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Custom Framing for Wedding Gifts

Over the years, The Art Place has framed some amazing, unique, beautiful, and strange things. But some of the most fun framing to complete is custom framing for weddings. Even if it’s as simple as a framed photo of the couple, or it’s a complex collage that includes an invitation, wedding season always brings some creative ideas.

Framed cake toppers

Last year, we had one of the most fun wedding projects that The Art Place has seen. We framed this set of cake toppers from the 1960s. What a creative use of framing? These delicate figurines were carefully handled, and they are framed with conservation techniques. Framing sentimental objects like this helps keep them safe, and can make a lovely decoration for your home.

The Art Place has also framed many gifts for the bride and groom. A framed photo of the couple makes a lovely wedding gift. But a framed invitation can be even more special. The Art Place has also created many custom mirrors as gifts for newly-wed couples. A framed invitation or photo sits at the top, and the mirror extends below. This can be a useful, as well as sentimental gift!

Example of framed wedding invitation from Masterpiece Framing and Imaging in Bloomingdale, IL

Example of signed mat from Arthause Custom Picture Framing in Plano, TX

It’s also a lot of fun to have wedding guests sign a mat at the reception. This is a creative way to preserve the memory of the couple’s special day. After the wedding, bring the mat back to The Art Place, and we will preserve it behind glass.

If you have a loved one with a special wedding coming up, consider stopping in at The Art Place for a quote on some of these special framing projects. It’s always a pleasure to create something that you know will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Hanging Art in a Bathroom

Who says a bathroom can’t be decorated with beautiful artwork? Especially if you have a large master bathroom, this space creates a great opportunity to get creative with colors and visual textures.

To get some inspiration, check out this great post on Britt + Co. Kristen Appenbrink writes about utilizing the space above your tub (if you don’t have a shower head) for a creative cluster of framed prints. Or, taking out the mirror in a kids’ bathroom is a fun opportunity to fit in an inspirational sign. Kristen also talks about “going bold” with wall color, and balancing that with images that have a lot of white space.

Framed shell prints used in Barbara Gibbs’ bathroom

Sample of frame used for framed shell prints

Barbara Gibbs used this technique in her recently re-decorated bathroom. The wall color is a deep, rich brown, and is broken up by several large framed prints of shells. This frame is really special — it has a shiny imitation mother-of-pearl finish, which really makes the shells pop!

The downside about putting art in a bathroom, is that if not taken care of correctly, humidity can permanently damage valuable pieces. This is why it’s always important to talk with a certified framer before putting artwork at risk. (And maybe put irreplaceable pieces in another part of the house.) Certified framers at The Art Place can help you make the best choices to preserve your artwork. Do you have some beautiful artwork in your bathroom? Leave a comment for us with your favorite bathroom decorating tips.


“A picture without a frame is like a soul without a body”– van Gogh.

Over many years I have looked at a lot of art, but hadn’t given the framing a second glance. Working at The Art Place in framing has changed this. Now I view an exhibit – such as last year’s Van Gogh exhibition at the Clark -and can’t help looking at and thinking about how the mouldings protect, support and enhance the art. At first this was frustrating; it felt like competition to my enjoyment of the art. The more I learn about the history of framing, the less judgmental I feel about the brain space and the eye space it takes up. Frames have a history, a materiality of their own- as well as reflect history and respond to aesthetics in the art and the world around them at the time that they were made.

Martin Kotler, a conservator at the Smithsonian asks: “How many people have taken an art history class? Now how many times have they seen a frame or discussed one in it?” Images in countless art books are shown mostly without their frames and there are only a handful of books on the subject of framing. So, it’s no wonder that I spent years not seeing or thinking about the frames in museums.

The concept of framing has been around since ancient Egypt and Greece as seen on pottery and on walls to create sections of scenes.  The earliest wooden frame was discovered in the 2nd century AD in a Hawara Egyptian tomb. According to a historical series published in Picture Framing Magazine these early “framed panel paintings were made from one piece. The area to be painted was carved out, leaving a raised framing border around the outside edge, like a tray. The whole piece was then gessoed and gilded. Painting the image on the flat panel was the last thing to be done.”   The high cost of this process was prohibitive and led to the present day use of mitered moulding strips.  By the 12th century European frames started to resemble frames as we recognize them today.  In the 14th century church commissions for alterpieces dictated that the frame designs reflect the interiors of the churches and the architecture of these spaces. Wealthy patrons such as the Medici family shifted the making of frames into the home and they became more portable.  The French Renaissance brought further refinement of the frames and art into homes and part of daily life. Furniture builders began making frames as oppose to the sculptors, artists and architects of the past. During the American agricultural reign of power, designs on frames included wheat, corn and tobacco. Abstract Expressionist did away with frames entirely or used only small strips of wood.

