A quick tutorial for mat and frame

A quick tutorial on how to properly mat a photograph or artwork for display or frame.

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Have you ever come across an old photograph of an uncle or grandparent? Excited to have this treasure you decide to put it into a new frame. As you start to remove the backing you discover that there is a lot of fragile pegs or yellowed tape holding the photo in place.

Having been a Creative Memories consultant in the 1990s, and also having a background in photographic preservation when I worked on my Art History degree, I know the importance of taking the time to use any products available that will keep the photo or artwork in good shape into the future. Proper hinging is essential. It aligns artwork in the mat and frame, stabilizes and protects it, and adds the final professional touch that art buyers expect. Hinging isn't difficult at all if you follow these simple steps:

1. Secure your artwork

  • Photograph or Artwork: Make sure your work is ready to be mounted, damage-free, and sized of course, so you can select the right-sized mat board.

  • Economy Matboard: This board is best suited for casual hinging and all-purpose framing of amateur photography and less valuable professional photographs, posters, fine art prints, and even craft projects.

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2. Prepare your workspace

An ideal space is a large table: clean, dry, and well lit. Wiping down the area is important as even a small spec of dirt can damage a photograph or scratch artwork.

3. Assume the materials and position the art or photo

For this sample, I am using an 11 x 14 white mat board with a smooth finish. The inner dimension measures 7.5 x 9.5 and is designed to fit 8 x 10 artwork. The backing board measures the same size as the mat board.

The following 5 minute video will walk you through the process:

Remember, the purpose of a mat is to help keep your artwork safe by separating the glass from the art or whatever it is being framed. Having a mat in between your artwork and framing glass is important because any condensation that might develop on the inside of the glass can be transferred to your art causing water damage, mold, or mildew.

The hinge method is shown in this video purposely "moves" within the frame as air circulates in the frame itself. Scotch taping all four corners (which is what I have done in the past) results in yellow tape, which dries over time and contributes to the break-down of the artwork or photo.

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Mary Washington House Fredericksburg Virginia

See the story behind my Fredericksburg Series: A change of pace and style.


As I learned more about cutting mats, I invested in a starter Logan product shown here at Amazon. I later upgraded to the

Logan 301-1 cutting board system.

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Thank you for visiting my mat tutorial. Another post to view: Mats for your frames - DIY

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