(ARA) - This year, the most memorable, unique and heartfelt gift you give may be to take care of a loved one's cherished memory.
You can show your loved ones how much you care, and that you invested time and thought into their gift, by having a memento they value custom framed. Purchases of custom framing increased 66 percent since 2002, according to a recent survey by Unity Marketing, a Stevens, Pa.-based market research.
"Consumers are now thinking of professional custom framing as a way to display personal items, such as mementos, antiques and awards instead of just framing art," says Barbara Schmidt, a nationally recognized interior style consultant whose work has appeared in "Architectural Digest," "In Style," "Elle D cor" and "Metropolitan Home."
Here are some key steps to consider when professionally custom framing a gift:
* Consider meaningful mementos, antiques or collectibles your loved one cherishes. Birthday cards, wedding invitations or vows, graduation or birth announcements and keys from a first home are all good examples.
* Find a professional custom framer near you and visit them with the items you want framed.
* With the help of your professional custom framer, choose matboard and a frame.
* Keep in mind your loved one's favorite colors to either complement or contrast the art. Choosing off-white and complementing it with another color will provide a dramatic look.
* Choose a matboard of highest quality so memories will stay protected. Crescent's cotton RagMat line is a good choice because it is naturally acid and lignin-free, meaning it does not contain harmful materials that could degrade artwork.
* Keep in mind that it typically takes one to three weeks for professional custom framers to complete your gift, so be sure to ask your framer how long it will take.
* Anticipate the costs by obtaining an estimate first.
Custom framing helps preserve and display consumers' most valuable collectibles, mementos, awards and memories in a unique and safe way.
"It's a custom-made gift. It's very sentimental and very meaningful, much more so than a standard gift. It means you really thought about it, and that's truly special," says Schmidt. Courtesy of ARA Content