Matting a photograph

You could be thinking one of two things:

  1. Who can’t mat a photo?
  2. I can’t mat anything, I’ll just mess it up!

Here are a few tips to help make that special photo an enduring wall piece.

  • Wipe photo with a soft cloth to remove dust and fingerprints. Use nylon gloves to keep same off the print.
  • All photographs should be matted when being framed. A photo will stick to glass or plastic if moisture is present. Photos need “air space” inside the frame. This space is created by matting your photo. Choose a mat board color that goes well with the color palette of your image or pick a neutral color like ivory or white if you can’t decide.
  • Measure the picture for your mat board. If you are purchasing a window mat, or making one, be sure the window is ¼” – ½” narrower than your image. i.e. if your image is 5 x 7” be sure the window is 4-1/2 x 6-1/2” or 4-3/4 x 6-3/4” depending on how much of the picture is visually acceptable to cut off. Doing this ensures that the mat properly covers the edges of your photo.
  • Next, attach your photo to the mat using T hinges. You should use only acid-free tape for this so that the tape doesn’t leach undesirable elements onto your photo or yellow or dry out over time.
  • Once finished, place mat inside a frame of your choice. Glass with a UV protective coating is always best to prevent fading.
Matting supplies like archival mat board, hinging tape, and anti static cloth are required for properly matting your pictures
A self-adhesive hinging tape is very easy to work with. Taping the backer board to the mat board creating a hinge is the first step.
Once you have a hinge, check the photo alignment in the window. Making tiny marks with a pencil is a good idea to maintain photo placement.
One piece of hinging tape adheres to the back of the image (adhesive side up), then a second piece (adhesive side down) creates a ‘T’ shape affixing it to the backer board. This allows the photo to simply hang in between the two mat boards.
Now it’s ready to place in a frame of your choice.


All items you need to mat your photos are available at