dear d*s

dear d*s: print hanging + floral centerpiece ideas

by Grace Bonney

question: i have a ton of awesome 13″ x 20″ prints i’ve collected over the years that i’ve been trying to find low-cost framing for- at one point I thought clip frames would provide the perfect solution, but oh woe is me, it turns out that 13″ x 20″ is not a standard size. there are so many gig posters and other prints this size that i feel like i must be missing something. can you help me get my gorgeous prints out of the closet and up on my walls? -jennifer wolfe

answer: hi jennifer! print framing can be a costly and somewhat frustrating process when you have non-standard print sizes. but fear not! there are always other (frame and non-frame) options. here are a few we’ve come up with that make the best of a non-standard size print issue:

  • local frame/art shops: if your prints are standard sizes, pre-made frames will cost an arm and a leg and be hard to find. my go-to resource for non-standard framing is a local shop where the frame-building is done in-house. they’re always cheaper than shops that source frames elsewhere. so make a few calls and ask around to see if someone in town makes their frames in-house ( often times art schools or art supply stores offer these services). if they do, they can cut out the middle man and drastically reduce your framing cost
  • foam core + : if you’re open to thinking outside of the frame-world, a great option is to mount your prints with spray adhesive on foam core, wood or cardboard and then lining them up on a frame ledge. they’re easily moved but still have the support of a firm board behind them to hold their shape and prevent bending (top right image above, via )
  • line + clips: because pieces like gig posters and prints often get rotated around people’s homes we often suggest using a fishing/metal wire with hanging clips (bottom left image above, via ). it’s not a frame of course, but it’s a fun and flexible way to display your favorite prints for low price.
  • bulldog clips + nails: this look is a favorite of mine (top left image above, via ). it’s flexible and depending on the clips you use, can have a slightly industrial feel. try collecting metal clips from flea markets or antique shops for a unique look
  • clipboards: along the same line as the clips above, you can buy oversized/art clipboards that are up to 19 inches wide that will allow you to clip your prints to a board and stand, hang or lean them on the wall like that (bottom right image above, via )

CLICK HERE for studio choo’s floral centerpiece ideas for d*s reader linda after the jump!

question: i’m having a surprise 40th birthday luncheon for my daughter. i want something really different for centerpieces- not the usual flowers. it will be formal, but with a down home flair. i’m going to use burlap table cloths, invites from , and lots of sterling silver with monogrammed napkins. i’m looking for a “knock your socks off” centerpiece idea for 9 tables- can you suggest some ideas? -linda mcbride

answer: hi linda! the lovely floral team from studio choo are here to answer your question today. here’s what they have to say: “Hi Linda – Wow, what a lucky daughter you have! The style you’ve chosen for her surprise birthday party sounds absolutely beautiful and would lend itself very nicely to some original and and a little out of the ordinary table arrangements. Here are a couple of ideas for conversation starting centerpieces that tie in some of your decorating themes. We hope we have helped get some ideas rolling for the luncheon…we’d like to go make these now!”

  • Emphasize Silver– We often use vintage containers for our arrangements and there are some really beautiful pieces just sitting around on Ebay! For this idea we would look for silvery creamers and sugar bowls (at least a set for each table- and they don’t have to match) to complement your tray and flatware and really play up an abundant opulent look. You could get a little more playful with the flowers and have blossoms “pouring” out of the creamer and a mound of “sugar” in the bowl. To achieve the creamer look you might mass a variety of white flowers and draping vines in the container, and let some stems spill out near the spout. You could bring in a bit of color with the sugar bowl arrangement and create a round mound of small sugared fruits and blossoms combined with more white flowers.
  • Table on Table– We love that you had Lea Redmond create the save the dates for the luncheon- which inspired us to include a tiny idea. We thought it would be so fun to create a fancy little room in the center of the table by incorporating some dollhouse furniture and small vases. A garland of lush greenery with some showy blooms tucked in would circle a silver platter, creating the walls and floor of the room. We’d furnish it with a tiny table a maybe a few chairs and on top of that…a mercury glass votive containing an arrangement of wee precious flowers (perhaps including something like lily of the valley). The “room” could even be contained under a clear glass cloche with the garland around the outside edge for further preciousness.

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  • My solution for hanging oddly sized prints has been to use these:

    You just need to buy the glass and some kind of a backing (I use foamcore). It doesn’t end up being that much more expensive than buying a pre-made frame. Although I do like the clips in the photo shown here. I’ve also seen wooden skirt hangers used and that looks pretty nice too.

  • All of these framing alternatives look fun, but if you care at all about the longevity of your prints, I would not use any of these methods. If these are prints you want to look as good a few years from now, don’t spraymount or clip them under any circumstances. Spraymount, even acid free spraymount, will cause irreparable damage, not to mention it will wed your print to a surface that may be acidic and cause further deterioration. Clips will leave permanent indentations. And neither clips nor attachment to a board protect from dust and sun damage.

