Why is Bespoke Picture Framing So Expensive?
Framing & Printing Guides

Why is Bespoke Picture Framing So Expensive?

Framing Services / Why is Bespoke Picture Framing So Expensive?

One question that is often asked about bespoke picture framing is “why is it so expensive?” And while “expensive” is certainly a subjective term, there are various factors that contribute to the cost of custom framing, at least in comparison to the other alternatives.

To shed some light on the topic, this article will explore the reasons behind the price tag of bespoke framing, drawing from the insights of our expert in-house framing team.

What is bespoke framing?

Bespoke framing is a highly specialised solution to framing artwork, photographs, memorabilia, and more.

The hallmark of bespoke framing is that every aspect of the process is customised. This includes the choice of materials, colours, styles, sizing and even the shape of the frame. This level of personalisation ensures that the frame complements the artwork or item it holds perfectly.

Beyond aesthetics, bespoke framing also focuses on the preservation and protection of the item being framed. Professionals use superior materials to minimise potential damage from UV light, humidity, and other environmental factors that can degrade the frame and artwork over time.

Exploring framing options: Understanding quality and styles

In this section, we will look at three different framing options: off-the-shelf frames, online framers, and custom-made bespoke framers. This will help explain why custom-made bespoke framing typically comes with higher initial costs, as it is intended to be a long-lasting, one-time solution while also minimising potential issues from interior degradation.

Shop-bought frames

Shop-bought frames, often referred to as ‘ready-made’ frames, are a convenient and cost-effective framing option.

These types of picture frames are available in various sizes and styles with prices starting at around £8 for a 50cm x 70cm frame. Shop-bought options are usually easy to open and close. Using a ready-made, better-quality frame can provide a cost effective solution, especially for bulk framing, such as for projects or events like weddings.

Online framing

Online framing services offer a wide selection of fixed options and they start at roughly £50 for the same size 50cm x 70cm frame.

These services have gained popularity due to their price point and the opportunity for customers to customise the frame to suit their preferences and artwork. However, you will be responsible for fitting the artwork yourself, and for larger pieces, achieving the perfect fit and ensuring they stay clean can be challenging, even in a specially equipped workshop.

Bespoke framing

As skilled custom framers, our prices typically start at £130 or higher for the same 500mm x 700mm frame. While this might sound like a substantial amount at first, our bespoke framing services include much more than just the frame itself. Let’s dive into what makes up this cost:

1. Direct communication

You can reach out to us via phone, email, or WhatsApp, and we’ll get back to you quickly with options, costs and expert advice, whether you decide to proceed or not.

2. In-person guidance

We provide professional face-to-face consultations, and we also welcome walk-ins without appointments, even after hours by arrangement. Here, you can examine the materials we use for your frame, including different woods, finishes, glass types, and outboard options. Feel free to experiment until we find the perfect combination for your ideal result.

3. Convenient virtual consultations

Can’t get to our Soho workshop? No problem. We offer free video calls to discuss your framing needs and will send you material samples to review in the comfort of your home.

4. Expertise in artwork challenges

Not all artwork is in perfect condition, and many pieces come to us with imperfections like wrinkles, folds, tears, or staining. We have the expertise to address these issues and recommend suitable solutions. Whether it’s mounting your artwork onto substrates to flatten or stabilise it or collaborating with other specialists for cleaning and restoration, we ensure your artwork looks its best.

5. Diverse budget options

Our pricing options accommodate nearly every budget. When comparing our services to those of a standard online framer, we know that our clients will appreciate that we offer exceptional value for money.

6. Premium materials

Our goal is to make every frame look like a work of art. We use premium materials for the mount, backing, and glass to keep your artwork safe, no matter its value.

Even with standard or gallery-type frames, we meticulously select wood sections, ensuring a perfect finish for a seamless, flawless look. Each corner is expertly glued, pinned, and clamped, and we apply waxes to minimise joint lines, polish the glass, and eliminate dust.

Our standard mounts are a robust 2mm thick with an attractive bevel, meeting conservation or archival standards. These serve as guidelines for the framing of valuable or sensitive materials such as paintings, drawings, pastels, documents or historical artefacts.

We also offer museum-standard cotton fibre mount boards as well as several specialised glass options for clarity, security, public space safety and UV shielding.

8. Installation expertise

Professional installation ensures that your framed artwork is hung securely and aligns with your vision. Our qualified and insured installers therefore ensure that your framed pieces look their best on your walls.

9. Ongoing support

Our bespoke framers don’t just frame and forget. We offer aftercare services and advice.

10. Fully customised service

At our workshop, we take immense pride in offering a tailored and highly personalised service, meticulously crafted to align perfectly with your distinctive tastes and preferences. If you have a specific frame design in mind, we’ll make it happen, turning your vision into reality.

Final thoughts

The cost of bespoke framing results from the use of top-quality materials, craftsmanship and comprehensive customer service. This approach ensures that your artwork is not only protected, but also presented at its best. While custom framing may be initially more expensive than the other alternatives, this cost reflects the dedication to preserving and enhancing your valuable pieces for years to come.

At SohoFrames, we’re firm believers in ‘framing what you love,’ be it priceless artwork or a cherished photograph. If you wish to enjoy and proudly display it for years to come, we encourage you to view it as an investment. And, of course, consulting with us before you decide on the type of framing you want is entirely free.

To learn more about our services, get in touch with us.

Multiple paintings framed on a red gallery wall
More From Our Guides

From canvas to pixel: The history of Photo Frames

From Egyptian paintings to modern masterpieces, frames have consistently played an indispensable role in the world of art and photography. The history of photo frames is a captivating journey that spans millennia, reflecting the evolution of human creativity, innovation, and aesthetic sensibility. In this article, we’ll explore the rich history of frames, from their humble…

Read More