Picture Framing Glossary

Acid Burn: Damage in the form of yellowish stains and brittle areas that appear of artwork that was not picture framed using preservation techniques.

Acid-free: Paper materials with a pH of around 7 are considered to be acid-free. These materials are less likely to harm artwork over time. Materials with a pH below 6.5 or above a pH of 8.5 are not considered acid-free.

Archival: Archival framing means that all the materials involved in the process are completely acid-free. Your artwork is framed to last.

Beveled Edge: The inside edge of a mat board window is usually cut to form a beveled edge. This means the cut is on a 45-degree angle; exposing the mat board core and helping draw the eye to the piece. It is also possible to request a 'reversed bevel', meaning that the bevel is on the underside. This gives the illusion of a clean, sharp, cut straight down.

Conservation Framing: All the materials used in conservation picture framing that could possibly come into contact with the artwork are completely acid-free. This achieves the ultimate protection for your piece.

Corrugated Corners: These folded bits of corrugated cardboard are perfect for protecting the edges of your picture frame while in transit. They come in small and large sizes and are easy to secure.

Double Mat: When mats are layered in a picture frame, the top mat forms the main border and the bottom mat is revealed slightly just around the image. Double mats are great to bring out an accent color in the piece and to give an extra sense of depth.

Dust Cover: A craft paper seal adhered to the back perimeter of a picture frame is called a dust cover. This protects the picture from insects, dust and dirt from entering the frame and damaging the artwork.

Foam Core: The board on which artwork is mounted inside of a picture frame. This material is very light and comes commonly in white and black. Though it is quite stiff, it easily creases and dents with little effort. Foam core is available in the acid-free variety for conservation framing.

Hardware: The hangers, brackets, screw eyes and other materials used to assemble a wood picture frame or metal picture frame.

Hinging: The process of adhering artwork to the backing or the mounting board. Acid-free tape is attached to the top of the work and another strip is placed over the top to secure it on both surfaces. Hinge only from the top so the artwork is able to hang freely.

Linen Liner: A frame that fits inside an exterior frame, and is covered in a white or neutral colored fabric material. These are very commonly used in the picture framing of oil paintings.

Mat Board: A paper material that protects the artwork from coming in contact with the glass and provides an aesthetically pleasing border to draw the eye to the center. Mat Board is available in acid-free and also in specialty designs. Comes in a variety of densities; the thicker it is, the more the core will be exposed in the window.

Profile: The curves and design of a frame. A picture frame's profile includes the height, width and rabbet (channel on the frame's underside in which the materials sit), and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Rabbet: The inner lip of a frame in which the picture framing materials, including the glass, mats, artwork, and backing, are held.

V-Groove: A v-shaped incision in the surface of a mat board that reveals the core and acts as a decorative border. V-grooves should be cut approximately 5/8" away from the window.

Window: The opening cut in a mat board through which the image can be viewed. The window is commonly in the exact centre of the mat, but can be positioned elsewhere (higher or lower) to achieve certain artistic techniques.

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