Frugal framing practices?????


Feb 20, 2003
What do you save or re-use? Examples: 1. I use the paper leftover from between sheets of glass to protectively wrap finished framejobs. 2. another framer I know uses both sides of a piece of paper for faxing, to save $ and paper. 3. old (clean:)sauce jars work great for brush and pencil storage. Someday, I hope to make a useful book of ideas for framers -- so please send as many ideas as you have, Thanks !!!!
I use the paper leftover between sheets of glass to wrap the unused cuts of special glazing in. I write the measurements outside so I can find the best size for the next job. This sure cuts down (no pun intended) the number of damaged pieces of glass due to scratches. I don't do this for regular glass, but then, I seldom use regular glass anymore.
We have a box of misc foamcore scraps. I also keep all mat seconds for local schools. Thats typical though. I save 32x40 mat boxes. I have an artist who uses them and have actually sold a couple. I too keep the paper from between glass. I've kept my International Coffee metal containers for storing pins, etc.

I thought I did more fruggle things but I cant think of them now.
I save the big bags that mats come in. They usually have the name of my store on the top but I can often cut that off. I doubt I'll ever buy 40" roll of bags.
We recycle the heavy duty mailing tubes that folks bring in for their artwork and abandon. For those potential customers who come in with their art wrapped with rubber bands then decide they have to talk to their spouse or are “just shopping” for price, we make it a point to place their departing artwork in those tubes. We think it is good PR to show that we still have an interest in their stuff, even if we can’t take their money right away.

After the little drops of glue which drip off of frame corners have hardened, we scrape them up and serve them as party snacks.
I use my big mat bags for leaves in the fall. They are strong a good size. Sometimes I put finished framing in them if it is raining. I also give old mats to schools. A couple of weeks ago I cut 25 mats for my daughter's class watercolor project that I helped with. I used old regular mats I don't use anymore. The kids and the teacher were so happy!

My kids love to draw, so they know they can go to my scrap box and create works of art with any of the fall out or wrongly cut mats.

The paper from glass also makes good fire fodder, and rolled up----a great (and temporary) sword for my son.
The PVC tubing that Frame Tec sends their spacers in can be made into fantastic musical instruments by cutting them to different lengths. Blue Man group have used such instruments, as have Einsturzende Neubauten.

They're also good for storing fillets in.
I use short lengths of leftover moulding to build small boxes that I sell in the gallery for gifts. {The business card holders have sold well for the past 7 or 8 years!). The really short lengths I use (contrary to alot of framers' opinions) for starting campfires. You don't need but a handful of these to get a roaring blaze started. You can also use short lengths for push sticks on your table saw and other woodworking tools by cutting a little notch in the squared end. A flat shallow moulding works best for this and I have ripped down thicker mouldings for this also.

Foamcore has alot of uses:

Filler boards on small framings.

Pads for an underpinner.

Supports for frames when underpinning them. (see another thread for an example of this).

Little boxes to store things like WallBuddies and their hangers, screws, etc.

You can blend nail hole filler on scraps of foamcore when matching a shade that needs a couple of different colors to match.

Table top "steps" can be built out of foamcore and covered with suede cloth or whatever draped over them for nice stepdown displays for jewelry and small gift items.

I even stuffed some foamcore strips in the back door crack of my shop until the guy came by to weatherstrip it last winter!

My next door business neighbor runs a flower shop and she uses foam core blocks to stick her arrangement pins in when she is doing a wedding or other floral arrangement. (I refer to her as the "dumpster diving flower lady"!) :D

Mat cutter blades can be used for trimming dust covers if you buy one of those little red trimmers. I also use mat cutter blades for finishing off the vertical cuts in thick foamboard when trimming excess off of a drymounted poster. Leave the cut in place on your mat cutter and go through it with a pass of the loose mat cutter blade and it makes a nice clean cut. (My C&H never seems to cut completely through 3/16" foamboard for some reason.)

Little plastic pin boxes that stainless steel pins come in make nice gift boxes for jewelry after a bit of cotton is placed in them.

The foam and bubble wrap that moulding comes wrapped in from many distributors can be used for all sorts of things. Use your imagination on that one.

I get one delivery from a moulding distributor that has to come UPS and they stuff the box with plastic mat bags. (Already one use for recycling) I use them for the same things that others have already stated.

I have a bunch of others but this was a few of the ones that I use frequently.

