Creative Solutions for DIY Framers: the Tool Kit
At the heart of our business model is the idea of creative solutions. Part of this involves helping our customers dial into a wide range of creative endeavors. We do this by streamlining, optimizing, and creating the perfect solution for even the most dynamic situations. And about 99% of the time (no lie!) this is highly effective for them.
We can make a solid argument even to the DIY folks that letting us handle a lot of their work still plays to their advantage. Many DIYers are looking to save money. Sure, we have creative solutions that may cost that extra dollar. But the savings definitely add up when you count the time involved on projects. A lot of people tend to miss the idea that working to saving just a little bit of money can actually be very time-consuming.
Are you sure you’re saving money?
Is that you? Well, stay tuned because we are nearly ready to post a side-by-side comparison. Specifically, having works scanned, printed, and framed in-house with us compared to you having the same projects completed at various places and even handling some of the production yourself. The results aren’t fully in yet. Yet, already we are seeing double and triple the time it takes to accomplish getting prepared for a show or festival. That is, compared to doing it yourself. Most of us here have been participating in art shows and festivals for years. So, we know exactly how a DIYer goes about this.
Furthermore, we found that the savings of doing it yourself isn’t that remarkable. So far, scanning and printing is a dead-wash compared to using us for the same services. As a teaser, we’ll share the following: we had an image scanned, then ordered a print from an online retailer, and compared it with our in-house services. For one gallery wrap canvas print and one paper print for framing, there was only about a $13 savings. But that also includes nearly 30 days to make that happen. Alternatively, ordering from us gets you the same products and services in about a week in some cases. And no more than two weeks in almost any case. Stay tuned because we’ll be digging into this comparison more deeply soon.
Creative Solutions Tool Kit
Here’s the point: If you’re looking for a creative solution that allows you to blend doing it yourself and outsourcing to a company like ours, then here are some logical approaches. It mainly involves assessing what is worth doing yourself. Following are the ideal tools in an essential DIY framing kit. But again, the priority is some formal process of determining if it is worth the time to do it yourself.
- Always ask yourself: 1.) how much time does it take me to do a given task, and 2.) how much am I saving by doing it myself? For example, if you’re going to spend 4 hours doing something that saves you only $10, then essentially you made $2.50 an hour. Maybe that’s worth it to you or maybe not. That’s definitely not good enough for me. On the other hand, if you spend 6 hours to save $600, well that’s time well spent at a rate of $100 an hour.
- It’s wise to carry an assortment of picture wire. And you can be certain about finding endless uses for this stuff. Also, please learn from our experiences as artists and framers: spend the extra money and get a spool of various COATED braided picture wire. We prefer Super SoftStrand in various sizes (yes, we sell this if you need to order some). Get the coated kind because you are 100% guaranteed to snag your fingers on a loose strand of uncoated wire. In fact, the only times owner Michael Damico remembers bleeding on his own art was from uncoated wire snags. OUCH! You will also need a decent pair of side cuts or wire cutters. We aren’t particular to any specific brand. just pick up a comfy pair at the local hardware store.
- It’s very wise to have a tool for fitting. We highly recommend having a Fletcher brand FlexiPoint Driver. FlexiPoint drivers are what you use to fit together from behind the final assembly of a framing project. We recommend the flexi-driver because once they are in place, they are flexible for quick access to swap out images quickly. NOTE: Fletcher makes a green gun and a black gun the green gun is the flexi-style. Yes, we sell these too.
- A nice dust brush and some ammonia-free glass cleaner is a must if you are regularly swapping out art or photography. There are several options for dust brushes, but one that looks like the image below is fine. We aren’t fond of any particular brand. The glass cleaner shown here (Sprayway Ammonia-free Glass Cleaner) is available at most retail stores, including Walmart. It certainly gets our vote in terms of function and availability to consumers.
- If you are ever stretching your own canvas, then a pneumatic fastener is a must. Ideally, you need a 22-gauge stapler with a 3/8” crown that allows variable lengths up to 5/8”. We strongly recommend the Senco brand fastener (specifically, model SFW-09C). It works with almost any compressor and really doesn’t require a lot of pressure. You also need some proper stretcher pliers. Save your hands! There are two kinds: one is the gallery wrap stretcher pliers made by Osborne and the other is more standard made by Fredrix. NOTE: The gallery wrap pliers can do the same work as the Fredrix but not the other way around. It has the right bends and head for gallery wrap stretching but is still suitable for standard work.
Think about your tools from this perspective: If you have some of these items, you can act fast on the last minute things or even correct something on your own if it isn’t just right. Or even better, perhaps you can fix something fast for a client. But ultimately, our objective with this is less about making a buck off of you and more about keeping you busy doing less of your own grunt work. Remember, we are in the business of offering creative solutions. We would much rather see you out there making your art and putting your focus on excellence.
For the love…
There is one particular kind of DIYer for which we have no argument: those who truly get pleasure in creating their own framing from start to finish. In fact, that’s exactly what happened to Michael. He loved creating the frames for his artwork so much that he started a company for that very thing. And he still does it, but with a little more help in the mix.
Do you have a project you want to tackle on your own but need some guidance? Are you looking for ways to streamline your work? Or maybe you’d like to purchase the supplies shown here. We can have those shipped out in 3-5 days. Just give us a call at 615-815-6015, email, or stop by. After all, this is what we do: custom art, design, framing, and print solutions…All. Day. Long.