ACID : A chemical substance with a pH of less than 7.0

ACID BURN : A permanent yellow or brown stain on paper art. Acid burn occurs when artwork is framed with paper materials that are not acid free.

ACID ETCHED :  In glazing and decorative work, acid etching alters one or both sides of the glass sheet to change its reflective qualities. When the etching is completed, all acids are neutralised and the surfaces are cleaned.

ACID-FREE :  A term that describes paper materials with a pH of around 7.0. These materials are considered acid-free and are less likely to harm artwork or discolour over time. Paper materials with a pH below 6.5 or above 8.5 are not considered acid-free for the purposes of picture framing

ACID-FREE PAPER: Paper manufactured in such a manner that active acids are not included or are eliminated. A paper that has a neutral pH factor of 6.5 to 7.5 at the time of manufacture. Acid-free paper can be produced from virtually any cellulose fiber source (cotton, wood or others). If measures are taken during manufacturing to eliminate active acid from the pulp. No matter how acid-free a paper may be immediately after manufacture, over time chemicals from processing or pollutants from the air may lead to the formation of acid in the paper. The presence of an alkaline buffer will reduce or eliminate damaging effect of these acids for the duration of the buffer’s effectiveness. The most common buffering additive is calcium carbonate. Some materials are chemically neutralised with the addition of alkaline products, other materials are processed to remove the acid.

ACID HYDROLYSIS: A chemical reaction where the acid in the paper reacts with moisture in the air, causing breaks in the chain of molecules making up the paper. The end result is weak, brittle paper.

ACID MIGRATION:  The movement of acid from an acidic material to a material of lesser or no acidity.

ACRYLIC : A clear, industrial plastic used as a substitute for glass in picture framing.

ADHESIVE : A bonding agent, such as glue or paste, for joining two materials.

ADHESIVE COATED BOARDS : A board with an adhesive coating on one side that may be heat-activated or pressure sensitive.

ADHESIVE RELEASE : A chemical solvent used to remove artwork from its mounting.

ALKALINE :  A substance with a pH greater than 7.0 is considered alkaline. Alkaline substances added to acidic materials will help neutralise the acid.

ALKALINE PAPER:  Paper manufactured with sheet alkalinity, most commonly associated with the presence of calcium carbonate filler.

ALPHA CELLULOSE : The purest form of cellulose. Cellulose is the chief constituent of all plants. Cellulose has three chemical forms or classifications: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. The Alpha form of cellulose has the longest, and therefore the most stable chemical chain,, in turn creating the longest and strongest paper-making fibers.

ANODIZED: A metallic surface (such as a picture frame) that has been electrolytically coated with a protective or decorative oxide. Anodizing protects the aluminium parts by making the surface much harder than natural aluminium.

ARCHIVAL COMPONENTS : These are framing materials such as mount board, mat board and acrylic that are designed to help preserve and protect the artwork from the damage and degradation caused by acids, light and pollution. These include components made pH neutral or slightly alkaline to help with acidity, those with UV protection to help with light and those with zeolites to help with pollution.

ARTWORK SANDWICH : The stack of components for example : mat board, mount board and glazing.

ARTWORK SIZE : The measured size of the actual image not including borders or paper size.

ATG TAPE : A brand name for adhesive transfer tape similar to double-sided tape but it is adhesive, sticky on both sides without the tape. ATG actually means Adhesive Tape Gun, and ATG tape is dispensed from the Adhesive Tape Gun, used for mounting crafts and scrapbooking,


BACK PAPER :  Also known as a dust cover. This is a liner paper adhered to the back of a frame. The back paper keeps dust and insects out of the frame package. It also helps reduce fluctuations in humidity, limits the infiltration of environmental gases and give your framed artwork a professional look.

BEVELED EDGE : When the inside edge of the mount board window is cut to a 45 degree angle revealing the white (or cream) core of the mount board.

BI-AXIALLY ORIENTED POLYPROPYLENE (BOPP) : Polypropylene that has been bi-axially oriented which causes it to become crystal clear making it an excellent packaging material for artistic and retail products.

BLEED :  To give up colour when in contact with water or solvent. Undesired movement of materials to the surface or into an adjacent material.

