Everything you need to know about adding a mat to your frame

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Written by Level Frames
Updated over a week ago

Adding a mat is a great way to protect and enhance the art or photo you are framing. We use Crescent Select mat boards which are 100% acid-free, lignin-free and meet all the requirements for conservation matting.

When you add matting, the mat is cut with a window opening and designed to sit on top of your art. (if you are looking to "float" your artwork on top of the mat, check out our Guide to Float Mounting)

Adding a Mat

With just one click or tap, our "Golden Ratio" button will recommend a mat border based on the size of your art.

Or, use the mat slider to set your desired mat width. If on mobile, you will see a tab labeled "Matting".

If you are framing artwork and on the previous step provided its dimensions (from paper edge to paper edge), we automatically set the mat opening to be 1/4" smaller than the paper on each side. The mat will sit on top of your artwork and overlap each edge by 1/4" to hold it in place.

If you are framing a photo that you've uploaded for us to print, we'll overlap by just 1/16" to show as much of the image as possible.

Note that we display the exact size of the mat window opening for your reference.

Custom Openings

If your artwork has borders, empty space that you wish to cover, or a specific area you want to reveal, you can now set a custom mat opening.

Look for the pencil icon next to the Mat Window Opening dimensions, and set the opening to whatever you need it to be.

Note that the inner dimensions of the frame (which show after you edit the window opening) will need to be big enough to contain the paper your art is printed on. If not, use the mat slider to increase the mat width until the artwork fits.

More Colors & Plys

Below the Finalize button, the button labeled "Advanced Options" will open up a section comprised of some additional offerings.

The default thickness for our mats is 4-ply and the main color options are black and white. Select from a range of additional mat colors in 4-ply as well as 8-ply mats.

Click or tap the blue info icon to see a close up of the colors and difference between 4-ply and 8-ply.

Bottom Weighting and Custom Border Widths

The Advanced Mat Widths tool you allows you to customize the width of each individual border; top, left, right and bottom.

An even mat border all the way around has become the default framing style for most people. Even borders (on our DIY custom frames) also allow you to reuse the mat and frame on a portrait or landscape photo if you ever have the need.

However, mat borders have traditionally been equal along the top and sides, and then anywhere from a 1/4" to 1" bigger at the bottom.

This technique, which you may have seen, is called bottom-weighting.

Bottom weighted mat on a framed art print

Framed art print with 1.5" top and side borders, bottom-weighted mat at 2"

You can use your eye to determine whether you like a bottom-weighted look, or how much extra width to add.


Use the Golden Ratio button to add matting to your frame based on the size of the artwork or photo. The mat width will generally be twice the width of the profile.

You can always adjust the mat width using the mat slider, going slimmer for a more contemporary look, or wider for something more traditional.

We will account for the overlap required based on your artwork dimensions, but you have the ability to create a custom window opening size if there are borders you want to cover or a specific area of the art you want to reveal.

Find additional colors and 8-ply options in the Advanced Options section, where you can also create a bottom weighted mat.

If you have any questions about matting, please don't hesitate to reach out. And for more details on the advanced mat options, we have more on adding a mat to your custom frame.



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