How to Choose a Diploma Frame

Written by Mark Rogers

When it’s time for you or your child to walk across the stage and accept that hard-earned diploma, you don’t want that moment of pride to end. To hold onto that feeling, give your certificate or degree a place of prominence in your home or office in a complete diploma frame that is perfectly suited to your school, degree or personality.

Wood or Metal Diploma Frame

The first decision you’ll make when choosing a diploma or certification frame is whether it will be a wood or metal frame. When choosing between wood or metal frame for your diploma, look at the decor of the room in which your diploma will be displayed as well as how many degrees and certificates will be displayed alongside it.

Wood frames are the more common choice, as degrees are generally formal documents with calligraphy that seems perfectly suited to traditional tastes. Wood frames look best when paired with similarly style spaces, marked by larger upholstered furniture, patterns, knickknacks and curved lines, the latter of which can often be reflected in the style of the frame itself.

Metal frames, with their straight, sleek shapes, add a certain modern sophistication and interesting contrast to formal documents. A metal frame complements chic, modern decor, which is characterized by simple and minimalistic accessories, neutral colors and spaces with clean lines. The choice of black, silver or gold — all of which are available at Frame Destination in readymade diploma frame sets — depends on the other accessories in the room.

If you plan to arrange multiple certificates in the room, choose simpler frames in either wood or metal. Frames with accent colors and more elaborate faces work best when used as a focal point, not when competing with each other for attention. If you are buying the frame to give as a gift, opt for a more neutral frame — a simple black wood frame or metal frame is timeless.

Mat Board for Diploma Frames

When framing your diploma, an important document, it should be protected by mat board. The mat board not only accentuates the diploma but prevents it from coming into contact with the glazing or other parts of the frame. You can often request (and pay and wait for) a replacement diploma if yours is damaged or lost, but it may not feel the same — it’s not the document you received on that special graduation day.

High-quality mat board is used in all of our frames, many of which provide archival protection. Museum-quality archival mat board is available in white and off-white, making it a perfect complement to your degree.

Many colored mat boards are not archival due to the dye used, so if you want to add some color to your frame, you can choose to decorate the mat board with a painted bevel or a ribbon in your school’s colors, or you can even order another mat board cut with a smaller opening to create a double mat. Note, however, that any embellishments or additional non-conservation mat board you add to the frame may damage the diploma in the long-term if the materials are not suitable. If you’d rather not risk damaging your diploma by decorating your mat board, we carry a variety of archival colored mat boards that you can easily add to your frame.

Mount Board

Your diploma should be mounted — preferably using an archival mounting method — to backing board, also called mount board, to stay in place and further protect it from damage. Just like mat board, mounting board is available in archival options; the collection of Frame Destination diploma frames uses acid-free mount board to provide superior protection. If you’re already using archival mat board, it is sensible to also use archival mount board.


The glazing is one of the last guards against damage for diplomas in picture frame — and just like the mat board and mount board, it is beneficial to get glazing that offers protection. Diplomas and certificates are generally 8-1/2 x 11 or 11 x 14, making glass an ideal choice (acrylic is often chosen for larger artwork due to its weight and inability to shatter).

The best glass for certificate frames features a UV filter, which prevents fading, discoloration and deterioration due to the sun’s harmful rays. All readymade frames from Frame Destination use Artglass UV-filter glass glazing.

You should be proud of your diploma, degree or certificate, whether you, your child or other family member or friend earned it. Give it the recognition it deserves in an elegant museum-quality degree frame that’s ready to hang.

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