Ikea Comic Book Photo Frame Hack

For a while now I have been wanting to find a way to show off my comic book collection in my office. I had done a lot of searching online for comic book picture frames and have been constantly turned off by the price of them. I have always been turned off by the price of photo frames, but that is a rant for another blog post.

I recently found a safe alternative to expensive comic book photo frames thanks to $1.99 photo frame from Ikea and I want to share my solution with you.

Comic Book Safety

Before I started searching for comic book photo frames I did some research regarding how safe it is to present your comic books out in the open. I was personally worried about UV fading as a result of having the a comic books exposed to light.

I found the answer to my concerns over at the website Frame It Again Sam.

There is a myth about UV protection implying that mysterious UV rays exist in all light and need to be filtered out. The truth is that there is no UV light inside your house unless you have fluorescent bulbs without a UV shield. And that should be a worry for you, not your comics. Remember that UV causes sun burns and skin cancer, and you are protected from UV rays in your home and so are your comics.

That being said, Mylar-D Bags have substantial UV-Protection built-in. The reason I use Mylar bags with the frames, however is not so much for their UV protection, but for their preservation qualities, incredible clarity and their longevity.

UV Rays are line-of-sight from the sun (direct sunlight). Not just any light as seems to be the myth. It has to be a straight line from the sun to your comics to have any UV rays in it. Even with UV protection you should still avoid putting your comics in the path of direct sunlight because infrared, another component of direct sunlight, is harmful to the inks in comics. Humidity, changes in temperature and exposure to fresh oxygen are the dangers you should worry about for your collection. Avoid hanging near doors and windows and under bright lights or rooms. And keep comics out of the path of DIRECT sunlight with or without UV protection!

Comic Book Frames

With my worries about my comic books fading gone I proceeded to search for comic book frames to present my comics in.

A simple google search will result in a lot of options for comic book collectors. A lot of the comic book frames I found that I liked where custom build-to-order. These frames where built with care. I was turned off by the price of these frames from the get go. They would be an option for me if I only had a comic book or two I wanted to hang up. The reality is that I have several comic books I want to hang up. I want to be able to pick out my comics that look great and hang them in my office. That means hanging more than two comic books up.

Ikea Photo Frame

During a trip to Ikea in Portland I found they where selling $1.99 black photo frames that would be perfect for displaying my comics in. I bought several of these frames and brought them back with me to Alaska.

To complete this project I also need to purchase a few other materials. Black Cardstock Paper and picture hooks. Below is a list of all the materials I had to pick up to display my comic books.

Materials

Steps For Displaying Comics Using An IKEA Photo Frame

Step 1. Flipping the photo frame over list the 6 black metal tabs so you can remove the back from the Ikea Photo Frame.

Step 2. Gently push out the hanger loop tap on the photo frame backing.

Step 3. Holding the back photo frame backing down on a flat surface wiggle the diagonal stand pice until it can be pulled free from the backing. If you are worried about doing to much damage to the backing I also found scissors to be helpful. (Removing the stand allows the photo frame to lay flat against the wall when hung.)

Step 4. Remove the paper from behind the plastic window of the photo frame. You wont be needing it.

 

Step 5. Remove the Plastic plexiglass like window from the photo frame and remove the plastic wrap coating.

Each side of the plexiglass is covered with a thin sheet of plastic wrap like coating. You can remove it by rubbing your finger gently across the edge of the plexiglass till you can pull off the plastic wrap.

Step 6. Place the plexiglass window back in the photo frame keeping the photo frame face down.

Step 7. Place a bagged and boarded comic book of your choice face down in the photo frame so it is even and level.

Step 8. Take a sheet of Black Cardstock Paper and place it on top of the comic book.

Step 9. Put the photo frame backing back on top of the Black Card stock and press down on the 6 black metal tabs to secure the backing in place.

Step 10. Install a picture hook on the wall where you would like to hang your comic book.

Step 11. Hang your comic book using the hanger loop tap on the back of the Ikea photo frame and you are done.

Conclusion

I currently have 19 of these Ikea photo frames hanging in my office and they look pretty great. It is so nice to be able to look up from my computer and see the wonderful art that now surrounds me.

The Ikea frames are not flawless, but what do you want from a Photo frame that cost less an two bucks? Besides, people who visit me in my office are to busy admiring the comics to care about the frames.