Why is it that we will spend over $100.00 on a dinner, then squeeze the last ounce of life out a thirty nine cent bar of soap?

I think about the costs of those dinners the same way! As much as I enjoy a fine meal, the other things I COULD do with that same money always haunts me.

And I think of those figures as well when a customer says, "It costs THAT much to frame THAT??" I often want to ask, "how much did you spend at Rustler's Roost the last time you went there....and what do you have to show for it?" Ofcourse, I don't mean it in a nasty sort of way....just would LOVE to shed a little light!

Sorry, I didn't mean to get off the subject here. I'm enjoying these frugalities!
John, You spend over $100.00 on a dinner?
We also practice virtually all of the recycling methods mentioned here so far. My favorite is the white puffy wrap that chops come in. We use it for padding finished frames when wrapping them. I wish more of our suppliers would stick to using tapes and labels that don't stick so tenaciously to this stuff.

I've kept my International Coffee metal containers for storing pins, etc.
Don't you realize that stuff contains TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE? I'm no chemist, but that sounds like something that Navy Seals would use to blow open doors of terrorist hideouts.

:eek: Rick
A couple of years ago, I saved the tubes that prints come in and used them for 4th of July window display.
I painted each on red, white or blue, bought a sparkly garland and used pieces of that in the top for fire, tied one of each color together with red, white and blue ribbon and made really cute fire crackers for the window.
The paper from glass boxes makes a nice layered pad for a work surface. When the top layer gets dirty, toss it and keep working! I also use them to lay on my glass countertops when a customer wants to put something on top of them to show me.

I keep all mat board scraps. Some I can use to brace up the inside of toy boxes when I am preserving them, the rest my crafty friends and customers take away.

I keep using mat cutter blades for other cutting jobs until they are too dull, and then save them up in a big coffee can. When I rake all the aluminum cans out from under the bathroom sink to recyle, I take the coffee can with me, too. Steel can also be recycled!

Small mat board scraps I cut down to 3x5 and use as note paper.
You mean the tubes that I get fabric wrapped on from Frank's Fabric for Framers, isn't just an
inexpensive Digerido??? There went my music career.
Cardboard poster tubes, cut into 8" lengths, stacked and hot-glued together are very entertaining for a family of gerbils.

The blue FrameSpace tubes are very nice for protecting long runs of powers cords under and behind workbenches. So far, the fire inspectors haven't complained about them, though the landlord eyed them up suspiciously during his one visit.

Larger glass boxes, cut open and layed flat in the back of my van, protect deliveries from dog fur.

Things I'd like to find a use for: Empty ATG spools, Bumpon blanks, release paper from Perfect Mount, the white borders I cut off of LE prints so they will fit in ready-made frames.

One of the best things about vendor delivery is minimized packaging - less to throw out or recycle. Sometimes the most frugal thing to do is to get rid of it instead of storing it.
Now factor in the cost of labor to save those pennies. Factor in the extra space needed to store the freebees. I've found that by maintaining smaller scrape piles, that I use more scraps. I don't want to spend an extra 5 - 10 minutes per job to hunt scrapes. It takes extra time to inspect scraps for flaws, milling differences and finish changes.

10 minutes extra per job X 50 jobs a week = one lost day per week for one person.

Time is what want to save.

For me, it's not so much the frugality of the issue as it is not being wasteful. We have become a "disposable" society - use once and throw away. I will not do that. Not to save a few pennies, which is probably why our parents did it, but in order to be a good steward of our resources.

Hi Ron,
Here's what you can do with what you cut off from LE's. Give them to an artist or crafter who makes hand-cast paper. These scraps are probably acid-free rag, good quality. They just have to soak in water before being blended.

At home, I like to paint and play with different media and it's good to experiment on small samples so I use some of the narrow scraps of foam, cut them into 6x6, they're rigid, and I have more than I could ever recycle at work. Same with mat scraps too.

I use empty art tubes to roll the paper off acrylic sheets. Its so easy that way.

I use small pieces of scrap glass when I have to mix absorbs and dries too fast on a scrap of mat or foamcore.

I also use paper sheets from glass to work on my table when I use puddy for example, and when I'm done with the messy stuff, I just through the paper away. It's also good to place between pieces of art in a flat file.

But for the most part, I have to agree with framer can get pretty costly trying to save money sometimes.