Custom Framing Options for Special Art

Since we’ve moved in, I’ve only hung a few pieces on the walls around here. I  want everything we showcase in this home to be special and I don’t want to hang random art just to fill space. So it has been a slow burn going through our pieces and seeing what actually works in this house.

But there were a few items that I knew I wanted to incorporate into our living room. It’s the first space everyone sees when they walk in and these were very personalized and sentimental pieces. Old newspaper

If you guys remember this post, then you’ll recall that we found a Chicago Tribune from 1938 in the walls of our home during demo. It was crumpled, dusty, and falling apart, but it was full of so many fascinating articles and tidbits about life back then. Finn and I devoured it and promised ourselves that we would find a prominent spot to display a few sections of this newspaper (oh, and we also made our own time capsule that we stuck in the walls! You can see what we put in it in this blog post). Custom framing special art piecesI don’t have a “before” photo of the other art, but it’s this gorgeous landscape that my great-grandmother painted decades ago. My grandma held onto a lot of her mother’s art and when she moved, I went through all of it and chose a few favorites. It was originally in a very ornate (and somewhat outdated) frame, so I removed the frame and my mom brought it back home with her on her latest trip to visit my grandma. I knew that I wanted this personal art to take center stage in our living room, not only because it has so much history and meaning behind it, but also because the colors work beautifully with our living room decor. I mean the green of those trees matches our curtains perfectly!

Custom Framing Options

I haven’t done much custom framing and I usually opt to frame items myself with frames and thick mats. However, I really wanted to upgrade to something a bit nicer for these pieces of art. Plus, my great-grandmother’s piece was a strange size that wouldn’t fit with any typical frame. Custom framing was my only choice for that one.

I turned to you guys on Instagram Stories and, of course, you had some awesome feedback for custom framing places…

I researched each of these options and they all had their pros and cons. I’ve heard good things about Framebridge and many of you mentioned you’ve used them with great success. However, I didn’t love the idea of mailing my great-grandmother’s art into them to frame. I’m sure it would have been perfectly fine, but since this piece is irreplaceable I didn’t want to chance it.

I ended up going with Custom Picture Frames because I could customize every single aspect of the frame (size, mats, mat colors, mat sizing, backing, glass, etc.) and I would be able to frame it myself at home.

My Framed Newspaper ClippingsChoosing special custom framing

I decided to hang the newspaper frames near the front entryway. That way, everyone could give them a glance when visiting our house.

Because I could cut out any size section of the newspaper, I measured the wall and figured out the frame size that way. Wanting to fill up about 2/3 of the width of the wall I went with two frames that are 20×18. I chose Fremont Gold frame for a traditional look, along with a warm white mat and then a black pebble mat. I have brass and gold accents throughout the living room (like my curtain rods), so I figured the gold frame would coordinate well with those. Custom gold frames

Instead of using glass, I chose non-glare acrylic. This made each frame super lightweight so I was able to attach them to the wall using only command strips. The frames came with hanging options (standard wire, security hangers, etc.) but I didn’t have to use those at all!Chicago Tribune from 1938

I love having this piece of history hung in our home. It makes me feel more connected to this house and its almost 100-year-old history.

I ended up cutting out the real estate section of the newspaper for the top frame. I loved reading about the prices for land and homes in Chicago. It’s so fascinating to see how prices have just gone up, up, up!Ad from a 1938 chicago tribune newspaper

In the bottom frame, I showcased a few advertisements. I especially enjoyed the new train ad from St. Louis to Chicago.

Everyone who sees these is immediately intrigued and I get to explain the saga of having to rip down our entire ceiling during the renovation (and finding this treasure up there!). It makes for a great conversation piece.

Grama’s Framed ArtCustom framing options with black frame

As for Grama’s piece, I wanted people to walk in our home and immediately see it. So, it has the perfect home right over our entryway console. Entryway console with custom frame over

Let’s chat for one moment about the appropriate height to hang art. Most art is hung about 57-60 inches from the floor (you can read more about this rookie mistake here). However, when hanging art over a dresser, console, couch (really any piece of furniture) there are different rules.

If I hung this piece at eye level it would have been waaaaay too high over our entryway console. Instead, I hung the frame so that there is about 7 inches between the bottom of the frame and the console.  By placing it there, it looks very cohesive and it becomes a part of the entire vignette. I usually say to go 4-8 inches over a piece of furniture for the best look. Black frame and cream mat from custom framing

For this piece, I opted for the black Rolio frame in a custom 30×23 size. I then chose a warm white mat (2.5 inches thick) and the non-glare acrylic. I was also able to secure this frame to the wall using only command strips (I love it when that happens!). Custom framing options

I’m smitten with this very special art and I’m so happy I get to see it every time I walk through the door. It’s like my Grama is always right here with me.

Other Framing Ideas

As I mentioned a moment ago, I rarely choose custom framing for pieces around my home, but this experience makes me want to upgrade the framing for those really important pieces of art. I think those super special pieces deserve the  nicest of frames!  They make such a beautiful difference.

When it comes to photos and other inexpensive (or not quite as sentimental) art pieces, I’ve often opted for store-bought frames and mats. Here are some examples…Symmetrical gallery wall in the hallway

Jan’s Symmetrical Gallery Wall Gallery wall over a console

My Guest Room Gallery WallWood dresser in a gray bedroom

Jan’s Guest Room Gallery WallGallery wall

The Easiest Way to Hang a Gallery Wall

Custom Framing Discount

Turning on and off your lamps with your phone

Custom Picture Frames is offering a 20% off discount for all Playbook readers! Use the code “DIYPLAYBOOK” to get those savings.

And if you do have anything special framed, be sure to show me on Instagram (or shoot me an email at [email protected]). I would love to see the items that mean so much to you!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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