Before we answer the question, it is important to have a basic understanding of what mat boards are. You might have noticed these cardboard pieces in photo frames. Their primary use is for the preservation of photographs, but they are also a great addition to the design element of your framed works.
You can buy mat boards in full sheets and custom-cut them to fit the frame. You can also buy pre-cut mat boards in common frame sizes. These are then fit between the photograph (or artwork) and the frame—this is called matting. Although they can be invisible on the final product, you can also use them decoratively, allowing them to be seen within the frame.
As far as materials go, mat boards are usually made up of cellulose fibre. Wood, leaves, and barks of trees are common places to obtain this fibre. At Value Picture Framing, however, we also have museum level mat boards made of 100% cotton fibres.
Let’s expand on the purpose of mat boards a little bit:
- Preservation: Increasing the lifespan of photographs is the main job of these materials. They ensure that what you are trying to display does not come in contact with the glass directly.
You might have noticed old photographs getting stuck to the glass—a common thing to happen due to moisture build-up. You can avoid this by using high-quality mat boards. These sacrifice themselves for the sake of the art—taking on the condensation instead. A quick tip: Don’t use white-core mat boards if you crave preservation.
- Decoration: Mat boards don’t have to be invisible. In fact, on top of adding dimension, they can become a part of the artwork itself. The French invented ‘French Matting’ or ‘French Line Framing’ using rectangular lines and watercolours to enhance their artwork.
- Art and Craft: This material has plenty of usage outside the framing industry as well. Due to their availability in so many colours and textures, artsy people use them to create stunning three-dimensional pieces among other things.
So, do I need to replace them regularly then?
Here’s the best analogy we can come up with—Think of the mat board as a baby’s nappy. Once full, a nappy cannot continue to absorb moisture (and other things) and will eventually leak. Mat boards are the same.
And what do you do when the nappy is full? You replace it.
To make things a bit more straightforward, here’s the time-frame depending on the number of mats used. We are assuming that you are using decorative quality mat boards.
- 1 mat to be re-matted every 5-7 years,
- 2 mats to be re-matted every 7-10 years,
- 3 mats to be re-matted every 12 years.
The best part is that re-matting your art isn’t a costly process. The glass and the frame don’t need to be replaced. We’d say it is a great investment to ensure the longevity of your photograph or artwork. There is a charm to taking care of old things after all.
Get in touch with us if you’d like to get your mat boards replaced. We have been doing this since 1967 and pride ourselves on quality work. Don’t hesitate to call us on 07 3397 9011 in case of any queries.