Menu Close

Why Are Diploma Frames So Expensive? [6 Reasons 2023]


After several years of hard work, you’ve finally graduated! Whether it’s from high school, college, or a specialty program, graduating is a feat of which anyone should be proud.

What better way to celebrate that accomplishment than by framing your hard-won diploma?

When you first look at diploma frames, however, you may raise an eyebrow at how much they can cost.

Buying a diploma-specific frame can cost a pretty penny, but there are a lot of factors that go into that final price.

Diploma frames are so expensive because of the archival quality of the materials. Diplomas can also come in larger or more unusual sizes, necessitating the use of special frame sizes. If you custom frame your diploma, you’re also paying for the technical skill that job requires, as well as a potential markup for the special occasion. Finally, if the diploma is a gift, you could be paying more for the rush work or shipping.

Before you decide whether the price tag is worth it, here are more details about what makes diploma frames so expensive.

1. Specialty Markup

Framers know all about the value their customers put on their diplomas, and that can affect the final price. If a framer knows you’re purchasing a frame specifically for your diploma, they’ll likely show you a selection of frames just for that purpose.

These are likely high-quality frames, but even so, they’ll have a higher price tag than usual. Like weddings, if a company or frame shop knows you’re buying for a special occasion, they know you’ll be more willing to pay a higher price.

See also  Most Expensive and Least Expensive Cities to Own a Home in Ohio

2. Value Of The Diploma

A diploma is worth more than just your tuition fees. It is a symbol of your accomplishments, and you want it to look good on your wall. You also want it to last as long as possible without fading.

Therefore, you’re more willing to do more to make sure the frame for the diploma is high-quality.

This not only means you’ll take more time to pick out the right frame and design, but you’ll also be willing to spend more on it than you would a more mundane document or picture.

3. Archival Materials 

None of this is to say that there’s no tangible reason diplomas should cost so much. The materials used in professional framing help persevere your diploma for years to come, and those specialty materials aren’t cheap.

It’s not just age that can deteriorate paper. UV rays, the acidity of the paper itself, acidity from the wood of the frame – all of these can shorten the life of your hard-earned diploma.

In order to protect your diploma from damage, framers recommend acid-free matting and UV-resistant glass or acrylic.

They also use specialty tapes to mount your diploma in place and seal the edges of your chosen frame, which helps prevent the natural acid from leeching towards your document.

Off-the-floor frames might have the size and colors you need, but they might not be preservative materials.

All of those materials add up, and you end up with a price tag that’s significantly higher than a cheap, off-floor frame with no protection against natural damage.

See also  Average Cost of Police Departments in America

4. Rush Ordering

Diploma frames are part of the New York Times’ list of best graduation gifts. A proud new graduate is going to want to display the proof of their achievement as soon as possible, so it’s a natural gift idea.

However, since it’s difficult to prepare that kind of gift before the diploma is received, you may find yourself with a shorter timeframe in which to get the job done.

This can lead to additional “rush” charges from the frame shop to put your job at the top of the list, or to ship it as fast as possible once it’s done.

Most people don’t want their diploma to sit around in a mailing tube for too long; they want it on the wall in plain view. That quick turnaround can end up costing more than a typical framing job.

5. Customization Options

From the frame style to the color of the mats, framing offers a lot of different customization options.

Some people like to use their school colors to influence the framing style, while others might base it around the room in which the frame will hang.

Buying off the rack might not guarantee the right look. Additionally, you likely won’t get the archival quality you want for your diploma.

Custom framing is always going to cost more than just buying something off the floor. It’s a technical job and requires special training to do properly. So, you’re paying for the skills as well as the labor.

6. Size

Customization comes in handy when you think about the size of diplomas. This isn’t a question of style, but of necessity.

See also  Does McDonald's Take Google Pay & Samsung Pay in 2023?

While many diplomas are a standard 8.5″ x 11″, the size can vary by school and by degree.

If your program uses an unusual size, you’re going to have trouble finding the right mats and frame. Your best bet is going to be a custom-cut mat, and possibly even a custom-size frame, which will cost you more than average.


A diploma is a tangible product of what can be years of hard work. Therefore, many people want to both display and preserve that evidence for years to come. The sentimental value of a diploma does drive up the final price, but there’s also the physical materials that go into the job.

Framing a diploma can be expensive because of the specialty archival materials, as well as the time and specialized labor that go into creating the frame. You may also pay more for customization and rush ordering to put the diploma on display as soon as possible.

It’s your diploma, and it’s your decision how much you want to spend on framing it. Now you know exactly what you’re paying for when you buy a diploma frame, and you can feel more confident in whichever decision you make.