Handmade Hanging Frames: The Case for "Living Walls"
Getting stuff framed can be expensive - like spit out your coffee expensive - so it's really no surprise that most people resort to grabbing cheap frames from Target or craft stores when they're looking to add some artwork or photographs to their walls. (Full disclosure - I speak from experience, here.)
Luckily, there is an alternative! A few years ago Fraser was asked to prototype a simple hanging frame for my cousin over at Free, Not Radical (check out her amazing meditations and mindful products). She creates gratitude calendars which are more or less hanging gratitude journals (Get one for 2021! They are life changing). Anyway, she needed a frame for them that allowed people to write in the calendar (aka no glass barrier) but was looking for something that wasn't super expensive OR total crap.
And so, our hanging frames were born. After a few months of prototyping Fraser and Liam started creating gorgeous, simple frames that perfectly fit the gratitude calendars, weren't crazy expensive AND were insanely high quality. We were able to use lots of off-cuts (i.e. funky shaped or small pieces of leftover lumber) to create the frames themselves (upped the sustainability factor!) and then invested in latigo lace leather for the strapping (made in the USA) and neodymium magnets (sourced from CA) to make sure everything stayed put.
Pretty quickly, we started getting requests for frames of all different sizes - a local artist started using them to frame her paintings, a shop downtown sold them as a featured local product and they hang on the walls of at least a few restaurants around us. Our frames are by no means the only ones out there (you can search Etsy and find tons of examples of hanging frames of varying degrees of quality) but we do think there is a pretty compelling case for having at least a few of these in your home.
Here are three reasons why I love them in our house:
They help keep your walls alive. It's easy to stick something in a glass enclosed frame and then forget about it until it catches enough dust to warrant a cleaning. But if we're thinking about our spaces as being reflections of ourselves (and we're always changing and evolving) shouldn't our walls also have a little bit more life in them? A hanging frame is more casual, less cordoned off. I love that these frames basically ASK to be touched, adjusted, changed with the seasons.
They are perfect for kids artwork. We have two small kids and lord knows we have piles of paintings, drawings, collages, etc. all over our house. Our fridge is out of real estate. Hanging frames are a perfect way of showcasing my kids' rotating pieces of art work in a way that also fits the vibe of my house. The hanging frames give a finger painting just a touch of structure (but not too much) and it's super easy to switch out pieces on a monthly (daily? weekly?) basis.
They are super forgiving size-wise. Have a favorite 5x7 photo? Or a randomly sized poster? Want something in landscape? Or portrait? Tightly framed or with more space on either end? Hanging frames let you figure out what looks best based on your own style and based on the size and orientation of whatever it is you want to hang on your all.
Have you thought much about your walls? What lives on them and how that reflects on the overall vibe of your home? Consider adding a few hanging frames into the mix, the change might surprise you.