SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Nov 19, 2003
Orange County, CA
Do you charge for spacers or do you treat it as part of your fitting charge?
My theory is that it is always good to use spacers between the image and the glass if no mat is ordered. Now, with that said, I always let it up to the customer after explaining the benefits of using a spacer to decide if they want to spend the extra money. Yes, I do charge for the spacers. Econospace costs more than I want to absorb in my usual fitting charge and they aren't a customary part of fitting. So I do have an extra charge for them.

I always use spacers on photos. I always use spacers on needleart when no mats are called for. I will usually put a foamcore spacer between double matting when I am doing needleart that is thicker than thin crochet. I explain to the customer why and what the potential damage may be if spacers aren't used and they usually understand.

For those who are too tight or just don't see the advantage of keeping the work from resting against the glass, I have them sign a short statement on the workorder stating that they have been informed of the negative results of not using spacers and they have opted to frame without them. That may not hold up in court but it makes me feel alot better when they admit to having been told the proper method but choose to go the non-recommended way.

I give the customer the choice to use them or not if they don't want mats and yes, I charge for them.
Similar to Framerguy, I explain the need and charge for spacers. My charges are less than what it would cost for a mat and the extra moulding/glass etc. So the customers don't have a problem with that. I don't ever put needle work against glass. Same with photos. Just my 2 cents.
do you all gave a favorite size for the spacer, sort of a generic size, or do you deep several sizes?
In our shop the charge for spacers includes the cost of materials plus mark up and labor. It is a completely separate charge from fitting.
FrameTek offers glass spacers in several depths. The deeper ones allow insertion of a mat strip to match -- like ready-made shadowbox sides. Very handy.

Frame-Tek's clip-on spacers do not rely on any adhesive to hold them in place. Have you seen a stick-on spacer come loose and re-stick itself to the artwork? Not a pretty sight.
Econospace comes in 3 thicknesses; .062 which is roughly the thickness of a 4 mil matboard, .125 which roughly measures 1/8", and .250 which is about 1/4".

You can make your own spacers out of AFFC or a couple of layers of AF matboard or a combination of the matboard/foamboard. For shadowboxes I almost always have to build wide spacers to cover the raw inner surfaces of the shadowbox moulding and these can be made out of the same mat that you are using for the backing with a similar width of foamboard behind it to allow enough support for the glass. (Which the spacer is holding in place, BTW.)

If you need a spacer between 2 matboards simply cut some strips of 1/8" or 3/16" foamboard and attach with the bevel reversed at the opening. This works well with things like crocheted names when you use a window mat on top of the backing mat.

Hey Framerguy,

I appreciate the plug but must correct you slightly. EconoSpace is also available in 3/8 inch airspace - in both clr & blk. The good stuff, FrameSpace is available in 10 sizes from 1/8 up to 3/4 inch airspace. It's much easier to use and mechanically permanent. (Shameless sales pitch!) I'm so ashamed