Polystyrene Cutting Tips

What is polystyrene? 

Polystyrene is one of the most widely used kinds of plastic in the world. It can be found in disposable cutlery, DVD cases, packing materials and drinking cups. 

What are some of the benefits of using polystyrene? 

  • It will not warp from changes in temperature or humidity. It is also waterproof and cannot be damaged by insects. 
  • It cuts and joins easier and faster than wood moulding, cutting down on manufacturing time and money.
  • All sticks are a uniform 9.5 ft. long, making ordering hassle-free. 
  • It is lighter than wood, so you save on shipping.
  • It costs less than wood; giving your customers an inexpensive, high quality alternative to wood your customers will appreciate

What type of saw do I need to use to cut your moulding? 

Polystyrene moulding can be cut by a regular wood saw. We recommend saw blades with less than 120 teeth, with a 36 tooth blade being ideal. Poly moulding cuts easily with no resistance so it is recommended to cut through it quickly. By using the appropriate blade and cutting technique you will not have to worry about the plastic melting. 

How many RPM’s should my saw be running at? 

Between 2,400 and 3,000 is the ideal range. If it is too low, the saw will build up heat and melt the moulding. If it is too high, it will cause your saw to vibrate and make uneven cuts. 

Can polystyrene moulding be cut using a chopper? 


What type of glue should I be using? 

You should be using some type of plastic glue. We also recommend Satellite City brand glue. For a less expensive alternative, PVC glue from any hardware store would work well, although it will take longer to dry (approx. 1 hour). 

Can I join the frame using an underpinner? 

Yes, you can join polystyrene frames just like you would with wood moulding. Make sure the pins are not too close to the edge of the frame corners as they can split. 

How to Use Our V-Nails: A Brief Guide

Are you completing a project that calls for v-nails or wondering what they are?

We’ve put together a guide on using v-nails to make a picture frame, complete with tips on what kind of v-nails to use and what tools are available for a successful installation.

Continue reading to learn more about v-nails and how to use them.

What Are V-Nails?

V-nails are most commonly known as a type of nail that is used to bind the corners of a picture frame.

These nails are pushed, sharp edge first, into the corner joint of the frame by manual tools. There are several types and sizes of v-nails, available to suit any project you’re completing.

If you’re working with harder wood types such as Walnut, Cherry, Maple, and Ash, you’ll need Hard Power Twist v-nails. Alternatively, if you’re completing a frame using softer wood, such as Cedar, Poplar, and Banak, the Soft Power Twist v-nails will be best for you.

These different types of v-nails also work with materials such as Hard Fiberboard or plastic. The sizes of v-nails range from 5mm to 15mm, offering you a substantial variation to choose from.

Installing v-nails can be difficult, but with the right tools, you won’t have any issues.

Helpful Tools to Install V-Nails With

If you’re unfamiliar with installing v-nails or you only occasionally use them, using a manual tool will help you complete your frame easily.

One of the most simple tools to use for installing v-nails is a handheld tool that magnetically holds your v-nails, allowing you to simply push the staple into the frame using the tool.

If you’re a frequent user of v-nails and you’re searching for a handy tool to do the job for you, there are joiners and nailers that powerfully and seamlessly drive v-nails into your projects.

You can find most of these tools in your local hardware or department store. Of course, you can drive v-nails into your frames without extra tools, but this can be difficult to do without splintering the material you’re working with.

How to Use V-Nails in a Frame

Since v-nails are most commonly used in picture framing, this guide exemplifies how to install v-nails in a frame successfully.

Prepare your project by first cutting your material into 4 frame edges, gathering the v-nails of your choice, having wood glue on hand, and choosing what tool you’ll use.

Installing V-Nails

1. Prepare the edges of your cut frame by applying wood glue on each end and spreading it evenly.

2. Join the glued ends of your frame together.

3. Position your v-nail against the lined-up frame edge.

4. Using a tool you’ve chosen or a hammer, firmly drive the v-nail into the joined edge. Repeat this for all 4 edges of the frame.

5. Add another v-nail towards the center of the joined frame on each side, completing the frame with 8 v-nails installed.

6. Tighten the frame with a band or clamp for at least 30 minutes to let the glue dry.

You’ve now successfully completed a frame with v-nails.

Completing a Project With V-Nails

Whether you’re experienced with v-nails or not, learning more about the nail and what it does is useful. V-nails are great to use when building picture frames.

By consulting our brief guide, you’re able to finish your own project today. If you’re looking for the right v-nails for you, take a look at our page or contact us to get a quote today.

4 Custom Picture Framing Trends That Framing Companies Need to Know

Interior design never stops moving; new trends are always catching. This is very much the case for custom picture framing trends as homeowners look for fresh and creative ways to add to the aesthetics of their space.

Photographs and art help to preserve important memories and associations for us. Where we choose to hang them in our homes and the frames that we use are just as important as the pictures that we are choosing.

In this blog post, we will take a look at four exciting picture framing trends that are already proving to be popular in 2021. Keep reading to learn more about what you should know going forward.


1. Shadow-Box

Simply put, a shadow-box is an enclosed glass-front display case that contains an object, typically with personal or artistic significance. Shadow-boxes are highly versatile, and they are becoming increasingly popular as custom picture frames.

Shadow-boxes have an aesthetic beauty that truly highlights important memorabilia or images. As they are generally deeper than traditional frames, they tend to draw a person deeper into the photograph or art piece held within.

