How to mat a watercolor painting

How to mat a watercolor painting

So that you’ve bought a phenomenal watercolor portray (hopefully considered one of mine), and now you’re asking – “What the heck do I do with it?!” It’s time to find out about customized conservation framing. With this information you’ll discover ways to choose the right body and protect your paintings for years to come back.

My {qualifications} –

My journey with customized framing started in Grand Junction, Colorado on the Body Depot. (When you’re within the space head over instantly and skip this information; they’re THE BEST.) I had simply graduated from faculty with a level in graphic design and located myself in a catch 22, no one would rent me with out expertise however I couldn’t get expertise as a result of no one would rent me. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My real love has at all times been, and can at all times be, portray. And due to the expertise I gained whereas working on the Body Depot I’ve an inside data about how you can add that every one vital final touch to authentic paintings.

What’s conservation framing and why is it vital?

Conservation framing refers back to the strategies and supplies used to guard and protect paintings in an archival method. In order for you your paintings to face the take a look at of time that is the strategy for you.

The diagram beneath depicts what’s known as a body bundle – all of the supplies used to border paintings.

How to mat a watercolor painting

Security First: Use the correct instruments. The blade on the cutter is extreemely sharp, so you need to use a slip proof ruler with a leading edge. It’s higher to chop via little by little with extra passes than to chop deeply suddenly.

How to mat a watercolor painting

Matting Board Minimize to Dimension

Begin by placing the mat board face down. I’m going to mat a watercolor for the standard body. That is for a 16 in x 20 in body. I need the window to be smaller than the paper so the board holds it down. All the time double verify the measurements earlier than chopping. After I draw the chopping line, I put the watercolor on high to ensure the measurements are right.

How to mat a watercolor painting

Ensure the measurement is right

Wanting on the nook, assures me that the window is the correct measurement.

How to mat a watercolor painting

Slip Proof Ruler and Bevel Mat Board Cutter

When utilizing the bevel 45º mat board cutter, place the cutter as within the image above or the bevel would be the reverse of the specified consequence. The blade needs to be modified usually or it’ll develop into tough to chop and begin ripping the board. When chopping the nook, minimize a little bit bit previous the nook so the nook has a clear minimize.

How to mat a watercolor painting

This watercolor has been matted for a 16 in x 20 in normal body.

Here’s a video of a number of the small watercolors that I matted first. If you’re out of shape like me or doing this for the primary time, it’s a good suggestion to start out matting small watercolors till you get the hold of it.

Watercolors current a particular problem when mounting for image framing. As a result of they’re authentic artwork, they’re normally assumed to be price preserving and shouldn’t be adhered with most self-adhesive mounting tapes, that are tough to take away with out tearing. What’s extra, watercolor paper is normally a top quality paper with a deckled edge, which many artists need to present completely within the framed presentation, edge-to-edge.

For these causes, mounting strategies that require the mat to overlap the perimeters of the paintings, comparable to trapping with archival mounting strips or mounting corners, are past consideration. Definitely, any method that entails coating the again of the paintings with adhesive is out. So mounting with correct mounting tapes is the one various.

The Correct Tape for Mounting Watercolors

For mounting watercolors an simply reversible tape is crucial. Reversibility is the flexibility to reverse the maintain of the tape on the paper, permitting it to be peeled off with out tearing. Gummed tapes are greatest for this function as they are often reversed with water. Simply moist the top of a Q-Tip and work it alongside the sting of the tape. As quickly because the water comes into contact with the adhesive it releases, permitting the tape to be peeled away cleanly.

Linen tapes are preferable to paper tapes when mounting watercolors. Linen tapes have a better tensile power, a main consideration when mounting heavy watercolor paper.

Bearing all that is thoughts, gummed linen tape is the correct mounting tape for mounting watercolors.

The Correct Approach for Mounting Watercolors

One of the best mounting method is the S-Hinge, which is the one hinge mounting method that correctly conceals the tape behind and inside the edges of the paintings, a necessity when the perimeters of the paintings are irregular or deckled. “Hinge mounting” is simply image framing parlance for mounting utilizing tape, versus trapping or coating the paintings with adhesive.

