Generally, there is sticker shock when you see how much it is going to cost just to purchase a picture frame. The reason these frames are so expensive is that they are complex pieces of equipment with multiple layers that work together to display your photograph better and protect it from several environmental pollutants. Below is a breakdown explaining why picture frames are expensive:
The first major cost is going to be the frame materials themselves. The frame can be quite expensive depending on which one you pick. The suppliers themselves are going to charge the custom framer a lot of money for real wood frames. Especially the bigger wood frames are not cheap to make. When you start factoring in what type of wood is being used in the frame, the price can start adding up really quickly.
The next major cost is the glass. If you want non-glare or museum quality glass, this is going to cost you. You can go with the cheapest form of glass, but the glass still isn’t free. Consider how much it costs to get a window or storm door and you’ll see that glass costs. Depending on how valuable the item is that you are getting framed, glass can be a huge expense.
Another cost is going to be the matting. Although on the surface it seems like matting should be pretty cheap if it is just a piece of cardboard, it really isn’t cheap. The window Mat used is made of high-quality paper or cardboard that lines the photo and attaches it to the back mat. It is important that the material used to make it is acid-free, so as not to damage your artwork over time. This can also be customized to complement the artwork. There are different qualities of paper, such as museum or archival, as well as an extensive selection of colors and finishes.
Also called backing board, this is a rigid material that is attached to the outside of the back mat. It prevents the photograph from being bent or warped, as well as provides a base for the entire mount. Due to the nature of this material, it is quite costly.
The final and major cost is the labor itself. It takes a master framer to cut the glass, the frame, and the matting perfectly to leave absolutely no gaps and perfect mounting. Keep in mind, some of the labor costs you are paying for include the expensive machines required to cut the matting, glass, and frame.