BOTTOM WEIGHTING : When the bottom border of the mount board is wider than the other borders. The concept of bottom-weighting is based on the fact that the optical center (the place where the viewer’s eye spends most of its time) is slightly above the true geometric center of the rectangular region.

BUFFERED : A process where calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate is added to mount board to make it more alkaline and therefore more likely to absorb acids and other environmental pollutants.

BUFFERING AGENT : A chemical added to regulate the pH of paper. The most common buffering agent is calcium carbonate.


CALCIUM CARBONATE : A chemical occurring in nature such as oyster shells, calcite, chalk, limestone etc. or obtained commercially by chemical precipitation. Calcium carbonate is used as a filler in alkaline paper-making, as a coating pigment and as a buffering agent.

CANVAS FLOATER FRAME : A type of frame used to display a gallery wrap canvas. This frame allows the entire front surface of the canvas to be visible. Any colour applied to the canvas wrapping the sides of the stretcher bars will be somewhat visible in the ‘float’ space.

CANVAS TRANSFER :  A print or poster image that has been transferred and fixed to a canvas surface.

CITYSCAPE : A genre of art in which the urban environment is the principal subject. Cityscapes, the urban equivalent of landscapes, include street scenes and skylines.

COMPONENTS : A term used to describe the contents of a picture frame and includes mount board and glazing

CONSERVATION FRAMING :  A type of framing that keeps the artwork as unaltered as possible while using materials which minimize the artwork’s deterioration by environmental factors.

CONSERVATION GRADE FRAMING MATERIALS : Materials such as mount board, glass and acrylic that are designed to minimize the artwork’s deterioration by environmental factors.

CONSERVATOR :  A professional who specializes in the restoration and conservation of artifacts such as photographs, artwork and documents. Conservators examine artifacts, determine their condition, suggest methods for treating them and recommend preventive conservation techniques to the artwork owners.

CORE :  In mount board, the central or innermost part of the material between the face paper and the backing paper. Less expensive mount boards may have a cream colour core, some mounts have a white or black core. High end rag mounts have a core the same as the top and bottom paper.


DOUBLE MOUNT : Consists of two mount boards (top and bottom). The window  (opening) of the bottom mount surrounds the image. The top mount covers the bottom mount. It has a larger window, which allows a small border of the bottom mount, called the reveal, to be shown.

DRY MOUNTING : The application of artwork to a substrate, such as foam core, using heat-activated adhesives in a heat press.

DUST COVER : A liner paper adhered to the back of a frame. The dust cover keeps dust and insects out of the frame package. It also helps reduce fluctuations in humidity. Also limits the infiltration of environmental gases and gives your framed artwork a professional look.

D-RING : A device for hanging pictures. Two D-rings are needed to hand a picture, one on each side.


EPHEMERA :  Items normally made of paper, created for a specific, limited purpose. Some examples of ephemera include advertisements, tickets, brochures and receipts,. People often collect ephemera because of their association with a person, place, event or subject.

ERASABILITY : In matting, the ability of a surface to withstand the removal of light pencil lines with a rubber or gum eraser.


FADING :  A gradual change in the colour of a paper. It is usually applied to the change produced by light.

FILLET :  Also called enhancers or slips. Fillets are thin, decorative pieces of picture frame moulding. Fillets are often placed inside a larger frame or in between mount boards..

FINGER-JOINTED WOOD :  Many picture frame mouldings are made with finger-jointed wood. Finger-jointing is a process where short lengths of timber are bonded together to produce longer lengths.. Finger-jointing reduces wood waste by utilizing shorts to create a dimensionaly stable and environmentally friendly product.

FLAT FILE :  A cabinet specifically designed for flat items such as drawings, prints, maps and large documents.

FLOAT MOUNT :  A mounting technique where the edges of the artwork are left uncovered by a mount board. With this application the artwork appears to be floating within the frame or mount board window. Artwork can also be float-mounted on a piece of black or white foam core without a mount.

FLOATER FRAME :  See Canvas Floater Frame

FRAME SIZE : See Picture Frame Size


GALLERY WRAP : A modern style of displaying art in which a canvas is stretched so that it wraps around the sides of a tick wooden frame and is secured to the back of the frame. It is suitable for displaying without a picture frame or can be mounted on a Canvas Floater Frame.

