Framing Things with Sarah B. Keating

VTNF Picks

Books, bags, boyfriends; you can frame anything if you set your mind (and X-ACTO Knife) to it!

I called on long-time confidant and interior muse, Sarah B. Keating, to discuss one of my favorite things about her apartment: all of the random things on the walls. Seriously, everything from luxury garment bags to salt and pepper shakers aren’t safe in Casa de Keating, resulting in multiple, gorgeous gallery walls that include exactly zero prom photos.


Through a strategic and deliberate PR strategy, I was able to sit down with Sarah Keating, who graciously offered all of her advice on framing (and life.) Enjoy!

What initially inspired you to start experimenting with frames? I started framing non-art when I started paying my own rent. I couldn’t afford to buy art and since I work in a creative field, I like to be surrounded by things that inspire me.

Where do you go to find frame-spiration? Anything from wrapping paper at TJMaxx to ads in Vogue. Also, as an art school dropout, I create some of my own art with Adobe Indesign. Also, if you’re going for a specific color scheme, Etsy is a great place to original, unique prints of varying sizes.  

If You Can Dream It, You Can Frame It

ø Images from books: coffee table books, thrift store books. Be sure to check out the Kate Spade and Gary Malin books that helped add flair to each of her gallery walls.   ø Garment bags (!?!), as shown below. (Editor’s note: you can buy these on Poshmark!)
ø Recipes. I think framing a handwritten recipe from your favorite relative is a beautiful gift!
ø Fabric swatches and scarves.
ø Magazine and news clippings. The moon landing, Paris Hilton’s mug shot. Ya know, historical stuff. 
ø Internet things, and obviously, photos. S.K. recommends printing them at Walgreen’s for a cool $4.99.
ø Maps. S.K. recommends Bank & Surf Custom Maps for high-quality options that come already framed!
ø Actual objects. Sarah has a cork, amethyst stone AND these salt and pepper shakers in the mix.


What You’ll Need to Get Started

ø An X-ACTO Knife and maybe a grid mat, too.
ø Double-Sided tape (generally super helpful in life).
ø Mod Podge (if you’re planning to mount the image on wood)


I put these Keating-approved tips to the test and made a frame of my own. For all of $10 and ten minutes of work, I am ob👏sessed.

Step 1: Find something to frame.


I spent a whole $2 on this watercolor book that I’m fairly certain pre-dates Pinterest. It was sold to me by the sweetest volunteers working the Opportunity Shop at St. Alban’s School. Highly recommended if you can sneak away for some mid-day thrifting!

Step 2: Make sure it’ll fit.


Hold the frame up to images you think may work for your frame to get an idea of how it’ll look together. This will save you and your fingers a lot of time and effort!

Step 3: Cut it to size


Once you’ve made your selection, use an X-ACTO Knife-knife to cut the image to fit. If it’s a larger image, be sure to continually “test” it in the frame so you don’t accidentally cut out your favorite part! Also, is there anything more satisfying than cutting with an X-Acto??

Step 4: Frame.


Ta-da! This is an image taken from the book called “Winter Evening at The Rio Grande Valley” by Fremont Ellis. The Rio Grande Valley is in South Texas, FYI. (I thought it was in Utah….)

Pro Tips

Keep my frames clean with Windex wipes, because I don’t like spending more than 90 seconds on any one task. Great for mirrors, too.


If going for a three-dimension option, make sure the objects are not too heavy for the frame, as they can easily fall when hanging. 

Decide on a theme, then run with it. For a client’s gallery wall, she created this awesome pink and blue spread with an oceanic theme (pictured below.)


They make great gifts, too. Keating’s gallery wall includes a champagne cork from a family celebration and other unconventional momentums. 

Frames We Love

For simple black and white frames for gallery walls, S.K. recommends getting started at IKEA and Joann Fabrics, or allow Framebridge to do the dirty work for you! That said, if you’re looking for a little chutzpah, look no further than the picks below! 


1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

Keep up with Keating — and check out more of her gorgeous work — here!
Featured photography provided by Emza Joy Photography, @emzajoy, and Sarah B. Keating.


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