Most frames are made from wood, but are also made from silver, bronze, aluminum, plastics, carved wood with gilding and even LED lights.  Interestingly, there are no copyright laws on frame designs and therefore mimics of frames are prolific.

Frames have practical function (protection, support and enhancement) as well as serve as space holders and story telling. They can tell a part of the story of the art and become part of it’s history. As space holders, they can give a visual pause, before I enter into the art being held within. No longer non-existent nor unimportant, rather part of the whole.

LED frame

history of frames

the clark


Wall Groupings

Wall Groupings by Barbara Gibbs, CPF

At The Art Place, we often get asked about hanging a grouping of pictures. If your pictures are all the same shape and size it’s easy–just keep in mind the pictures as a unit, especially if they are going over a sofa or fireplace. If you are using a variety of picture sizes and shapes, my tip is to first arrange the layout on the floor–attempting to balance the arrangement taking into consideration color, design and weight. Next, make paper templates of the outside size and shape of your pictures to arrange a layout for the wall. Use easy release tape for placing the template to the wall. Step back and look from a distances as if you were entering the room for the first time. Also, sit on a chair or sofa so that you can visualize the grouping from that position as well. If you take a picture of your wall and get the wall measurements, we can help give you some ideas for the display. In the meantime, here are some other tips by Greg Perkins.

Tips for Creating Groupings in Your Own Home

by Greg Perkins, CPF

Original article from Frame Central


  • Wall grouping are a fashionable look in home decor today. Groupings of framed art, photos, or objects provide a great way to personalize a home. There are no rules for what you can group together or how it should be displayed. However, There are some guidelines and tips that will help your groupings be more dynamic
  • If you are going to hang a matched set of art, the grouping typically is hung in a structured fashion. For example, if you have nine pieces that are framed identically, you might hang them in three rows of three with identical spacing between each one.
  • Sometimes sets of art have very different colors in each piece of art. If so, try designing with different colors of the same moulding profile.
  • When framing a mix of art, avoid too many differences with careful planning. One method is to choose just one or two moulding finishes in various styles and widths. Another idea is to use one collection of moulding to maintain a style, but choose various finishes and widths.
  • When grouping a mixture of pieces, it is customary to hang them more randomly. It also adds interest when the frames vary in size, color and style. Rather than lining up all of the edges, allow some pieces to protrude beyond others.
  • Add dimension to your groupings by choosing mouldings or varying depths. When some frames project from the wall more than others, it can look more interesting.
  • You can create unity for mixed pieces when you want to. For example, if you are framing several pieces that are just slightly different in size, adjust the mat borders so the frames can be identical.
  • If you have high ceilings, consider grouping the pieces up the wall rather than across it to relate to the vertical space in the room.
  • You may want to use slightly narrower mat borders and moulding widths for a grouping than you would choose for any of the same picture if they were going to hang individually. When placed side by side, all of the borders can be overwhelming.WallGrouping
  • When hanging framed art over furniture, add interest to the grouping by setting a piece or two on the top of the furniture so it leans against the wall rather than being hung on it. This adds dimensions to the overall display.
  • When grouping are displayed over a piece of furniture, try to hang the lower pieces no more than six inches off the top of the furniture to create unity between the art and furniture.
  • Break down the old barriers. Today it is OK to hang art anywhere from the floor to ceiling. For example, a grouping can wrap around a piece of furniture so framed art is hanging over it, but also down the wall beside it.

Mirror Ideas

Mirrors are a wonderfully versatile way to add some pizazz to a space. They have no color scheme boundaries, which gives them a great advantage over framed artwork. They can also be used to make a room feel more expansive, clean, or filled with light.

Framed mirrors can work as an accent in any room; not just a bathroom or dressing room. Different moldings, mirror sizes, and combining vertical and horizontal frames can add even more fun to your design.

Larson-Juhl is one of the framing companies that we work with at The Art Place. See more of their mirror ideas on their Pinterest page.