Displaying Fruit Crate Labels

We receive inquiries about how to display fruit crate labels best occasionally, so I thought it was time to share what I have done to frame some of the crate art we display on our walls here at CrateArt.com.

Framed Between Plexiglass

The above photograph is of the framed Sunflower (O) #2 fruit crate label that hangs in our inventory room. It is framed in the simplest ways: sandwiched between two sheets of plexiglass, secured in the frame with an archival backing board & framer’s points, and sealed on the reverse with backing paper. Professional materials were used, and an experienced framer did the job. Is this the best way to frame crate art? Probably not, as it may not be 100% archival, but it is not expensive and I like the way it looks. For inexpensive labels, this is one way to show them off. Let’s now look at some archivally minded ways to display crate art.

Simple, But Archival

I fell in love with the vibrant colors a lot of fruit crate labels have. One way to showcase multiple labels in a room without introducing more color, is to frame the crate art in simple black frames (or silver, white, wood, etc.) with an off-white color archival mat. This way the colors of the labels will stand out and not the colors of the mats. Here is the Poinsettia (O) orange label framed in this manner.

Keeping It Simple With Color

Maybe the off-white mat is not what you are looking for, but you still want to minimize the possibility of introducing too much color because you have more than a couple of fruit crate labels to display in the same area. Here is the Magnolia (O) orange label framed with a simple blue mat to compliment the beautiful illustration it is.

Multiple Color Mats

What if you want more color in those frames? You can always have double mats made to showcase your fruit crate labels inside their frames. Here is the Daisy (O) orange label framed with a bottom yellow mat and a green top mat. In my kitchen I have a crate art garden and it is beautiful!

How About A Crate End Look

If you are looking for a frame that looks similar to a crate end, but is archival and lighter in weight than solid wood, this may interest you …

I created this frame using a black metal frame, two archival off-white mats, an archival backing board, plexiglass and 2 inch white birch veneer. The wood crate design is made by adhering the wood veneer to a mat that is then placed on top of the plexiglass. I used a framer’s dry mounting iron to adhere the veneer to the mat and after it was set, I stained it with a light honey colored stain. The opening of the second mat that sits on top of the crate art and underneath the plexiglass is about 1/8″ wider so it does not show through to the front. To make this type of frame, your measurements must be perfect, so measure twice three times and cut once!


Closing Advice …

Contact a local frame shop if you want your fruit crate labels framed. Professional framers are trained in archiving methods and materials. It can be expensive because the proper materials and craftsmanship can be costly. Sorry, we cannot frame crate art for you.

If you are good with arts and crafts, woodworking, or the like and feel you have the ability and space required to complete a framing job, I can recommend American Frame for materials. I have used them for many years for my own personal framing needs.

I am a career visual artist. Early on, I designed advertising materials that included food label art. From there, I went into commercial photography and education. When I ran the commercial photography department for a technical college, we had a professional frame shop on site for student training. The local community came to us for their framing needs, including re-framing work. I tore apart enough framed jobs to tell you that, unfortunately, sometimes the ‘professional’ work is not done correctly. I am not talking about what you can see but what you cannot see. If it is just an inexpensive poster, no big deal, but if it is expensive or irreplaceable crate art, please make sure your framer (or you) uses clear archival framing corners and not glue or framer’s tape. Do not dry mount crate art to any substrate, as the collectible value will be lost. Please keep the following list in mind when you are researching framing:

  1. Use Archival Materials
  2. Keep Direct Sunlight Away from Your Framed and Unframed Crate Art
  3. Frame Professionally Made Copies of Rare Labels, Not Originals (do not frame an ugly eBay copy – have a precise copy made by a copy professional – seek out a blueprint/graphics business or contact a professional photography studio)
  4. No Framer’s Tape or Dry Mounting, No Matter What the Frame Shop Says!!
  5. Not All Crate Art was Printed Perfect – Embrace the Uniqueness

Have fun, and enjoy your crate art!

Darlene Almeda
owner, CrateArt.com

Images and Text © 2020 Darlene Almeda