Do-It-Yourself Framing

Photograph of L’Eclat de Verre by Jennifer Molay.

Style > Best Bargains Package  

A good frame job can cost as much as the artwork—unless you do it yourself at the Framers’ Workroom in DC’s Tenleytown.

Not very handy? No worries. Assistance from the friendly, expert employees ensures that every job is as professional as their own custom work—but costs about 30 percent less. It’s fun to learn the craft and to create your own masterpiece—and no waiting as with custom orders. The 27-year-old business supplies everything, including a choice of about 250 frames. (It prefers to do anything over 32 by 40 inches itself.)

An alternative is the French chain L’Eclat de Verre, which recently opened its first US shop in Georgetown. It specializes in a unique—and pricey—service: customizing mats with gorgeous handmade papers. The average custom job, with frame and mat, is $280. Or you can pay $55 and take one of the store’s workshops, where you learn to make a mat yourself.

You still pay for the frame and mat; there are 600 frame options and more than 500 paper choices, from silk to gold leaf to ostrich skin ($2 to $40 a sheet). Even with the $55 fee, you’ll save about a third of the custom charge.

Framers’ Workroom, 4431 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-363-1970;

L’Eclat de Verre, Cady’s Alley, 3336 M St., NW; 202-333-6840;

More>> Shop Around Blog | Style | Find a Spa