DIY Ideas for Framing Big Art on a Small Budget

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

This past fall, I went on a quest for a simple frame for a long 14-by-50-inch map. After quickly realizing there was no way a store-bought frame would fit these odd dimensions, I emailed a local NYC framing company for a quote. A couple days later, there it was in my inbox: a whopping $782.09 cost estimate. As much as I value supporting local businesses, there was no way I could do it. So then how do you make a big statement without completely destroying your budget? Follow the lead of the thrifty crafters that follow, and build your own.

(Image credit: A Beautiful Mess)

If you’ve ever looked into framing a larger piece of art, like the 33-by-44-inch photo print of Jane Birkin above, then it won’t surprise you that even the cheapest options cost upwards of $100. By DIY-ing her own using hardware store basics, Elsie from A Beautiful Mess brought the cost down to less than 25 bucks.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

When it comes to hanging large lightweight artwork, like posters and oversized photo prints, nothing is as inexpensive and easy as a hanging half frame. Here’s our 10-minute how-to, and follow along with our video tutorial for crafting a gigantic 3-by-6-foot one.

(Image credit: Hommemaker)

If you’re framing a large canvas, the Hommemaker‘s framing hack using thin wood strips, wood screws and a whole lot of epoxy wood filler is guaranteed to save you a couple hundred bucks.

(Image credit: Beckham + Belle)

Cheap DIY frames tend to veer a little bit rustic because the most affordable wood at the hardware store is often knotty and textured. But Ashleigh from Beckham + Belle, who doesn’t subscribe to the farmhouse style, created a contemporary large-scale frame by investing in higher-grade wood and coating it with deep walnut stain. The look is sleek, chic—and only slightly more expensive.

Still not sure what to fill these giant frames with? Watch our video for three inexpensive statement art ideas using things you wouldn’t expect.

Acrylic frames aren’t known for being particularly affordable—even a small one can cost $70!—but Camila from Effortless Style Interiors shared her secret source for acrylic sheets at reasonable prices, lowering the total project cost considerably. Visit her tutorial to find out where and get the step-by-step instructions.

(Image credit: Rain on a Tin Roof)

When faced with the challenge of framing a huge 40″ x 54″ palm print, Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof realized that a store-bought plastic frame would set her back $150, while a handmade wooden one would total $25. The takeaway: It pays off to craft your own.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

When framing a $40 painting found on eBay, it doesn’t make sense to buy a frame that costs twice the price of the art itself. Instead, Dabney decided to build her own for a fraction of the price. By leaning the finished piece against the wall rather than hanging it, she avoided drilling a hole in the wall, which is a smart display trick for rule-abiding renters.

Add enormous bursts of pattern to a boring living room by attaching large swatches of wallpaper directly to the wall, and then framing around it, as photographed by Stacey Brandford and spotted on House of Turquoise, above.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

By breaking this basic poster frame down into clearly photographed steps, Design Sponge makes this project look so easy. Using a protective sheet of acrylic rather than glass means that the finished piece weighs less and is also shatterproof.

(Image credit: Society6)

When one of our favorite sources for affordable art, Society6, teamed up with one of our favorite craft bloggers, Poppytalk, the resulting wall decor was everything we love: bold, big-impact and low-budget. Visit the how-to to read their brilliant reason for using screen trim as the base of the frame.

Renters! You have your art, you have your frames—now comes the big question: How do you display them without putting holes in the wall? Check out our drill-free guide to displaying art.

Re-edited from a post originally published 3.15.17