Simply Framed's Guide to Mat Styles
Posted by Dara Segal on Aug 04, 2015
*As of May 2019 our available Mat Styles have increased. We currently offer No Mat, Single Mat, Double Mat, Floated, Island Mat, and Article framing for your artwork. You can choose your optimal Mat Style in our online frame Designer and learn more about our current Mat Styles here.*
Choosing your frame style is often the first decision you make during the custom framing process, but choosing the proper mat style is an equally important step to ensuring that your art looks great on your wall for the long-haul.
We’ve expanded our mat style options to accommodate a larger selection of art types and to give you additional creative freedom when choosing your custom frame. For those who aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry, in this post we’ve outlined our mat styles along with when to and when not to use them.
If, after reading our mat guidelines, you’re still not sure which mat style works best for your piece, don't fret! After you select your art type and frame style when ordering your frame, we’ll suggest two mat style recommendations that we think will work best with your art.
No Mat (Full-Bleed)
No Mat, or “full-bleed” as we call it in the frame shop, is pretty straight forward. Simply, there’s no mat between your art and the frame. We recommend this style when framing posters, oversized photography prints or personal photos, and art prints that contain a lot of white space around the edges.
No Mat with Spacer
Adding a clear, ⅜” spacer between your art and the frame’s plexiglass protects the surface of your art and also creates subtle depth and dimension within your frame. We recommend this style when framing originals, screenprints and art prints & fine art photography prints that you’d prefer not to mat.
Single Mat to Edge
This is the most common mat style because of its classic look and ability to make small works of art or photographs a bit larger on your wall. We recommend this style when framing personal photos, small to medium size art prints and originals, and important documents like ketubahs and diplomas.
We intentionally provide just a few classic mat color options in order to ensure your custom frame looks great on your walls for years to come. We offer white, off-white and black mats in 4-ply acid-free board. 8-Ply is available upon special request. Our designers will select the perfect shade of white and supporting dimensions to compliment your art. Our standard mat sizes are 1.5" to 3" all around, but if you have a specific request you can let us know in your Order Notes.
Single Mat with Reveal
This style is almost identical to the Single Mat to Edge style, except that it leaves ¼” of white space between the edge of the art’s image and the inside edge of the mat (the mat opening).
We recommend this style when framing limited edition prints where the artist’s signature or edition number is important to showcase or other prints and photographs with a precise background you’d like to enhance with a small white border.
Double Mat to Edge
The overall effect of this style is similar to Single Mat to Edge, except that instead of using just one mat, we layer a white mat over an additional mat in black or white, exposing ¼” the secondary mat around your art.
We recommend this style for framing important documents like diplomas and certificates and it looks equally great with personal photos, and small to medium sized art prints and originals.
At checkout, specify if you'd like white over black (as shown), or a different combination of white, off-white and black. 99% of the time, we recommend layering a white mat over a black mat.
Floated with a Spacer
Floating your art above a mat is an affordable way to take your custom frame job to the next level and give whatever you are framing that extra special feeling. By elevating the art above a mat with an acid-free foam core lift, a slight shadow is created around your art, creating a sophisticated, gallery look. We then use a spacer in between your art and the plexiglass in order to protect the surface of your art.
We recommend this style when framing original paintings, drawings, and sketches—specifically those with a deckled, wavy edge to the paper—as well as artifacts like hand-written letters.
Sewn to Linen with Shadowbox
This style is perfect for displaying scarves and other textiles with prominence. We gently sew your piece to a linen covered mat board and then create a deep, shadowbox frame around the piece for extra oomph and to keep the surface of your textile from pressing against the plexiglass. We recommend this style for scarves, textiles, decorative tea towels, sports jerseys, baby clothes and any other soft good you’d like to see custom framed.