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 Framing Terminology (more terms and illustrations coming soon!) 

look for iTk (in the know) - tips & tricks for successful framing


A technique for displaying art and photographs on walls or easels.

Matting (or mats)

Single or multiple layers of colored paper type boards cut to display art. It is also used for separating the image from the glass, protecting the prints, and to give uniform mounting surface for prints. An extra degree of protection for historically significant documents requires conservation matting.


Wood, polystyrene or metal materials usually produced in lengths of 9-10 feet. It can be produced in many forms and often has a plaster-like material on the surface called gesso for additional decoration.

Fillet (pronounced either “fill-it” or “filet” like the steak)

Small mouldings mostly used in between mat layers to accent framed object. Only one side of the fillet is visible, the other side is flat and used for adhering to the mat board.

Rabbet (pronounced like the animal)

Inner edge of moulding where prints or matting/glass are held. The rabbet is usually 1/8 to 1/4” deep. Most frames are measured from the rabbet and are made with about 1/8” clearance for inserting your artwork. For example a 16x20 frame is usually made 16 1/8 x 20 1/8. This allowance also allows for contraction and expansion of different materials.
rabbett of moulding 9367

Glazing (often referred to as glass)
A clear protection layer such as glass, non-glare or reflection-control glass, acrylic (plexiglass), or conservation glass. The glazing often protects from impact damage, but can also provide protection for matting. UV light protection can be provided by conservation glass or acrylic.
iTk - When cleaning glass always spray cleaner on microfiber cloth then swipe glass it will keep prints and/or matting from sticking to glass.  Especially suggest this to your clients because often when spraying cleaner on the glass some of it will seep around the edges.

Conservation Framing (or archival framing)

Framing techniques or materials used for preserving historically significant documents, artwork or materials. Acid-free materials used for all aspects (matting, mounting, backing). Also UV control glazing is often used. This type of framing can cost significantly more than regular framing.


For most photography mounting is done where the images are mounted to the back of the matting. Mounting techniques vary for type and size of images. Often acid free adhesive tape is the best choice for most prints. Larger prints may require a hinge type of mount.


Strips of wood, matboard, or plastic placed in the rabbet (under the lip) to keep the glazing and image separate. This can provide a degree of protection from condensation that can form on the glazing due to temperature difference inside & outside of frame.

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