residual air, creating a permanent bond between the art and the backing board.
WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DRY MOUNTED?
Any artwork of value, either monetary or sentimental, should not be dry mounted. This would include original works of art, limited editions or collectable art. In some cases, if the artist is also the client, this type of art may be semi-permanently mounted using a product such as Artcare Restore®. *Any artwork that is susceptible to melting or contains an oil based product should never be dry mounted. This would include wax, pastel, or charcoal based art and signed posters and prints. Also, items that are thermographic should not be dry mounted. This would include sporting and event tickets and certain types of jigsaw puzzles to name a few. There are alternative *mounting products and techniques that may be used in these cases.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO DRY MOUNTING?
There are two alternatives to permanently mount an item without using heat. The first is wet mounting. Wet mounting is a permanent mounting process that uses a liquid glue as the adhesive. The glue is applied to a backing board; then the artwork is placed on top of the glue surface. The piece is placed into a vacuum press, with the heat turned off, to completely remove the air and flatten the art. Since liquid glues are water based, there is a chance of the backing board warping as the piece dries. To counteract this effect, a piece of kraft paper is mounted onto the back of the board.
The second method is pressure sensitive mounting. Pressure sensitive adhesives bond with pressure. The adhesive may be purchased in sheet form or already applied onto a foam or mount board for ease of use. Once the artwork comes into contact with the adhesive, pressure is applied using a brayer or cold vacuum press. The mounted object is then placed under a weight for 24 hours to obtain a permanent mount
Since both processes are permanent, you should not mount any original, limited edition or collectable art that you would ever need to remove.
DO YOU BUILD MY FRAMES, OR MUST I DO IT?
At FastFrame, our professional expert picture framers do all of the frame construction for you. In most cases, all of the component parts are created on site, in our production facility. From the cutting and joining of the frame, cutting of mats and glazing materials, mounting of the artwork and fitting the artwork in to the frame, our expert picture framers ensure that your job is done right. Each production facility contains all of the state-of-the-art machinery required to properly frame your artwork. While the majority of the work we do is framing entire projects, we are happy to supply you with component parts only, such as mats or a piece of glass. We can also create and fit component parts into your existing frame. Whatever your framing needs, we can accommodate you at FastFrame.
WHY DO I NEED A FRAME?
A frame is an essential way to display your artwork. It provides protection for your artwork, keeping it safe from the environment, insects and other physical damage. It also creates a focal point in your room, focusing attention on the artwork. Frames may be selected to formalize a setting or to create a mood or theme. Whenever you have a piece of artwork or memorabilia that you want to display with pride, have it professionally framed, and you will be able to enjoy it for many years to come.
WHAT IS A STANDARD SIZE FRAME?
Common, mass-produced frames come in a variety of standard sizes. Generally, such sizes below 11 x 14 inches are called photo frames. Above that size, we call them ready-made frames. These frames are created to allow the purchaser the ability to frame standard-sized art with relative ease. There are downsides to using a ready-made frame. First, artwork comes in a variety of non-standard sizes and will not always precisely fit into the frame. Second, ready-made frames make it difficult to customize a design for the artwork using mats and other embellishments. Also, many inexpensive ready-made frames are created using substandard moulding also known as “seconds”. At FastFrame, since we manufacture your frame, we have the ability to customize it to suit your design needs and the size of the art.
SHOULD I GET A WOOD OR METAL FRAME?
The type of artwork to be framed, the room where it will hang and your own personal preferences will determine the answer to this question. There are, though, some basic differences between wood and metal frames. Within the framing industry, wood is the preferred frame material. There is a much wider selection of colors and styles from which to choose. Wood frames also afford more protection for your artwork. Their sturdy construction and the ability of the framer to properly close the back of the frame prevent environmental and insect damage from occurring. Metal frames have a modern, sleek type of styling. Available in many colors and styles, they, for the most part, afford a minimalist type of framing. New trends in metal mouldings blend modern technology with a design flair not seen in metal mouldings for many years. Whether you choose wood or metal, what is ultimately important is that the frame meets your design requirements.
WHAT IS A MAT?
A mat is a border, usually made from mat board, placed around the artwork. The purpose of the mat is, first, to provide a spacer or separation between the artwork and the frame or glass. If the glass comes into contact with the art, there could be a risk of damage to the artwork. This damage may come in the form of mold, or the artwork adhering to the underside of the glass. Second, the mat, particularly the color of the mat, draws the eye into the picture. By altering the colors in the mats, we can make the colors in the art stand out. Mat boards come in a variety of colors and textures which will allow your FastFrame design consultant to select the mats that are just right for your picture. And third, the mat hides the mechanics of the framed piece. For instance, the mat will cover the mounting method used such as a hinge or dry mount.