Two carry out an S-Hinge begin with a mat clean minimize to your body measurement. Utilizing an artwork knife or field cutter, minimize two slim slits within the mat clean about two-thirds of the way in which up from the underside edge. Feed a strip of tape about 2″ lengthy via every slit adhesive-side-up relative to the highest fringe of the mat clean. Adhere half the tape to the again of the mat clean within the space above the slit. Enable the opposite half to hold tongue-like down the entrance aspect of the mat clean. The paintings is adhered picture aspect as much as the tape that hangs down the entrance.

As soon as the paintings is mounted to the mat clean, a separate window mat might be minimize with a window bigger than the paintings. When the window mat is positioned over the paintings, the paintings seems in its entirety (together with its deckled edges) inside the window of the mat. Glass is positioned over the window mat. Foam board is positioned behind the mat clean. Your entire stack is positioned within the body and also you’re performed.

Mounting watercolors is difficult as a result of, given the character of the artwork, your choices are restricted, however when you use the right strategies and supplies, mounting watercolors isn’t tough.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Body a Watercolor Portray

I used to be simply framing a portray for my mother and determined to take images of the method in case a few of you have an interest in doing this for yourselves. I am assuming you already know completely nothing, so please bear with me when you already know the fundamentals. For some concepts about the place to get the supplies talked about on this submit, see Watercolor Sources.


Watercolor “paper” is definitely comprised of 100 p.c cotton rag. Not like canvas or linen used for oil work, watercolor paper is not given a waterproof coating. Whereas some artists spray a protecting end on their work, most don’t as a result of it modifications the way in which the portray seems to be, and never everybody likes the consequence. So more often than not you may be framing work that is not waterproofed.

To guard the portray you should use glass or acrylic. Acrylic is far more durable to interrupt than glass, which is nice when you’re delivery your framed portray or placing it in a present that requires acrylic. In any other case glass is ok. Non-reflective glass or acrylic is sweet, though dearer than the common stuff.

Along with glass, you might want to shield the portray with a mat and backing (normally foam core), which must be acid free and archival, except you do not thoughts your portray turning yellow over time. I at all times use a double mat as a result of it seems to be higher. You additionally want some acid-free material tape to connect the portray to the mat. The mat retains the portray from touching the glass, which is essential. When you choose to not use a mat, then you might want to put a spacer between the glass and the portray so they do not contact.

Lastly, you want a body. Typically, the bigger the portray, the broader the body molding might be, however it’s all a matter of style. Do, nevertheless, take into account how the top consequence will look whenever you’re deciding on molding. You do not need to both overwhelm or underwhelm the paintings.


You may have three choices for buying mats and frames. The most cost effective manner is to purchase a pre-cut mat and pre-made body. Alternatively, you should buy the tools to chop your personal mats, and even purchase elements to assemble your personal frames. Finally it can save you cash by chopping your personal mats, when you do sufficient of them, though I’ve discovered the mat materials to be costly except purchased in bulk. Lastly, you may merely order what you want from a framer.

It you are the painter, you could have some choices for saving cash as a result of you may paint in sizes that match standard-size mats and frames, that are mass-produced and much inexpensive than customized mats and frames. Listed here are a number of examples:

Watercolor paper: 11″ X 15″ (1/Four sheet of 22″ X 30″ paper)
Mat inside dimensions: 10″ X 14″
Mat outdoors dimensions: 16″ X 20″
Body inside dimensions: 16″ X 20″
That is my go-to measurement as a result of the mats and frames are available.

Watercolor paper: 12″ X 15″
Mat inside dimensions: 11″ X 14″
Mat outdoors dimensions: 16″ X 20″
Body inside dimensions: 16″ X 20″

Watercolor paper: 6″ X 8″
Mat inside dimensions: 5″ X 7″
Body inside dimensions: Numerous – simply be certain that the skin dimensions of the mat and and the within dimensions of the body are the identical.

You possibly can discover what’s accessible on-line and in your space to determine what works greatest for you. Listed here are suggestions from West Charlton Body Firm for the right measurement mats and frames to make use of for various measurement work. I extremely suggest utilizing this firm to your customized framing wants.

On this tutorial I’ll present you how you can mount, seal and polish your watercolour work.

That is a wholly new method to shield and show your watercolour work which could be very thrilling for such a basic and conventional medium.

Are you able to make the leap? Let’s do it!

How to mat a watercolor painting

Why do we have to shield a watercolour portray?

1. Because the portray is water primarily based it’s simply broken by water or a liquid spill.
2. Damp air will likely be absorbed into the watercolour paper attracting mould.
3. Oxygen within the air and can deteriorate the paper and trigger it to develop into brittle.