[UPDATE: 10.23.2011]

Hamp Freeman contacted me to say he liked my solution for framing comic books. He even e-mailed me some photos. [Link to Post]

[UPDATE: 10.24.2011]

Anthony James contacted me to show off his comic books using the IKEA Frame hack [Link to Post]

[UPDATE: 5.2.2012]

I have seen that some people are using the black IKEA frames to display their comics, but they are doing so without including the white backing board that most comic book collectors use. This is producing a cleaner look when displaying your comics. I have not don’t it (yet), But I just wanted people to know about that option.

[UPDATE: 6.8.2012]

The Brilliantly Easy blog has managed to pull off the same kind of frame hack I have going on, but by doing it with dollar frames. The blog poster found a company that will ship you the frames! Something IKEA doesn’t do. Check out the dollar comic book frame post called: Comic Book Frame.

[UPDATE: 7.18.2012]

Paul contacted me from Australia to show off his framed collection: Comics Framed In Australia

[UPDATE: 7.25.2012]

Mat showing off his Green Lantern collection and explains how to hang comics on cinder block wall: Framed Green Lantern Comics

[UPDATE: 8.16.2012]

Kiley showing off is books on his wall in Chicago: Comic Book Wall In Chicago

[UPDATE: 10.31.2012]

Russell showing off his New York Comic Con Framed Comics

[UPDATE: 11.5.2012]

Adam Darvish showing off his Framed Avengers Vs. X-Men

[UPDATE: 04.29.2013]

Casey’s Framed Comics In Kenosha, Wisconsin

75 thoughts on “Ikea Comic Book Photo Frame Hack

  1. Riot_Control

    Thank you! That’s a great way to display comics! I’ve been looking online for a cheap but tasteful way. I’m from Anchorage AK myself!

    Reply
    1. Youseph Post author

      Glad you like the post and found it useful. My only problem has been when I actually went to order these fames the other day IKEA would not send me any. I have to physical go into their store or have someone do it for me. Kind of a bummer. I hope that will change at some point.

      Reply
  2. Toy Collector

    Thank you very much, Youseph!! I have been looking for the least expensive frames for my comics. I thought the 2 frames (11″x13″ Studio Decor) I got from Michaels were a great deal at $6 each ($10 at 40% off) until I found your site. The ones from Michaels is for magazines/comics and it would float in the glass frame. I just purchased 12 frames from IKEA yesterday and the black card stock. Thanks for the detailed instuctions!

    From NYC

    Reply
    1. Youseph Post author

      Glad you find it helpful. I know I have enjoyed them very much. I just wish I could order them from IKEA.com rather than having to go to their store location. I would love to see some pictures of what you hang up.

      Reply
    2. Alex

      I just bought the Michaels Float Frames myself. Wouldn’t you say it looks better when it’s floating though?

      Reply
  3. Tony

    Not bad for a cheap alternative, but if you are looking for a great looking frame with built in archival safe characteristics for loose books and not too pricey, check this website out gradecomstore.com. These are awesome! And you don’t have to drive anywhere to get them.

    Reply
  4. Mike B

    I’m so glad you took the time to blog this project. I was online looking for a way to display some comics (four of which are the same X-Men number one covers that form the cohesive scene that you have in your office – very cool) when I came across your recommendation. I am thinking of using the multi-colored frames, but I noticed that they also have white for those who might want to use a lighter color or paint them. Ikea may not send them by mail due to breakage issues (like those associated with comic book frames from amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Comic-Book-Frame-2d-Onyx/dp/B001AFJD1G which cost way more than these, anyway), but I’ll use an excuse to drive out to Ikea, any day. Looks like I’ll be there this weekend buying these and a table to hack for storing my son’s legos (http://ericjosie.blogspot.com/2008/02/legohead.html – hoorah for Ikea hacks!)

    Reply
    1. Youseph Post author

      I am so happy you found the post useful. Good luck and feel free to shoot me an e-mail with some photos to show off your results.

      Reply
  5. Hamp

    This was a really great IKEA hack, one that I never considered. Thanks for throwing it out there! It really makes the difference showing off a grid of comics as opposed to one or two, and two buck Ikea frames actually makes that possible.

    Reply
  6. Crow4ever

    Just got some comics signed and was looking for a low cost alternative to the Frame It Again Sam frames, especially since those were several times what the comics themselves were even worth. Found this site and decided to give it a try. I must say, I am extremely pleased with the results. This is absolutely perfect for the multiple comics I wanted to display. If I had more expensive books, I might consider those other frames. But this is perfect for what I have now. Thanks a ton for the idea and the great detailed instructions!

