Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

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Varnish
  • Acid Migration/Acid Outgassing

    The transfer of acid or contamination of acid from one material to an adjacent material.

  • Acid Neutralizer

    An alkaline substance, such as calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, bicarbonate, calcium hydroxide or methyl magnesium carbonate, that raises the pH of an acidic material; also known as a buffer. The framing industry most commonly uses calcium carbonate.

  • Acid-Free

    A material with a pH of 7 or higher. The high pH levels of acid-free paper delay discoloration and deterioration over time. Our standard mat board is buffered to an acid-free pH, lending it stability over time.

  • Acrylic Sheet

    A transparent plastic that is lightweight, weatherproof, shatter resistant, colorfast and rigid. It is generally used in framing as glazing and is available with ultraviolet filtering capability.

  • Adhesive

    A material, compound or substance that joins two surfaces together.

  • Alpha Cellulose

    The purest form of cellulose coming from wood pulp or cotton; also called purified wood pulp.

  • Archival Ink

    Advanced pigments designed to resist fading and weathering so they last a lifetime. We use only archival inks in the Epson printers at pictureframes.com.

  • Archival Paper

    Professional-grade, acid-free papers often made of 100% cotton rag. Our 100% cotton rag mat boards are ideal for conservation framing.

  • Archival-stub

    Materials that are the least harmful to the art being framed or stored so it lasts a lifetime and beyond; also called conservation quality. NOTE: Even the finest materials can be compromised by extremes in temperature, moisture and exposure to sunlight.

  • Backing Paper

    A strong wrapping paper, usually brown in color, available in various widths and weights on a roll. It is often used as a protective dust cover on the back of a framed item; also known as Kraft paper.

  • Barrier Paper

    A sheet of paper buffered to a pH of 7 or higher that is made as a protective sheet for archival work; may also be rag paper. It is also used as an economical, acid-free, lightweight drawing paper.

  • Bevel

    (1) v. To cut or shape the edge or end of a material to form an angle that is not 90 degrees, such as the bevel cut on the window edge of a mat.

    (2) n. A sloping edge or surface.

  • Blister

    A raised area indicating cleavage between the paint layer and the surface or between two layers of paint. Blistering is caused by external forces acting on a painting, such as heat or moisture.

  • Bloom Blush

    A whitish, cloudy or foggy effect on the surface of a varnished painting that can be caused by moisture condensation in the varnish. It can also be an inherent defect in the varnish itself; sometimes called "chill."

  • Buffer

    An alkaline substance, such as calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, bicarbonate, calcium hydroxide or methyl magnesium carbonate, that raises the pH of an acidic material; also known as an acid neutralizer. The framing industry most commonly uses calcium carbonate.

  • Bumper

    Small self-adhesive pads made of rubber, foam, cork or felt. They are used in pairs on the back of a frame to help hold the framed art away from the wall and allow air to circulate. Bumpers also help hold the framed item steady and protect the wall from scratches.

  • Canvas Board

    Common gray cardboard or pasteboard to which a white cotton cloth, prepared for painting, has been glued or pasted.

  • Canvas Pliers

    Heavy pliers with elongate jaws for grasping the edges of a piece of canvas for stretching on a stretcher frame.

  • Certificate of Authenticity

    A document confirming the authenticity, quantity and other details of a piece of art. It is typically signed by artist and given to the customer who purchases a print from an edition.

  • Chop Mark

    A chop mark is a stamp that is embossed on a print and identifies the printer or workshop. An artist signs a print to verify his or her involvement in the process; printers "sign" a print with a chop mark.

  • Conservation Framing

    The use of materials and procedures to prevent further deterioration of an older object. It has no adverse effect on the artwork and protects it from external damage. Also called preservation framing.

  • Conservator

    An individual responsible for the care, restoration and repair of works of art. He or she is trained in chemistry and restoration treatments.

  • Corrugated Cardboard

    A board consisting of two face papers separated by heavy paper with alternating grooves and ridges.

  • Cotton Linters

    Paper made from the short fibers (more than 90% cellulose) adhering to the cottonseeds after the first ginning. Also called rag mats.

  • Craze

    Hairline cracks in the varnish layer of a painting.

  • D-Rings

    A hanging device for mirrors and other heavy framed objects. A metal strap is folded through a heavy wire ring, the strap is then attached to the back of the frame (not the stretcher bars) with screws. Also called mirror hangers or strap hangers.

  • D.P.I. (Dots Per Inch)

    In a digital image, the number of pixels (or tiny dots) per square inch of area. The more pixels there are, the more detail and clarity there is in the print. Also referred to as P.P.I. (pixels per inch).

  • Deckle Edge

    The feathery, uneven edge of a sheet of handmade paper and some machine-made papers. We recommend that papers with deckled edges be float-mounted.

  • Deterioration

    The process whereby something disintegrates or breaks down from its original state.

  • Digital Archiving

    The process of digitally saving image and reproduction specifications, such as inks, sizes and tables. This enables a person to bypass the proofing process when reprinting and ensuring that all prints match one another.

  • Digital File

    The data from which editions are printed; also called a print file. It can be archived for future printing of editions, so that every print maintains the same visual qualities, regardless of when each print was created.

  • Digital Images

    Images produced from scanned images and photographs taken with a digital camera.

  • Dry Mounting

    A method of attaching a piece of paper or fabric art onto a firm support by means of a heat-activated adhesive, usually in sheet form.

  • Dust Cover

    A fine backing material, usually paper, that covers the entire back of the frame, usually adhered at the perimeter.

  • Edition

    The reproductions printed from one image are collectively called an edition. Editions can be open or limited.

  • Engraving

    An original hand-pulled print created by incising lines with a burin (a sharp pointed instrument), into a copper plate to form an image in reverse. The recessed lines hold the ink, which is then picked up by damp paper as it is run through a press.

  • Etching

    An original hand-pulled print created by covering a copper plate with a protective material and then removing thin lines of the covering with a pointed instrument. The plate is then submersed in acid, which bites into the exposed areas.

  • File Format

    Indicates how a computer document is encoded. We accept digital files in two different file formats — .jpeg and tif.

  • Filets

    Thin strips of wood or metal that forms a second inner "frame." The face of a filet usually trims a mat creating an additional border around an image.

  • Filler Board

    Material used at the back of a frame assembly to occupy a vacant space or provide rigidity.

  • Float

    A means of securing artwork to a rigid support so that all edges are visible.

  • Float Mounting

    A slotted or pass-through "S" hinge is used on float mounted pieces.

  • Float Mounting with Matting

    Float mounting is a unique framing treatment in which the art is suspended on a solid piece of mat board and placed in the middle of a mat window. This creates depth in the framed presentation, with the mounted artwork at the back of the frame, and the mat and glazing at the front.

  • Foxing

    Reddish-brown spots appearing on the surface of paper and related to mold growth or metallic impurities in the paper. High relative humidity, light and acid increase the appearance of these spots.

  • Giclee

    Giclee (pronounced “gee-clay”): A highly sophisticated inkjet printing process that was introduced in the late 1980s. It’s so sophisticated, in fact, that it produces prints, which truly capture the artist's original intent.

  • Glassine

    A smooth, glossy, transparent or translucent paper. It is used as a temporary covering over canvases to protect them from dust, dirt and abrasion.

  • Glazing

    A protective interface between the environment and the work of art including glass and acrylic sheets.

  • Glue

    Any viscous substance used to attach one object to another.

  • High-Resolution Image

    A digital image containing a large amount of data, usually a minimum of 300 d.p.i./p.p.i. when set at the desired print size.

  • High-Resolution Scan

    A sophisticated scan used to capture every detail of a fine image.

  • Hinge

    A small piece of paper or tape generally used to attach paper art to a mounting board.

  • Hydroscopic

    Absorbing or attracting moisture from the air.

  • Key

    A triangular, flat piece of wood or plastic inserted as a wedge into the corner of the canvas stretcher frame to control the tension of the painted canvas. Also called a wedge or stretcher key.

  • Kraft Paper

    A strong wrapping paper, usually brown in color, available in various widths and weights on a roll. It is often used as a protective dust cover on the back of a framed item; also known as backing paper.

  • Lignin

    The organic substance that binds plant fibers together. It is chemically unstable, highly light- and heat-sensitive, and becomes acidic as it breaks down, attacking the surrounding cellulose. For this reason, unrefined wood pulp is used only to make papers that do not require a long life span.