Till just lately, watercolour work have been framed behind glass for cover.

Disadvantages of framing behind glass

1. It should be framed with a mat board between it and the glass floor to stop condensation and moisture construct up contained in the body. This add an additional price to the framing course of.
2. Framing behind glass is pricey.
3. Glass is clean which causes reflections when making an attempt to view the paintings.
4. A glass body is heavy so usually wants additional warning when hanging to make sure the paintings would not fall off the wall.
4. The potential of breakage throughout transport between galleries and exhibitions is far greater with glass framed work
5. The price of packaging and posting to shoppers and galleries is far greater.

Then there may be the potential harm by framers who’re ignorant and/or careless about watercolours and the dealing with thereof. Even essentially the most cautious framer can spill espresso over your portray by chance whereas working.

Wouldn’t it not be higher to have the ability to body and/or suitably shield your watercolours your self, understanding that nobody else will harm your treasured work?

I’ve excellent news for you. There’s a method to shield and seal your watercolour work.

This technique makes your watercolour work waterproof which lets you even body them glassless in order for you.

Just lately I spoke to an artwork provider in my metropolis and advised her about it. She was very sceptical and mentioned she can be afraid to break the floor of her watercolour work. (She can be an artwork trainer.)

A couple of days later I took her the completed article of the mission whereas she had a category on the go. I poured water on my portray and rubbed my finger over it with no harm to the portray, she additionally tried it and was speechless.

How to mat a watercolor painting
(Picture supply:

A watercolor is exclusive in that it has a particular mix of magnificence and attraction that’s not achieved on every other artwork work. Watercolor work are delicate and are simply broken, buckled and discolored, and might even crumple if not cared for correctly.

Watercolors entice artwork lovers for his or her lovely tender hues, refined mixing results, various levels of transparency and even software. Watercolor-inspired dwelling décor continues to development this season too, and that is fairly the apt time to deliver a beautiful watercolor portray dwelling.

The colour pigments utilized in watercolors are finely floor and mixed with a water-soluble binder like gum Arabic. Artists combine the colours with water and paint them over absorbent surfaces like textured paper. When the water evaporates the colour pigments keep on the floor sure by the gum Arabic.

If in case you have introduced a beautiful portray dwelling and are questioning how you must maintain it, listed here are a number of useful suggestions for you.

1. Watercolors Must Be Framed

Watercolors are greatest off whenever you body them below glass, and there are compelling causes to take action.

Watercolors are normally performed on paper which is able to deteriorate very quick if left within the open. Additionally, the paper isn’t given a waterproof coating previous to being painted upon as a result of it’ll make software of colours tough. Most artists chorus from making use of any protecting varnish over their accomplished work which makes the work fairly susceptible to atmosphere harm.

Watercolors get reconstituted after they come into contact with moisture. Colours could shift, run or break, thereby ruining the portray. A glass entrance will shield the portray from mud and moisture harm.

You won’t like the thought of placing your fairly watercolor behind glass however even mud has the potential to break the portray completely. The paper on which watercolors are performed is a really delicate floor and will likely be simply broken whenever you mud is. A glass protecting panel will shield your artwork from mud and moisture in addition to from bugs, mould and mildew.

Make sure the glass your framer makes use of is glazed. UV-coated Plexiglass or Denglass is sort of apt for the job.

There, now you see why framing a watercolor below glass is really helpful by specialists.

2. Archival Framing Strategies Are Important

Archival framing assures the seems to be, life and high quality of your artwork for many years to come back. A well-preserved artwork work will outlast virtually each different merchandise you could have used to spruce up your interiors together with your favourite rug and couch.

So what precisely is archival framing?

Archival framing entails utilizing supplies that don’t have an effect on the portray adversely in any method. The mat, the backing and the hinges used for attaching the portray to the mat are all 100% acid-free.

The mat board must be comprised of cotton or linen rags. That is utterly freed from damaging acids and is taken into account to be of the best high quality.

Use of adhesives like glue is a whole no-no so far as high quality framing is taken into account. Paper tapes or Japanese paper hinges are nice for attaching the paintings to the mat board. They’re of archival high quality and don’t depart any everlasting impact on the portray.

Archival framing basically is a totally reversible course of and doesn’t bodily alter the unique paintings in any manner.

