Adulthood (noun): Displaying art with a proper frame, rather than thumb tacks. Maturity (noun): Getting art framed by professionals, rather than tossing it in a plastic Amazon-bought rectangle and calling it a day.
We may jest, but we certainly don't underestimate the power of custom framing. It instantly elevates your interior design game. It helps conserve precious pieces. It brings out the best in your art. And it doesn't just apply to flat-lay prints, photos, and posters: Professionals can frame just about anything, from tutus to teeth (more on that later).
Sound cost-prohibitive? As Sooman Ginze at Annie's Art and Frame puts it: "It's expensive, but it doesn't have to be." Here are a few shops in town that specialize in unconventional projects, custom framing on a budget, and everything in between.
From thin, rice-paper scrolls, to an art collector's prized prayer rug, to a set of Hermes scarves, Seattleites entrust Baas with framing some seriously precious cargo. The Madison Valley studio emphasizes museum-quality conservation, favoring museum acrylic over glass in pieces that call for intensive preservation and instructing customers on best practices to keep fine art or powdered wigs (yes, you can frame that) in pristine condition. That doesn't mean this artist-run shop neglects design—or budgetary considerations. Baas stocks over 2000 frame options (perhaps the largest selection in town) and offers discounts for art students, interior designers, and artists framing their own art.
If you know, you know: The saving grace of many a Seattle Central art student (namely, Blick's relatively frequent and shockingly steep discounts) also applies to custom framing. Keep close tabs on the art supply chain's local Instagram for regular half-off deals; this is the place to go for an inexpensive, fully custom piece that doesn't rely on simple stock options.
Certain framing projects seem impossible—a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth that can be easily removed from its mount for close-up admiration, a precious kimono that must be sewn to lay naturally, a 10-by-10-foot mammoth of an art piece. The four-person team at Fremont's longest-running retail shop rises to the challenge. Customers traditional and eccentric will find a frame to fit among over 1,000 options, including some particularly unique wavy frames and Prisma's custom acrylic line.
Making art shine is a lifelong passion for Seattle Custom Framing owner and founder Molly Boone-Jones, who has been in the business since 1985 and spent years helping educate other framers as president of the Evergreen Picture Framers’ Guild. It’s no surprise that this shop offers expertise in just about everything, from sports jerseys to shadow boxes to frame repair.
One of Ballard’s best gift shops—a windowed storefront stocked with Hydro Flasks, art prints, and actually cool PNW paraphernalia—also houses one of the city’s best options for framing on a budget. In addition to a wall of custom options (one particularly ornate pick rang in at over $600 for a large poster), Annie’s carries a solid selection of much cheaper prefab frames that they’ll gladly break down into custom sizes (this brought the estimate down to about $100). Even tighter budget? Bring in a thrifted frame of your own for the same service, or get your art dry mounted to a backing board sans frame to keep even big pieces solidly in the double digits.