How to Order Mat Board

Written by Mark Rogers

In today's digital world, it’s easy to keep photographs nestled deep within a computer, or stash artwork deep within a closet. This is as true for professional photographers and artists as it is for amateurs.

Sometimes, though, we’re compelled to display a really special piece. Maybe it’s your child’s adorable drawing of a sibling or a vacation photograph that takes your breath away. Or you have a new client, and you want to blow them over with the presentation of your commissioned work.

Now that you’ve decided that framing this two-dimensional masterpiece is a must, incorporating a mat board can make it even more eye-catching. Mat board, also referred to as picture frame mat, is an optional board surrounding the artwork, sitting between the image and the glass. On the Frame Destination Home Page, you can order mat board by itself, or as part of the picture frame under the Custom Frame tab.

In this video, I’ll show you how to order mat board online from us.

Single, double or triple?

Your first decision will be whether you want a single, double or triple mat. You can get helpful guidance under the How To tab on our home page, and click Framing Guides in the drop-down menu. Then click on the sixth bullet point, Mat Board Styles (single/double/triple), where you’ll see examples of a painting that’s been framed with one, two and three mats.

What type of mat?

Your next choice will be the type of mat. Variety is a beautiful thing, and that’s what you get on our website. From cost-effective wood-pulp mat board to museum-quality archival, Frame Destination gives you options. Simply click on the How To tab again. Choose Framing Guides from the drop-down menu, then choose the fifth bullet point, Mat Board Types for Picture Frames. Here you’ll find thorough descriptions so you can make the appropriate choice for the project at hand.

Specifying a single mat board.
To give you a simple example to follow, let’s go with Crescent Select 4Ply as the mat type. This mat type offers the most colors. (There’s also a whole new set of Metallic colors, as well.) Cabana Blue looks good to me, so I’ll go with that.

Sizing: Now we can move into the frame and mat sizing options. For the mat, there are actually two sizes: the artwork size — which is the size of what you’re framing — and the frame size — which is the outside dimension of the mat, and the inside dimension of the frame. Be sure to measure the width and height of your artwork before you select a size. Measure only the visible part of the image, not the paper itself.

Once you have the dimensions, you might be able to pick from our 100 “Popular Sizes” dropdown menu. Or you can customize the size; customizing gives you the chance to change the artwork “overlap,” which is how much the mat is going to cover your image. In the video, I show you an example of this. The default overlap for most of our mats under 18x24” is 1/8 inch, covering 1/4” of the entire image.

(If you’d rather not cover up any of your image, no worries. We have a special option called “Negative Overlap.” I go into that more in the video so you can see exactly how to do it.)

Borders: With your Mat Window Opening size now set, you can control how large the borders are. Our website gives you two ways to do that:

1. Enter the “Frame Size,” which is the outside dimensions of the mat.
2. Enter the side and top border dimensions under “Mat Size.”

Would you like to make the bottom of the mat a bit thicker? Simply enter 1” for the “Bottom Weight” and then the bottom will be 1” larger than the top and sides.

Whether you enter the border dimensions or the frame size, our website automatically calculates the other dimensions needed. You can see all of your final measurements on the left side of the screen: Artwork Size, Mat Window Opening, Frame Inside and Frame Outside. So you know exactly what you’re getting from your order.

That’s everything you need to know to order a single mat!

Double or triple your mat.

If you really want to trick out your frame, go with double or triple mat boards. Of course a triple mat will have three total mats, so you’ll have two additional mat types and two sets of colors to specify. In my video example, I’m going with a red top mat and a blue bottom mat. Each mat has another subtle feature: the “Offset,” which determines how much of the bottom mat is visible. The default is 1/4”, but you can make it larger so that you see more of the bottom mat.

One more special option.

Let’s go back to a single mat for a moment so I can show you one how to make the mat window larger than your artwork so none of it is covered. Under artwork size you make the “Artwork Overlap” negative. For example if you set it to negative ½ inch this will create a ½ border around the artwork where the mounting board or the paper the print is on can be seen if the paper is larger than then the print. If you would like to make this border a particular color you can add a blank mat (solid mat board with no window cut) under the window mat. Under our “Advanced Options,” add a blank mat. The result is a pretty cool effect that gives you another layer of color between the artwork and the regular mat.

I hope this post has been helpful! If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out by phone, email or chat. Don’t forget that our website’s How To section has lots of videos under the Framing Guides.

Keep creating, and happy framing.

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