3, High quality of Body Issues

Once you go for archival framing, you can not have too many choices for the colour. We regularly use colourful mats to assist the artwork actually pop however on the subject of archival framing the selection you could have is a bit restricted. Archival mats are normally utilized in impartial tones.

When you really need an ornamented artwork show you may take into account going for personalized and ornamental frames. They may present the correct mixture of glamour and performance to your artwork work. Our Sydney customized image framing companies will meet all of your framing wants.

If you’re utilizing a non-archival body, you’ll have to line the insides of the body the place it touches the artwork with pH-neutral substance.

4. Hold the Portray Away from Gentle

Work in watercolor are significantly susceptible to the impact of exterior components like mild and humidity.

By no means hold your portray reverse a window or on a wall the place it’s uncovered to full daylight for many a part of the day. This may trigger colours to fade and the paper to develop into brittle.

The colour pigments in watercolors are extraordinarily delicate and can shortly fade when uncovered to the ultra-violet rays in daylight. Additionally, you will be dismayed to see the paper drying out, turning brittle, bleaching out and taking over an unsightly yellow hue.

Fluorescent mild can be as unhealthy as daylight for watercolors, so you’ll have to hold your artwork work away from it as effectively. Your gallery professional will inform you that the UV focus in fluorescent mild is similar as in daylight.

You must ideally hold the portray in a room with halogen or incandescent lighting. A low-emission ceiling highlight is one of the best to spotlight the portray.

5. Do Not Hold in Flawed Locations

All locations in your house aren’t appropriate to hold artwork. Maintain the watercolor away from warmth, oils, odors and moisture within the kitchen. Additionally don’t hold them close to heaters or different heat-emitting home equipment as a result of that can harm the colour pigments completely.

One of the best tip from specialists is to rotate the work periodically to guard them from over-exposure.

6. No Dramatic Adjustments within the Surroundings

Dramatic fluctuations within the atmosphere also can harm the portray. You’re feeling colder in museums and artwork galleries as a result of their temperatures are set beneath 20 diploma Celsius and the humidity is maintained between 50%-65%.

You needn’t fret an excessive amount of except you could have a 100-year-old watercolor to protect. The filtration system of your own home HVAC will do the job fairly effectively for different artworks.

Guarantee there are not any dramatic fluctuations in temperature or humidity ranges in your house. This will likely be dangerous to all of your advantageous artwork possessions.


Watercolors are luminescent and add a soothing, and serene attraction to your own home. By conserving in thoughts the above factors you may guarantee they continue to be lovely, and protect them for posterity.

The photograph (above) reveals the spacer hooked up to museum glass, an X-acto knife for chopping the spacer materials, a backing board, and framer's tape for sealing edges.

Many pastel artists are abandoning conventional mat and body shows and changing them as a substitute with huge wooden frames. This enables the pastel to look much less like a print or poster, which generally have a large surrounding border. These works are attracting the eye of the canvas-buying public. Generally, oil and acrylic work are displayed with a wider wooden body that will or could not have a small liner. A pastel offered in a similar way calls for the identical respect usually afforded these canvas media. That is very true when anti- or low-reflection glazing is utilized, like Tru Vue model AR and Museum Glass. Many distinguished galleries are encouraging this presentation and most nationwide pastel exhibitions are seeing entries framed on this method.

The normal mat serves as greater than an ornamental border; it acts as a spacer, holding the fragile pastel floor away from the glass. When matting is eradicated, the framing choices are to both sandwich the portray in opposition to the glass (an previous French technique) or to make the most of a spacer. Most framing specialists agree that it’s best to maintain the pastel floor away from the glass. Because of this, I take advantage of a spacer when framing mat-less. I’ve discovered a wonderful assortment of spacers to be accessible from Artwork Spacers. They arrive in an array of sizes, have adhesive on one aspect, and are straightforward to chop to measurement. These manufactured spacers make it a breeze to have a pastel prepared to hold in a matter of minutes. Minimize the spacer to suit the perimeters of the glass, peal the tape again to show the adhesive, and stick it to the skin of the glass. As soon as hooked up to the glass, merely place it on high of the portray with a non-acidic, PH-balanced backing behind the portray. For added stability, seal the glass to the backing. Use PH-neutral tape accessible from a framing provide. Connect the tape to the entrance fringe of the glass and wrap it across the sides to stick it to the backing. This seals the portray between the glass, spacer and backing, permitting for straightforward placement right into a body and simple elimination if wanted.

