How can I get cheap frames in London?

Art is not my job – it is a hobbie I quite enjoy. As part of it and as a goal I proposed myself to, I am working on making my first exhibition in London, and I am sorting possible venues, themes, and the artworks themselves. However, as this is not something I am planning to profit on, I am aiming at making this event the least money-consuming for me. Due to this, I am looking for alternatives to getting my artworks framed professionally

Besides going to places that specialise in the art of framing, you can try to get some for free in pages like Freecycle, reuse some you already have, ask a friend if they have spare, go on the look out on the streets, or try to buy pre-made frames online and from Amazon.

I put a “WANTED” offer and a very nice gentleman offered a big framed watercolour print, so I could reuse the frame and glass:

Beautiful print of a water colour gotten for free at
Author unknown – 1996

Unfortunately, the frame is too big for my illustrations. I was recommended to post more than once and to keep an eye open on offerings.

One man’s rubbish is another’s treasure

I am always on the look-out for people getting rid of things outside their houses. This way I have found a couple of frames. Small ones, mostly.

Found between West Hampstead and Finchley Road, 20x14cm approx. Artwork is a collaboration with Sai Miller

Only thing to consider with found frames, is that you will have to adapt your illustrations and artworks to the frame; it will be rare for you to find one with the exact size you need.

Amazon buy: from painting frames

I bought one frame from painting frames for £9.45, and the frame is not the best. It does not bring glass but a styrene (plastic).

Delivery was quite quick. Although it was a good price, I do not think I will be buying from them again, as the styrene is too obviously plastic. However, I will still use it.

Amazon buy: PF+A

I bought two frames of different sizes for £12.99 each, one square and one rectangular.

These two frames are really good quality, and the mount cream they come with are great quality as well. Although more expensive than the other one, I believe the difference in price is tangible.

Foldback metallic clips

Do you really need to frame your artworks? Depending on the nature and size of your artwork, you can consider buying big foldback metallic clips, and using them to hang your artworks.

Generic foldback metallic clip bought at Paperchase, UK

I have seen this option used in very small galleries with emerging artists, and if you buy a big foldback metallic clip it can look very good. You do have to make sure that the nails are properly put, otherwise the artwork will look shabby.

Do you have any other ideas on where to find frames for cheap? Please, let me know and we can share them here.

This is part of my process to make my first art exhibition. For more of it, click here.

Author: laverias an anthropologist interested in art history, Latin American art, and sustainable practices. You will find her trying to pick up some free furniture from the street and re-purposing old fabric. Spanglish speaker.

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