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Old 12-29-2012, 08:15 PM
HealingDoodle HealingDoodle is offline
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Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

I've only been creating art about a year, but I am lost, despite a huge amount of research, in how to prepare them for sale inexpensively. I'm sure the answers are on here, but I'm exhausted from looking and figured I'd just ask my questions.

I draw with India ink (Pitt Artist brush and regular pens) on Strathmore 90 lb mixed media paper. My art is small to medium. Sizes are 3" x 5", 5" x 8", and 9" x 12". Money is a big issue as I don't want to invest a lot until I know if even one person will buy something.

Here are my questions:

1. What is the least expensive, professional way to prepare art for a show or online if someone buys it? I guess I mean any suggestions on where to get matting that is inexpensive. Any recommendation on the mat quality needed? It's confusing to me which kind, backs, double or single fronts, bags, etc.

2. My art is apparently on odd-sized paper and I cannot even find frames for these sizes! I'm not even sure what to do about that.

3. Is it better to mat or buy dollar store frames?

4. Michaels had pre-cut mats that were one-piece and had a diagonal cut across the back where you can slide in the art. That seemed like a great idea, but I cannot find that anywhere online. Anyone know about that?

Thank you for your help.

Susan
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:32 AM
Biblioscape Biblioscape is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

Susan -

If you are doing lots of drawings in odd sizes, I suggest that you get a mat cutter and cut them yourself. It's by far the cheapest way to go, even after buying the mat cutter. I got one of those Alto's mat cutters, the larger size, years ago for $60 and I still use it.
It will take a little practice to do them, but it's not that hard. Get archival mat board in large sheets. You can use the cut outs from the larger mats for smaller mats or backing. You can size the outer edges of your mats to a standard size for frames, if you are framing them. You can do a lot of the same-sized mats all at once and you won't have to change your settings on the mat cutter. Double mats are nice, but they are at least twice the work and material of single ones, so save them for displays. Use archival artist's tape to put everything together. I suggest you get a book from the library or look online for instructions on matting art.

Those dollar-store mats are nothing but plain cardboard, but if the frames are sturdy enough and finished nicely, you can use those. You also have to look at the backs - the hangers have to be on the frame, not the backing or you are risking them falling apart when they are hung, especially if they have glass in them. The wooden ones, you can drill and put your own hangers and wire on.

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:31 AM
HealingDoodle HealingDoodle is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

Thank you so much for your guidance and experience. I've been doing a huge amount of research. It really seems like cutting them myself is a lot of work, an expensive initial investment (plus, I read that you need a new blade for every few mats), complicated mathematically, and challenging to keep the paper straight for measuring window and outside.

I wish there was a stencil or tool for my size that just did the cutout. I only really need a 2 7/8 by 4 7/8 with a 4x6 outside. Kind of like a cookie cutter for the mat board.

But you gave me a lot to think about and great information to help me understand much better. Thank you for your help.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:31 PM
Biblioscape Biblioscape is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

You can cut out just the insides of mats with a straight-edge and X-acto knife. That's the simplest way to do it.

If you want beveled cuts, you can get hand-held mat cutters to use with the straight edge.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:54 AM
James Miller James Miller is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

You can cut your own mats using a hand-held cutting tool or, if you practice diligently, even using a metal straightedge and an X-Acto knife. A professional mat cutting machine represents a considerable investment, but may be worthwhile for one who cuts mats regularly and wants professional results.

The quality of the paperboard used for matting is most important for longevity and protection of the art from deterioration and discoloration. There are five categories of matboard:

1. "Museum" boards, suitable for all framing, are made from 100% cotton fibers, which are most resistant to the progressively-destructive acid conversion process occuring at the molecular level in all cellulose fibers. These boards also have pigmented colors to resist bleeding, rub-off, and fading. Most "Museum" mats are buffered with a high-alkaline additive of calcium carbonate to resist invasive chemistry from outside the board, but some colors are available for use with alkaline-sensitive art.

