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Custom Framing

From your finest artwork to your newly earned diploma, Plaza Artist Materials frames it all! With current trends as well as classics that will never go out of style, Plaza will help you find the perfect frame. Our expert picture framing design team is ready and waiting for you to bring in your treasure! frame corners

Why Custom Framing?

When you have a poster, a diploma, a photograph or any item that you want to have framed, you have several options as to how to go about getting it done. Many retailers carry a wide selection of ready made frames in standard sizes and the selection has improved over the years to try and mimic what one would receive from a custom framer. There are also the “do-it-yourself” frame shops where an employee will help you cut your mat and assemble the final package.


With all of these options available, why should you have something custom framed?

At Plaza Artist Materials, we care about your artwork as if it were our very own, that is why our custom framing designers have been trained to create beautiful, well-balanced framing presentations that will enhance your artwork or memorabilia. Our designers are taught that there are certain fundamental rules of custom framing that lead to good design and when these rules are followed the result is a beautifully framed piece that will have a place in your home for years to come. For example, did you know that a mat border should be used as a visual resting spot for the eye? Therefore, when using a mat, wider borders are better. Or, did you know that the width of the mat border should not be the same width as the frame? This draws the eye away from the artwork to focus more on the frame itself. These are just a few of the items that our designers have been trained to consider when working with a client.

Good framing design is simply based on commonly accepted framing principles and is only one of the many reasons to choose custom framing. Perhaps the best reason to select custom framing for your treasured artwork is because your custom framing professional has the skills and materials necessary to preserve and protect your valuable artwork as closely as possible to its original condition in order to let you enjoy it for many years to come.

At Plaza Artist Materials, quality design and construction is our top priority and our goal is to educate and inform you about the best possible design solution available for each piece of art you bring to us. Be it your child’s first drawing, an antique photo of your grandparents, a prized program and tickets from that playoff game you attended last year or a poster picked up at a museum show, our designers will provide you with the best possible solution to suit your needs and tastes.


What is the big deal about moulding?

At Plaza Artist Materials our goal is to provide you with a beautifully designed, custom framed art work that you will be able to enjoy for years to come. That is why we offer hundreds of finely crafted mouldings for you to choose from. Our selection of high end moulding is made available through some of the most reputable companies in the country such as Larson Juhl, Roma Moulding, Nurre Caxton and Turner Moulding. Many of our mouldings are hand crafted in several locations around the globe and shipped to Plaza Artist Materials to be used on your artwork or memorabilia.


How do I choose the right moulding?

As with choosing matting or glazing, choosing the right moulding for your artwork has it’s own set of “rules” to consider. Did you know that the width and depth of a moulding helps create a visual importance and visibility in framed art? This is important in that many new homes today have larger rooms and are much more accepting of artwork framed with larger mouldings. What this means is that small paintings, photos or other smaller pieces of artwork can be framed with larger, more substantial mouldings that work to create a piece of art or a focal point in a room. It is important to remember, however, that the moulding you choose should balance with the overall size of the artwork so let the content of the artwork determine the width and shape of the moulding. For example, large shapes, dark colors and heavy textures may require a larger moulding with fine lines, light and airy colors and a smooth finish in order to balance the piece. In addition, smaller pieces, such as a postcard or coins have the ability to become larger works of art by utilizing wider, upscale mouldings that really get noticed when hanging on a wall and draw the viewer in for a closer look.


Custom Matting

For some people choosing mat colors can be a painful experience while others seem to be gifted with a designer's color sense. The custom framing designers at Plaza Artist Materials have been instructed on the proper guidelines of mat selection for your artwork. After all, the majority of them are artists so why not let them make color suggestions for you to help you on your way to a finished piece that you will have hanging on your wall for years to come.


So, why do I need a mat?

The purpose of a mat border is to provide a visual resting spot, between the frame and the art, for the eye. This “spacing” provides the subject with some breathing room and guides the eye to focus in, instead of around. Another purpose of the mat actually has to do with the construction of the mat board itself. Plaza Artist Materials selects only Bainbridge Artcare acid free mats for all of our custom framing designs. What this means to you is a superior quality product that protects your artwork from aging and deterioration by actually trapping and neutralizing acid by-products that may otherwise damage your artwork. These same mats are used by museums and picture framers around the world to protect everything from precious works of art to your own prized mementos. Bainbridge Artcare mats are available in over hundreds of colors and textures so there is sure to be the perfect mat to enhance your art work.


Mat Enhancements

In addition to the vast selection of mats Plaza Artist Materials also offers hand wrapped fabric mats at select locations. These beautifully crafted mats further accentuate your artwork by giving it a stunning richness and high-end quality that can be very eye-catching. Fine silks, linen and suede are just a few of the varieties of fabric available.

Plaza Artist Materials utilizes the latest in mat cutting technology with a computerized mat cutter. With it, we are able to cut over 100 different types of openings as well as letter mats and different shapes such as a beach umbrella or an eagle.

We also offer other mat enhancements such as painted mat bevels, fillets and French lines to further highlight your work of art. A painted bevel can help accentuate a particular color or item in the artwork to really make it “pop” and get noticed. A wooden fillet is similar to a “mini frame” that fits inside the edge of the mat opening or along the inside edge of the frame opening to add elegance to any piece. Finally, French lines are thin hand-painted lines that can add a decorative touch and a timeless feel to any antique photo, old postcard or any other item that you have.


What kind of glass should I put on my artwork? Glass is glass, right?

Wrong, there are many different types of glass on the market today. While Plaza Artist Materials has several different types of glass available and while the primary purpose of each is to protect your artwork from dust and moisture, there are differences in each type of glass that have very specific purposes. As a consumer, you should be aware that ultraviolet light is present in nearly all forms of light, including sunlight, incandescent light, fluorescent light, and halogen light and that UV light exposure causes artwork to fade, yellow, and become brittle. Discuss the options with your framing designer to find out what will be the best choice for you. In the meantime, here are some things to consider:

Clear glass is the most common type of glass used in picture framing. It offers no protective qualities for preservation of your art and blocks less than 50% of ultraviolet light.

Non-glare glass consists of an acid etched surface that scatters light rays for a non-reflective finish. Non-glare glass offers no protective qualities for your artwork and the etched surface, when used with mats, may create a “fuzzy” appearance to the art.

Conservation (UV) glass is coated with a protective film that blocks 98% of harmful ultraviolet light rays that normally cause fading of artwork. Conservation (UV) non-glare glass is also available.

Plexi glass is a high quality acrylic that will not shatter. It is used primarily where size and weight of glass could be a problem or in areas where the chance of breakage could occur such as a high traffic area or a child’s play room. Plaza Artist Materials offers plexi glass in clear, non-glare, conservation (UV) and conservation (UV) non-glare finishes.

Museum glass utilizes the latest technology for superior protection of your artwork. Museum glass blocks 98% of harmful ultraviolet rays and has a special non-glare finish that is far superior to a typical non-glare glass and practically makes it invisible while safeguarding your treasured work.

**Plaza Artist Materials is also a source for convex glass in oval and unusual shapes.


What is conservation mounting?

To begin with, not every piece needs to be conservation mounted. Sometimes it is important and other times it is not important. So how do you know when to have something conservation mounted?

Conservation mounting is designed to provide your art on paper with the best possible protection that that will slow or prevent deterioration to the piece. Typically, conservation framing is used when framing anything that is considered an original, a limited edition, something of sentimental or monetary value, or something historical. The materials used in conservation framing must be acid free and allow for the piece to be removed from its mounting in the same condition as it was first mounted.

There are three components to conservation framing. They are matting, mounting and glass. The mats used need to be 100% acid free and lignin free (lignin is a naturally occurring component of plants that is believed to contribute to chemical degradation in paper), as well as bleed and fade resistant. This gives the maximum amount of protection required for works of art on paper. The second component, mounting, utilizes archival quality backing materials that when combined with conservation mounting techniques is completely reversible. The last component is glass. Conservation (UV) glass protects artwork from damaging ultraviolet light by blocking 97% of harmful ultraviolet light which significantly reduces fading of mats and artwork.

Paper is sensitive to its surroundings and can be adversely affected by changes in temperature, humidity, dampness and exposure to light. If you have something of value that you would like to have framed, and kept in its original condition, let the designers at Plaza Artist Materials help you in selecting the best possible solution for your framing needs.


Do you stretch canvas?

As well as providing beautifully crafted moulding for your beloved artwork, Plaza Artist Materials is pleased to offer custom made stretcher bars for most any size canvas that you need to have stretched. Be it a treasured oil painting purchased while on vacation or a blank canvas for an impending project, our experienced staff can help you with all of your moulding and stretching needs.


What is a shadow box?

Shadow boxing is a method of framing that utilizes a deeper moulding to create a display case for unusual or three-dimensional art and objects. Any one item or a small collection of items may be framed in this way. Shadow boxes can be built quite simply or they can be designed utilizing a combination of rich wood textures and fabrics for a more elaborate look.

Some of the past shadow box projects completed by Plaza Artist Materials Custom Picture Framing include:

  • A Japanese kimono
  • Electric guitars
  • Turkish rugs
  • Christening outfits
  • Sports Jerseys
  • A combination of an antique purse, pocket watch and jewelry
  • A bodice from a Civil War era gown
  • African tribal masks and statues
  • Coins, Olympic pins and law enforcement badges
  • Civil War military medals
  • A rock
  • Baseball
  • And many other items too numerous to list!
Basically speaking, if you have any object of sentimental or monetary value, we can build a display for you!

For any item that you would like to have on exhibit, Plaza Artist Materials is also a source for display cases!display case


Box mounting and laminated plaques

Box mounting is an economical way to present artwork of a nominal value such as maps, posters or photos. Your artwork is laminated to and mounted on a fiberboard and mica box that is available in 30 different colors. The use of lamination instead of glass make this a perfect option for children’s rooms, kitchens, offices and any commercial space!

A laminated plaque is an excellent solution for highlighting a certificate, diploma, photo or newspaper clipping. The artwork is carefully laminated to a board that is available in a number of different finishes including: ebony, walnut and vessel oak. The edges of the document and the plaque are then finished in gold, silver or black accents to give your piece a beautiful and sophisticated look.


Corporate Discounts

Plaza Artist Materials Custom Framing is pleased to offer volume discounts for clients with a larger number of items to have framed. We also have a delivery service to help get your work to you.

Some of our corporate clients include:
  • The David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland College Park
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  • Discovery Communications
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • The Walters Art Museum
  • United States Department of Commerce
  • National Geographic Society
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art
  • The World Bank
  • Peace Corps
  • Smithsonian Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture
If you have a large job to do, contact Plaza Artist Materials for more information.

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