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Frequently Asked Questions

If you've got a question, then we've got an answer. Check out our FAQs below or Contact Customer Care and a member of our team will be happy to help you.

Hanging Framed Presentation on Wall

Mats & Liners FAQs

Picture Frame Mat Components Diagram

What is the Difference Between a Linen Liner and a Mat?

Mats are made of layered paper board. Your artwork sits behind the mat. Mats create a polished, classic presentation, adding depth and scale, while softening the transition from image to frame. Mats are available in a multitude of colors, textures and styles and can be custom cut to fit almost any size. Liners are made of linen stretched over a wooden frame and attached to the inside of your frame. Your artwork will sit inside the linen liner. Genuine linen over natural wood makes for an elegant, upscale presentation. Linen liners add depth and, like mats, soften the transition from image to frame. Linen liners are a perfect accompaniment to canvas art, paintings of all kinds and even photos. They also add structural support for larger pieces of art.

How do I order a mat?

Mats may be purchased as an additional option to your frame presentation or as an individual mat order. In the Mats and Liners section of the website, you may choose to order custom-cut mats, or bulk mat sheets (available in boxes of 16). Currently, mat sizes offered on our website are 32" x 40" or *Oversized 40" x 60" (outside dimensions). If you would like to order an oversized mat, please call Customer Care at 800-332-8884.

What size should my mat window opening be?

The opening is the visible portion of your artwork. On pictureframes.com, all you need to do is enter the size of your picture. We will automatically make the mat opening 1/4" smaller than your art size on each dimension. This will keep your art from falling out through the mat opening. For example, when ordering, if you select a picture size of 8" x 10", the mat opening will be automatically adjusted to 7 3/4" x 9 3/4".

How big should I make my mat borders?

Borders are the part of mat on each side that surround your artwork. Mat border size is a matter of personal taste. We typically recommend borders that are twice the width of the frame or at least 2 1/2".

What Size Frame do I Order?

Order a frame that is the same size as the outside of your mat. Outside mat size is the same for all mats in multiple-mat presentations. If you have an existing frame you can measure the back opening of your frame to get the size.

How Much Mat Offset/Reveal Should I have?

When using multiple mats, the offset is the visible portion of the lower mat. We recommend 1/4" offset (or reveal) of your lower mats.

How do I order a custom multi-opening collage mat?

Custom Collage mats can be ordered by filling out our Custom Collage Mat Worksheet. Please include total outside mat dimensions, opening sizes and spaces between openings in your request. Note that making your mat openings 1/4" smaller than the items you are framing will allow the mat to hold the object in place.

Do I need to add a mat to my picture?

This depends on what you want to frame. The most vulnerable mediums all but require adding a mat and protective acrylic front. Pastels, watercolors, pencil drawings, charcoal art, and vintage documentation need to be well preserved. Mats create added space between your art and the acrylic front to keep air circulating for preventing condensation build up which can lead to mildew or buckling.
Typically, canvas paintings do not have mats or an acrylic front because the last layer of varnish adequately protects the painting for preservation. Photography, movie posters, typography and other prints don’t require a mat, but their presentation sure does have an added pop when paired with the right mats. And you still get the extra level of protection with better air circulation to prevent condensation buildup which can lead to mildew or buckling over time.

Which mat should I choose?

When framing and matting a photo, document or piece of art, you must consider the value of the object being framed. If your piece is purely decorative, you can choose one of our many decor mats, from cotton to metallic to suede, in a huge array of colors and styles. These mats are an economical choice for many types of presentations, however, may not protect your piece over the course of many years. If you are framing a valuable and irreplaceable object that you intend to preserve for generations, you should choose one of our acid-free, lignin-free mats. These pH neutral mats meet conservation standards. We offer conservation-grade matting in a variety of styles and colors.

What Are Decor/ Decorative Mats?

Decorative paper mats are a great economical option for your piece. They are pH neutral, buffered for extended life and protection for your art.

What is an acid-free mat?

Acid-free mats are made of 100% cotton fiber core and backing which are naturally 100% acid-free and lignin-free. Acid-free mats are recommended for matting precious photography, important documents, heirloom photos and more.

What are rag mats?

Our Rag Mats are made of 100% cotton fiber core and backing which are naturally 100% acid-free and lignin-free. The conservation surface is buffered with calcium carbonate to an alkaline reserve of 3-5%, so you can be sure they won't degrade your matboard or artwork.

What is a V-Groove?

A V-Groove mat creates the illusion of double matting, which elevates the overall look and feel of any presentation and helps to draw the viewer's eye to the fine art in the center. Mats with contrasting colors really pop with a v-groove. It can be a way to create the look of a double mat at a more cost effective price point.

Mat V-Groove

What is a Reverse Bevel Cut?

A reverse bevel cut mat has a bevel that runs inside instead of out. In effect, it gives you a straight edge on the window. The primary reason to choose a reverse bevel cut is to hide the colored core (white, black or off-white) that is in the center of all mat boards. You may choose a reverse bevel cut for either the top or bottom mat - or both.

Mat Reverse Bevel V-Groove

What is a raised mat?

This treatment adds a shadow around the artwork, giving the presentation depth and interest for an exquisite high-end look. Spacers are inserted before the mat is added. A second or third raised mat may be added if desired. Glass or acrylic glazing is then placed on top.

Double Mats Diagram Raised Mats Diagram

What is a bottom weighted mat?

Bottom weighted mats have more width at the bottom than on the top and sides. This technique is most often used by professional photographers and artists who prefer a "museum" type look. It also helps to counteract a visual perception problem. If a picture is placed directly in the center of a mat with equal width borders, the human eye will perceive that the picture sits below center and therefore look top-heavy. A weighted mat compensates for this illusion and better balances the presentation.