Baptismal Gown Framing Project


Jan 2016

Recently a customer came into our store with a Baptismal Gown that has been her family for four or five generations.  We’ve custom framed or shadow boxed many Baptismal Gowns in the past and are very familiar with the conservation techniques required to preserve a priceless family heirloom.

This particular project was interesting because the customer wanted to remove the gown in the future for her great-grandchildren to come.  True conservation framing always requires us to use acid free materials and PH neutral cotton thread for mounting of fabric. These techniques will allow any fabric piece to be removed later, but you should take the item to a qualified framer for safe removal.  The customer really wanted something simpler so she could take the gown out in the future and put it back in place without needing to hire a framer.baptismal gown framing chicago

Our Master framer decided to mount the gown around a flat acid free foam core inner form.  Think of the inner form like a flat mannequin that allows the gown to be taken off as easily as a hanger in your closet.  We selected an elegant shadow box frame that allows the gown to have plenty of air space around it and between the glass.  We attached the foam form with two simple bindery bolts like a fine book so the customer can easily remove it from the acid free mat board backer.  The entire back board and gown are held in place by simple turn buttons like any photo frame.  This allows the customer to remove the gown in about five to ten minutes for future us and re-mounting after the great grandchildren put it to good use.

Our frame team truly enjoyed working on this project and the customer was overjoyed with the outcome and final product.

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Local Framing Store or Big Box Retail Framing Store?

In the world of framing, Big Box Retailers offer custom frame options that at times are at a lower price point but the savings may not pay off.  We’ve seen several instances over time where we have had to correct or repair the work done.

Just the other day a customer brought in a finished frame that had been built by one of our Big Box competitors for repairs. The frame had fallen off the wall shortly after hanging because one of the corners had come apart so the frame allowed it to come crashing down. The customer was told she had to purchase a metal frame for some odd reason and the staffer hadn’t tightened the corner properly or installed enough backing or springs to keep everything together.  We routinely see sub-standard framing from the cheap big stores and we are typically surprised anyone would trust their art with these stores.

Consider the difference in training levels: A local framer, such as Framer’s Alley, have Master Framers who have received over 200 hours of training and continuing education over the past seven years.  We’ve learned about the latest conservation and preservation techniques to save your art from the ravages of time.  Expensive or inexpensive, we treat everything properly so it will last a lifetime time on your wall.  In contrast, the often poorly trained staff at the Big Box Stores are over worked employees who also stock shelves, sweep floors and switch to other departments when necessary, since they aren’t full-time framers and the Big Box Stores often need to cut corners to hit Wall Street revenue expectations.

What items or art should you consider custom framing by a professional local framing store?

Even a cheap poster deserves professional framing. Recently, a customer brought in an old U2 poster that was faded and bubbling from poor mounting and framing to see if we could make it better.  It was a “lost cause”, so now his favorite college memory isn’t worth looking at anymore.  If he had spent an additional 40 or 50 dollars twenty years ago he would be able to hand it down to his grandchildren. 

Some great examples of interesting custom frame jobs that we’ve recently completed. All beautiful and preserved for generations to appreciate!


Please keep in mind, when framing, you get what you pay for, and it may be worth the extra small investment to keep/maintain your artwork.

Call us at 847.698.9798, or stop by our store in Chicago’s Park Ridge, IL today for a free estimate on preserving your favorite memory with a beautiful custom framing job.



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Custom Picture Framing: FRANGO MINT PROJECT

Custom Picture Framing


Nov 2015

At Framer’s Alley, we are experts at framing just about anything.  Over the years, we’ve had several unique projects come through our door but recently we got to enjoy custom framing one of our most interesting projects to date.  A local Park Ridge, Illinois (suburb of Chicago), customer brought in an old 25 LB. box of Frango Mint Candy.  He wanted our team to design and re-frame his special irreplaceable one one-of-a-kind artwork.

When the project came in.. the large Frango box was glued down to a background of delicate original Marshall Field’s tissue paper.  In terms of project specs, the existing frame was damaged so he wanted us to re-frame the piece in a updated more elegant style frame plus reduce the overall frame dimension/size.

The Frango box is about five inches tall (height) so we originally recommended a deep shadow box to protect the artwork and frame materials from the elements. The current frame had the Frango mint box sticking out/the front; the client wanted to maintain this look rather than a shadow box.

This proved to be a challenge with the overall size, depth. The Frango box is approx. 3 ft. wide by 2 ft. tall so we needed a solid frame to hold everything together to ensure it didn’t break like the old thin frame.

Our design team recommended a black and brushed antiqued Wood frame style to enhance the gold Marshall Fields logo on the tissue paper. We determined we could carefully remove the box’s top to wrap it in acid free Duralar to protect it from the elements. Wrapping the box was quite difficult because no box is actually square!

We had to slowly cut slight angles in the ends of the Duralar so it wouldn’t pucker as it wrapped around the lid. The tissue paper backing also proved difficult to cut smoothly but our master framer was able achieve a smooth line around the sides.

The finished product looks great with the glossy Duralar wrapping around the box to make custom picture framing project chicago - frango mintit look brand new. The soft tissue background accented the dark green box quite well.

It was one of our favorite projects particularly since a few of our framer’s grew up in Chicago neighborhoods so they are longtime fans of Frango Mints-Marshall Field’s. Certainly, a unique frame job that had its challenges but proved to be one of our best! Most important, our customer was pleased with the new design, frame and end result.

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Welcome to our first blog post

We will begin posting interesting blog posts regarding framing here in September 2015.

Thanks for your patience!

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