Choosing a Picture Mat

Colors

Choose your picture mat colors carefully. Neutral shades layered over an accent color will enhance and draw the eye to the image. Conversely, a colorful border can work on loud images, giving the illusion that picture mats are an extension of the artwork. For inspiration, look to your artwork and pick out key shades to base your mats upon. As a rule of thumb, dark colored mats tend to keep your image contained, whereas light colored mats make it appear larger.

Multiple Picture Mats

The top picture mat should be a neutral, predominant shade found in the artwork. Layer this mat on top of lower mats; where you will just see a sliver of the accent color peek-out from the image's perimeter. Be careful not to overdo it. Usually, two mats is generally a safe number. For larger, more extravagant pieces allow a professional to help you layer more.

Mat Texture

Specialty picture mats are available and can add that special flair to a frame. Other than the standard smooth paper surface you can get a variety of fabric designed mats, leather mats, foil mats, and textured paper patterned mats.

Multiple Opening Mats

Several openings can be cut in the same photo mat so multiple images can be displayed within the same frame. This technique is great for a photo collage. These photo mats creatively display family portraits, collectables or document important events.

Picture Mat Sizing

Photo Matting can be very easy to work with and can be a flexible element to incorporate when decorating a room. For example, if your photo is only 4"x6", but you have an 8"x10" space to fill, simply add a photo mat to your picture frame. Voila! Your picture frame can be as large as you want by adjusting the mat dimensions accordingly. As a rule of thumb, mat borders should typically be twice the size of the frame width, otherwise it will start to appear stripy and distracting. Narrower picture frames should get thinner picture mats; and thicker frames get wider ones. Wide picture mats are great to enhance your artwork or help achieve that 'artsy' feeling.

Picture Mat Extras

An element called a 'v-groove' can be added to the picture mat as a decorative extra feature to help draw attention to the image. Also consider drawing on your mat. Straight lines and text work the best, but make sure you have a steady hand! Another option is to get a metal plaque engraved and attach it to the picture mat. This makes for a great, personalized gift.

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