Matted presentations

Photograph by Mike Rebholz

Artwork by Laurie Frick

This presentation is used when you want to cover the edges of the  photograph or work on paper and the mat is deep enough to provide a separation from the glazing.  This is often done when the artwork has large borders around the image or has edges that are frayed or damaged.

The first step is to measure the amount of the artwork you want to show. Be sure and measure in at least 1/8″ from each edge (on larger pictures we recommend a minimum 1/4″) to ensure the artwork lies flat and is secure under the mat.

If the photograph or artwork is signed, often the measurement for the inside dimension of the mat is 1/4 – 1/2″ from the image and enough at the bottom to ensure the signature shows.

Border Size
As the size of the mat increases, the size of the mat border increases, too. We seldom recommend mat borders less than 2″. If the photograph or artwork has large borders you will need to make the mat large enough to cover the borders. As the artist you can trim the borders if you want to have a smaller mat. As a framer we never recommend trimming original artwork.

Sizes ranging from 16 x 20 and up generally get 2 1/2″ – 5″ borders. Traditionally, mat borders are equal on the top and sides and 1/4″ – 1″ extra on the bottom border. Visually this seems to make the mat borders look even. However, many artists prefer to make all borders even so they can use and reuse the mats on either horizontal or vertical pictures.

Custom mat calculator
Just measure your artwork and decide on the border size and our new custom calculator will do the rest.

Hinging methods
Metropolitan has framing advice and videos on different methods of hinging or securing the artwork to the matboard when using a mat. Click to see videos on using a T-Hinge,  plastic mounting cornerspaper mounting corners, or edge strips.


Methods of attaching matted photographs or works on paper to backing board


plastic mounting corners

Paper mounting corners

Edge strips