The amount of white space within the frame is very versatile with shadow-boxes, as is the actual size of the shadow-box frame itself.

2. Float Frames

As the name suggests, float frames create the appearance of the artwork floating within the frame. This can create the feeling of three-dimensional depth for the viewer and really add to the beauty of a room or space.

Float frames usually pair with canvas artwork, and the frame plays an integral part in the overall visual appeal. The ability to be creative and incorporate the wall color behind the frame into the effect makes this an increasingly popular trend in modern homes.

For the best picture framing supplies for float frames (and others), choose Piel Associates.

3. Leather Frames

Leather frames are durable and versatile, given the different colors and textures possible.

High-quality leather frames are a timeless addition to any home or office and make for a wonderful birthday or anniversary gift. Leather frames are proving popular again in 2021, combining a vintage and natural feel that is also truly artistic.

4. Corner Frames

Corner picture frames add incredible visual depth to spaces by fitting into the corners of rooms or wrapping around the angles of walls. They can make an excellent focal point for any space.

Corner frames are more intricate than traditional ‘flat’ frames but create stunning visual effects that add to the feel of any room. We expect that this exciting trend will continue in 2021.

Choose Us for Your Custom Picture Framing Tools & Supplies

For more than 20 years, Piel Associates has provided a quality picture framing service for our clients. The above custom picture framing trends are sure to attract more and more attention and interest as 2021 progresses.

For more information on our range of supplies and tools, contact our friendly team here. We look forward to talking with you.

Did you know?

Fletcher-Terry’s interchangeable cutting head technology ensures the FSC Multi-Material Cutter never becomes obsolete, making the FSC an outstanding long-term investment value for your business.

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  • Save Money – Reduced cutting errors mean savings on material scrap costs

Product Highlights:

  • Cuts clean and debris-free; no secondary processing
  • Includes Laser Sight Line Cutting Guide, eliminating guess work and costly errors in pre-print or post-printing process
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  • ACM V-Groove Cutting for fine adjustment increments and precise depth control
  • Ability to cut aluminum sheets up to .063″ in a single pass
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See the FSC in Action:

How Mirrors Are Made

How mirrors are made

The conventional modern mirror is usually nothing more than a sheet of glass attached to a thin layer of metallic backing. It seems as if mirrors have been around forever in some form or another, but mirrors as we know them today haven’t been around that long. As early as a thousand years ago, mirrors were still polished discs of plain metal that cost more than most people of that era could afford: A peasant who wanted to see his or her reflection had to go look in a pond like everyone else — and had to stand in line to do it. Full-length mirrors are an even more recent invention. They’re only about 400 years old.

You’d think that four centuries would give people time to adjust to looking at themselves, but you’d have another thing coming. In a 2005 study at the University of Liverpool, a group of researchers asked subjects to predict when their reflection would appear as they walked past a mirror. Their answers were embarrassingly off. The same poor results came back when people were asked to judge the size of their heads in the mirror

The results of the Liverpool study suggest that humans simply aren’t intuitively equipped to deal with reflections, yet mirrors resonate deeply in the human psyche. They represent truth and illusion at the same time. They show us ourselves as we are — yet not quite — and we see a new world to explore behind the mirror that we can’t access. Perhaps these disorienting paradoxes are what make mirrors so central to both magic and science.

How mirrors work

When humans started making simple mirrors around 600 B.C., they used polished obsidian as a reflective surface. Eventually, they started to produce more sophisticated mirrors made of copper, bronze, silver, gold and even lead. However, because of the weight of the material, these mirrors were tiny by our standards: They rarely measured more than 8 inches (20 centimeters) in diameter and were used mostly for decoration. One exception was the Pharos, the lighthouse of Alexandria, whose large metal mirror reflected sunlight during the day and the fire used to mark the lighthouse at night.

Contemporary mirrors did not come into being until the late Middle Ages, and even then their manufacture was difficult and expensive. One of the problems involved was the fact that the sand used for glassmaking contained too many impurities to produce real clarity. In addition, the shock caused by the heat of adding molten metal for backing almost always broke the glass

It wasn’t until the Renaissance, when the Florentines invented a process for making low-temperature lead backing, that modern mirrors made their debut. These mirrors were finally clear enough for artists to use. For example, architect Filippo Brunelleschi created linear perspective with a mirror to give the illusion of depth of field. In addition, mirrors helped jump-start a new form of art: the self-portrait. Later, the Venetians would conquer the mirror-making trade with their glass-making techniques. Their secrets were so precious and the trade so lucrative that renegade craftsmen who tried to sell their knowledge to foreign workshops were often assassinated.

At this point, mirrors were still only affordable for the rich, but scientists had noticed some alternative uses for them in the meantime. As early as the 1660s, mathematicians noted that mirrors could potentially be used in telescopes instead of lenses; James Bradley used this knowledge to build the first reflecting telescope in 1721. Despite the importance of this discovery, the fact remained that both were cost-prohibitive.

The modern mirror is made by silvering, or spraying a thin layer of silver or aluminum onto the back of a sheet of glass. Justus Von Leibig invented the process in 1835, but most mirrors are made today by heating aluminum in a vacuum, which then bonds to the cooler glass. Mirrors are now used for all kinds of purposes, from LCD projection to lasers and car headlights.