Tips on Custom Mat Boards

white mat boards

When you take the time to choose the custom frame you want for a piece you are not totally done making decisions. You still need a mat board. You can go with a traditional cream or white most of the time and it will look okay. But you can also get a custom mat board because there are a lot of ways to mix it up with colors and styles. When you choose a custom mat board, you’ll select the specific type, the color, the number, and the size for the opening.

Are there times to not use a mat board?

Obviously, it’s not required to choose a mat board, but it offers visual appear as well as protection. There are some items like posters and large prints that are more attractive without it, especially if they already have a lot of white space around the borders. Prints that can be easily reproduced and posters can usually be framed without a mat board. But original works of art and more precious items need the extra space to make sure the glazing and the artwork do not touch.

When to Use Single Custom Mats

mat board around a heart

Typically, just one mat board is used to complete the framing project. Most art galleries prefer to use a single mat board in plain white. You can easily use custom mat boards for your artwork. If you want to customize a single mat board, just choose how much of an overlap you want. This means choosing how much of the artwork will be overlapped by the mat board. The most common overlap is ¼-inch, but when choosing custom mat boards, you can choose no overlap all the way to about an inch.

Single mat boards are often used to complement black & white photos, family photos, bridal portraits, and prints. Smaller artwork will also need a single mat board otherwise it will look too busy and distract from the art.

When to Use Double Custom Mat Boards

Double mats just mean using two mat boards. One will have a larger opening and they are layered over one another. These custom mat boards can make a statement of their own and provide a nice pop of color to your piece of art. When ordering double custom mat boards, you’ll choose the color you want and the offset. This is how much of the bottom mat you want to show. Depending on the size of your custom frame, the offset is usually between 1/6 of an inch to four inches. It’s possible to use double mats with portraits and prints, but they can add an elegant touch to diplomas or certificates.

When to Use Triple Mats

To create an even more striking appearance, choose triple custom mat boards. They are particularly decorative when you can use colors that complement the artwork. To choose a triple mat, you’ll choose two offset sizes. Using different widths can provide a nice sense of depth. Choosing the colors to use in custom triple mat boards is extremely important as it can distract from the artwork. Many custom framing professionals just use two colors for the three mats with the complementary color in the middle. There are no “rules” though and you can play around with the colors until you find what you prefer. Triple mats are usually best to use with larger frames, but they can be used to make a more complete look.

Need help selecting the styles and colors of your custom mat boards? Contact Suburban Frames for help choosing a frame or the mats for your latest photo, memory, certificate, poster, or artwork.