    Frames are expensive. It sucks. But it’s even more costly to replace prints every couple of years, and then you feel shitty for destroying an artist’s work, or an antique.

    No offense to the author of this post — the images look great, and these are appealing presentation-wise. But maybe better for magazine styling than living with works on paper that you care about. If we’re just talking decorative print outs, go for it.

  • Hi Jennifer, Have you checked out Quadro Frames? They make clip frames and I think they’ll make any size frame depending on how many you need. (I’m not affiliated with this company, just a happy customer!) –Rachel

  • Jennifer, you might try an online frame shop such as framesbymail.com or americanframe.com . They have custom sizes for pretty decent prices. Another option would be to use framing sections. You could buy a pair of 13′ edges for about $8 and a pair of 20′ edges for around $13 which is not a horrible price… but my local Hobby Lobby store has framing sections for half price quite often, so you would end up with a complete, good quality frame for about $11!

    Of course, bulldog clips and clipboards are much more fun, but if you need or want an actual frame, these are my favorite options. :)

  • Another option is to get the pieces mounted on MDF and matte sealed. I use a local framing shop so I’m guessing that other small shops might offer the same service.

    It’s much cheaper than getting a custom frame made and much more durable than the foamcore/cappa board option. You can have the edges painted in a complementary or contrasting colour and they come with a hook on the back for hanging.

  • Btw, I only use the MDF option for non-original, easy to get/easy to replace prints. Like Nick, I’m precious about originals.

  • i was a custom framer in another lifetime, and i used this technique to display posters at a restaurant that had a small budget: have plexiglass, and a colored matboard, cut to 17X24 (allows a 2 inch border to show around the print).

    center the print on the matboard, and adhere print to matboard with double-faced tape at top two corners of the print. place the plexi on top, and drill a hole through the plexi and matboard at all four outer corners.

    mount to the wall with nail or screw of choice, keeping in mind that the fastener head will be visible.

    you can vary the look by using cork, grasscloth, wallpaper, or handmade paper which has been vacuum-mounted to the matboard (under the print).

  • My recommendation is to get on the mailing list at your local Joann Fabrics… they send out a “50% off framing” coupon practically every month–at least frequently enough that I can find one when I need one. They may not have quite as many frame options as some stores, but I have had a number of pieces, of varying sizes, done by them and they’ve always done a really nice job.

  • If you have an Ikea near you, I’d suggest going there to look for a frame that’s large enough. They have tons of sizes, so they may have one that fits 13×20. Then get it rematted at somewhere like Michaels. That’s what I’ve done and it’s much cheaper than having a custom made frame.

    Of course, this only works if you are near an Ikea, don’t mind the lower quality, and can find a frame that’s large enough. Good luck!

  • Nick you’re so right. I’ve worked in conservation and appraisal enough to know what peril a valuable (sentimental or monetary) print is in if not properly treated.

    Another tip: if you are framing an old print make sure it has no small traces of mold (check using a loop). This spells disaster!

  • YAY! These tips are all so helpful, I have been agonizing over hanging prints that I have but now I don’t have to! Love the clip idea too.. it’s beautiful!

  • Thank you, everyone for all the great suggestions! There are a gazillion clip options, which are great for cards and more ephemeral pieces, but I’d like to preserve some of these prints for posterity if I can.

    Quadro frames is a great resource for clip frames, with awesome customer service, but 13×20 isn’t a standard size and custom orders have large minimums.

    Here’s a set of four prints from Kevin Tong called “I Always Feel the Same” that I scored at Renegrade Craft LA this summer:

    I’ve been saving up for custom frames, but also love the look of clip frames for in the meantime. Maybe bulldog clips and plexi cut to size…

  • Eeep! I just checked out the Uniframes that Sarah suggested and these just might be the ticket! I can combine them with glass and acid-free backing:

    Thanks Sarah!!

  • @Nick I’d absolutely agree NOT to spraymount antique prints, but if these are just band posters or prints that have no intrinsic value, then it IS a good idea. Use acid-free spray adhesive with acid-free foamcore and you have a great combination that protects a print from getting further creased or torn.

    @Gillian I agree that it’s a great idea to find a cheap, larger frame, and Ikea is a great source. If you don’t have one near you, maybe try to find an art shop or craft store that carries tons of stock sized frames. Look for 18×24, and then just have mats cut. You don’t have to go crazy and frame all of them, in fact it might be fun to have just a small grouping where you could swap out the prints to suit your mood or the season!

  • My trick is to use a document display frame, larger than the print size.

    The print is sandwiched between 2 pieces of glass (see ugly eg here: ) and allows for uncommon document/print sizes.

    See my example on my bedroom wall here: .

    Good luck!

  • I really love displaying smaller odd-size prints on magnet strips from Three by Three Seattle. Check the strips out here:

  • I’ve just been thinking about this! I’m planning to pick up some tiny Mighty Magnets to hang my prints. They’ll keep them fixed to the nail heads without having to poke a hole through the paper or crease it with bullclips.

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