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Types of Mat Board for Picture Framing

With all the choices and terminologies used in the framing and mat board industry it can be difficult to make an informed selection and get what you really need or want. With this guide we hope to help in that understanding all in one place. In the sections below you will find detailed information on not just the three main categories of mat board but what we carry in each sub group.

In the manufacture picture mat board, there are three components typically used. From our Economy, Conservation and Museum lines of picture matting, Redimat covers them all.

  • Paper Mat Board (wood pulp)
  • Alpha Cellulose Mat Board (purified wood pulp)
  • RagMat Board (cotton)

Economy Mats

Our economy grade picture matting comes in Cream Core, White Core, Black Core, Double Thick Gallery Board and Suede surface White Core materials. Our decorative line of mats are available in a large selection of colors and are suitable for most everyday matting needs. 4ply, approx 1/16" thick or 8ply, approx 1/8" in the Gallery Board. All are Buffered pH neutral (acid-free, non conservation)


  • CREAM CORE mat board has a light cream color core, is the most economically priced, and offers the most extensive range of color and texture options for non-conservation matting and framing.
  • WHITE CORE mat board provides the aesthetic and design benefits of a bright, stay-white core with the affordability of a cream core mat board.
  • BLACK CORE mat board adds a rich, dramatic touch to framing presentations. Dark gray backing paper eliminates black rub-off.
  • 8-PLY GALLERY BOARDS are double thick, giving you the look and sophistication found in art galleries and museums.
  • PREMIUM SUEDE matting has a fabric surface and bright stay-white core

Conservation Mats

100% virgin alpha cellulos premium quantity matting is acid-free, lignin-free and meets the industry's highest standards for conservation grade picture matting. 4ply, approx 1/16" thick or 8ply, approx 1/8" in the 8ply Solids.


  • SELECT WHITE CORE offers the widest selection of colors and is the most reasonably priced of the conservation boards.
  • CONSERVATION SOLIDS are solid color throughout and provide the museum and gallery look with conservation quality art protection.
  • 8-PLY CONSERVATION SOLIDS are double thick, creating deep, dramatic bevels, solid color throughout, providing the look of a museum board for a fraction of the price
  • SELECT BLACK CORE is a conservation grade mat board with a deep black core bevel that adds a rich dramatic look to your picture matting and art.
  • RAGMAT CONSERVATION by Crescent is color on cotton. The surface papers are acid-free and lignin-free alpha-cellulose fibers, and the colors are fade and bleed resistant. The core and backing paper is 100% cotton.
  • ALPHAMAT by Nielson-Bainbridge protects artwork from pollutant gases and from acid by-products using the Artcare Process. The alpha-cellulose fiber used is acid-free and lignin-free. Alphamat has a solid white archival core and colors are fade and bleed resistant.

Museum Mats

Nothing compares to the quality and permanence of 100% Cotton Museum RagMat by Crescent Cardboard and Nielsen Bainbridge, the recognized leaders in the manufacturing of paper and board for the framing and art materials market. RagMat Museum mat board meets the highest specifications for museums and archivists worldwide. Museum Rag provides optimum archival quality protection for fine works of art on paper or other materials. Recommended for extremely valuable and original works or art, rare and antique documents and items of historical importance. 4ply, approx 1/16" thick or 8ply, approx 1/8".


  • RAGMAT MUSEUM SOLIDS are 100% cotton and provide optimum archival quality protection for fine works of art on paper. 4ply, approx 1/16"
  • UN-BUFFERED RAGMAT MUSEUM SOLIDS are recommended for many photographic emulsions such as albumen, dye transfers, chromogenic prints and cyanotypes, as well as animal based materials such as leather, silk, and wool that require a low alkaline environment. 4ply, approx 1/16"
  • 8-PLY RAGMAT MUSEUM SOLIDS are 100% cotton, double thick, and when cut provide a dramatic, deep bevel, an incomparable impact often used in galleries and art museums. 8ply, approx 1/8"
  • ALPHARAG by Nielson-Bainbridge is 100% cotton and one of the highest quality mats available. Alpharag utilizes the Artcare Process for protecting artwork from pollutant gases in the air and from acid by-products that might be present in surrounding frame or other materials. 4ply, approx 1/16"

About Mat Board Cores

When a window is cut into a mat board it will expose the core of the material. All windows are cut at a 45 degree bevel and exposes the core color of the matting. The four typical types are described below. The bevel is approximatelyy 1/8" wide for 4ply matting and approximately 1/4" for our thicker 8ply boards.

Cream Core Picture Matting Example

Cream Core

White Core Picture Matting Example

White Core

Black Core Picture Matting Example

Black Core

Solid Color Core Picture Matting Example

Solid Colors

  • CREAM CORE economy mat board has a light cream color core, is the most economically priced, and offers the most extensive range of color and texture options for non-conservation matting and framing.