Picture Frame Basics

What is matting? What is acid burn and why do you need toavoid it? Here are some of the basic terms you may need to know when you arechoosing your vintage picture frame or display case from Victorian FrameCompany.

Acid and acid burn. Somecardboard and other mounting and framing materials are not designed forlong-term use.Most contain lignin andacids. Over time, lignin produces acids that react with the paper in photos andcause discoloration (acid burn). Ideally, use acid-free glue and paper (for thebacking and matting) to help pictures last longer.

Acrylic. Aplastic substitute for glass and can be coated with UV protection. Acrylic ismore durable than glass as it is not prone to breakage.

Backing. This isthe cardboard or paper that is placed behind the photo to keep the picture fromfalling and to provide a more attractive backdrop for the photo or artwork. Italso protects from insects, dust and humidity.

Beveled Edge. Theinside edge of the matting is cut at a 45-degree slope. This type of cuttingworks to focus the eye on the photo. The core of the matting may also have adifferent color.

Bottom-Weighting. Thematting edge is wider at the bottom of the picture as compared with the otherborders. This is a strategy to draw the eye to the picture since the eyenaturally rests on the upper area rather than in the center.

Conservation framing.This type of framing works to prolong the quality of the photo or artwork.The ingredients used minimize degradation and deterioration by using acid freepaper or glue.

Convex lens. Thisis the type of curved lens allows for clearer viewing as it refracts glare awayfrom the picture frame.

Core. The centerpart of the matting board. This core may have a different color so that abeveled cut will have effect of having an additional frame.

Corrugated Corners. Theseare the covers of the frame’s corners, usually made with corrugated cardboard.These are used during transit and storage. Keep these corners so that you canuse them when you need to move or store the frames.

Matting. This isan optional piece of colored cardboard that surrounds the picture and providesa window to the photo. It also ensures that the photo does not touch the glass(where moisture and humidity can cause the photo to stick to the glass). Youcan use one or more mat boards. With multiple mat boards, you haveprogressively wider windows, one on top of the other. You can use differentcolors and textures to provide contrast and point of interest to the image.

Frame size. Theframe size is the measurement from the inside corner to the inside corner,rather than the lengths of the outside corners. To calculate the frame size,measure the dimensions of the picture and then add any allowances for thematting.

Hanging hardware. Thisrefers to the materials used for hanging the picture frame. This can includeclips, wires, hanging rails, screws and protective wall bumpers.

Moulding. Theseare the edges of the frame. It can be made from wood, synthetic wood or metal.The moulding determines the overall appearance of the frame. Ornate woodenframes are used for antique picture frames, metal chrome can be used for morecontemporary picture frame styles.

Rabbet. This isthe space that holds the glass or convex lens, the matting, the photo andbacking. This is the inner groove in the moulding’s inner edges. The depth ofthe rabbet determines how much room you have to insert the frame’s componentsinto the frame.

Shadow box. Thistype of frame allows the mounting of 3-dimensional objects.

29th Mar 2014 Eric Morgan

Recent Posts