DIY Conservation Framing: Cost Analysis

Here is an approximated cost analysis for DIY conservation framing, as outlined in my tutorial. Since my Irish map project was 15″x15″, I drew up a sample analysis table based on this size. As you can see, the initial investment in tools and materials makes the first project quite expensive at $283. I’m pretty sure the professional framing job would be less expensive than this. However, if you then go on to do a second, third, fouth project, the cost for each of these subsequent projects plummets down to basically just the cost of the frame, glass, and mat board.

DIY Conservation Framing Cost Analysis

A few notes:

1. This table highlights how the choice of glass (anti-UV or regular) is a major driver of the total project cost.

2. I put in $30 for the frame cost, but this can be highly variable. You may be re-framing something that was done a while ago without archival materials–in this case you’ll be discarding all of the matting and backing boards, but you can easily re-use the frame and glass if you wish. You may get lucky and find something suitable at a thrift shop or auction like I mentioned. A common strategy I’ve used with success is ordering custom wood frames on eBay. Or–the most expensive option–you may have to order a custom frame from a framer.

3. You may notice that the mounting board cost is always $0, and this is because you can use one 32″x40″ matboard ($18 for high-end cotton rag) for both the window mat and the mounting board. In fact, for a 15″x15″ project, you can get two window mats and two mounting boards out of this one 32″x40″ sheet, which is why this cost doesn’t show up again until Project #3 on the table.

4. The framers’ tape, hinging tissue, and rubber bumpers should last you for dozens of projects. The roll of frame-sealing tape and the hanging hardware will last about a half dozen projects.

5. I left off some of the more basic tools from the table. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t already own a pencil and a decent pair of scissors, DIY conservation framing might not be for you…

Happy Framing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *