The most common components of a picture frame are: frame, mat, glass, and backing.

We usually like to determine if a mat is needed or desired as a starting point.

A mat serves two purposes.  It acts as a resting place and draws the eye into the artwork.  It also is a buffer between the artwork and the glass preventing the artwork from touching the glass which can cause damage over time.

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Framed Will Rogers portrait with double mat

We usually recommend using at least a double mat. This allows you to use an accent color without overpowering the piece.

For the top mat, select a fairly neutral color that has the same basic value (lightness or darkness) as the overall artwork, or the background of the art. For a very dark piece, use a fairly dark mat. For a light piece, use a lighter mat. You can use a color that is predominant in the artwork, but make sure that the color of the mat is not more intense than the same color in the artwork. It is also common to simply use a white or off-white mat as the top mat.

Then, select an accent color to use for the second mat. A good choice for the accent mat would be the color of some item in the image that you would like the matting to draw attention to.

This second mat is there for impact and contrast, so it will generally be a more intense color than the top mat, and usually of contrasting value with the background of the artwork as a whole (a light color for a dark background, and a dark color for a light background.)

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Mat board samples at Wyman Frame

Not sure what you like or want? Rely on our many years of experience to help you make a decision you will be happy with.

When you buy frames from Wyman Frame you are supporting our mission of providing work opportunities for people with disabilities.

Carla Folks works at Wyman Frame, a division of Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC). Carla has been a Certified Picture Framer since 1983 and has framed for DRTC for two years.

DRTC is the oldest and largest community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains or employs more than 1,100 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org