First, there was the digital camera; next, there was the smartphone; now, there's Instagram. Taking quality photos whenever and wherever has never been easier, leaving us with the question of what exactly to do with all of them. The simple solution is to keep them hidden away on our phones and feeds — after all, professional printing and framing is costly and complicated, right? Not anymore! We've rounded up our favorite sources for quality online framing so you can get your favorite memories off your phone and onto your wall.
Every week we bring new products into our "test lab" and have the whole office vote on their favorites, based on quality, appearance, and price. The winners become the Top Picks of our Annual Guides, which showcase the best products of the year.
Maxwell Ryan, our Founder & CEO, chooses his own Top Pick as well, and demonstrates his favorites in our Annual Guide videos and weekly Instagram story series. Come back every Thursday for a new Annual Guide and Maxwell's Top Pick Instagram story!
Best Online Framing Sources 2017:
Watch The Video
Maxwell's Top Picks
- Snapbox for novelty, affordability and fast turnaround
- Simply Framed for upscale, professional quality with cool frames.
I've become a bit of a framing fanatic in the past five years as I've discovered how easy it is to send pics from my phone to a website and then get back a super cool object within days. In my mind there are two basic ways to go:
- You go crazy and print, frame or put on pillows all sorts of fun, in-the-moment images that you take in your life. Keep the price down, but basically make stuff, some that you keep and a lot that you give away. For example, my friends took me to see the Rolling Stones a few years ago. I took this cool shot of Mick Jagger and had it printed on canvas as a gift a week later.
To do that sort of thing, I've found Snapbox the way to go. I drive it off my phone, it remembers me and my credit card, the quality is great and delivery fast.
2. You have something high quality and beautiful that you or a professional has taken, OR you have a valuable object that you want to enshrine forever. These I do for myself or my mother. For these occasions I use Simply Framed. They do great framing of works or objects that I send them AND they also do beautiful printing and framing of digital files that I don't want to print and mess up. And in full disclosure, I've gotten to know Simply Framed the best over the past few years both by using them and also teaming up with them to design a new all plexi frame that they call the Max Plexi. They were looking for something cool, that no one else was doing, and we came up with the Max Plexi. It's very cool.
Either way once you go down this rabbit hole and discover how easy it is to finally frame stuff you'll end up like me, with more beautiful things framed than you have walls for.
For the Professional...
Pricing starts at $55; sizing ranges from 5x7-40x60
Simply Framed is nothing if not fun. They will frame anything - from textiles to a concert ticket and everything in between.
If you're creating a gift for someone special and want to go the extra mile, you have the option of adding a framing tool kit or gallery wall gift set to your frame. Simply Framed especially stands out for the professionals out there — their wholesale program offers special services and prices for designers and artists. Be sure to check out the Max Plexibox - their newest collaboration with Apartment Therapy's Founder & CEO Maxwell Ryan!
For the First Time Framer...
Pricing starts at $39; sizes range from 4x4-32x40
With dozens of frame and size variations to choose from and some of the lowest prices on the market, Framebridge is perfect for the first-time framer. The process is easy - either upload your work on their site or mail it in (free shipping both ways!), and they'll take care of the rest. They also give you the option to frame more than just pictures - jerseys, flags, matchbooks, and guitar picks are all fair game. If you're still hesitant to start framing, Framebridge also offers free designer recommendations and a $99 consultation on how to build your dream gallery wall.
Three Tips for Framing
- Don't overthink it. As One Kings Lane puts it, "your home doesn't have to be a museum." Hang what is meaningful to you, whether that's a homemade card or a print you found in a secondhand shop. The art in your home doesn't have to be expensive or even technically "art" - it just has to be something you love and want to look at every day.
- Consider hanging something other than prints and photos. Many of our picks give you the freedom to think outside the box when it comes to framing. Consider hanging an old quilt or sports jersey, or even something small and sentimental like a ticket to an especially memorable concert. Choosing items beyond traditional paper prints will add some character and extra texture to your walls.
Protect your art! Make sure the matting materials you use are acid-free and include a dust cover on the back. You can also choose an acrylic layer over the front instead of glass, as it has the advantage of being shatter-proof. No matter what, be certain to pick glass or acrylic that is UV-protected, especially if your piece will be hanging in direct sunlight. You should also keep some art, like watercolors or textiles, in the shade even with UV-protection, as they are especially sensitive to light.
For the Indecisive Framer...
Pricing starts at $61; sizes range from 1x1-32x40 (can go larger but with no mat option)
Framed & Matted is all about sustainability - their frames are made with 100% conservation materials, they are a small company with minimal overhead, and they are committed to not wasting any materials. Beyond that, Framed & Matted offers a small but thoughtful collection of 14 frame styles and 30 mat colors, with completely customizable sizes. They make and send your frame along with two mat options (for free!) so you can assemble it at home and ensure that you're 100% satisfied with your project, and also offer online design assistance and a lookbook for inspiration.
Our Top Posts:
- 10 Ways to Display Artwork Without Spending a Fortune
- DIY Ideas for Framing Big Art on a Small Budget
- 10 Things You've Never Thought About Framing (But Should!)
Other Resources on the Web:
- 5 Online Custom Framing Services for the Art and Design Lover
- Framing Art Using the Internet
- The Experts' Nitty-Gritty Guide to Framing and Hanging Art
For the Framing Student...
Pricing starts at $36; sizes are custom based on your art
AdoramaPix gives the amateur framer plenty of room to learn. With over 400 framing styles, a quick turnaround period, and community forums devoted to photo project how-to's, AdoramaPix is a great resource to learn tips and tricks on framing and beyond. You can also create photo books, collages, holiday cards, and calendars, as well as canvas, wood, and metal prints. Shipping isn't free, but if you're in New York you can pick up your finished project at the AdoramaPix stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn
For the Adventurous Framer...
We love these sites so much that we can't choose just one. All three offer the most convenience and options - there is truly something for everyone! If you're ready to step outside the box of traditional framing, look no further than these sites and get ready to put your photos on notebooks, beach towels, ornaments, mugs, and more. Plus, there's almost always discounts and deals so you can really experiment without feeling guilty. Warning: you might find it impossible to choose a project from all the options, but on the bright side you'll never get bored of the final product.For the statement maker...
For the Statement Maker...
Pricing starts at $49 for a framed canvas print & $79 for a framed paper print; sizing ranges from 8x10-76x38 for a canvas print & 8x10-55x30 for a paper print.
Unsurprisingly, CanvasPop excels at creating eye-catching canvas prints, but they're also a solid option for traditional framing with prices starting at $79. Their triptych canvas print option and Instagram photo magnets are perfect for the person who wants to make a statement - you can even have your prints made into pillows to really add some pizzazz to your space. CanvasPop also lets you add filters and effects to your photos, giving you ultimate freedom to design exactly what you want.
For the Elegant Gift-Giver...
Pricing starts at $58; sizing ranges from 8x8-40x30
"Curated" is the first word that comes to mind when describing Artifact Uprising. They offer truly beautiful options beyond traditional framing, from personalized cards, calendars, and even birth announcements. Artifact Uprising is hyper-focused on gift-giving and celebrations, with an entire section devoted to wedding invitations and photo gifts. Their options include float, metal, tabletop, gallery, and deep-set frames that perfectly combine simplicity and style. Not only that, but Artifact Uprising is especially appealing to the Instagram generation - they have a gorgeous app for easy uploading and Instagram-friendly framing options.
- Cara Gibbs - February 2017
- Nicole Lund & Maxwell Ryan - October 2017