How to Select Mats
How to Selecting Mat Board

The Purpose of a Matboard

Originally in Museums the Mats were to keep a space between the artwork and the glass or glazing so nothings will touch the art itself.  Since most art under glass is made of paper or cloth; photographs, drawings, prints, watercolors, cross stitch etc. You will notice that these items are made from natural products and paper is organic which is to say that it was made from a alive tree. The paper will absorbe moisture and dry out as the weather conditions change; such as turning on and off an air conditioning, raining in the summer and dry with heating in the winter. The paper is moving in the frame all the time

To prevent the paper from sticking to the glass a spacing was selected. In the beginning the only mats were white, but as decorating became more popular color mats were added to accent and enhance the artistic  appeal.

Regular mat board are buffered acid free and will stay acid free ph netural for about 7 years. 100% Cotton Rag will stay ph neutral for 50 to 100 years. If your art is more valuable you can select the matting appropriate for your art work, remembering we never know what will be priceless in the future. You surely would not want to know that by not selecting the highest quality of matboard you destroyed the value of a piece of art.

What colors to select

1. Look at the three most dominate colors in the work.

2. You could select one or several of these colors in various values. Never mat with a color that is not in the art.

3. If  there is one color that you would like to stand out, say you have a landscape and there is a red cardinal singing in the tree. If you select a mat of red this would help to make the bird stand out more.

4. The colors should not be lighter than the lighest color ( Example: you have a painting with a lot of creamy whites do not select a Bright pure white. Your eye will be attracted to the outside mat not step your eye into the artwork

5. The color should not be darker than the darkest color. Example if there is no black in the painting do not a select a black mat, select the darkest color ..dark green, violet etc. Your eye will look at the foreign color to the outside of the art work not at the subject.

6. When using 2 mats use complimentary colors, colors opposite on the color wheel; green and red, yellow and violet, blue and orange in their varying shades of tones and tints. Example you might select a moss green and a pale pink (red) or golden yellow  and a light violet grey or  White tinted with orange and a dark blue.


7. I like to have the lighest mat color outside and the darker color nex to the art. You eye goes from the frame into the light and then follows the darker mat into the art work.

8. Bring the art work and samples of fabrics, cushions, photos of area you plan to hang work and the final dimension for the finished work see the Mat Colors below.