Mat board, also referred to as matting, is a heavy-duty, paper-based material used in the framing process. When you build a custom frame at a frame store, you can use matting behind your artwork. Mat boards essentially act like spacers to allow sufficient room for your display piece to contract and expand due to changes in humidity, and they also enhance the overall look of the finished piece. Learn about the various types of mat boards and the benefits of each. |
Standard or Acid-Free
Most standard mat boards are considered acid-free, which means that the material has been buffered. Through the buffering process, the center and backing paper is treated with magnesium or calcium carbonate to neutralize the matting's pH level. Buffering agents are important in preventing acids from reaching your display piece.
Cotton Rag or "Rag" Board
Many types of mat boards are constructed of cotton and layered for strength. Cotton rag is naturally acid-free and is durable enough for long-term conservation. This premium matting option is available in a wide range of colors and thicknesses depending on the look you're trying to achieve when displaying your artwork.
Alpha-Cellulose or Conservation Mat Board
Alpha-cellulose is a resilient type of matting made from wood fibers and chemically altered to be acid free. This option is perfect for individuals looking for a high-quality material without the cost of museum-quality materials. Alpha-cellulose products are often white or cream colored but can sometimes be found in gray or black hues.
V-groove mats create the illusion of double matting in a picture frame. When you visit a frame store, you may want to choose V-groove if you're attempting to elevate the look of your artwork and draw the viewer's eyes to the center of the picture. This is accomplished with a thin white line that is carved around the perimeter of the paper.
Wood Pulp or Paper Mat Board
If you're in need of inexpensive matting for artwork or for a project that will only be framed temporarily, wood pulp or paper is an excellent option. Wood pulp should not be used long-term, as it will begin to show signs of deterioration after several years. You can generally find this option in white or a cream color.
Bottom-weighted mats are designed to have more width on the bottom and less width on the sides and top. Photographers who desire a museum quality to their framed artwork often use this option.
Before you visit a frame store, you will want to make sure that you know and understand the various types of mat boards available. Using the right material during the photo-framing process can have a big impact on your finished product and your artwork's longevity. Fortunately, there are many quality choices that will help ensure that your artwork is beautifully displayed and well-protected for many years.
Need to have your artwork customized at a frame store? Cumberland County, PA residents can learn more about their options by visiting http://www.artworksgalleries.com/.
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