Monday, May 13, 2013

IKEA RIBBA Frame (42cm x 52cm) Review

A frame was broken (aha, not "my" frame, "a" frame), so I had to get a replacement. I got quoted for $80 just to replace the glass of a metal frame, and the price of a brand new frame was $70, so I just decided to go the Ikea route.

Unfortunately, it appears that you really do get what you pay for and Ikea can definitely be on the bad part of the "cheap" side on occasion. After much research, the closest match I could find for the broken frame was the 42cm x 52cm RIBBA that goes for a whole $14.99. For a savings of $55 and up, it'd be stupid not to give it a shot, right? One important thing to note is that the contents of the old, broken frame consisted of a diploma and a very large, oversized mat with the school's name emblazoned on one end. It was imperative (preferable...) to be able to keep that mat intact and unmodified.

One long subway ride to Ikea and back later, I got home with the RIBBA and managed not to nail anyone with it in any packed subway cars or stations. The item wasn't too hard to carry back weighing in at "just" 5 lb (website) -- remember this number because it'll be important later.


IKEA RIBBA Frame: 42cm x 50cm - $14.99
*Home Depot Brass Angle-Brackets - $4.99 for 4


Tear open plastic, try not to break any nails opening fiberboard backing, clip on hanger supports onto backing, tie on stainless steel (I hope) hanger wire, put in picture, close the backing, and done. Easy-peasy.

Remember that thing about getting your money's worth? Well, having a craptastic piece of furniture or wall item that's screwed/bolted to a surface is one thing. But having a 5 lb, fragile glass death trap hanging a few feet off the ground attached by two really flimsy looking clips is another.

This framing project took a trip to Home Depot and another hour two finish up. I had absolutely no faith in the hangers provided, especially because this was a "gift" and not going to be under my batshit crazy and paranoid watchful eye. Also, do your own googling on RIBBA frames, and there appear to be people who have had RIBBAs fail on them.

What I ended up doing was going to Home Depot, buying some brass L-brackets/ angles/ angle-bracket (an L-shaped piece of metal with screw holes) for $4, and screwing those onto the RIBBA frame. They were across from the picture hanger hardware section -- no, I didn't like the wares they had for hanging pictures. I found some that were small enough to fit in the space behind the frame, so they weren't sticking out. Also, the screws were short enough that I could screw them all the way in with only a few washers (or cardboard in my case) and not have them go through the frame.

Ikea RIBBA Angle Bracket Reinforcement
In addition, I used the supplied clip, but ditched the wire -- I tied it terribly and it was a pain to tie. I did both to be safe because the penetration depth of the screws wasn't great, and the frame is made of fiberboard. To top it off, I used a paperclip chain to "reinforce" the string hanger. Triple redundancy?

The backing is also annoying to attach. To save on costs, I guess, Ikea decided to use about 10 metal tabs to hold the backing on. With my grossly overpriced university diploma frames, the backings are attached using plastic clips that clip into the back of the frame. They rotate, are very easy to turn and twist, and they have an easily identifiable "on and off" position. With these metal tabs, you bend them up and bend them down using either your finger nails or something hard. I would try not to use my nails -- again -- because they can come off.

Ikea RIBBA Frame Backing Support Tabs and Supplied Hanger
It's stable for a frame hung on a string/wire after I reinforced it. As it came, the RIBBA was on the flimsy side. Maybe the clip and hangers work fine, but if it doesn't there goes $15. Thank you, fragile glass.

Expandability / Customizability

Only "aftermarket" stuff. Otherwise, Ikea has lots of pictures. Lots and lots of pictures you can buy and swap out when you feel like it.

Everyday Use

It hangs there. If it doesn't move, I'm super happy. As provided, the RIBBA frame appeared cheap in a bad way. I did not feel secure letting it hang on the wall using the factory provided mounting hardware. I'll give Ikea the benefit of the doubt and assume that they thoroughly tested their product, but this is one of those tough love things that I don't really want to take a chance on.

Still, for $15 plus $4 for the cost of some brackets (I got four per pack with screws), dirt cheap string you can use for other things, it's hard not to recommend this frame. I just wish I had my drill available to make screwing those brackets in easier.