I bought a long, narrow puzzle awhile ago when my toddler was just a little bean sprout, thinking it would be a great piece of unisex bedroom art. I can’t remember where we found it now, but it’s from Djeco (warning, there’s music), featuring an illustration by Magalie Le Huche. Back at that day, I assumed that I’d find a sliver of time between birth and a year to put together a frame and hang it, but it didn’t happen, which I understand to be quite common. Frame day happened this week, guys, worth it.
The puzzle, which is oddly sized at 38″x13″, actually came with a matching poster too, something I realized when I finally cracked open the package after I had owned it for like, a year. This meant that I could keep the puzzle itself for play on a rainy day and frame the paper poster instead. I had looked into custom frames in the past, and reminded myself that they might be a good option back when I was researching Nielsen Bainbridge™ after having bought a bunch of metal ones for a few dollars each at an estate sale (I talked about them a little in Art Attack #3). As much as there’s something to be said about finding $5 frames and reveling in the awesomeness of saving money, when the need for custom strikes, best to figure out an affordable way of approaching the job.
Affordability is what I found in buying frame pieces, where I got a little bit of the DIY satisfaction without having to deal with tools this time around, skirting potential quality issues. The pieces sent are professionally-manufactured and easy to assemble, but at a fraction of the price that you’d pay taking a custom piece to a pro. That site I linked to above, Dick Blick, has lots of Nielsen Bainbridge options in the metal frame category, but they have a nice selection of Ayous Wood Frame Kit options too. They’re the kind of frames you’ll like if you flock to IKEA’s RIBBA design, and the pieces are sold in pairs so that you can customize the dimensions to suit your needs.
I did find that shorter lengths are more readily available at a variety of lengths. I had no problem getting the 13″ pieces I needed in a natural wood finish for less than $13, but the longer length of 38″ wasn’t available (lengths jump from 32″ to 36″ to 40″), and I didn’t dare to trim a 40″ length down to size, so I sacrificed two inches of the poster to accommodate a 36″ frame length for $25. Total frame price was ~$38 + taxes + shipping and I may have found a 15% discount code somewhere online, so poke around if you’re looking to save a few more dollars.
I had to figure out how to hang it on the wall myself, once I had it home and assembled with a dab of wood glue and the wedge connectors that supplied with the frame pieces. A few micro eye hooks screwed into the inside of the frame was my solution – strong enough to hold the weight of the frame, short enough to not puncture through to the outer edges.
I won’t fail to mention that you will have to source some glass locally to finish the project; a company I’ve been working with on a custom frame piece (big and investment-style and I didn’t dare to do it myself) cut a piece of glass for me for about $25 which brought the cost to ~$63, and he also popped some of those metal framer points in place around the inside edge so that I didn’t have to mess around with locking the art in place myself. To be totally honest, I have no idea how I would have made the art stay in place against the glass without those little metal tabs, but he was a step ahead of me thought-wise, and saved me some creative thinking. Now that I’ve looked into it, if you’ll be assembling a lot of these frames, or any DIY frames for that matter, investing in the framing point driver will be worth your while. He also supplied me a piece of cardboard to use as a backer behind the poster too.