Matboard and More

How to Mount Your Art with Matboards

This guide will go through the various methods of mounting your artwork so you can get them properly displayed in picture frames, show kits or on their own. There are multiple options for mounting your artwork with matboard, including whether or not to use conservation materials and adhesive vs. non-adhesive matting. There are pros and cons to each method but there are some key principles which apply to all mounting.

Here are some key tips off the top:

  • Never tape on the front of the art work, use a T-Hinge
  • Only tape the top of the art, allow the art work to float and flex
  • Use plastic gloves to prevent spreading oils and dirt to the art work when handling

Comprehensive How-to Video for Picture Matting Mounting

Adhesive Methods for Mounting Your Art Work

Adhesive methods require some adhesive to touch the art. The materials and adhesives used are very important to consider, here are some popular options.

Household Tape: Simplest and cheapest option but acids and impurities can leech onto your art work and discolor it

If it’s not being framed, any outside size you like can be had.

Our matboards come in sheet of 32×40 so that’s the maximium size available.

Opening Size: also referred to as the mat window, it is the space reserved for the art work.

The opening size is typically 1/2″ smaller (1/4″ around the borders) than the art work so that there is an overlap for the art to be attached to the back of the matboard.

The opening size is measured from the bottom of the bevel cut (best to measure from the back of the mat).

Art Work Size: this is the actual image you want to show. The art work size is typically 1/2″ larger than the opening size so you can have an overlap to stick the art work to the back of the mat.

Mounting Process on the Mat Window

The most simple adhesive method to attach the art to the mat is to simply attach a few strips of tape across the back of the art and matboard. Remember to only tape the top edge. You can also attach photo strips or corners on the back of the mat (more detail in non-adhesive methods), and slide in your art work if you choose.

Non-Adhesive Methods for Mounting Your Art Work

Photo Corners: Triangle corners similar to those in photo albums. The corners are attached to the backing board or matboard, and the art work slides into them without any adhesive. Perfect for conservation matting since no adhesive comes in contact with the art, and it is highly reversible.

See-Thru Mounting Strips: A Mylar plastic strip enclosure with an adhesive attached to it. You simple attach the strip to the mounting board, and then slide your art through the Mylar. Perfect for conservation matting since no adhesive comes in contact with the art, and it is highly reversible.

framing corners and mounting strips

Mounting Your Art Work on a Backing Board

  1. Center your art by laying it right in the middle of your backing board..
  2. Lay your mat window over the image and ensure it is still centered, adjust until perfect.
  3. Place a weight so that the art doesn’t move, a heavy cup works well.
  4. Adhere the image to the backing board using one of the following methods:
    • Use whichever tape you have and attach the top edge of the image to your backing board using a T-hinge. The T-Hinge allows you to tape on the backside of your art with vertical strips, then use a horizontal strip across the hinges.Lay your mat window over the image and ensure it is still centered, adjust until perfect.
    • Don’t use a straight edge tape that goes across the front of your art. The key here is to only tape the top side of the art. Over time with environmental changes, the mat, the tape and other materials will change in size and the art work needs room to flex. Slide your into the corners or strips, and attach your non-adhesive strips or corners to the backing board. You can do just the top if you are using the strips.

Attaching the Matboard and Backing Board

As you saw in the previous video, you can create a complete set with the matboard and backing board combined. Here is how.

Booklet: ine up your mat window and backing board and tape across both to create a hinge like a book. This makes a sandwich of backing board and photo mat window with your art work in between.

Permanent Seal: use double sided taped on the mounting board and lay the mat window right on top creating a permanent seal.

Separate Pieces: leave the backing board and mat window separate. If it will go in a picture frame this will work fine. It is also fine if you are using a show bag and the backing board is mostly to provide support and rigidity. This doesn’t work very well if the mat and backing board aren’t the exact same size however.

Once you have the art mounted, you can insert it into a picture frame or show kit. That’s it! No matter what method you use, just keep in mind your requirements for conservation and permanence.

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