How to Float Artwork with a Floating Mat Board Treatment

When making DIY picture frames, you have the opportunity to be creative with the treatment. This tutorial will go over how to float a piece of artwork on a mat board with no cuts and then floating a mat on top of the artwork. This technique creates a shadow box type of appearance. (See our Shadowbox Frames here.)

apply tape to the mounting board

Attach artwork to mounting board

First, cut a piece of foam core to be slightly smaller than the size of the artwork. Mount the artwork to the mounting board . Any mounting method will work, but we used ATG tape. However, if the artwork is valuable, use a conservation method so that the piece is protected, such as hinging.

The mounting board must be slightly smaller than the artwork for this reason: so it can’t be seen from the front or the side if looking into the frame.

Once mounted, set this piece aside.

Also needed are a bottom mat with no cuts (this should be the same size as the frame, acrylic, and top mat and is essentially the overall size of the finished piece) and a top mat board that has an opening (whatever size borders you choose). We recommend getting a reverse bevel on the top mat board so that none of the white bevel will show.

Take another piece of  mounting board (or 2 or 3 depending on how tall you want it built up) and lightly trace the “cut out” part of the mat onto it. Remove the mat and cut out the center of the foam core, about an inch outside the line that was just traced. Again, it needs to be cut on the outside of the line so that it is not visible from the front or side. Repeat this step for as many layers of foam that you have.

cut opening in mounting board

attach foam to the bottom mat

Mount the foam pieces to the bottom mat.

mount artwork to the bottom mat

Center and mount the artwork to the bottom mat also.

mount top mat onto foam

Finally, mount your top mat board onto the entire thing, being sure that it is centered.

When ordering, the outside dimensions for the bottom mat, the larger foam pieces, the top mat board and the frame should all be the same!

Have you ever used this framing technique before?

AubreyK | 3/26/2014 10:49:51 AM | 0 comments
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About this blog

Mike Cromly
So, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, with custom frame shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35+ years with the company. A natural teacher, he loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there. Working in the plant and improving our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man and Ohio State Buckeye fan. Mike's Twitter
For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs - A Good Frame of Mind or At Your Service

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