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    Options                                                                                            by Greg Perkins, CPF



           he work that a custom

T         framer produces is hand-
          crafted and, when well-
designed, can become art in itself.
For most consumers, the word
“custom” evokes thoughts of one-of-
a-kind products that are generally
more expensive than a stock items.
Today, there are many places where
consumers can purchase ready-made
frames and pre-framed art, and many
of the designs are quite nice. They
often include wide mats, fillets, and
higher quality products than what         Photo 1: Folding Screen—When making a screen, don’t sacrifice the design concepts you
was available a just a few years ago.     would use if the art were going to hang on the wall. Here a stacked moulding combination
                                          sets off the image by adding depth, and the liner adds a slightly lighter value of color than
     It can be difficult for many         the moulding itself. This screen is hinged so the sides come forward. The hinges could also
                                          be turned so the side panels would angle back, or a combination of both. Two-way hinges
custom framers to compete with the        can be used so the screen has the versatility of folding any way you want it to.
low price of pre-framed art, since
those products are usually mass-               By incorporating something as
produced in a factory setting.            simple as hinges into your designs,
Instead, as a custom framer your          you can provide your customers
strategy can be to provide superior       with a variety of customized design
products and innovative designs. The      options. The addition of hinges to
people who purchase custom prod-          your frame designs can literally
ucts generally do so for one of two       open the door to a variety of
reasons. A large percent can’t find the   unique custom looks. On their
right products in stock so they end       own, hinges may seem rather
up going the custom route out of          insignificant, but the frame designs
necessity. These people make a            you can create with them are not.
conscious choice to upgrade to a          They can be used for practical
custom product to get what they           applications, as well as to build
want.                                     creative items.


38 PFM _ January 2003
                                                                                   Photos 2a & 2b: Jewelry Box—Some boxes get
                                                                                   pretty elaborate and are time consuming. This
                                                                                   box is relatively easy to make and can be quite
                                                                                   profitable. The two frames are cut identical in
                                                                                   size and hinged back to back. You can use
                                                                                   either deep or shallow mouldings, depending on
                                                                                   what the box will be used for. Notice the deco-
                                                                                   rative shape of the hinges for an added touch.


Practical                              Easy Access Shadowboxes                          used to hide something like an
Framing Solutions                      A couple comes in who recently                   exercise bike in one corner of the
Sometimes your customers come          had their first child. They want                 room. The divider can be any
to you with a challenge that may       their baby’s christening gown                    height, width, and any number of
require you to think outside the       framed in a shadowbox, but they                  frames. The panel areas inside the
box. Listed here are a few scenarios   want access to it for other children             frames can be finished a variety of
where hinges may solve some of         they may have in the future.                     ways. For example, you can install
these.                                 Rather than using a single, deep                 mirrors make a room appear larger,
                                       shadowbox, suggest two frames                    stained glass with light behind it to
Lack of Wall Space                     hinged together that combine to                  add drama to the decor, a bulletin
Your customer may have recently        make the necessary depth. The                    board for a functional use in an
downsized to a smaller home. She       back frame will be hung on the                   office, or upholstery fabric to coor-
has 5"x7" photos of her four           wall and the front frame becomes a               dinate with the furniture.
grandchildren, and her wall space      door that can be opened to access                     Screens can also be created on
is very limited. You can suggest       the gown.                                        a smaller scale to sit on a mantle or
hinging the frames together so                                                          buffet to add interest to a room.
they can stand on a bookshelf or       A Room Divider
dresser. Hinge all four frames in a    Room dividers can be used to                     Creative Framing
row or in two pairs for more           divide a large space into two sepa-              with Hinges
display versatility.                   rate, cozier spaces. It can also be              The ideas listed above are probably
                                                      Photo 3: Fireplace
                                                                                        the more common applications for
                                                      Screen—This is simply             hinges in a frame shop. But there
                                                      another version of a
                                                      folding screen. Think             are some other things you can do
                                                      creatively about how
                                                      you can market your
                                                                                        with hinges to further expand your
                                                      designs. If you have a            repertoire.
                                                      fireplace mantle in your
                                                      store to use as a prop,
                                                      display a screen like this
                                                      in front of it, along with
                                                                                        Jewelry Box
                                                      a sign indicating that it         Hinge two frames together to
                                                      can be purchased..
                                                                                        create a jewelry box. This can be a
                                                                                        great item for customers to buy for
                                                                                        themselves, or as a gift. For the
40 PFM _ January 2003
cover of the box, use a piece of art,
a special photo, a collage of
stamps, or whatever else appeals to
you. Suede matboard makes a
beautiful lining for the inside of
the box. Boxes can also be used for
pens and notepaper, or on a dresser
to hold a wallet, comb, and keys.

Key Holder
Speaking of keys, you can also use
                                         Photos 4a & 4b: Framed
the same concept as the jewelry          Art/Mirror—Sometimes, especially
                                         in smaller spaces, things have to
box to make a unique wall                serve more than one purpose. This
mounted key holder. The cover            type of frame design would be
                                         perfect for a small apartment near
becomes a door that swings open          the front door. It features a decora-
                                         tive and colorful piece of art to
to expose the keys. The cover itself     enhance the decor. Behind the
could be a piece of art or a bulletin    “door,” a mirror provides another
                                         function to this piece.
board for household notes. Cut a
piece of plywood to fit the back
frame, cover it with fabric, and
screw cup hooks into it to hang the
                                         sculpture. Obviously you can use        and style.
keys.
                                         something other than a black                 Although screwing in hinges
Fireplace Cover
                                         frame. Whatever you choose, just        seems relatively easy, be sure to
for the Off Season                       remember the raw wood will need         charge enough to cover your costs
A fireplace screen can be created by     to be camouflaged.                      and time. Take into consideration
building a smaller version of a                                                  the cost of the hinges, additional
room divider. Since a fireplace is       Purely Decorative                       screws used if the standard screws
usually a focal point of a room, a       As with many items that custom          aren’t appropriate, time spent
decorative screen provides some-         framers use, hinges can be used for     locating hinges, and the time spent
thing beautiful to look at when the      something other than their              to measure placement of the
fire isn’t roaring. Within each panel    primary function. They can be           hinges, to pre-drill, and to tighten
you can use fabric, art, stained         used as a decorative accent For         screws. Rather than breaking out
wood, or whatever else suits the         instance, a rusty old hinge can be      each of those charges to the
mood of the room.                        screwed into the face of a rustic       customer, you may want to show a
                                         frame simply to add character.          charge for the hinges and roll the
Table/Sculpture Pedestal                               . . .                     rest into a fitting or misc. fee you
Imagine four black frames in a                As you can see, there are a        charge for the project. ■
basic, square profile. They are all      variety of ways you can use hinges
18"x18". Paint the backs and             to design truly creative custom
rabbets black. Using black hinges        framing. Hinges are generally
(or hinges painted black), attach        available at home centers, hard-        Greg Perkins, CPF has spent 29
                                         ware stores, and craft stores. They     years in the framing industry. He devel-
them to form a “cube.” You can                                                   oped a successful retail
then place a 24" square piece of 1/4"    come in a variety of sizes, styles,     framing business,
or 1/2" tabletop glass over it to make   and finishes. Purchase appropriate      specializing in creative
                                                                                 frame design. Greg is
an accent table. Using the same          hinges for each project. You can
                                                                                 now responsible for
concept, but with 12"x40' frames,        always alter the color if necessary,    Larson-Juhl's trade show
                                         so focus on getting the best size       booths and frame
you can make a pedestal for a
                                                                                 designs.
42 PFM _ January 2003

				
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