New to Framing? get started here
New to Framing: Commercial Framing
What do I need to start framing for profit?
A picture frame is one of the few bespoke-made items that almost anyone can afford. Owning a picture framing business can be both a great way to make a living and an excellent outlet for your creativity. It is also a perfect additional service for a gallery, print or photography business.
The right equipment is vital to a successful framing business – it’ll ensure you’re productive, profitable and across the full range of creative possibilities. The capital investment and up-front stock required to start a framing business is comparatively low.
We can offer advice based on the type and volume of framing you’ll be doing, the skill level of the operator, the space you’re working in and, of course, your budget. Make an appointment to visit our showroom either in person or virtually firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re thinking about buying second-hand equipment, we stock a wide range of spare parts for Morso, Alfamacchine, Inmes and other brands.
Processes & Materials
The basic processes of picture framing and the type of equipment you’ll need.
- There are six basic processes:
- Cutting the moulding with a mitre guillotine, double mitre saw or ordering it on our Chop Service
- Inserting v-nails to join the moulding to make a frame using a foot operated or pneumatic underpinner
- Cutting a window mount using a mountcutter
- Cutting the glass or styrene using a sheet material cutter
- Cutting the backing board again using a sheet material cutter
- Assembling the frame and securing the back in place with a point driver
- Basic materials used include:
- Moulding to make the frame.
- V-nails and PVA wood glue to join the frame.
- Mountboard is cut on a mountcutter to make the window mount and undermount.
- Hinging tape to fix artwork to the undermount, or self-adhesive mounting board to stick down posters / photographs. This stops them from going wavy inside the frame.
- Glass or styrene glazing. We don’t supply glass as we can’t despatch it.
- MDF or fluted board for the back of the frame.
Watch a short video below on the anatomy of a frame.
Many framing businesses operate out of relatively small premises. You’ll need space for a workbench of at least 1 x 1.2m. If you’re going to be cutting moulding on a Morso mitre guillotine, you need one wall about 5m long to allow you feed 3m lengths through.
Moulding & Mountboard Samples
A wall of moulding chevrons is the distinctive sign of a framing shop. A wide choice of moulding styles is a key point of difference when customers compare with buying a ready-made frame.
- We supply moulding chevrons with Velcro already applied and ready to go on your wall.
- Speak to your Area Sales Manager for advice on choosing your range.
- Brushed Nylon makes a great ‘Velcro receptive surface’.
Do you offer training?
We don’t offer training courses on the process of framing but we have a number of easy to follow how-to videos, take a look.
Alternatively, listed below are some people who do offer training -
The Art of Framing Training School
Through Paul Webb of Artwork Creations Ltd. Paul is a Guild Certified Framer (GCF) and accredited as a trainer by the Fine Art Trade Guild (FATG). He been running his own framing business for 15 years and framing for 30.
Paul offers 3 core courses:
• Introduction to Framing - one day course
• Introduction to Framing – two-day course with more hands-on practice
• GCF Preparation – one / two-day course as appropriate
Courses can also be tailored to cover particular techniques, such as advanced mountcutting or shirt framing. Students will leave with 1 or 2 items they have framed, a full set of course notes and a folder of useful information. Contact Paul on email@example.com or visit artworkcreations.co.uk.
Jean at arti-fax.co.uk has been framing for 20 years and is a fully accredited Picture Framing Trainer and Examiner with courses endorsed by the Fine Art Trade Guild. In addition to picture framing experience, and experience of owning and running a successful picture framing business, Jean also has over 20 years' experience devising, running and overseeing training courses, from instructional techniques to senior management development.
Course content is based on each applicant's individual training needs. Typically, an introduction to picture framing training course is of 1 day's duration but courses can be as short as half a day or as long as 5 days - it's entirely at the request of the applicant.
Contact Jean on 07495 000856 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your exact requirements and preferred training date(s).
Complete Water Gilding Course. Free! No Charge! No Catch!
A series of 37 videos demonstrating the entire Traditional Water Gilding process from start to finish. You will learn everything you need to know about Glue Size, Gesso, Bole, Leafing and Toning. Watch the series here.
Produced in the workshops of Pictureframes of Shaftesbury, the videos are filmed in a style aimed at helping you get to grips with the whole process. They are created specifically for picture framers, using the recipes and techniques employed by one of the most experienced businesses in the field.
Many top galleries insist upon hand-made frames for their exhibiting artists. They recognise that even the untrained eye will distinguish between the inevitable regularity of a machine made moulding and the uniqueness of a bespoke hand-finished frame. Framers who cater to this market are able to make healthier margins than their “cut and join” competitors. Moreover, they are no longer selling the same commodity as everyone else, but instead, a bespoke crafted product which is unique to their business.
Becoming an expert on crafting hand-made frames is a lifelong journey limited only by your own creativity. But a good working knowledge of the traditional process is a good place to start and will underpin this journey. Our friends at LION, stock a wide range of gilding supplies, take a look.
An umbrella website which brings together a group of educators who are fully qualified, independent picture framing trainers. Their website allows you to access high quality training and to choose the best trainer and location to meet your needs.
The trainers are all business owners who initially met through their voluntary work with the Fine Art Trade Guild. They are Alec Palmer, Geertjan Alkema, Ian Kenny, Janneke Alkema, Jo Palmer and Sharon-Lee McKee. As well as tailored modular days, they all deliver a Guild Accredited training course too. Each is a working bespoke framer who started their own business from scratch, and they now run successful and profitable enterprises. These educators have over 150 years of combined experience, so there’s nothing much they haven’t come across before.
After so many years of framing experience, they remain passionate about what they do, and are intent on providing the best framing and business training in our industry. Between them, they’ve written articles for industry magazines, CPD content for Fine Art Trade Guild members, conducted in-person and online workshops & seminars and provided technical support for Guild members. The trainers have pooled their resources to help you find the training you need in one easy step. Training locations which cover England/Wales, Ireland, Scotland and The Netherlands are available, and no matter where you decide to go, you will be guaranteed the same level of expertise.
Many framers choose to work towards the Fine Art Trade Guild’s Certified Framer qualification. Click here for more information.
Learning to use your equipment
Once you’ve got your equipment set up, our Area Sales Managers are always on hand to help you get to grips with it.
Our Technical Manager can advise on calibrating your equipment or you can visit our showroom to learn how it all works.
Other sources of information
Fine Art Trade Guild is a fantastic source of information for framers. The Frame Talk forum is a terrific resource when you have a tricky or unfamiliar framing job to tackle.
Can you install my equipment and show me how to use it?
We’ll include information about installation and training options with every equipment quotation.
Do you offer frame pricing and visualisation software?
Most framers find that a computerised frame pricing system makes their business more profitable and easier to run. Some systems also include ‘visualisation’, which allows the customer to see how the finished frame will look.
We don’t sell or recommend any one system, but we do support them all with material price data and images of our mouldings. Take a look at:
Do you offer credit terms?
You can spread the cost of professional framing equipment over monthly instalments. Find out more.