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Picking an Appropriate Picture Frame Mat

Contrary to popular opinion, the size, texture, and color of your picture frame mat actually aren't the most significant thing about it. The crucial thing is really quality; acid and lignin-free board is the best thing you can get, or else 100% cotton rag. Here are some factors to think about when selecting a mat:

There is one kind of mat called a transitional mat; this is the one that touches your photograph. Find the coloring that shows up the most frequently all around the outer edges of your picture, and then match your transitional mat to that color.

If you are not sure what color to decide on because there are equal amounts of both warm and cool colors, then the lowermost third of the picture should be what you match the mat to. Don't select a mat that is more saturated with color than the photo being framed. Along those same lines, you don't want to combine two mats that contrast more than the colors in the picture do; although you will not have to worry about this unless you opt for using more than one mat.

If three mats are being used, the middle one is called the accent mat. If you want something that will bring out accent colors in the picture that might not usually have been noticed, then the accent mat is the thing to do it with. If it is used correctly, the accent mat can easily help the viewer's eye move freely, uninhibited, throughout the artwork without any distraction from the picture frame and mat.

When you are using a very vibrant color as your accent mat but you don't want it to stand out very much, just make it so that the portion of that mat that shows (aka the reveal) isn't as much. This, needless to say, can be more easily achieved with the help of a professional framer - unless you have the tools and the necessary knowledge to cut your mats yourself.

If there is one thing that is the very most important thing to achieve precision in it's value s well as its shades of color, then that would be the mat which is on top. Be sure that when you're choosing your top picture mat, you take your time to find the one that will truly be best suited to give your art a nice accent.

If the mat you choose has darker or more saturated colors, then be sure to use one or two more mats beneath it in order to draw out everything that is taking place in the picture and to provide it with a richer look.

For a more simple look, select a wider top mat; it simplifies the overall look by making less visual detail close to the picture or painting.

If the reason you're framing your art is simply to sell it, then it could be a waste of time and resources to spend a lot of either one on expensive framing mats or picture frames. After all, it really is very likely that in order to make it match their home's decor the new owner would want to get a new picture frame and mat for the photo anyway. Most often, the best thing to do is to select a white or off-white picture frame mat to match the color of the paper or substrate or the most light white tone in your picture. You can typically accomplish the same result by using a black or dark gray mat. Also, if you're looking for a kind of picture frame that will go with just about any color mat, then black gallery picture frames are usually your best bet.

The majority of museums and art galleries typically like a more simple and modern look, which can be achieved by framing your artwork with just one mat.

So get out there and do a little framing! Selecting a mat and making your images look great can be simple now that you know the most important tricks for doing the job correctly.


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