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  • Writer's pictureLynne Kornecki

Framing Tips & Behind-the-Scenes Views of Colbert Custom Framing & Art Printing in Naperville, IL

Updated: Jan 9

Third-generation owner of this family framing business, Stephanie Colbert Randall, is an expert at helping artists and other clients enhance items in ways that elevate the piece and help preserve it. Scroll down for more photos of this helpful, one-stop shop...

Colbert Custom Framing & Art Printing, 1283 S. Naper Blvd, Naperville, IL a third-generation family business, has been serving artists and others at this location since 2011. In business since 1987, it was started by the grandparents of the current owner -- Stephanie Colbert Randall -- who bought it from her father, Kevin. At one point this framing business had three locations plus a warehouse, but in 2011, Kevin decided it made more sense to consolidate into one full-service store.

Stephanie grew up in the business, and after college graduation with a communications degree, became a store manager before eventually purchasing it in 2017.

“We offer three main categories of service,” Stephanie explains. “That includes custom picture framing, custom art printing with careful color matching, and nameplate engraving for plaques or other uses. We also use pigment-based inks which are fade resistant up to 80 years.”

The 5,000 square-foot store with seven employees is basically a one-stop-shop serving as a full-service custom framing workshop and gallery that includes the Art Around Town program sponsored by the Naperville Art League. The gallery also displays examples of how different types of papers like matte, velvet, photo luster, metallic canvas and more can visually enhance projects. The difference between those papers is quite pronounced and interesting to see up close.

Their workshop area holds framing wood, mats of all sizes, large format art printers, computerized mat cutters, a joiner, mitre saw, and more. Projects are completed within two weeks unless clients need them sooner. Stephanie is available for in-home or in-office art consultations – where to hang or which pieces to reframe. While Stephanie’s Dad stays active in the business with installation services. Customers can make an appointment or walk-in with custom consultations lasting anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.

Production area.

Large-format art printers.

Joiner (under pinner for V nails) that go into the corners of a finished frame.

Stephanie's tips for selecting frames…

Don’t choose a frame based on your décor, because that can change. You might paint your walls or place the painting in a different room. Pick a frame for the ART and not the room.

“So many times, clients come in requesting something neutral and usually say, ‘I just want something neutral like a white mat and black frame.’ This is NOT a neutral choice. The eye goes from dark to light when looking at art. Having that combination is distracting. And, so many times a white mat simply makes the art look dingy. You want to choose framing that is submissive to the art.”

Stephanie went on to explain that mats have two purposes – functional and aesthetic. It helps hold the glass off the art and creates an air barrier so condensation can’t build up and ruin the piece. The number of mats needed depends on the thickness of what’s being framed to create that air barrier plus visual depth.

About 70% of Colbert customers select museum glass for its UV filtering and its tremendous, anti-glare clarity. Obviously, art on canvas does not require glass.

Some of the most unusual items coming to Colbert for framing has included a large chunk of the World Trade Center tower, World War II bomber jacket, jewelry, sports jerseys, slide rule and/protractor for a former engineering student, to name a few.

“One grandmother wanted to preserve a leaf her grandchild had presented to her while they were on a walk together,” Stephanie recalls. “I told her we couldn’t guarantee that it would last in its shadow box, but she decided to go with the project anyway, and I thought that was so sweet.”

Colbert can make photographs look like fine art paintings or even create large readjustable stickers! Stop by with your projects to see how they can make them even better.




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