The standard size of mat board is 32 x 40 inches, but some colors will come in an oversized 40 x 60 inches. The standard thickness of a mat board is 4 ply, which is about 2 mm. Mat boards are also made in a limited color range of six, eight and twelve ply thicknesses. These thicker mats create a dramatic presentation, drawing the eye directly to the art.
WHAT KIND OF MATS SHOULD I USE?
For the highest protection for your artwork, you should only use mat boards that are preservation or museum grade. There are three basic types of mat boards used in picture framing. The first is a regular or paper mat board. These mat boards, while being cost effective, contain a product called lignin. Over time lignin breaks down creating an acidic gas that can leave a burn mark on your artwork. The color will also fade over time, and the cream-colored bevel will begin to darken. Some paper mats have a bleached white core, but the overall degradation of the mat will be the same. The second type of mat board is made using alpha cellulose. Cellulose is the chief material in all plant life. Alpha cellulose is the purest form of this material. These mats are buffered to maintain a neutral pH. They are considered to be preservation quality. They will not harm the artwork, nor will they fade or “bleed” over time. This type of mat is the primary, in-stock mat at FastFrame. The third type of mat is a rag mat. Made from cotton linters, rag mats are naturally lignin-free. They are made with a colored surface paper, which are preservation grade, or can be 100% rag mat, which is museum grade.
WHAT ABOUT FABRIC MATS?
The use of fabric mats can really add a distinct elegance to your framed art. Whether it is suede, linen, silk or various other fabrics, the colors and textures of fabric take your framing design to a new level. There is a wide range of fabric types and colors that come precovered onto alpha cellulose and rag mats. The majority of these mats, though, are not preservation grade. This is because the fabric does not meet standards for bleed resistance. Some fabric mat boards are preservation quality and can be used on higher forms of artwork. If you cannot find a precovered fabric mat to suit your needs, we can hand wrap any fabric over an existing mat. We have a large selection of fabric from which to choose. You may also bring in your own custom fabric for us to wrap.
WHAT ARE BASIC MAT DIMENSIONS?
While there are no set outside dimensions for custom mats, there are guidelines we can follow to determine the width or reveal of your mats. There are two basic approaches to creating mat widths. One is to make the mat equal on all four sides. This method brings balance and symmetry to the design. The second is to weight the bottom of the mat, making it larger than the top and sides. This method was used during Victorian times when pictures were hung very high on the wall and at a slight downward angle to the floor. By weighting the bottom, it gave the appearance that the mats were equal on all sides. Psychologically, the weighted bottom affords the viewer a sense of stability, insuring them that the piece is not likely to tip over. Both methods are acceptable and the preference is yours.
There are some basic rules that can be used in deciding the width of mats. First, there should be no repetition of size. The reveals of the inner mats should be slightly different. This allows the viewer to see the entire inner mat colors, not just the more dominant color. Also, the matting should be two-to-three times the width of the visible frame and proportional to the art itself. This will set the frame apart from the rest of the piece and prevent it from encroaching on the artwork.
HOW MANY MATS SHOULD I USE?
Most artwork is a collection of many colors, and we use the colors in your art as a guide. We may begin by showing you a selection of three mats; a top mat and two inner mats. The colors of the inner mats are generally taken from the third or fourth most predominant colors within the art. This allows these background colors to show through and not become overwhelmed by the more predominant colors in the piece. By selecting mat colors in this fashion, we can allow the viewer to see the full scope of the artwork. The top mat is generally a color that harmonizes with the entire piece. It is preferred to have top mats that are lighter tones rather than darker ones. Lighter tones will tend to “open up” the piece while darker tones will tend to constrict the piece making it appear smaller. There are times when the use of three mats is not warranted. In these cases, there are limited color choices for the inner mats and we would generally show you a top mat and single inner mat. In the end, the choice of the number of mats is yours to make.
WHAT IS ARTWORK GLAZING?
Glazing is a protective covering, usually glass or acrylic, that shields the mats, artwork and backing from environmental damage. On some glass types, an ultraviolet reflective coating is applied to clear glass. With acrylic, the protective coating is manufactured into the product. In either case, the coating is practically invisible to the human eye, but invaluable to the protection of your artwork. The choices in glazing are plentiful, consisting of top-quality glass and acrylic glazing options by Tru Vue®. Your design consultant will help you choose the best glazing options for your artwork.
WHAT TYPES OF GLAZING ARE AVAILABLE?
Our preferred supplier for glazing products is Tru Vue®. They are the industry leader when it comes to quality and technical advancements. They provide us with many types of glass and acrylic. At FastFrame, we recommend and primarily use their Conservation series of glazings. For glass options, we recommend Conservation Clear®, Conservation Reflection Control®, also known as non-glare and Museum Glass®, the most technologically advanced glass that shows less than 1% reflection. Our recommendations for acrylic mirror that of our glass. We recommend Conservation Clear® Acrylic, Conservation Reflection Control® Acrylic and Optium Museum Acrylic® . All the Conservation series of glazings afford your artwork 99% UV protection
WHY PROTECT ARTWORK FROM ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT?
