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Tutorials and artistic advices

Choosing framing papers and mat boards

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Papers, boards and covering materials are available in different sizes.
​Thickness of these items is expressed in millimeters or in fractions: 20/10ths of mm = 2 mm. Their weight, or "grammage" (basis weight), is specified in grams per square meter. 




Rigid, very light , and easy to cut, foam board is made from polyurethane or polystyrene sandwiched between white paper. It can be used to make spacers and thick (5 to 15 mm) bevels.




Note: Framing that lasts!

Regular paper and cardboard turn yellow over time and are likely to transmit their acidity to the artwork. Choose, at least for the mounting board and the mat covering, acid-free cardboard and paper, made only from natural materials: cotton or cellulose. Select PH neutral cardboard.


Backing board



  •  Chipboard, while very economical, has two defects: it is acid and must be isolated from the subject by a paper barrier; it is sensitive to changes in temperature. Choose backing board which is 2 to 3 mm thick.
  •  Mi-bois cardboard: solid and sufficiently rigid, the 3 mm board can be used for any type of framing.
  •  Cardboard: 2 mm thickness is sufficient for smaller artwork measuring up to   40 x 50 cm. For larger items, use 3 mm cardboard. It's also an excellent choice for making bevels.




Is used to make mounting boards (artwork is affixed to this board), mats, or even mat liners and French bevels. Thinner than 1 mm, its grammage varies according to its use: 320 g /m² in most cases, and up to 500 g /m² for mounting board.


Mat board 


Made of cardboard covered with paper or decorative fabric, it is available in a wide range of textures and of colors.

Choose 8/10ths (0.8 mm) thick for traditional mats. With 15/10ths thick or more, you can create a direct bevel (the mat is cut with a 45° beveled edge).




Keep in mind: For frames which include a wash and/or ink painted filigree lines, choose a water resistant mat!



Covering materials

Kraft, metallic, colorful, solid or heathered paper… covering papers are available in an infinite variety, with no limits to your creativity! Many interesting materials can also be found in this large category: wood fibre paper, sail cloth (oil-cloth) or velvet flocked paper, thin fabrics (such as floral prints or gingham), leather, etc.

 Use them to directly cover mats, mat liners, bevels (for instance with gold kraft paper) or for cutting out ornamental filigrees.




Note: Which size paper to use…?

Simplify your choice: Choose, when possible, a size close to the size of your future frame.
The standardized sizes range from A0 (841 x 1,189 mm = 1m 2) to A6 (105 x 148 mm).

Some traditional French formats are still in use, listed here in the original:

- raisin: 50 x 65 cm

- Jésus: 56 x 76 cm

- soleil: 60 x 80 cm

- grand aigle: 75 x 105 cm

- double soleil:  80 x 120 cm


Suggested products

Canson® Carton Plume®

See also

Choosing framing accessories
Choisir les accessoires d’encadrement
From glue to the work area, here is an overview of framing tools and accessories. From the essentials for novices to specialized tools reserved for professionals…
Framing: Preparing your materials
Encadrement : Préparer son matériel
The main characteristic of a good framer is a sense of organization. Well thought out preparation will help you remember everything… and will greatly reduce your risk of using the wrong boards in the heat of the action!