So you want to have a photo developed or buy a picture, and find yourself being offered a photo mat, mat board, or passe-partout? What does that even mean? And what does this add to the picture on the whole? We’re here to make the whole concept behind mat boards a little bit clearer.
Passe-partouts, photo mats, or mat boards, or just plain mats refer to thin cardboard with a rectangle cut out of the middle. The image is then placed in this window. In this way, the mat board becomes a border of sorts for the photo. Passe-partouts can be used with photos that are too small for a certain sized frame or that are not in a standard size, so that they can still be framed and hung. Photo mats are often white or black. Naturally, you can use another color to suit better your picture.
What’s the purpose of a mat board?
There are many reasons to use a mat board. It holds the photo elegantly in the frame, protects the photo, and directs attention to the image itself. By creating more space around the photo, viewers’ eyes automatically zero in on the image.
Those are some very convincing reasons to opt for a mat board, and with all the different color possibilities, you can find the right choice for any photo.
What should I look out for in mat boards?
A passe-partout should be at least 1/16” thick and made from acid-free, non-fade museum board. It shouldn’t contain any wood fibers. The more precious or valuable the photo, the more important the quality of the mat board. It protects the photo from the glass and the humidity that can accumulate there.
If you are not sure how big you’d like your passe-partout to be, a good general rule of thumb is to err on the side of being too large rather than too small.
What mat board color is right for me?
A passe-partout can have different effects on a photo. For example, a light-colored mat board can help the picture move into the foreground and really shine, whereas a darker mat can keep the photo a little bit more in the background, which can in turn keep a viewer occupied for a longer period.
If the photo consists mostly of cooler colors, these can be accentuated and strengthened with a cool-colored mat board. The opposite is also true for pictures and mat boards in warmer colors.
Two mat boards enhance the decorative look of your picture and upgrade it visually. Diverse custom combinations of our seven color options expand the realm of creative possibilities for putting your pictures into the spotlight. Double matting directs attention to the image even more so than with a single mat board. One mat with a larger cut-out is placed atop another for this classic tiered look.
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