1-1/2. "ArtCare" mats from Nielsen Bainbridge are unique and may be categorized as 1. or 2., in that they are considered by some autorities to be as effective for preservation as 100% cotton. However, they are made from virgin high-alpha cellulose fibers, and technically do not meed the standards for "Museum" boards. An additive of zeolite molecular trap technology raises the boards' resistance to deterioration to a level better than the "Conservation" boards below.

2. "Conservation" boards, suitable for most framing, are made of virgin (not recycled) high-alpha cellulose fibers from purified wood pulp, processed to remove lignin and other chemical contaminants. Also pigmented and usually buffered, these boards are generally cost-effective and protective for paper artworks of moderate-to-high value.

3. "White Core" boards, suitable for upscale decorative, non-preservation framing, are made with recycled alpha cellulose fibers. Colors are sometimes pigmented, but often chemically-dyed, and these boards are usually buffered. The board will not discolor much over time, but the recycled fibers will deteriorate more quickly than virgin, high-apha cellulose fibers, which is why these boards are not considered suitable for any type of preservation framing.

4. "Acid Free" boards, suitable only for short-term decorative framing, are made from minimally-processed wood pulp with an added high-alkaline buffer and chemically-dyed color. The term "acid free" is a misnomer because lignin, the acid-bearing component, remains in the fibers and would eventually cause deterioration and discoloration. These boards were once considered suitable for preservation framing, but real-world experience overwhelmingly proves otherwise.

5. "Standard" or "Plain" boads are suitable only for low-budget, short-term framing, often used in overseas production. These are the cheapest matboards, made from minimally-processed wood pulp with no buffer, and chemically-dyed color. They would begin to discolor almost immediately, and cause discoloration and deterioration of artwork in a relatively short time. Thye ae not generally available in the USA.

In matting as in most other products, you get what you pay for.

Last edited by James Miller : 02-17-2013 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:13 PM
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djbuds djbuds is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

I kind of feel a little stupid, I have used pre-cut matboard on some of my artwork I thought when it said acid free it meant acid free and that was the way to go. What about crescent matboard? I just bought 10 sheets of the rag and also what about the black core I really like the way that looks?
Donna
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:09 AM
James Miller James Miller is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

Quote:
Originally Posted by djbuds
What about crescent matboard? I just bought 10 sheets of the rag...
Crescent "RagMat" boards are made from 100% cotton fibers, which meet the "Museum" standard. Very good boards. Black core baords are, at best, made of virgin alpha cellulose and may meet the "Conservation" standard. Check the specifications and compare to the standards.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:25 AM
Biblioscape Biblioscape is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

If you are cutting the same size small mats all the time, you can measure and cut the first one then use it on top as a template (with a metal straight-edge) for cutting more of them with an Ex-Acto knife or hand-held mat cutter.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:04 PM
vpcs111fm vpcs111fm is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

I would say just out source the whole process. It really doesn't cost much to let one of those online vendors to cut your mat and deliver to you.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:20 PM
Quint Quint is offline
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

I have been using a Dexter hand cutter for years with good results. Started by using a C-clamp to hold the straight edge on one end. Sharp blades a must and set at the proper depth. Can get several good mattes cut with one blade depending on matte size. Have good underlayment to protect blade tip from breaking. Double draw lines on back of matte. One is straight edge guide about 3/16th of an inch inside the cut line. Practice on scraps. I mostly use Crescent select mattes. Acid free. PH Neutral boards are not acid free.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:38 AM
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

When you cut, or have mats cut, you may want to standardize on something like 5x7 outside dimensions. Those ready made frames are much easier to find. The inside dimension can be anything you want.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:51 AM
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Re: Newbie needs help matting artwork for sale

Remember you can always double mat with an archival mat against the artwork and the non archival on top. If desired the bottom mat opening can be cut slightly larger than the top mat opening so it will not be visible and it gives a nice shadow effect. Acid free barrier paper can also be used instead of an actual matboard against the artwork then the non archival mat.
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