Framing Concert Memorabilia

Last November my family experienced a one-of-a-kind evening when my brother, Mark Mikel, a professional musician, held a 35th Anniversary Concert here in our hometown of Toledo. As a family who loves art, including the audible kind, we were very proud to watch Mark’s talent and dedication celebrated alongside fellow musicians and long-time fans.  I particularly liked the event poster Mark created and wanted to hang it along with the event’s press pieces as a keepsake on our family’s “hall of fame.”

See Framing Concert Memorabilia: Part 2 

Mark Mikel's 35th anniversay poster

newspaper article to be included in the frame

This type of event memorabilia is fun to display and there are many ways to do it.  I decided to design a double-sided, archival treatment with the poster on the front and the press on the back.  In addition to making them easy to display, framing the items keeps them together and preserves them against sunlight and dust.  I designed the frame to be double-sided to keep its overall size small enough to conveniently hang, but both sides of the treatment do have mat board and acrylic, so it’s truly a two-sided, archival frame.
In part one, I’m going to walk through the elements of the framing project that are determined for you:


  • The size of the items you are framing
  • The thickness of your framing materials
  • The frames that will fit given these measurements.


In part two, we’ll tackle design and ordering.
In part three, we’ll take a look at assembling the treatment.


I started by measuring and recording the length and width of the items I wanted to frame.  In my case the largest item is the poster, 16 7/8” x 23 7/8”.  This sets the absolute minimum size the frame will be, but I’m adding mats, so the frame will need to be bigger.

Next, I measured and recorded the length and width of the smaller materials, in my case news articles measuring 10 ½” x 8” and 11” x 11 ½”.  You might have tickets or snapshots of the event.

With the length and width of materials recorded, my next step was to determine how thick all the framing materials would eventually be.  I needed to know this because the stack of materials, “artstack” for short, needs to fit in the frame.  Some frames are deeper than others.  The channel, or rabbet, the artstack slides into has to be at least as deep as the artstack is thick.

To compute the thickness of my artstack, I looked up how thick each item I’m going to use is.  This information can be found either in our Handbook or online. 

To view it online:

  1. Call up the product (acrylic, mounting board, mat board)
  2. Click on its thumbnail picture (not the magnifying glass). 
  3. Look at the product description.  It will list the item’s thickness.  For mats this is at the top, for acrylic it is at the bottom. 

Here are the thicknesses of each of my materials.* I listed them in the order they will be stacked when framed:

  • UV Acrylic: 3/32”
  • 8 ply mat (or double mat, depending): up to ¼”
  • Poster: 1/16”
  • mounting board (i.e. foam core): 1/8”
  • Newspaper articles: 3/32”
  • 4 ply mat: 1/16”
  • Standard Acrylic: 3/32”

*Keep in mind I have two mats and two acrylic  pieces because I’m designing a double-sided frame.

Next, we do math!  All these thickness have to be added together so I know the minimum rabbet (or channel) depth I need on my frame. 

In my project the math looks like this:

  1. I converted all the thickness measurements into increments of 1/32” of an inch.
  2. I entered them on a spreadsheet, which added them for me.  The result is 25/32.* (You can add them on your own of course, if you’re better with a calculator than I am.)
  3. 25/36 can not be simplified so I rounded up to 26/32.  26/32”= 13/16.” 13/16" falls between 3/4" and 7/8" 
  4. This means the frame I choose must have a rabbet depth of 7/8” or greater.

*If by now you’ve given up (converting and simplifying fractions!  yikes!), call us and one of our operators will be happy to assist you.


With the rabbet depth in hand and the length and width of my poster and news articles recorded, I was ready to begin designing a treatment.  That required a little more math, but from here on out it was mostly colors, textures and free expression! 

Check back next week to see how I selected a frame and designed two mats, one for the poster and one for the press articles.

Join in on the framing fun by participating in National DIY Framing Month

AubreyK | 1/30/2014 8:32:56 AM | 9 comments
I love the idea of framing concert memorabilia.
2/17/2014 9:18:33 PM

American Frame
We should be posting the finished project in the next couple of weeks, so be sure to come back and check it out!
2/17/2014 7:57:36 AM

Cori Westphal
I love the elaborate collage of pics! What a unique piece it must have turned out to be! #framelove
2/16/2014 8:17:09 PM

Ashley S
I'm so glad I ran across this! This is the perfect idea for my husband's birthday.. thanks! #framelove
2/16/2014 6:47:10 PM

American Frame
Great! Framing memorabilia is always so fun! Especially if it's a little older- it brings back nice memories.
2/13/2014 8:01:28 AM

Michele P.
this is very helpful, as I have some posters from events that I have been wanting to frame to preserve them and hang on my walls as collectible memorabilia. Also there are newspaper articles that I have wanted to keep, but never really thought about framing them. This post addresses those issues and shows how it can be done very easily. Thanks for the great ideas! #framelove
2/12/2014 10:05:12 PM

Pauline Milner
Thank you for offering this most valuable information. I have some concert memorabilia that I have kept in a box because I did not know how to display it. Thanks to your post, I have a new project to do! Thank you for all of the information you provide. #framelove
2/8/2014 11:19:17 AM

Pauline Milner
Thank you for offering this most valuable information. I have some concert memorabilia that I have kept in a box because I did not know how to display it. Thanks to your post, I have a new project to do! Thank you for all of the information you provide.
2/8/2014 11:18:39 AM

Mark Mikel
Coolness! I can't wait to see it framed. I'm going to want one too. I also never heard of the double-sided frame. Sounds like a good idea if someone gives you art as a gift that you don't like-lol. A quick turn when they visit and all is well!
2/7/2014 10:58:15 AM

About this blog

Laura Jajko

Join in and let’s bond over our love of art and framing. Here, I’ll be sharing design inspiration and decisions, twitter chat summaries, and happenings with the company, among other things. With more than 40 years of practical experience, I bring a unique perspective in a straight-forward style that I hope will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialog in our online community.

For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs -  Ask Mike or At Your Service

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