GATORFOAM :  A heavy duty extruded polystyrene foam board bonded between two layers of wood-fiber veneer. Also known as Gatorboard.

GESSO : Traditionally a mixture of animal glue binder, chalk and white pigment used as primer coat on wood panels, canvas and sculpture. Modern gesso may be acrylic or soy-based and comes in a variety of colours.

GICLÉE : A high-quality fine art print created with an inkjet printer.

GLARE :  Bright and dazzling reflected light.

GLASS : A type of glazing used in picture framing. Glass is commonly composed of sodium carbonate, lime and silica (sand)

GLAZING : The generic term for the glass or acrylic used to cover and protect artwork in a picture frame.

GLUE : Adhesive of animal origin, composed of complex protein structures. In modern usage, the terms “glue” and “adhesive” are used interchangeably and may also include petrochemical adhesives.


HANGING KIT : Contains the components necessary to hold an assembled picture frame. A wood frame hanging kit will contain screw hole hangers with screws, hanging wire or cord and protective wall bumpers. A metal frame hanging kit will contain Omni hangers for attaching the wire to the frame, hanging wire or cord and protective wall bumpers.

HARDWARE :  The hangers, brackets, screw eyes and other materials used to assemble a metal picture frame.

HINGING :  A term for adhering the components of a picture frame together including : hinging the mat board to the mount board, hinging the picture to the mount board or hinging the picture to the mount board.


INFRARED ENERGY : Infrared energy located below the colour red on the light spectrum. Infrared energy exists in sunlight and tungsten. It heats artwork, which can dry it out prematurely and accelerate decay. Keeping artwork out of direct light and in cooler areas can help reduce damage from infrared energy.

INVASIVE MOUNTING : Saturates the art during bonding and residue will still remain after removal. Examples of invasive mounting techniques are spray adhesives and commercial wet glues.


JAPANESE PAPER :  A high quality paper made from fibers of the mulberry tree. Japanese paper makes great hinges because it is strong without being bulky and does not discolour or weaken with age.


LANDSCAPE : A genre of art in which the natural outdoor environment is the main subject using natural features as the base of the composition.

LANDSCAPE ORIENTATION :  A layout that is wider than it is high.

LIGNIN : An organic substance found in all vascular plants. Papers containing lignin give off acids as they deteriorate which can damage art.

LINEN :  A textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen fabric is one of the preferred traditional supports for oil painting. It is preferred to cotton for its strength, durability and archival integrity.


MAT BOARD : A material that covers and protects the image. Mat boards have a window (also known as the exact opening) cut in the center through which the image can be viewed. In addition to protecting the image, mount boards are available in many different styles and colours for the purpose of enhancing artwork.

MICROFIBER : A term that refers to synthetic fibers that measure less than one denier. (A denier is a measure of linear density used to describe the size of a fiber or filament) Microfiber is used to make non-woven and knitted textiles, such as Microfiber Smooth Towel and Microfiber Terry Cloth. The shape, size and combinations of synthetic fibers are selected for specific characteristics, including : softness, durability, absorption, wicking abilities, water repellancy, electrodynamics and filtering capabilities.

MOULDING :  The material (either wood or metal) of the picture frame. Moulding can be very ornate and decorative, or it can be very simple.

MOUNT BOARD : The board onto which artwork is mounted inside a picture frame. Foam core mount board is a light, but stiff material that is commonly available in white and black. Acid-free varieties are available for conservation framing.

MOUNTING : The act of attaching artwork to the mat board, mount board, backer or display board. One way of mounting is by using hinging. See also Dry-Mounting, Pressure-Sensitive Mounting and Wet-Mounting.


NON-GLARE ACRYLIC : Acrylic with a matte finish etched on one side to reduce glare from lighting. It is optically pure (no tint) and may cause a slight loss in sharpness. When framing with non-glare acrylic remember that the matte side goes away from the artwork.

NON-INVASIVE MOUNTING :  Means the bonding technique remains totally reversible allowing the art to be returned to its original state without any adhesive residue remaining upon removal. Examples of non-invasive mounting techniques are : hinges, edge strips, natural starch and corner pockets.


OPTICAL BRIGHTENING AGENT (OBA) : A coating that absorbs light in the ultraviolet and violet region of the electromagnetic spectrum. OBA’s are used in many papers, especially high brightness papers, resulting in their strongly fluorescent appearance under UV illumination.

OUTGASSING : The release of gasses from a material.

OVERLAP : A term that refers to how much of the artwork will be covered by the mat board. A standard mat window opening overlaps approximately 5 mm on each side.


PANORAMA : A picture that depicts a wide, horizontal view, particularly a landscape. Panoramas are significantly longer in the horizontal dimension than the vertical dimension.

PANTONE COLOUR GUIDE ;  A standardised colour matching system used by artists, designers, printers, manufacturers, makers and clients in all industries worldwide for accurate colour identification, design specification, quality control and communication.

PAPER : A material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, rags and certain grasses, processed into flexible sheets or rolls by deposit from an aqueous suspension and used chiefly for writing, printig and drawing.

pH SCALE : A logarithmic scale that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The pH scale ranges from 0 (acid) to 14 (alkaline); the neutral point is 7.

PHOTO ACTIVITY TEST (PAT) : This is an international standard test (ISO 18916) developed by the Image Permanence Institute that evaluates photo storage and display products. For more information about the PAT visit the Image Permanence Institute at https://www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org/testing/pat

PICTURE FRAME :  Provides an attractive border and functions as a structural support for the artwork.

PICTURE FRAME SIZE : This refers to the size of the matted/mounted artwork. Framers will cut the picture frame moulding approximately 2mm larger to accommodate the matted/mounted artwork and the glazing. Occasionally this can refer to the outside frame size, which is the exterior dimensions of the frame with the moulding. Galleries will often ask for this dimension because they need to know how much wall space to allow for in an exhibition.

PLEIN AIR PICTURE FRAME :  “En Plein Air” is a French term that translates to “in the open air”. In the art world it is used to describe the act of painting outdoors. Plein air painting is often associated with the Impressionist art movement. A plein air frame is usually a wide flat moulding with a raised and rounded top edge. Plein air frames are ideal for canvas art.

PLEXIGLASS (R) :  A brand of conservation grade acrylic glazing.

PLY :  A ply (plural – plies) is a layer within a mat board. High quality mat boards are manufactured in plies, dyed for colour and laminated together. Mat board comes in 2-ply, 4-ply, 6-ply and 8-ply. Standard mat board is 4-ply and is approx 1.4mm thick. Some mat board is not manufactured with separate plies, but will often be referred to as 4-ply to give a relative indication of the approximate thickness.

POINT DRIVER : A hand held device that fires points with pneumatic-like force into a picture frame.

POINT SQUEEZER : a vicing tool that squeezes the point into the rabbet

POINTS : Thin metal tabs used to hold the mat, mount board and/or glazing inside the wood picture frames. Some points are stiff while others are flexible to allow access into the frame.

POLYPROPYLENE (PP)  : A thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, textiles, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types.

PORTRAIT : A depiction of an individual’s likeness. Styles include: head-and-shoulders, bust, three-quarters and full-length.

PORTRAIT ORIENTATION : A layout that is taller than it is wide.

POSTER : A printed illustration that is usually mass-produced and intended to be framed and hung as decoration.

PRESERVATION FRAMING : The Library of Congress Preservation Guidelines for Matting and Framing defines preservation framing as “the appropriate housing to display the intrinsic beauty and interest of an object while prolonging its life by securing the object in a mechanically and chemically stable environment”.

PRESSURE-SENSITIVE MOUNTING : The application of bonding artwork to the substrate, such as foam core, using an adhesive that activates when pressure is applied.

PRINT SIZE : See Artwork Size

PROFILE : A term describing how picture frame moulding looks when viewed from one end. A picture frame moulding’s profile includes its height, width, contour and rabbet.


RABBET : The inner lip or groove of the picture frame, which holds the frame’s components, including the glazing, mat(s) and backing.

RABBET DEPTH : The height or depth of rabbet. This measurement tells you how much room you have inside for the frame’s components.

RAG BOARD : Mat board from non-wood products such as cotton linters, or cotton which is naturally lignin-free, stable and durable.

REVEAL : A term used to describe the small bottom or middle mat border left visible in a double or triple mat application.

REVERSE BEVEL : A reverse-bevel cut positions the bevel inside of the mat window so that it is not visible. It gives a straight edge to the mat window.

