Lazy Framing

I ran across a few threads recently about not knowing what to do with their video game maps. Well obviously the short answer is frame them. And it’s not hard. I frame literally everything we get. But I’m also really, really lazy about it. Since I was rehanging some stuff this weekend, I thought I’d share how I handle it.

Mat Boards and Mounting

Ideally for a nice piece you want to use a mat board between the picture and the glass front. It creates an air bubble so that the piece doesn’t stick to the glass and creates a nice outside border. Ink from photographs can stick if it gets damp while charcoal and pastels will smudge. You can see it here in these professionally framed signed game inserts.

DSC00722It looks nice and it draws the eye.

Mat boards for big pieces, however, start getting expensive. Since most video game maps and posters are made pretty tough and they aren’t exactly, you know, Egyptian antiques, you don’t have to treat them with archival care. With these things in mind, top-mounting with a nice paper in the background is cheaper, easier, and just as nice looking, I think.

To see the difference a nice mat can make compare the thrown together Kalos map on the left that I just put in a poster frame without finishing the framing to the Province of Skyrim on a slightly off-white background on the right.


Now, the Skyrim map also looks nicer because I went with a fancier frame (that was still pretty inexpensive) in the right tonal range, but I’ll get into that more later.

You don’t have to go with just white, obviously.


This is a graphite piece by my brother-in-law. It’s not properly framed at the moment because it fell off the wall and it wasn’t put back together properly (by someone who wasn’t me and shall not be named), but, hopefully (even in the less than stellar picture) you can see how the red really makes the grayscale pop. It’s a cheap black poster frame and red wrapping paper. It goes with our living room and looks cool.


With this poster I went with black and blue because I didn’t like the way a white mat looked. It’s construction paper that I had up in the cabinet. Since the paper was A4, I was going to have to use more than one anyway, so I used multiple colors to hide the seams. I wish I had had a darker blue, but I think it came out pretty good

The Frame

The frame is what REALLY amps up a simple poster though. Cheap frames look cheap, but there are shortcuts you can take. You don’t have to go fancy wood or expensive medal. Reference the Skyrim poster from above.

DSC00751That’s a plastic frame, but it still looks nice and wasn’t expensive. The frame had to be cheap because I needed two. There’s another for Cyrodiil next to it on the same wall. I went with a beige because of the colors in the maps. There isn’t any black. It’s all shades of brown, khaki, and ecru. So picking the right color and style of frame makes a huge difference in a bachelor pad poster versus a semi-classy piece of art.

Check out my recently framed map from the Witcher 3 insert.

DSC00765Now, this is a slightly nicer wooden frame with fake bronze leafing, but I got it on sale. Joanne’s is pretty much always having a frame sale. So does Hobby Lobby, but…you know….This frame, luckily, came with an ecru mat board, and I could have matted it properly.  With the printing to the edge of the paper, however,  I thought it looked better like this. The details in the frame make it look more ornate without pulling attention away from the art. The gold frame also blends well with the warm tones of the print making it all look cohesive.

And, obviously, you can go bolder.


I wanted something bright for this poster of our favorite Renn Faire performance group. There were a couple of colors to choose from in this brand (Prism from Joanne’s, which, truth be told, I won’t buy again), and I chose the red because it went with the color scheme in the living room where it was going to be hung. Having framed a couple of cartoon and comic book panels before this, I can attest that a thick black plastic frame looks really cool on prints kinda like this.

Things Other Than Posters

This was the most interesting thing I did recently.


I’m actually going to redo it with and actual shadowbox/jersey frame when I can justify dropping the $40 on it. For now it’s just an imperfect poster frame. It contains the shirt that my husband got when he was working Dragon Age:Origins as it’s centerpoint.

Then I included our other Dragon Age stuff.

DSC00738 DSC00741

The art card we got signed and the picture we took at Pax South.

DSC00739 DSC00742

The map of Ferelden that came with the Origins Deluxe Edition, and an added little corner decoration of Varric and Cassandra cut from the Game Informer that ran the first story on Inquisition. A couple of things have shifted inside the frame due to gravity, so I need to fix it. It’ll probably wait until I get the new frame, though.

So that’s the long and short of it.

I did our new ReCore poster today, and now it just needs to go up on whatever bit of spare wall we might have.



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