There are more components to custom framing than meet the eye. Our experts have put together a glossary of custom framing terms to help you understand the ins and outs of custom-framed artwork, mirrors and memorabilia to ensure your valuables are presented in the best way.
Acid-Free: Materials with a neutral pH level are considered acid-free. Using acid-free materials is extremely important to conservation framing, since acidity will yellow and damage artwork over a period of time.
Acid Migration: When acid travels from one material to another, which can occur when acidic matting contacts acid-free artwork.
Acrylic: A plastic glazing material used as a substitute for glass panes in picture framing
Adhesive: A paste or glue that binds two materials together.
Adhesive Release: A chemical solvent used to remove adhesives that are not water soluble.
Alkaline: Paper or other materials with a pH above 7. These materials are acid-free because the pH is above neutral.
ATG Tape: A double-sided tape applied with an Adhesive Transfer Gun (ATG) dispenser
Archival Materials: Framing components designed to protect and preserve framed art from damage or degradation caused by acid, light and pollutants.
Backing Board: The piece of mounting material furthest from the frame, unless there is a filler board. The art rests on top of the backing board.
Barrier Paper: Used as a protective layer to hold and cover fine art in framing. It’s also used in storage as a folder or interleaved between art to protect against dust.
Beveled Edge: When the edge of a mat board is cut at a 45-degree angle, revealing the core.
Blotting Paper: An absorbent paper used to soak up ink or other moisture.
Buffering: The process of mixing alkaline materials with paper pulp in order to regulate the pH and protect against acidity.
Cellulose: A material derived from plant cells and used to produce various types of paper.
Cockling: Waviness or rippling of artwork often caused by humidity or the drying process of paint and ink.
Conservation Framing: A framing practice focused on the preservation of artwork through the use of materials that slow degradation.
Cotton Rag Paper: High-quality paper made purely from cotton fibers.
Deacidification: A paper treating process that chemically stabilizes the pH level and protects against acid deterioration.
Double Mat: Mounting artwork using two mat boards. The top mat has a larger window and covers the bottom mat to create border around the artwork. The border of the bottom mat is referred to as the reveal.
Dry-Mounting: A process that uses heat-activated adhesives to affix artwork to a backing surface to prevent shifting.
Dust Cover: A piece of paper on the back of a frame that is used to protect the artwork from dust, airborne pollutants and insects. It also helps to reduce fluctuations in humidity.
Evidence-Based Design (EBD): A process of designing the built environment using principles based on credible research in order to achieve the most effective outcomes in healthcare and senior living environments.
Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC): Formal certification in Evidence-Based Design offered by the Center for Health Design. Recipients must pass an exam as well as maintain their certification by participating in continuing education courses so they may continually develop and expand their EBD expertise.
Filler Board: A board placed behind the backing board for extra support. It also serves as an additional barrier against moisture and pollution.
Fillet: A decorative piece of moulding that fits either inside a larger frame or in between mat boards to create a border within the frame.
Finger-Jointing: A process in which two pieces of wood are joined in an interlocking manner to extend the length. This process is commonly used to join framing mouldings.
Float Frame: A style of frame most often used to display canvas prints or paintings. A float frame surrounds a piece of art without overlapping or covering the front.
Float Mount: A type of mounting in which the edges of the artwork are showing instead of being covered by a mat board.
Foam Core: A flat, lightweight board used as a backing on which artwork is adhered or affixed.
Gallery Wrap: A canvas mounting technique achieved by wrapping the edges of canvas artwork around the sides of stretcher bars and attaching to the back. The image often extends beyond the front and around the edges to create a more dimensional look.
Gesso: A substance available in a variety of colors that is used as a primer coat on wood, canvas and sculpting materials.
Giclée: A fine art reproduction printed using a high-quality inkjet printer.
Glazing: A pane of glass or acrylic that rests between the exterior frame and the artwork.
Hinging: A method of securing a piece of art to the backing board using acid-free tape.
Kraft Paper: A durable brown paper commonly used for dust covers.
Lignin: An acidic material found in plants and used to make paper. Papers containing lignin emit acids as they deteriorate, which will damage artwork over time if used in framing.
Mat Board: A paperboard available in nearly every color that is situated between the frame and the artwork to enhance visual appeal and prevent the artwork from coming into contact with the glazing. Sometimes referred to as mat or matting.
Microfiber: An extremely soft and absorbent cloth material made up of small synthetic fibers. Recommended for use when cleaning glass or acrylic glazing to prevent scratches.
Miter Joint: The corner between two pieces of frame moulding, each cut at 45-degree angles using a miter saw, and joined to achieve a 90-degree corner joint.
Moulding: The material used to create the external, or outermost piece of a frame. Moulding is made of wood, metal or polystyrene and is available in countless styles, finishes and colors.
Mounting: The act of affixing a piece of art onto another surface (backing board, mat board, etc.) in order to prevent the artwork from shifting inside the frame.
Mylar: A thin, transparent material often used in picture framing to hold the corners of art in place; a method which prevents the need to permanently mount artwork to another surface. Also known as polyester film.
Overlap: The amount of artwork a mat board will cover after mounting and framing a piece. A float mount does not have overlap since the art rests on top of the mat board.
pH: The unit of measurement that represents how acidic or alkaline a material is. A pH level of zero indicates high acidity, while a pH level of 14 represents high alkalinity. A pH level of seven indicates a material is pH-neutral.
Pressure-Sensitive Mounting: A mounting method that requires the use of an adhesive material used to attach an item to another surface through the application of pressure.
Rabbet: The rabbet is the innermost, recessed groove of a frame. The rabbet holds the framing components (glazing, mat board, backing board, etc.) in place.
Rag Board: A type of mat board made from cotton fibers.
Spacer: A component used to create a space between a piece of art and either glazing or backing materials. Spacers are often used to add dimension and depth in framing.
Starch Paste: An adhesive hinging paste made from water and cooked rice or wheat. Starch paste can be easily removed without the use of a solvent.
Ultraviolet (UV)-Filtering: The filtering of harmful ultraviolet rays. UV light will damage and degrade artwork over time if UV-protective materials are not used to frame the item.
Wet Mounting: The act of attaching artwork to a surface using pastes or wet glues and a weight or press.
Wheat Starch Paste: A mounting adhesive made from wheat starch powder and water.
Window: The open area of a mat board that has been cut to allow the artwork underneath to be seen through the opening.
Zeolites: Synthetic chemicals added to framing materials to help absorb and neutralize harmful pollutants.