REVERSIBILITY : Describes the ability to undo a framing or mounting treatment, returning the object to the condition it was in before treatment.

RISER : The amount of distance between the top edge of the stretcher bar and the broad flat of the stretcher bar. The riser determines how much distance you will have between the canvas and the top face of the stretcher bar.


SAWTOOTH HANGERS : Small metal bars with a serrated (sawtooth) edge that are used in place of hanging wire. Sawtoothed hangers are best for lighter weight picture frames.

SCREW EYES : Screws with a loop at the end. They are used to attach hanging wire or cord to the back of a wooden picture frame.

SHADOW BOX FRAME : A deep frame with glass or acrylic in front traditionally used to display personal mementos such as military medals, antique jewelry, old coins, sports memorabilia and children’s toys.

SINGLE MAT : One mat whose window (opening) surrounds the image.

SOUTHERN PINE : A wood used to make picture moulding. The name refers to those species whose major range is in the United States south of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Great Plains. There are four principle species that make up 90% of the Southern Pine timber – Loblolly (P.taeda), Shortleaf (P.echninata), Longleaf (P.palustris), and Slash (P.elliotii)

SPACER :  Holds the artwork away from the surface of the glazing. Spacers can be made of plastic, wood, mat board or foam core.

SPRAY MOUNTING :  The application of artwork to a substrate using glues applied with aerosol sprays.

STANDARD ACRYLIC : Acrylic with no coatings, finish or tint. It is translucent and optically pure.

STRETCHED CANVAS : A canvas that has been mounted onto a stretcher bar support framework in preparation for framing or hanging.

STRETCHER BAR FRAME : A type of heavy wooden frame designed for a canvas to be wrapped and secured around it

STRETCHER BARS : The four pieces of wood material that make up a stretcher bar frame.


T-HINGES : A method of attaching artwork to the mount board. The top of the artwork is adhered while the bottom hangs free. Used when the mat board will be covering the edge of the artwork.

TOOTH : A characteristic of the grain in the surface of various papers, especially drawing papers handmade papers and other papers of low finish. A patterned roughness in the form of minute depressions between fibers or groups of fibers on the surface. Tooth can be produced on the paper machine during forming or pressing

TRIPLE MAT : Consists of three mat boards. (Top, middle and bottom). The window (opening) of the bottom mat surrounds the image. The middle mat covers the bottom mat and it has a larger window which allows a small border of the bottom mat, called the reveal, to be shown. The top mat covers the middle and bottom mats and it has an even larger window which allows a small border, also called the reveal, of both the lower mats to be shown.


ULTRAVIOLET (UV) ENERGY : An invisible portion of the light spectrum. Ultraviolet energy fades artwork and causes paper to become yellow and/or brittle. Using ultraviolet-filtering glazing helps minnimise potential UV damage to artwork.

UV-FILTERING ACRYLIC :  Acrylic with a UV-filter that will block most ultraviolet radiation. It has a slight yellow tint, which may create a warming effect on the artwork.

UV/NON-GLARE ACRYLIC : Acrylic that blocks ultraviolet radiation and has a matte finish etched on one side to reduce glare from lighting.


V-GROOVE : A type of mat board cut where a thin line is cut around the top mat’s window opening. The V-groove exposes the mat board’s inner core colour. It is a purely decorative cut done for the sole purpose of generating extra focus on the artwork

V-HINGE : A method of attaching artwork to the mount board. Similar to the T-hinge except it is used when the mat board will not be covering the edge of the artwork.

VELLUM : A term that refers to a mat board with a smooth, texture-free surface.


WALL BUMPERS : Small, felt or soft rubbery plastic adhesive-backed disks that provide a cushion between the frame and the wall. Bumpers also help the frame hang flat against the wall.

WET MOUNTING : The application of bonding artwork to a substrate, such as foam core, using wet glues and pastes with a press or weight.

WHEAT STARCH PASTE : A special type of glue made from wheat starch powder and water that is used for adhering paper.

WINDOW : Also known as the exact mat opening. The window is the opening cut in a mat board through which the image can be viewed.


ZEOLITES : Aluminosillicate substances added to mat board that help it absorb harmful environmental pollutants.

Source : Frame Destination














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