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A Guide to Mats for Your Artwork November 26, 2018

Waikiki, Honolulu
A Guide to Mats for Your Artwork, Honolulu, Hawaii

If you’ve seen professionally framed art, you may have noticed a flat colored border between the image and the frame. This is the mat, which is made from an additional layer of material. Though often overlooked, it plays an essential role in displaying and protecting art. Here’s what you should know about matting your artwork.

What Is a Mat?

Mats are made from materials as simple as plain paper and poster board or from specially made foam matboard. They are generally a flat color, sometimes with a thin white edge where they have been cut, and are roughly twice the width of a frame. For the best effect, they should be lighter than the artwork, but darker than the display surface. In some cases, multiple mats are used to increase the appearance of depth.

FrameWhat Does Matting Do?

A mat can serve two purposes. First, it draws the eye in and improves the visual impact of the artwork, especially for small pieces that can get lost in empty wall space. Second, thick mats create an air gap between the glass of the art frame and the surface of the artwork, protecting it from condensation, smearing, and scraping.

Matting is not required for large prints and posters unless desired for visual effect, but in all other cases—including photographs, paintings, and drawings of all kinds—it is strongly recommended. If you have a piece for which you want to display the full bleed, there are display techniques like floating to accommodate your vision.


If you want to professionally frame and mat artwork or photographs, head to Art Attacks in Honolulu, HI. Serving the island of Oahu, they offer 20 years of experience in making your art look distinctive and polished on a budget. For durable, attractive, and unique frames, call them at (808) 739-0909, and visit them online to learn more about how they can assist you.