Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Framing 101 - Day 3: Building Up The Matte and Securing your Painting

     OK, we now have our fillet completed and taped into the matte.  I now use some scrap matte board strips to build up the back of my matte, so that it is the same level as the wood fillet.  I use my ATG gun to apply adhesive to the strips, and stack them until they are level with the fillet.  This also gives the matte rigidity, and maintains a flat presentation.

     Here you can see three strips of matte board have been applied.  I apply two complete layers of matte board all around the fillet.

      I then check to make sure the fillet is still aligned with my painting.  If all looks well, I proceed to tape my painting with a top hinge.

     A hinge is some form of tape or linen at the top of your painting that attaches to your matte.  It can be one piece on each side, or one long strip (the method I prefer).  You will decide which method works best for you.
     I use framer's tape for hinging my work, but other framers use wheat paste and tape.  You will need to do your own research here, but I will try to help if you need additional information.
     Tomorrow we approach the glass cutter and finish up our project!

All content and images © Mark Kohler Studio.


  1. Thanks for the framing demonstration, it is great to see how you mat and frame your work and great reference material.

  2. Framing and matting your own work is time-consuming, but very rewarding. Glad you liked the demonstration.

  3. Couple of questions here, is framers tape the same as drafting tape? And by your top hinge do you mean you do not aply tape to the bottom edge of the painting and mat as well? By not attaching the picture to the matt on the bottom, I asume that will keep the picture from sagging over time in the frame?

  4. Sorry about the delay in replying, I've been driving back from a show in AZ. First of all, framers tape is not the same as drafting tape---the framer's tape adhesive is archival and it has an integrity equal to duct tape. Drafting tape's adhesive will fail over time and is not strong enough. And yes, I hinge at the top only because if there is any cockling in the middle of your paper, if you hinge at the bottom, you'll end up with a big gap showing in your matte. Hinging at the top allows the paper to contract and expand over time without any pressure on the paper. It'll lay perfectly flat for the most part. Hope this helps, and thanks for the questions. Anytime I can make something clearer, don't hesitate to ask!