  • Limited Edition Print

    A work that is reproduced in a predetermined number of copies — most often ranging from 25 to 250 prints. Typically they include the artist's signature and are numbered in the form 135/250; the first number indicates the number of the piece and the second number indicates the size of the edition.

  • Linen Liners

    A fabric covered frame that sits within another frame. It usually replaces a mat or works as an enhancement to an original canvas artwork.

  • Lip

    The feature of a frame moulding that comprises the rabbet width.

  • Lithograph

    An original, hand-pulled print created by drawing with grease pencil on a smooth stone, inking the stone and transferring the image onto paper with the aid of a press. An "offset lithograph" is a reproduction of an original piece of artwork that is reproduced by photographic means.

  • Mat

    A border (usually made from mat board) placed around a print, photograph, etc., to serve as a decorative spacer or separation between the picture and the frame, and between the picture and the glazing.

  • Mat Board

    A multi-ply board usually comprised of a core, adhesive, facing and backing paper. May be rag board or made of wood fiber. The surface can be made of a variety of materials in a wide array of colors and textures.

  • Mirror Hangers

    A hanging device for mirrors and other heavy framed objects. A metal strap is folded through a heavy wire ring, the strap is then attached to the back of the frame (not the stretcher bars) with screws. Also called D-rings or strap hangers.

  • Mold/Mildew

    Molds are fungi that can encourage the breakdown of organic materials. Some mold can grow at low temperatures and relative humidity, while others require high temperatures and humidity. While mold often appears white and fuzzy, some mold growth can be hard to detect. Some molds may even be invisible, with only a musty odor to indicate their presence.

  • Mounting Board

    A surface, substrate or secondary support on which any art or object is attached. Also called the inner mat or bottom mat.

  • Mounting Strip

    A folded flange that wraps around or overlaps the edge of a piece of art, made either from Japanese paper or paper/tissue which is at least pH neutral, or from polyester film.

  • Mylar

    A common name for polyethylene terephthalate; a transparent, colorless, high tensile strength and chemically stable thin sheet material. Also called polyester film or Melinex.

  • Needlework

    A general term for artwork that has been created by use of a needle and thread or yarn. Includes cross-stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, etc.

  • Newsprint

    A low grade, acidic paper made of wood pulp, with a short useful life span.

  • Offset Clips

    Flat metal plates bent into a Z shape with pre-drilled screw holes used to attach the stretcher bars to the picture frame moulding. Factory-made offset clips are available in a variety of sizes from 1/8 inch to 1 1/4 inch.

  • Offset Lithography

    A modern photomechanical printing process. The technology has few limitations, enabling huge quantities of work to be produced. The image is created by separating the image into cyan, magenta, black and yellow dots that, when combined, give full color images. Under magnification, these dots are visible and are used as a positive identification of the process.

  • Open Edition Print

    An edition having an unlimited number of reproductions in it. Most often, open edition prints are intended for large-scale commercial audiences.

  • Outer Mat

    A mat that is placed between the inner mat and the glazing. Also called the top mat.

  • Oxidation

    The combining of oxygen with another element to form one or more new substances, i.e., burning, rusting, etc.

  • Paper Mould

    A mesh screen into which paper slurry is poured. Excess liquid drains away, allowing the paper pulp to dry enough to be handled.

  • Paste

    A smooth, viscous adhesive of starch and water, used to adhere items together.

  • pH (Potential of Hydrogen)

    pH is a measure of acidity or basicity in a solution or substance.

  • Pixel

    A single dot of color (or the absence of it). Thousands of pixels comprise a digital image.

  • Pixelation

    Pixelation is the display of a digitized image where the individual pixels are apparent to a viewer. This is caused by using large, low-resolution digital files with limited amounts of data (less than 300 d.p.i./p.p.i.) to create siginificant enlargements.

  • Plate Impression

    The pressure required to transfer the ink on a lithographic stone or an etched or engraved plate is so great that the paper tends to show the edge of the stone or plate impression. When framing these works of art it is recommended that this plate impression or plate mark is visible within the opening of the window mat.

  • Polystyrene Sheeting

    A low-grade plastic. It yellows, becomes brittle and is not as durable as acrylic sheeting. Also called styrene sheeting.

  • Preservation Framing

    Designates framing actions taken to prevent further deterioration of objects. The use of these materials and procedures will have no adverse effects on a piece of artwork and will protect the it from external damage. Also called Conservation Framing or Archival Framing.

  • Printer's Proof

    A test printing made to evaluate how an image has transferred from digital file to print. We send you the proof to review and send back with any requested changes before editions printing begins.

  • Proof

    An artist's or printer's test printing, made to determine subsequent additions and/or corrections.

  • Purified Wood Pulp

    The purest form of cellulose, coming from wood pulp or cotton. Also called alpha cellulose.

  • Rabbet

    A recess or groove on the inside edge of a frame moulding used to support the object being framed.

  • Rag Mat

    Is made entirely from cotton fibers, which is naturally lignin-free, stable, and durable. Ideal for conservation framing.

  • Release Paper

    A special paper treated with silicone to keep artwork from sticking to itself or another surface. It protects the press, platen and artwork.

  • Remarque

    (1) A small sketch engraved in the margin of a printing plate, usually removed before the final edition is printed.
    (2) A printing plate with such a mark.
    (3) A limited edition print that has had an original drawing added by the artist after printing.

  • Resolution

    In digital terms, it is the density of data in a digital file. In general, the higher the resolution of a digital file, the more information it contains— and the more detailed and clearer the print will be when creating enlargements. In print terms, it is the level of detail in a print and is measured in dpi/ppi. A highly detailed print has high resolution and a tight dot pattern, while a print with little detail has low resolution and a looser dot pattern.

  • Rigid Backing

    A stiff piece of board (i.e., foam core, corrugated or fluted plastic) attached to the back of the stretcher frame used to prevent penetration by objects and other physical damage, as well as serving as a dust cover.

  • Scanning

    A process used to change transparencies, negatives, prints or originals into digital files.

  • Silicone Paper

    A special paper treated with silicone to keep artwork from sticking to itself or another surface. Called release paper in dry mounting, it protects the press, platen and artwork.

  • Slip Sheet

    A thin piece of paper, e.g., pH neutral tissue, to protect and separate pieces of art.

  • Spores

    Seeds capable of giving rise to a new individual, either directly or indirectly, e.g., mold spores.

  • Strap Hangers

    A hanging device for mirrors and other heavy framed objects. A metal strap is folded through a heavy wire ring, the strap is then attached to the back of the frame (not the stretcher bars) with screws. Also called mirror hangers or D-rings.

  • Stretcher Bars

    Strips of wood, commonly 1 3/4 inches wide, with a raised lip edge, and mitered with tongue-and-groove corners.

  • Stretcher Frame

    An expandable framework of interlocking wooden bars to which canvas is attached with rustproof staples.

  • Stretcher Key

    A triangular, flat piece of wood or plastic inserted as a wedge into the corner of the canvas stretcher frame. The key's purpose is to control the tension of the painted canvas. Sometimes referred to as a wedge or key.

  • Styrene Sheeting

    A low-grade plastic. It yellows, becomes brittle and is not as durable as acrylic sheeting. Also called polystyrene sheeting.

  • Substrate

    The material upon which a print is created, such as paper or canvas.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) Light

    Short, high-energy invisible light waves beyond violet in the spectrum, with a length of 10 to 400 nanometers.

  • Varnish

    A solution of a resin in a volatile solvent that when brushed or sprayed on a surface, dries to a hard, glossy and usually transparent film, which serves as a protective and/or decorative coating; also, the coating itself. Applied only after the paint or ink is completely dry.

  • Warp

    Permanent distortion of the shape of an object by bending, curving or twisting. Can be caused by shrinkage, heat, wetness, etc.

  • Watermark

    A design, pattern or mark on paper, usually produced by a raised area on which the paper is made. Watermarks on handmade papers are made by relief molds or designs of fine wire set on the screen on which the moist pulp collects.

  • Wedge

    A triangular, flat piece of wood or plastic inserted as a wedge into the corner of the canvas stretcher frame. The key's purpose is to control the tension of the painted canvas. Sometimes referred to as a key or stretcher key.

  • Wet Mounting

    Bonding paper, fabric, etc., to a substrate using a liquid adhesive and pressure. A vacuum press can be used to ensure a good bond.