White Core, Cream Core, and Continuous Core Mat Board

Everyone knows mats come in different colors. One thing you may not have noticed is that they also have different cores, or center, colors. Some mats are called “continuous core” because the mat is the same color inside as outside. Many mats, however have a white or a cream core that contrasts with the outside color.

As important as the outside color of a mat board is, the core color is equally important. The core, or middle of the mat board, is visible as soon as the mat window is cut.  Its color creates a line or border around the mat window.  Because the cut around the mat window is usually beveled, or made at an angle, a white or cream core can be visually prominent and affect the look of the artwork.  When using double or triple mats it’s also important that the cores coordinate well.  For example, one continuous, one white and one cream core will not look good together.  However, a continuous core mat on the bottom with two white core mats on top may work fine.

If the cores of the mats you want to use don’t coordinate well or you feel a white line around your mat window won’t complement the art, there is an option: request a reverse bevel.  When the mat is cut, the bevel will be angled the opposite direction and from the front of the mat, the core will no longer be visible.

Let’s discuss a little about each type of core. 

White core: could be cotton or chemically purified wood pulp with optical brighteners. Usually the surface paper is one color and the core color is white.

Cream core: these boards are mechanically beaten wood pulp.  As the name implies, these boards have a cream-colored center.  Over time cream cores produce the most acid, so they aren’t recommended for conservation framing.

Continuous core: the center of the mat is the same color as the surface and backing papers. These boards are usually 100% cotton fiber but can also be made from chemically purified wood pulp.

Cores are important, but thankfully pretty simple.  When designing your next treatment, keep an eye out for them.  You’re an expert now.

See our other mat board posts for additional information:
How to Create a Mat Board with Multiple Openings
A Reverse Bevel Mat Board Cut: What It Is and Why Framers Use It
Designing Single, Double, and Triple Mat Boards
How to Select the Right Mat Board for your Art
Custom Framing with Mat Board: Designing with Size
Mat Board Terms: Reveal, Offset, Overlap, and How to Order
How Do I Order Mat Board Samples?
Did you Know: Oversize Mat Board is Now Online


AubreyK | 3/12/2014 11:51:13 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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