My frame size decision for the 13"x19" prints that I would be using, was 22"x30". Although initially I was determined to use 12 prints in this space, I resorted to 8 prints for more impact. The least expensive gallery black wood frame that I could find in 22x30 size was around $100.00 each with glass and backing. Metal frames were only marginally less money. With taxes, that part of the job would be around $900.00. I can cut my own mats and so would have to purchase 8 mat boards at around $15 each - which would increase my total cost by about another $100.00. The 8 13"x19" prints with final and waste prints and ink costs, would run close to another $100.00. Each trip to London took about $35.00 round trip, which ended up being over $100.00. I had to come up with a good hunk of change quickly to get my exhibit displayed.
Rather than go with frames, I used an old method that I employed when I had my Main Street Studio in the 90's, and just didn't want to put a pile of money into expensive frames for display purposes. It was elegant, stylized, and the attention was focused on my imagery - - - not a fancy frame. At that time I use masonite that I covered with paper using spray glue and then I would use various colours of paper as keylines under my print for sort of a matted look. The edges were covered with black masking tape, and 2 strips of 1x2 wood were covered with black tape also and glued on to the back of the mount to both separate the frame from the wall and provide an area for hooks to hang the print.
Going to the lumber yard, I found that my normal choice of think masonite, was not going to be suitable for what I wanted this time - and so I instead made a decision to use 1/2 inch MDF. It is smooth on the surface, has very smooth edges even when cut (to hold the tape) , and is quite inexpensive. One draw back is it's weight - - - but with the 1/2" thckness was not going to be much less in weight than a good quality wood frame with glass and mat. I had the lumber yard cut 1 1/2 sheets of MDF into the 8-22"x30" pieces that I required. I found perfectly sized 22"x30" heavy black art paper at an artists store in London - and purchased a couple of cans of spray glue to mount the paper as a backing and then to mount my prints on top. Instead of using 2 or 3 extra coloured sheets as Keylines, I went with a 1/2" wide white border on the photographic print. The wood was the cheap part at around $50.00 for MDF and a few strips of 1x2. Black masking tape set me back $30.00 for a roll of 2" for the edges of the frame, and a 3/4" roll for the 1x2 strips on the back. Screw eyes, wire and rubber stoppers consumed a few more dollars. All in all, I was probably around $200.00 to $250.00 for materials for my complete display. Although the price is deceiving, as the work involved is substantial and if time were taken into account, these would cost much more than having then framed. And good looking and professional it was.
I decided that I needed a bio page on the wall to let viewers know about me and how to get hold of me. Last Friday when taking the 3 or 4 prints from my living room down to put something on the wall, I quickly made up an 8 1/2 x11 piece and stuck it up. I soon realized that that size was just way to small and insignificant - - - and so when I returned with my completed display, I had a much larger one made from my 13"x19" paper.
Late on Monday night (night before going to hang the display), I decided that I needed to have a small descriptive plaque for each of my prints - - - just as they have in major art galleries. I wasn't sure whether Starbucks would allow me to stick them to the wall with my ATG glue gun (and I still don't know if they allow it - I didn't ask and just did it), but I went ahead and made them up anyway. That was a tough chore - coming up with titles to identify each image, and then finding compelling and descriptive words that would draw the viewer in to examining the related photo in more detail. I decided to use my 4"x6" Premium Glossy photo paper to print the words on, and then glue mounted them to foam core that I managed to pick up from a "Dollar Store" late Monday evening.
ALL in ALL - everything went well and was completed in a very timely fashion.
Here are a few shot of the Exhibit Area:
The display with smaller 13"x19" prints on substantially sized mounts, is extremely visible even when walking in the front door:HERE IS A LITTLE VIDEO
OF ME SETTING UP THE DISPLAY - MY MINDSET, AND CHOICES AND CHANGES THAT I MADE ON THE FLY: