Why Adding a Mat to Your Artwork Could Make a Huge Difference

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If you have a particularly nice painting that may have been handed down to you through the generations, it's probably time to spruce it up a bit before you give it pride of place in your home. The original frame may be in poor condition or may simply not complement the artwork as it should. To achieve the best result, you may have to get a custom-made frame, but there are other ways to improve the appeal of the piece, as well. What should you consider?

Getting down to business

Although some people think that adding a frame to an existing piece of art is a relatively straightforward procedure, it is actually a combination of art and science. There are many different factors to consider if you're going to make the result truly spectacular and one way to achieve this is to add a mat.

The benefits of adding a mat

The term "mat" refers to a border which separates the artwork itself from the surrounding frame. It's not necessary to have one of these mats in place, and you can always let the design bleed all the way up to the edge of the frame. However, in most cases you will find that a mat draws attention to the item that is being framed and gives it more appeal.

Different types

If your family heirloom already has a mat in place, take a closer look at it. Perhaps the bevel along the edge has a certain "yellowish" tint, and if so, the type of paper used is rather acidic. If you're not careful, this can cause marks to appear in the artwork, and you should always choose paper that is non-acidic. The older type is composed entirely of wood pulp that does not stand the test of time very well.

Today, you can look for paperboard as an alternative that has been acid-neutralised. It's intended to last for generations and while it will cost more than a standard paper mat, it's an investment in the future of your heirloom.

If you really want to look after this, however, you should consider an upgraded board that is made from pH neutral cellulose. It's the least acidic of all the options and typically used in a professional environment, where preservation is everything.

Other ideas

If you think that the artwork would benefit, why not consider adding a second or third mat, in layers? This helps to draw attention directly to the artwork but be careful not to make the frame and matting too overpowering, as this will detract.

The same rule goes when it comes to coloured mats. Once again, these may work depending on the format of the artwork and its pictorial quality but be careful with your approach.

Getting input

Have a word with a custom framing professional to ask them for their opinion. They will help you choose the right approach for optimal results.

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