All About Matboard

All About Matboard

Reasons to use







This information was provided for your assistance courtesy of Crescent Cardboard®.


This information was provided for your assistance courtesy of Tru-Vue®.


A Mat Is More Than Just a Pretty Color


Careful selection of the matboards can result in a perfect complement to the picture within the frame. Visually, the matboards provide "breathing room" from any distractions on the surrounding wall. Providing your framer with enough information about the environment in which you plan to hang the framed piece will allow she or he to select matboards that will tie the artwork into your overall room setting or color scheme.


Your framer is armed with a number of creative techniques that employ color, including double- and triple-matting; embellishments such as accent lines, paints, or gold leafing; using fabrics; or special die-cuts.


Think about the effect you want the framed artwork to create. Let the framer know if a subdued, elegant, or vibrant look is most appropriate for the room where the art will hang. The mats surrounding your image can be made bold or discreet, playful or ornate.


This is all very nice, but not the most important reason we use a matboard in the first place.


Matting is the border that surrounds your art within the frame. It is more than just a pretty color; the purpose of matting is both cosmetic and protective.


Certainly one of the reasons we use matboards to encase art is to bring out the colors in an image while drawing in the eye. There are many creative and elegant techniques that can be used which can add distinction to your framed piece. The addition of matting can mean the difference between an insignificant piece that gets lost on a wall and a dramatic one tha serves as a perfect accent for a room.


Matboard, as a graphic element, can serve to highlight a color, accent a shape, or increase the overall size of the framed piece. Color obviously plays an important role in this transformation process. For example, using a black matboard has the effect of "lightening" and "enlarging" the artwork, while using a white matboard serves to "darken" and "shrink" the image.


The main purpose of matting is to keep the cover glass from coming into contact with the framed subject matter. This also provices an area where air can circulate. Differences in temperature between the outside and inside of the frame can cause moisture to condense behind the glass. This moisture may damage the inks and colors and can serve as a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and fungi. Placing the material directly against the glass will result in buckles, wrinkles, mold formation, and "sticking" to the glass.



Using higher-quality matboard-- specifically, conservation quality matboard such as Tru Vue® UltiMat® or UltiBlack®-- is essential to protecting your artwork. Matboard that is not rated as conservation quality contains elements that will damage your artwork over time. These "natural" substances include acids and lignins. Through the aging process, which is intensified by sunlight and heat, the matboard "burns" or discolors the art that it surrounds.


Conservation matboard eliminates this concern because all lignins and acids have been removed. As an added benefit, Tru Vue® UltiMat® and UltiBlack® feature an alkaline buffer to neutralize future shifts in acidity within the frame.


Be sure to tell your framer how important your art is to you by specifying the use of conservation quality matboard whenever you want to preserve the condition of the piece you are framing.