You can cash in two ways by starting your own picture framing business.

Custom Framing Business

If you have had anything framed professionally, you have had to pay the price.  People are willing to pay to have their family photos, mementos, artifacts framed professionally.  Business may also use this service.  For instance, a restaurant may want to frame a menu from opening day.

Adding Value to Prints–Just Put them in a Frame

See our section on Artisan and Swapmeeting for more info on how to set up this type of business.  You can buy old photos, art prints, sports posters, reproduced sports cards and frame them yourself.  The companies who print these items have the copyrights but sell them for a very reasonable price.  See the Artisan section for suppliers.  You can also re-sell framed prints on-line.  The key is finding an audience like fans of a particular team or city.

So framing must involve a lot of expensive  equipment?  Not exactly.

(Editor’s Note to IT guy we seem to have lost some content.  ????  Widget code not working.)

This is what we managed to find on-line that can be used to set up a starter framing business:

1. Miter Saw.  If you have ever used one, you know how nice it is to have one that shows the cut line.  A lot of newer models use laser lines, this one is inexpensive and makes a cut line by using LED lights behind the blade.  You really find deals on Amazon.  Only $40!!

Since this deal will probably end soon we also found this saw with a laser

All of the miter saws are intended for general purpose.  Since you won’t need to use for cutting 2×4’s you may want to replace the blade with one that has more teeth so that your cuts will be clean.

Next you will need a joiner to put your frames together

And you will need a device to hold your stuff into the frame. Yes you could use a regular staple gun or nails, but this will work better and you will have less breakage problems.

You may also want a way to cut the material that goes around the photos.  Mat cutters help you get it straight.  We noted this one has great reviews and a free video.



Picture Framing Supplies

North American Buyers Guide 

You can pick up picture frame molding, glass/plastic, and matting material locally. One supperstore that sells all of this stuff is located in Irvine

These are some stores near Orange County. Please let us know if what we are missing.

Active Sales Co in Sante Fe Springs.  They sell equipment.

Direct Molding of San Marcos

Franks Fabrics for Framers 

 Max Moldings of LA

Studio Molding 


Picture Framing Education


Classes at Community College

The best training for your money can be found at your local community college.  These classes are not advertised very much; and they are not for college credit so they will not be in the college catalog.  They are taught as “extension” or “community” classes.  For instance, Golden West College in Huntington Beach offers tow classes “Picture Framing on a Budget” and ” Advanced Picture Framing.”  They are all day classes and cost $45 for materials and less than $100 to enroll in the class.  These are taught about twice a year.  Check out for details.  Other community colleges may offer the same program.

Picture Framers Magazine  This is for pro framers and they have a lot of books/guides that are only found at art stores.

There is a Professional Picture Framing Association (PFFA)  The do not have a chapter in Orange County, but they do have a chapter in La Jolla.  They offer a certificate program to become a Certified Picture Framer (CPF), and a certificate as a Master Certified Picture Framer.  They require one year and five years of experience.  You need to pay a fee of around $300 and pass and exam.  You can take an online exam for the CPF.  They have reccomended the following books on their study guide.  Most of these are available through the association.  There are some used copies on Amazon, but they are a bit expensive.

1. The Complete Guide to Shadowboxes and Framing Objects James Miller, MCPF, GCF (Not available on Amazon, but available here)

2. Art & Picture Framing Glossary of Standard Terms PPF (This book appears to only be available through the association.)

3. Caring for Your Art Jill Snyder

4. Picture Framing, Volume 1 Vivian Kistler

5. Mat Cutting and Decoration, Volume 2 Vivian Kistler

6. Framing Photography, Volume 6 Allan Lamb

7. PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper (only available via the association.) 8. PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas (only available via the association.) 9. The Mounting and Laminating Handbook Chris Paschke

10. CCI Notes: Paintings Canadian Conservation Institute

11. Preserving Textiles Harold F. Mailand and Dorothy Stites


Picture Framing Franchises

The franchises emphasize that this is a high margin business.  It could be argued that you need the marketing power of a franchise to succeed.

Big Picture Framing They don’t give any info on what it takes to buy a franchise.

FastFrame is probably the best known franchise.  The required investment is between $105,000 and $150,000.  You can expect it to be on the higher side since we are in California.  They do not require any experience in this business.  It looks like they have taken down their franchise site.

Budget Framer is a similar operator, but we are not sure if it is coming to Orange County. (franchise website) They cost about the same as FastFrame, and require you have $50,000 in liquid capital along with decent credit.  They no longer seem to have franchise information up on the web.

Deck the Wall  They estimate a franchise will cost Between $112,000 and $201,000.  They are an east coast company that does not currently have any locations in California.  (website).

The Great Frame Up  They estimate the cost to start at around $112,000-$178,000.  The initial franchise fee is $30,000 for your first store and $10,000 for each additional store.




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