Do you have old concert posters, diplomas, photos, art prints and other cool memorabilia stuffed in a closet, just waiting for inspiration and the budget to allow for them to get framed? Is your living room crying out for a cool art gallery wall? Did you purchase some fine art from eBay or Facebook marketplace that deserves to be showcased? Or maybe you’re looking for a custom shadow box to feature all of your babe’s firsts.
We have good news for you: there are online shops that offer custom framing and can make the result stylish, affordable and shipped right to your door!
We’ve highlighted four companies here, pointing out special features and options to help you select the best online framer for your particular project. In addition, we’ve provided a sample cost comparison for a 16″ x 20″ print to be framed with a black gallery frame and double mat so that you can see the price difference between the sites.
1. Best For Non-Standard Prints: Simply Framed
Simply Framed has set itself apart from its competitors by offering a high quality full-service line that is exclusive to artists and wholesale customers like interior designers. In addition, their website indicates they can assist in framing textiles and other non-paper objects (which they stitch to a linen mat).
That doesn’t mean that they can’t help us frame our favorite art print, though! Simply Framed offers custom framing that is tailored to your specifications for the frame, mat style and size of your art. The completed custom-made frame will be shipped to you, where you can then insert your poster, photo or print.
There is also the option to send them a digital upload of your item, which they will print and frame for you.
Simply Framed offers 8 collections of frames, mostly simple gallery styles in a limited number of colors or finishes. Mat options are limited to whites and blacks; no colors are offered.
If your artwork is valuable and you’re concerned about mounting it correctly, Simply Framed also offers a Black Label line of frames, including a full-service option. For full service, the artwork needs to be mailed to the company either with a self-print label or utilizing a provided tube or flat mailer. It’s important to know that this framing option can approximate the cost of custom framing at your local shop and require several weeks for completion.
In general, the website was easy to use for a simple frame. However, it wasn’t always clear that there were options (for example, choice of mat material or size). For specialty objects, such as a jersey or fabric piece, it would be best to dialog directly with the company before ordering.
Also on the website was a blog with various design articles about framing and helpful hints for specific projects.
Simply Framed offers free shipping, and you can get 10% off on your first order by signing up for emails.
Art print price comparison: $137 includes free shipping
2. The Best For The One Who Can’t Decide: Framed and Matted
Framed and Matted is a worthy option if you have prints, posters and photos at home that need framing. Although their actual frame choices are limited to 9 styles, their selection of 33 different mat colors makes it easy to choose a color to enhance your art and coordinate with your décor style.
Frames are offered in either one, two or three colors, depending on style. A special feature in the ordering process allows you to receive a free mat in a different color, which is especially appreciated if you are torn between two different options!
Unlike most of their competitors, Framed and Matted offers double matting without an upcharge.
Framed and Matted will also accept uploads of your digital art. However, they do not accept any mail-ins of prints or artwork.
The website includes design tips for successful framing choices, articles, and an interactive LookBook full of photos. You can also “Ask a Pro” options via live chat or email.
Framed and Matted also offers gift cards, which make a very nice housewarming or graduation gift.
Shipping your completed frame usually begins 3 business days after receiving your order, with shipment via Fed Ex ground at no additional charge to the customer. Once you receive your frame at home, the kit includes what you need to mount and position the art, including archival hinging tape.
Framed and Matted recognizes that sometimes a product isn’t exactly how we imagine, so they guarantee the fit of your mat to the art. If notified within their specified time frame that a mat isn’t right, they will cut and ship a new mat to you at no additional cost.
Art print price comparison: $144 includes free shipping
Related: 21 Places To Snag Cheap Picture Frames [That You Will Use]
3. The Best For Framed Gifts: Level Frames
Level Frames offers framing three ways: at home, in-studio and digital upload. If you opt for the in-studio option, there is a $20 upcharge, and Level Frames will provide the shipping materials so that you can send in your art.
When choosing frames at Level Frames, not only will you have the opportunity to choose from 17 different frame colors, but each one is available in four different face sizes, ranging from a thin .75″ to 1.5″ wide. This is especially helpful if you are looking to create a stunning gallery wall.
Mat selection is limited to single mats in either white or black. However, mat size can be up to 4″ wide. A great tool on the website allows you to choose the “Golden Ratio” as a preset default choice for frame face size and mat width, based on art size.
Shipping is expected to begin 3 to 7 days from your order, and unlike some of their competitors, Level Frames will ship to Hawaii, Alaska and Canada.
Level Frames includes a few unique offerings that make great gifts. The first is framed vinyl records and album covers. You can order frames for at-home framing of an album in your own collection, or they can source and purchase your record for you for framing. Each frame highlights the complete album cover, with a portion of the record showing.
A second unique gift offering is a photo collage option, including a pre-sized triptych or a completely custom collage for your uploaded photos. Level Frames has an e- gift card option, too.
Art print price comparison: $157 (single mat only) includes free shipping
4. The Best One-Stop Shop: Frame It Easy
Compared to the other companies highlighted here, Frame it Easy is a relative old-timer, but don’t let that make you think they don’t provide the same quality work that others provide! Founded in 2004, the company provides custom frames ready for your art addition or custom frames for your uploaded digital art.
Frame it Easy offers 8 frame styles in multiple colors for a very broad selection. They also offer up to 75 different mat colors, including some metallics. This combination of choices makes it a great one-stop-shop for multiple framing projects and styles.
The website is simple to use, and you can quickly design your frame and mat selection. Shipment is usually within a week of ordering, and frames come securely packaged so that they arrive undamaged.
One of the best things about Frame It Easy’s website is the detailed tutorials offered regarding many aspects of custom framing. It’s worth it to spend the time looking up information about measuring and mat sizes to get a quality designed frame for your art.
After your first order, Frame It Easy offers discount coupons for future orders. In our price comparison exercise, Frame It Easy had the best price point, even without free shipping. The website indicates they use a “fair shipping” price model that passes on the actual cost of shipping to the buyer.
Art print price comparison: $96.37 plus shipping
Custom Framing Tips
Ready to order your custom framing job? Here are a few tips!
Make sure you measure your item with accuracy. Once a mat is cut, the frame company is going to allow usually ¼” on each side, so the room for error is small.
One way to address that is to measure your print in such a way as to cover a bit more of the art with the mat. That way, you have a bigger margin to properly adjust your art within the mat and frame.
Pay Attention To The Details
Each company’s website will walk you through the steps to build your frame according to your specifications. Make sure you click on each option in order to have the best choices of styles, colors and materials to choose from. Not all of the sites are strongly intuitive for that, and you might miss some options that would work well for your project.
All of our online framers provide acrylic instead of glass for your frame. This works great for shipping and is wonderful for hanging, as acrylic is much lighter. Some of the framers offer UV protective acrylic, something to consider if your space is strongly sunlit and your art is valuable.
Finally, make sure to take the time to read the blogs, design advice and tutorials before you click “Add to Cart.” These are as helpful as the customer reviews. The advice found there is like having your own personal art consultant and can make your final product outstanding.
Let There Be Art!
Having your photos and prints custom framed makes your house your home. You can get the colors, styles and sizes that work specifically for your space. Not only is there a significant price break by doing this online, but you can also receive your frame and mats in about a little over a week, compared to multiple weeks wait at a custom frame shop! It’s worth checking out!
You might also be interested in: What is Japandi? And 9 Ways to Create It in Your Home
Best Places For Online Custom Framing:
- Best For Non-Standard Prints: Simply Framed
- The Best For The One Who Can’t Decide: Framed and Matted
- The Best For Framed Gifts: Level Frames
- The Best One-Stop Shop: Frame It Easy