Sunday, June 27, 2010

How to use matting to “Float” your artwork!

A technique that is often used by custom picture framers is to “Float” your artwork.  This is most commonly used when you must retain the entire piece of artwork to be viewed – yet still wish to have a mat placed in the frame that keeps the artwork from touching the glass.

However, it is also an excellent way to frame some items for additional interest sake – for example a fine print on paper that has a torn or “decaled” edge that adds interest to the presentation.

Floating the work simply means showing all of the artwork by attaching it to a backing mat board and then putting a mat over the backing board that allows for a border of the backing to show through around your artwork.

Here is a simplified step by step example.  The basic three components are your (1) backing board, (2) artwork and (3) top matboard with a window cut to show both your artwork and some of the backing board you have attached the artwork to.

Backing Board




Mat Board

Step One is to attach the artwork to the backing board.  A trick to ensure you can centre the artwork properly is to always cut your backing board larger than the border you will be showing.  Once you have centered it as precisely as you can and put the mat on top – you will have some room to move the top mat around to ensure the borders are even.


Step 2 is to determine how much of the backing board you want to show around your picture as a border.  In our example we chose a width that looked right or the size of mat border and picture – a ratio of about 25%
of the mat border.


Step 3 is to measure the window and cut your mat.  Measure both the width and height of the picture and add the borders of the backing board that will show to determine window size.

Ie:  Width of picture plus left border plus right border = width of window opening.  Ditto for the height.


Step 4 is to place the mat over the picture and backing board and fix in place – trimming any excess backing board if needed.

Your Finished – Floated Artwork!

Artwork Courtesy of Artist Patricia D. Arndt

No comments: