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Photo Mat Resources

ANATOMY OF A FRAME

SUMMARY: Whether you are displaying photos, fine art, or your child's watercolor, it is very important to properly frame and mat any piece of artwork. A slapdash approach can leave your photographs and other art yellowed and wrinkled. However, with proper care, your pieces can last for countless years.

Like most everything, matting and framing come with their own set of vocabulary. This simple diagram should provide you with the basic language of the framing and matting industry. Look at the glossary for a more complete listing of terms.

Framing Diagram

FROM BACK TO FRONT:

  • The frame is an important part of the presentation as a whole. It is necessary to choose a frame that works with both the image and the image's surroundings.
  • Glazing includes both glass and Plexiglass. Glass is often considered preferable because it does not scratch as easily as synthetic materials.
  • The window mat is a piece of cut mat board that protects the picture by keeping it from coming into contact with the glazing. The mat also provides the picture with "breathing room" so that it does not look cramped within the frame.
  • The image is hinged to the window mat or as seen in the diagram to the backing.
  • The backing board goes behind everything, providing an extra layer of protection and support.

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