Selecting the Right Rabbet for Your DIY Frames

Every frame has a rabbet, also known in our system as the R measurement, which is also the inside depth of the frame. This is where your materials go. When choosing DIY frames , color and style are important, but the rabbet is equally as important. This is because the rabbet needs to be deep enough to hold all the materials being framed. For wood mouldings, the rabbet is the area from under the lip of the frame to the bottom of the frame.

The rabbet for metal frames is slightly different from that of the wood frames. See illustration below:

rabbet on metal frames

To show you how to use the select the proper sized wood frame rabbet, see the following example:

If we choose frame 227516, Basics- Cherry, the R measurement is 15/16.”
rabbet on website

(Above) Example of where to find the R measurement on our website
Rabbet in the catalogue

Example of where to find the R measurement in our catalogue (paper or online).

For the frame to conceal your materials properly, the thickness measurements of acrylic, mat, artwork, and mounting board must add up to less than 15/16.” Here are the thicknesses for the following common materials:

Standard acrylic = 3/32” (0.09375)

Standard mounting board = 1/8” (0.125)

4-ply mat = 1/16” (0.0625)

This “sandwich” adds up to a total thickness of: 9/32” (0.28125)

Now add the thickness of your art. If the total of all items in the “stack” adds up to less than the frames R depth, you are good to go!

Remember: if you are going to double or triple mat your artwork, you must add the thickness of every mat to the “stack.” If you happen to choose a different ply of mat (6ply, 8 ply), or different type of acrylic or mounting board for your DIY frames, the thickness may not be the same as the above example, so be sure to take note of that.

We provide the rabbet depth (seen like this R: 9/16”) for each frame profile on our website or in our paper catalogue to help you make the correct selection for your project.

AubreyK | 3/3/2014 3:44:38 PM | 3 comments
Jane Thanx
Very helpful! Thank you.
7/3/2015 2:03:35 PM

American Frame

We wouldn't want that! Glad you found the blog and learned some good info!
3/5/2014 3:19:02 PM

Michelle Weaver
Thank you for this info. I would have gotten the wrong frame!
3/5/2014 3:08:19 PM

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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