    Reply
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  10. kevin rockhead

    I will be getting some of my comics signed in London next month by none other than STAN LEE(!) and was thinking of finding some way of displaying them. Great solution. Have ordered some already in anticipation and have space earmarked on the wall for where to place them. Thanks again (will post pictures once they are up).

    Reply
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  12. Tertius

    Youseph, I just wanted to say thanks for the blog and the tips. I have framed my first ten comics today and the are up on the wall. Cheap simple and easy.

    Much appreciated.

    Tertius

    Reply
  13. Max

    This is so awesome! I have so many comics! I am going to put up my Lobo’s and my Spidermans oh and Spawns and i better just stop now but i cant wait!

    Reply
  14. MechaPumpkin

    Hi Youseph, thanks for posting this! One quick question. Why is the black cardstock necessary? Is the inside of the back of the IKEA frame white or something? Is there some other reason for it? Is it just additional protection? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Youseph Post author

      Hello MechaPumpkin. Thanks for commenting. I use the black hard stalk because i didn’t like the black color of the IKEA frame backing. I feel that the card stalk is closer to true black and the black of the frame than the backing that comes with the frame.

      But remember this is just my view of how the frame hack should be done. Feel free to no use the card stalk or to use it. Or go with a whole other color.

      Reply
      1. MechaPumpkin

        Great! Thanks Youseph. I picked up 30 frames today (unfortunately they cost $3 in Canada). They didn’t have any card stock at the Staples I went to and was just worried you used it for protective purposes. I’m going to have a look at the colour of the backing and see if I like it. I’ll email you some pictures when they’re done. Thanks for the quick reply!

        Reply
  15. Matthew

    I would not recommend anyone from using this method to frame a comic book, especially one with value.. The reason the other prices look so unreasonable to you was because they most likely contain important compontents in conservation framing.. 1) UV glass is a must regardless of direct sunlight 2) that card stock u bought contains acid which will ruin your books. U need acid free paper..

    Reply
    1. Youseph Post author

      Would you help clear your thoughts up for me? I am a little confused.

      If I owned a copy of Superman #1 and I put it in an IKEA frame, I should not ever be allowed to collect comics. That would be colossally stupid on my part. You don’t put something of that high of a value in a 2 dollar frame. That would be like taking the gold in Fort Knox and placing it on the street corner in a cardboard box sealed with duct tape. You just don’t do that.

      As far the comics I choose to frame, I am keeping them out of direct sunlight and they are inside of UV protected mylar bags.

      If in fact the card stock I chose has acid in it then it would be incorrect to put the comics against the card stock. However; the comics are not only kept in mylar bags but they also have comic boards with them in the bag so no part of the comic is in contact with the black card stock.

      I would like to invite you to write another comment on my post explain how I am harming my comics now that you know this new information. The last thing I want to do is harm my comics and from all the research I have done this seems to me to be a safe way to show off a few books from my collection.

      Reply
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  17. Jay Tilley

    Thank you for this great idea. It’s a simple, cheap and good looking solution to hanging up some of my comics. I am doing a Batman and Villians theme. I’ll send you some pics when its done. Thanks again!

    Reply
      1. jason padilla

        so pumped I found this article,I just bought a house and my bonus room is gonna have my comics hanging on the walls. your article will definitely save me money!!! thank you

        Reply
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    1. Youseph Post author

      Hello Chris, No I have not thought about doing something similar with cards. I have a few cards I have collected over the years. Nothing crazy awesome. But Some of the I have in thick hard plastic cases that have to be screwed tight to be closed and protect the cards. I have know knowledge on if these cases protect from UV light, but they would like cool displayed. I will keep my eyes open for some kind of solution for you. If I find something that works I will replay here.

      Reply
      1. Scott

        I actually tried framing some of the 1st edition Marvel Masterpiece cards years ago. They slide around in the frame even with 2 sheets of card stock behind them.

        As for framing comics, I framed my first comics back in 2009. I used some cheap Dollar tree frames. The comics displayed nice, but the cheaper frames didn’t do the display justice. I am going to check out those Ikea frames or the Dollar general frames and see how they do.

        Great Blog!!

        Reply
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  21. Michael Bergen

    I Was trying to find a nice, cheap way to display my comic books and this looks to be exactly what I was looking for. I just purchased a set of Wolverine 1-4 (1982 mini-series) off of eBay, and when they arrive, I will be trying this out. Thanks!

    Reply
  22. chris

    Thanks for all the great info!!! I have been collecting comics for 30 + years and I have always thought of them as great modern art and I had planned to have a nice custom case created but this makes much better sense. You are absolutely correct in displaying them in mylar uv protecting bags but I would use the non acid containing comic back boards just in case. Thanks and I am off to IKEA!!!

    Reply
  23. anthony

    Hello, I had a question. would these same type of frames work for over-sized issues, like annuals and things like that? Because I recently got a Amazing Spider-Man 700 variant that i want to frame, but want to make sure first if the frames you show are the right ones. Thanks again all this is wonderful

    Reply
    1. Youseph Post author

      Hello Anthony. Great question. I believe the frames will work just fine for Spider-Man 700. I you look at the 3rd photo on my post I have an issue of Transformers: Generation 2., #1 framed which is an over sized issue and it fit just fine. I also picked up a copy of Spider-Man 700 and it did not feel thicker then my copy of Transformers. I think you are going to be fine. If you end up getting the frame and it doesn’t work out the good news is that you’re only out two bucks.

      Reply
      1. anthony

        Oh thank you. and I had one more question, haha what type of mylar bags did you use? Because I’ve been looking around and see that were 3 different types, 1 mil, 2 mil and 4mil?

        Reply
        1. Youseph Post author

          I use Ultra Pro Resealable Current Size Comic Bags, 2 mil. I don’t know that the mil thickness maters. I am not a comic book expert. But I believe you are supposed to change out your comic bags every 5 to 10 years to keep your comics super safe. I have not researched that aspect as much as I should.

          Reply
    1. Youseph Post author

      Good question Johnny. The thickest comic book I have in these frames is Marvel Comics’s Transformers Generation 2, Issue 1. Its a pretty thick comic with a thick cover. I would say its about two comics width. Maybe three? You could go thicker then that, but I think it would require removing the backing pins and holding the backing in place with some kind of tape to the frame to give you more room for thicker books.

      For a frame that cost $2, it wont break the bank to experiment. Good Luck!

      Reply
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  25. Ian Roberts

    I was looking for information on framing and hanging my comics and your blog came up. Amazing solution and thank you so much for sharing this info. My marvel zombies collection is gonna look great on the wall! Thanks again.

    Reply
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  28. Luke

    Here is my take on this… I used the exact same frame but also bought black paper from a craft shop (about 20p-30p a sheet), cut a square in the center (leaving roughly 1inch from the edges all the way around) using a scalpel and placed it in front of the comic, this took me a few times to get it how i wanted it but it eliminates any unwanted spaces around the comic!

    Here is my first attempt: http://instagram.com/p/cUMfRXAREr/#

    my final product: http://instagram.com/p/cUMfRXAREr/# & http://instagram.com/p/cXAcbngRBJ/#

    Hope this helps!!

    Reply
    1. ron

      Where was this when I started doing mine. This is a great solution for that space at the edges. I have 4 more frames that I’m going to try this with.

      Reply
  29. shadowslurking

    I live near IKEA but you can also find decent packs at Michaels and they have coupons online that you can open in an app (40% for example). I took some Alex Ross covers and put them in thin mylar with no back. What made them POP was getting scrapbook paper. It has various colors and patterns to mimic canvas/rough paper/metal/etc. I matched colors to the comic’s main color (or whatever floats the boat). I used double sided tape on the comic bags’ backs on top, bottom, and sides, then centered it on the scrapbook paper. Voila- It looks mounted professionally on a thicker cardstock due to colors and textures and classes it all up. Will send picks if interested.

    Reply
  30. Thanh Huynh

    I am so annoyed.. I live in Australia and our Ikea doesn’t stock the 8 1/2 x 11 frames. =(
    They had the A4 size frames which were to big.

    Reply
  31. Lu

    Great idea, searched the net for inexpensive frames and all I saw were the expensive ones .Then I came across your site, I ended up going to local Dollar Stores, but they didn’t have the right size for comics. Luckily we have a Dollar Tree, they had so many dollar frames that i found the right size for the job. Used Dollar frames, with the black card stock and Command Strips to put them up on the wall.Of course the hardest part is picking which comics to display.
    I went with Batman Inc #6(Burnham), Teen Titans #89(Quitely variant). Rocket Girl # 1(Signed by writer & Artist), Authority(Arthur Adams Cover),Scarlet Spider #19(Wolverine, Scarlet Spider, Ninjas, Nuff Said)(Stegman),Astonishing Tales #1(K. Rocafort)

    Here ya go : http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2ah9k6f&s=8

    Reply

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