For the finishing touch on our dining room, I wanted to have three menus custom framed from important life events. One from Chez Panisse, from the day after our wedding, another from E’ by Jose Andres, when I was pregnant with our son and the last from Castagna, our first “fancy” dinner when we moved to Portland, to celebrate my husband’s birthday.
I was so excited, loaded with a 60% off framing coupon to Joann’s Fabrics, until I got the estimate from them. To frame all three menus, it was going to cost over $500, and that was AFTER my coupon discount!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was so crushed.
So I started scheming of a way to do it myself. Here is how I cut the costs down from $500 to about $50 using DIY:First I went to Aaron & Brothers to find some basic frames that would work. I looked at Joann’s while I was there, but they didn’t really have a wide enough selection to accommodate all the odd size menus I had.
It was a little tricky to find three frames that had dimensions that worked with all three menus, but the sales associate at Aaron & Brothers was very helpful and worked with me to find me what I needed.
If the piece you are framing is a standard photo size, like a 3X5 or a 5X7 you can purchase mat boards at a store like Aaron & Brothers. If you have an odd sized piece or pieces like me, you will have to get mat boards cut for you.
I looked into purchasing mat cutting equipment to do this myself, but it was so expensive, it didn’t seem worth it unless you plan on doing A LOT of mat cutting.
My Uncle John is a framing hobbyist, so I asked him if he could cut the mats for me. He lives in Missouri, so I mailed him the menus and put notes on them about the dimensions of the frames and colors of the mats I wanted and then he mailed them back to me with the mats when he was done.
If you don’t have a friend or family member with mat cutting tools, you can take it to a local frame shop to have the mats cut. This is still a little pricey, but definitely cheaper than having the whole thing custom framed. Another great option, would be searching on Craigslist for someone who will do this for you or posting a listing for someone with this skill.
And that’s what it should look like when you are done! An easy project with a BIG savings reward! Hope this helps you to DIY custom frame!
This post was NOT sponsored by Aaron & Brothers or any other corporations. I DID experience excellent service at Aaron & Brothers and would recommend their services to my readers. Also BIG THANKS to my Uncle John for cutting these mat boards for me!