Ultraviolet light is one of the greatest sources of damage to artwork. The natural ultraviolet protection afforded by regular glass types can only shield your artwork from some of the damaging effects. Unfortunately, the upper end of the ultraviolet spectrum of light is the most hazardous to your art. To aid in the protection of your art, Tru Vue® has created a full line of UV-reflective glazings. With glass, a thin film is placed over the surface affording you up to 99% protection from harmful UV rays. With acrylic, the UV protection is manufactured into the product. The conservation series of glass products include Conservation Clear®, Conservation Reflection Control® and Museum Glass®, the highest-quality glass available. The conservation series of acrylic products include Conservation Clear®, Conservation Reflection Control®, Conservation Clear Scratch Resistance® and Optimum Museum®. Select a conservation series glazing for your art and avoid hanging it in direct sunlight or under any other ultraviolet source, such as fluorescent lighting, and you can be sure that your framed piece will last for years to come.
WHY IS THE BACK OF THE FRAME SEALED?
Sealing the back of the frame serves two functions. First, it provides an aesthetically pleasing appearance, concealing the attachment of the artwork into the frame. Second, it provides protection from insects and dust. There are two acceptable methods of sealing the back of the frame. The most common method is using kraft paper. Available in both brown and black, this is a heavier-weight paper that can withstand many years of use. It is attached to the frame using a double-sided tape. Acid-free materials are used in preservation and museum framing. The second method is taping, which is predominately used in Europe. This method uses a two-inch-wide tape to cover over the attachments, usually staples or framer’s points. While this method works well, it allows the viewer to see the backing board and can release after time. Metal frames, because of their channel construction, are not sealed, but they do have a foam backing.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PRINTED ART FORMS?
There are many ways in which an image can be placed onto paper. The most common types are:
- Poster: An inexpensive printed reproduction of a piece of artwork, generally containing some form of promotion in the margins (artist’s name, gallery or museum name, some type of event).
- Print: A generic term used to describe an impression made on paper from a variety of sources such as a block, plate or film negative. It generally contains no promotional information but, may contain information concerning the artist, the medium and the date the original was created.
- Lithograph: A generic term used to designate a print made from a planographic process. This would include an original lithograph done on a stone or a commercial print made by a photomechanical process.
- Serigraph: A method of printing using a prepared stencil attached to silk or polyester fabric through which color (ink) is forced.
- Etching: A printing process where an image is scratched into a plate through an acid-resistant ground. The plate is dipped into acid, causing the scratched areas to be eaten away. The plate is then inked and pressed into the paper to transfer the image.
- Engraving: A printing process where lines are cut into a plate using a tool. No acid is used in this process. The plate is then inked and pressed into the paper to transfer the image.
- Collagraph: A work of art produced by the inking of any combination, or collage, of materials. This forms a plate for printing.
- Intaglio: A process which includes all-metal plate engraving and etching processes in which the printed areas are recessed. It would include etchings, engravings and mezzotints to name a few.
- Monoprint: A one-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet or slab and transferring the wet painting to a sheet of paper. The process can be done by hand or by machine.
Except for posters and monoprints, any of the above forms of printing may be open editions, where there are an unlimited number of prints, or a limited edition, where the prints are limited to a certain quantity.
DOES FASTFRAME SELL ARTWORK?
Most FastFrame stores carry an assortment of posters and prints, and in some cases, limited editions and originals. FastFrame stores are individually owned and operated, and each has its own preference in the types of art sold. We also have a large selection of catalogs from art publishers, which you are welcome to browse. We would be happy to order any print you might like.
HOW ARE YOUR FRAMES PRICED?
We use a computerized, point-of-sale system to price our framing jobs. This allows us to give you an exact price that covers all of the components you have selected. By using a computer system, we can focus our efforts on the design of the piece rather than the intricacies of manual pricing. We can also make changes to a design with the computer recalculating the price rather than having to start the process all over again. When we give you a price, it includes all the materials and labor required to complete the job.
HOW DO YOUR PRICES COMPARE?
Periodic market analysis shows that our prices are competitive; virtually the same or less than other professional frame shops offering equivalent products and services. At times, other frame shops may quote a job at a significantly lower price. We find that when this occurs, the frame shop is generally using inferior- quality products. This would include paper mats, cardboard backing, plastic frames or “cheap” overseas knockoffs. At times, these shops are shipping your artwork to offsite production warehouses where the quality and experience of their staff are questionable. You must also ask yourself if this framer will be around should you encounter problems in the future. At FastFrame, all work is done on the premises by trained staff. And we back up our quality with our Design and Craftsmanship Guarantee.
© 2017 FastFrame