With at this time’s available choice of plein air (or impressionist) frames, deciding on a method that compliments your portray has by no means been simpler. Whether or not to make use of a mat or go mat-less is as much as you, however it’s good to have the choice.

I do my very own matting and framing for my paintings, and I used to be just lately requested how I connect my watercolor work to the opposite framing contents comparable to mat board and foam board when I’m framing them. Appeared like a weblog alternative to me! So, with out additional ado, here is how I do it.

This course of will work for any kind of paintings on paper, together with pictures. It’s known as hinging, and is an efficient method to connect these things collectively in a manner that they are often eliminated sooner or later with out a lot threat of harm to the paintings.

How to mat a watercolor painting 1. These are the objects I’m assembling for the contents of my body: Mat board minimize to the correct measurement, with a window minimize out for the artwork to indicate via, foam board minimize to the identical measurement because the mat board, and the paintings itself. Right here I’m utilizing two items of mat board, and I’ve glued them collectively so they do not slide round.

How to mat a watercolor painting

2. The very first thing I do is lay my portray face up in entrance of me, with the highest of the portray towards me and the underside of the portray away from me. I then minimize items of acid free artists’ tape and fasten them to the again of the portray, on the high, with the sticky aspect up (as proven).

How to mat a watercolor painting

3. Then I place the mat board the way in which I need it over the portray, and lay it down on the portray, and press down within the spots the place the tape are beneath.

How to mat a watercolor painting

4. Subsequent I flip the entire thing over, mats and portray, and press down on the tape once more firmly.

How to mat a watercolor painting

5. Then I minimize two extra items of tape and create a hinge. This step isn’t needed, and generally I skip it for smaller work, however I at all times do it on giant ones simply to ensure it holds effectively to the mat board.

How to mat a watercolor painting
6. The subsequent step is to connect the mat board to the froth board. The way in which I do it’s to take two items of artists’ tape and stick them to the sting of the mat board, on the high, with half of the items hanging off the sting.

How to mat a watercolor painting

7. Then lay the sting of the piece of froth board in opposition to the mat board as proven, and use the items of tape to safe them collectively.

How to mat a watercolor painting

8. Lastly, deliver the mat board and foam board collectively, utilizing the items of tape as hinges, and also you’re performed!

How to mat a watercolor painting

Please depart your questions or feedback beneath. If I’ve helped you, I need to hear about it, and when you do not perceive one thing or need to know extra, I need to assist!

© Ulla Restoration. Proudly created with

Paper Restoration provides restoration companies for broken works on paper. Paper is of course acidic, which is why older works, comparable to previous newspaper, flip yellow or brown as they age. The paper's pH should be neutralized with the intention to halt the firming, and hold the paper and pigments from deteriorating. The firming will also be cleaned out of the paper, yielding a more recent trying piece.

There are a number of issues that may originate from poor environmental circumstances, framing, dealing with or mishaps. Harm comparable to stains, tears, mould/mildew, abrasions and creases can detract from each your enjoyment of the piece and its worth.

Along with making a bit look nicer, correct skilled restoration and conservation can stabilize its worth and in some circumstances, get better some worth misplaced to break.

The next is an inventory of points frequent to works on paper that might require restoration and/or conservation remedy:

Acid Burn : Browning/yellowing of the paper which additionally makes paper brittle.

Mat Burn : Brown line of acid burn round picture.

Foxing : Corroding particles in paper create ugly brown recognizing.

Acidic backing and/or matting : Could cause acid burn if not eliminated.

Tape and adhesive : Will stain the paper if not eliminated.

Poor body circumstances : Improperly framed items can deteriorate from publicity to acidic supplies, touching the glass, insect droppings, mould spores and humidity.

Water Harm : Rippling, mould/mildew and marking can all happen from publicity to moisture.

Mildew/Mildew : Could cause paper and pigment deterioration, textural harm, staining.

Insect Harm : Silverfish eat away paper and pigment. Droppings can deteriorate and stain paper.

Creasing : Dealing with cockles, deep folds, wrinkles, rippling.

Floor dust : Mud, soot, fingerprints, hair, fur, insect droppings, and so forth.

Abrasions : Scuffs, shiny marks, scratches with pigment loss, textural harm.