Frame Mat Guide: Selecting, Sizing, and Styling

Frame Mat Guide: Selecting, Sizing, and Styling

Delve into the world of framing perfection with our comprehensive guide to frame mats. As an essential yet often overlooked component, mat boards in picture frames play a crucial role in elevating the presentation of your artwork, photographs, and prints.


In this frame mat guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about frame mats, from their purpose and benefits to tips for selecting the perfect one for your project.


Get ready to discover how this simple addition can make a world of difference in enhancing the aesthetic appeal and longevity of your framed pieces.


What is a Frame Mat?


A frame mat, also known simply as a mat or matting, is a thin, flat piece of material, typically made from paper or fabric, that sits between the artwork, photograph, or print and the frame's glass or acrylic. It serves several purposes, including providing visual appeal, protecting the piece, and creating space between the artwork and the glazing to prevent moisture build-up and potential damage.


A frame mat also adds depth and dimension to the presentation, drawing the viewer's eye into the artwork or photograph and enhancing its overall visual impact. When selecting a frame mat, considerations such as double mat or multiple mats come into play to ensure the perfect fit for your piece.


Large Matted Picture Frame


Why Use a Frame Mat?


Frame mats offer numerous benefits that contribute to both the aesthetic appeal and preservation of your piece. Firstly, they add depth and dimension to the framed item, drawing the viewer's eye into the piece and creating a sense of visual interest.


Additionally, mats help to separate the piece from the glazing, reducing the risk of damage from condensation or sticking to the glass over time.


Great Ways to Use a Frame Mat


Frame mats can be used in a variety of creative ways to enhance the presentation of your artwork, photographs, or prints. One popular technique is layering mats of different colors or widths to create a custom look that complements the piece and the surrounding decor.


Mats can also be used to create a sense of balance and proportion within a gallery wall or display, helping to unify disparate pieces.


How Do Frame Mats Help the Aesthetic? 


The aesthetic impact of a frame mat extends beyond traditional artwork to include photographs, art prints, and custom frame pieces as well. A well-chosen mat can enhance the colors and details of the piece, drawing attention to key elements and creating a cohesive look.


Additionally, mats can help to frame the piece within its surroundings, providing a visual transition between the piece and the wall. Consider factors such as mat size, mat color, and mat border to achieve the perfect mat for your artwork or photograph.


How Do Frame Mats Provides Protection?


One of the most critical functions of a frame mat is its role in protecting the piece from damage. By creating a buffer between the piece and the glazing, mats help to prevent moisture build up, mold growth, and direct contact with the glass, which can lead to sticking or damage over time.


Additionally, mats can provide UV protection, helping to preserve the colors and integrity of the piece. Overall, with proper matting, you can ensure that your cherished artwork or photographs remain in pristine condition for generations to come.



What Kind of Material Should I Choose? 

Frame mats are available in a variety of materials, each with its own unique properties and benefits. Traditional paper mats are economical and versatile, while fabric mats add a touch of luxury and texture to the framing presentation.


For archival purposes, it's essential to choose acid-free mats, which are pH-neutral and will not degrade or yellow over time.


What About Color?


The color of the mat can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of the framed piece. Neutral colors such as white, cream, or gray are versatile choices that work well with a wide range of pieces and interior styles.


For a more dramatic effect, consider using a mat in a bold or contrasting color to highlight key elements of the piece or to coordinate with other elements in the room. When selecting a mat color, it's essential to consider factors such as the predominant color of the artwork or photograph, the style of the piece, and the overall aesthetic you wish to achieve.


A perfect mat should complement the artwork while also providing more support and a professional finish. Whether you opt for a white mat to create white space around the piece or choose a mat color that matches the predominant color within the artwork, the right mat can enhance the presentation and elevate the visual impact of your framed piece.


And width? 


The width of the mat, also known as the border or reveal, can vary depending on personal preference and the size of the piece. A wider mat creates a more substantial border around the piece, drawing attention to it and providing a sense of importance.


On the other hand, a narrower mat allows the piece to take center stage, with less distraction from the surrounding border.


How to Layer a Mat


Layering mats is a popular technique for adding depth and visual interest to a framed piece. To layer mats effectively, start with a larger mat board in a neutral color as the base layer, then add a smaller mat in a contrasting color or texture on top.


Experiment with different combinations until you achieve the desired look, keeping in mind the overall aesthetic and style of the piece. When layering mats, consider factors such as frame size, typically measured mat opening, mat window dimensions, and ensuring that both mats are the same size or standard size to fit the print size appropriately.


Additionally, opt for mats with a cream core to provide a polished finish and ensure that the outside dimensions match the frame's dimensions.


Other Factors to Consider:




Consider the thickness of the frame mat, as thicker mats provide a more substantial border and added protection for the piece.


    Texture and Finish

    Pay attention to the texture and finish of the mat to ensure it complements the artwork or photograph.


      Acid-Free or Archival Quality

      Opt for mats labeled as acid-free or archival quality to prevent degradation over time and preserve the quality of the piece.



        Picture Frame with Mat

        All in all, frame mats are a versatile and essential component of any framing project, whether you're framing artwork, photographs, or prints. From enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the piece to providing crucial protection and preservation, frame mats play a vital role in framing success.


        By understanding the various options and considerations involved in selecting and styling frame mats, you can ensure that your framed pieces look their best for years to come.


        So, next time you embark on a framing project, remember the importance of choosing the right frame mat to elevate your display to new heights of elegance and sophistication.


        For more framing tips and inspiration, be sure to check out our other blog posts or explore our selection of frames, including Large Matted Frame, Picture Frame Set of 2 with Mat, and Retro National Parks Gallery Art - Matted. With the right frame mat, you can transform any piece into a stunning focal point for your home or office with Americanflat.

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