Why is Framing so Expensive? (9 Reasons)

We get it, sometimes custom framing can seem expensive! While we think it’s generally the best option, there may be some instances where you may choose pre-made frames or kit framing. But if you’re framing anything unique, irreplaceable, or in a non-standard size, you’ll want to choose custom framing. There are actually many factors that go into determining the price of a custom frame. Read on to discover the reasons behind the price tag and why it’s worth it!


First, we’ll cover the three main different types of framing, examining their pros and cons.

Pre-made Frames


You can buy pre-made, mass-produced frames in most homeware or department stores. All you need to do is choose a frame, buy it, and put your picture into your new frame. These are not expensive, ranging in price from about $10 – $50 each, depending on the size and material quality. The downside is your options are extremely limited—there will only be standard sizes and styles to choose from. Pre-made frames don’t work for custom-sized artwork or memorabilia, and they are not created to complement your specific artwork.

Kit Framing


Some online framers sell their services as custom framing when in fact they are “kit framing” services. These services have a limited selection of frames and materials, and they buy these in bulk to drive prices down. The typical price point for these ranges from about $50 and up per frame. Kit framers often use closeout mouldings or factory seconds.  Because they can’t cater to all custom size requirements and their material options are limited, their frames are not truly unique.

Custom Framing


Custom framing is the more costly type of framing because it’s 100% bespoke. Each frame is perfectly crafted for the art or object that you want framed. The colors, materials, finishes, sizes, and styles of the frames, mats, and glazing are carefully selected and combined from thousands of available options, to ultimately deliver a one-of-a-kind frame. Each frame is masterfully crafted to accentuate your artwork or object according to your specifications and tastes. Custom framers offer expert consultancy every step of the way to ensure you are not just happy, but truly delighted with the frame. Prices for custom framing range from $100 and up per frame, depending on numerous factors which we’ll discuss below.


If you’re thinking of getting something custom framed you can contact us and get a free design consultation and a no-obligation quote. Get in touch.

Why is Custom Framing Expensive?


1. Materials

Quality framing materials, such as acid-free mats, UV-protective glass, and solid hardwood frames, can be costly. These materials are chosen to preserve and protect the artwork or item being framed, and their higher quality comes with a higher price tag. The cost of materials has been increasing in recent times due to inflation and other economic factors.


2. Customization


Many people opt for custom framing to ensure that the frame complements the artwork or item perfectly. Custom framing involves skilled labor, precise measurements, and often handcrafted elements, all of which contribute to the cost. Custom framing is a process that can take up to 7 days end to end.

3. Labor

Framing is a labor-intensive process, especially when it involves custom designs or intricate details. Skilled framers spend time measuring, cutting mats, assembling frames, and carefully mounting the artwork, all of which add to the overall cost.


4. Design and Consultation


Custom framing often includes design consultations where framers help clients choose the right frame, matting, and glass options. These consultations and design services are factored into the cost. FastFrame offers free design consultation, and we have stores across the USA.

5. Preservation and Protection

If you’re framing valuable or irreplaceable items like artwork, photographs, or memorabilia, the service can also include conservation techniques to ensure the long-term preservation and protection of the item from moisture, light, dust, and pollution. There are some additional cost implications in building frames that are designed to preserve the contents.


6. Location


Framing shops have overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and employee salaries. These costs can vary depending on the location and size of the shop, which can influence pricing.

7. Complexity

The complexity of the framing project can significantly impact the cost. For example, framing a simple poster is generally less expensive as compared to framing delicate, three-dimensional objects with multiple mats and openings.


8. Size

The size of the item being framed plays a major role in pricing, as larger frames simply require more materials and labor.


9. Brand and Quality

High-end framing shops or those with established reputations may charge a little bit more for their services. When you choose a reputable company you can relax


with confidence that best-in-class framing experts are building your frame, and that you will consistently get exceptional results delivered in a timely manner.

Which Type of Framing to Choose?

By now you know the difference between the various framing products and services, as well as why custom framing is more expensive than other options. Ultimately only you can decide which framing variety is best for the specific piece that you want framed.


For items that are easily and affordably replaceable, kit framing or possibly pre-made frames might suffice, as long as you are happy with the aesthetic appearance of the frame and the item within.


If you do decide that your piece should be presented immaculately and uniquely in a frame crafted with care and love, then custom framing is the right choice. Or, if you feel your precious items should be preserved and protected, only custom framing would provide this assurance.


Discover your nearest local FastFrame store here to get a free quote for all your custom framing needs.