Understanding Mat Board Window Openings

Today, let’s talk about mat board window openings. It may not sound like an exciting topic, but understanding how to calculate mat board window opening sizes is a crucial skill for DIY picture framers.

The mat window opening, also known as the exact mat opening, is the opening that is cut in a mat board through which the image can be viewed.

mat window opening example

Standard mat window openings are cut slightly smaller than the actual image size — this is called “cropping” the image. The opening is smaller in order to cover the edge of the image or any surrounding white border if it is a print. This is both an aesthetic (it looks better) and a practical choice; you don’t want the image to fall through the window opening if it’s cut too large!

Standard, off-the-shelf frames that come with mats usually crop ¼ inch on all four sides. Frame Destination cuts our popular size mat windows 1/8-inch smaller than the image to allow for maximum exposure of your image without a loss of detail. For images that are larger than 18” x 24”, our standard crop is ¼-inch.
Example: Your image measures exactly 8” x 10”. This is the actual image size, exclusive of any white borders, if it is a print. If you choose an 8” x 10” mat in one of our popular sizes, the actual window opening size will be 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”, which crops 1/8-inch of the image on all four sides.

Example: Your image measures exactly 8” x 10”. This is the actual image size, exclusive of any white borders, if it is a print. If you choose an 8” x 10” mat in one of our popular sizes, the actual window opening size will be 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”, which crops 1/8-inch of the image on all four sides.

mat window dimensions

If you prefer less or more cropping of the image, check the “customize this preset frame size” box and select your preferences. You can also always contact us for advice on the best mat window opening size for your artwork.

About the author

author

Mark Rogers is an amateur photographer and the founder of Frame Destination, Inc. In 2004 Mark realized the framing industry was not keeping up with the evolution of photography via new digital technology and started Frame Destination in his garage. Now his company has thousands of do-it-yourself framing customers across the US that it helps with its 11,000 square feet production facility in Dallas, TX.

5 thoughts on “Understanding Mat Board Window Openings”

  • Carolyn

    I have a poster (10 actually) that is printed full bleed on 11 x 17 stock, i only want about 1/4 to 1/2 inch cover by the mat and I will put it in a barnwood frame. Do I need a mat opening of 10.5 by 16.5?
    and if the mat is 1 inch wide - wht is the opening of the frame. i know the width of the frame runners could be 1 to several inches but what is the opening? the poster is the banner on my website - the village of our carvings.

    Reply
    • Mark Rogers

      If you make the mat opening 10.5 x 16.5 then the mat will cover up 1/4 inch on all 4 sides. This makes it easy to get placed in the mat but if you want more of the poster to show you can 10.75 x 16.75. Most frames overlap the mat by about 3/16 inch. 1" is kind of small. I would go at least 1-1/2 inch which results in the outer mat size and frame size of 13-3/4 x 19-3/4 if you go for the 10.75x16.75 opening.
      We have more info about frame dimensions here:
      http://www.framedestination.com/picture_frame_info.html#dimensions
      Info about custom mats here:
      http://www.framedestination.com/frame.aspx?id=minstructions

      Reply
  • furnitureexperiments.wordpress.com

    Cherry colored wood picture frame might not be made up of solid cherry wood, so before you buy read the description carefully that the
    frame is not only of cherry or walnut colored but
    also they are made up of cherry tree wood. Father's day i0s
    the time to celebrate the spirit of fatherhood.

    The first choice you will have when it comes to selecting ready made picture frames is whether to use metal frames or wood frames.

    Reply
  • Toi

    I have a 10x15 single weight mat board print (50 pt depth), what size frame should I get?

    Reply
  • Mark Rogers

    Toi, if 10x15 is the outside of the mat and not the window size then you would order a 10x15 frame.

    Reply

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