Artwork by Monica Gunderson

Artist Thoughts

How to Mount and Mat an Art Print

August 30, 2015 at 1:52 AM

Mounting and Matting Artwork or Art Prints Instructions



  • Pencil

  • Straight Edged Ruler

  • Acid Free Matting (preferably 100% cotton fiber)

  • Acid Free Mounting (foam core board)

  • Acid-Free Repositional Adhesive Spray

  • Art Print or Original Artwork on Paper

  • Frame



  • Logan Mat Cutter (Artist Elite)

  • Straight Blade Tool

  • Bevel Cut Blade Tool

  • Box Cutter Blades

  • Hard Plastic Squeegee or a Stiff Credit Card

Preserving and Enhancing the Artwork

Mounting and matting an artwork or an art print is the best way to preserve and enhance the artwork. When an artwork is framed without properly matting and mounting it, humidity and dust can collect between the art piece and the glass causing damage. The matting allows space between the glass and the image to deter any humidity from collecting onto the artwork and causing it to adhere to the glass. When selecting mat and mounting boards, be sure that the materials used are not acidic and are made out of archival grade materials. Anything that has an acidic base to it, including the artwork itself, can cause acid burn damage to an artwork over time. Since mounting and matting artwork or an art print is about preserving and enhancing the artwork, be sure when you are choosing mat and mount boards that all materials are non-acidic.  As mentioned in the materials list, the matting board should be made out of 100% cotton fiber. This is because cotton fiber based mat is completely acid free, while wood pulp mat is highly acidic which causes discoloration and damage to the artwork over time. For mounting board, foam core backing is optimal for preservation purposes. If conservation is not a concern, then feel free to use other materials, but be forewarned, the artwork or art print will be damaged by the acidity and decomposed quicker than non-acidic based materials.

Step 1: Prepare the Mount and Mat Boards

Note: When choosing the frame, be sure that the frame has enough depth for the mount and mat boards including the width size of the mat frame that will surround the image.

Before cutting the mat and mount board, determine the dimensions of your artwork or art print plus the preferred mat boarder width or frame that will surround the art print or artwork. As seen below, there are plenty of options.

matte frame example image 1 matte frame example image 2 matte frame example image 3

 Kanaloa © 2014 Monica Gunderson - All Rights Reserved; Unauthorized Reproduction Prohibited 

Once the frame size is determined, prepare to cut down mat and mounting boards if they are larger that the desired frame size. First be sure that the straight cutting tools put together properly and that the box cutter is sharp so that it will not fray your mat or mount board while cutting.

Straight Edge Cutting Tool - Parts Straight Edge Cutting Tool - Blade
Straight Edge Cutting Tool - Blade Cover Straight Edge Cutting Tool - Blade Screw

 Straight Blade Tool for Logan Cutter

Before you tighten the blade screw, note that there are two settings, the "Foamboard" setting and "Standard Matboard" setting. Before cutting the mat or mount board, be sure that it is on the correct setting. See the images below.

Straight Edge Cutting Tool - Setting for Foam Board

Foam Board Setting

Straight Edge Cutting Tool - Setting for Matte Board

Mat Board Setting

 Start by measuring the mount board to the desired width and height and mark the dimensions with a pencil and ruler. The straight pencil lines will show where to cut. Measure out the mat board to the same dimensions as the mount board. Now measure the width of the section that needs to be removed from the mount board, adjust the mat guide (set scale) tool on the Logan Mat Cutter to the same measurement and tighten both screws to ensure there will be no slippage while cutting.

Measure out mounting board to fit into frame

Matte Guide - Set Scale  Matte Guide - Set Scale - Screw image 1

Now place the mount board on the Logan Matte Cutter, ensuring that it is pressed firmly against the set scale and square bar.

Place foam board baking onto the Logan Mat Cutter

Fold the guide rail down and it should be lined up with the pencil line that you had made earlier. Notice the notch onto the bottom of the straight edge tool. The notch will be placed on the guide rail.

 	 Line up grooves in straight cutter with guide rail. Line up grooves in straight cutter with guide rail.  

 Once the straight edge tool is properly placed on the guide rail, grasp the handle, press down and pull the straight cutting tool towards you keeping constant pressure on the straight edge cutting tool and guide rail as you make your cut.  When the section is cut, repeat on any other sides on the mount board that needs to be cut off and then repeat the same process with the mat board.  Remember to readjust the blade on the straight cutter for mat board before cutting the matting. Once the mount and mat boards are cut, they should be the same exact size of each other and large enough to adequately fit into the desired frame.

 	 Cutting with straight edge cutter.

Both matt and mount boards should be the same size

Step 2: Cutting the Matting Frame

In order to get the correct window size so that the entire art print or artwork fits inside the matt window, use the following formula: width of mat board minus the width of artwork divide by two equals the width of your mat frame.

For Example, if "x" equals the width of the mat board and "y" equals the width of the art print, the equation would look like this:

                (x - y) ÷ 2 = size of mat frame   

Therefore, a mat board that measures out to 12 (width) by 16 (height) inches and the art print is 8 (width) by 11 (height) inches; the formula would look like this:

                Plug in the numbers from the formula provided above, so that "x" equals 12 and "y" equals 8

                (12 - 8) ÷ 2

                4 ÷ 2 = 2

                So with this formula, your mat boarder or frame width is going to be 2 inches wide.

From each corner of the mat board, use the solution number to measure out the width of the frame and mark it with a pencil. Take the ruler and make straight lines from one mark to the other until there is a rectangle drawn in the center of the mat board. Check to ensure that the art print or artwork fits inside the rectangle. The rectangle should not be larger than the image; otherwise it will not fit inside the mat frame correctly. If it is too large, or too wide in some spots, readjust until it fits, ensuring that the boarder width size is the same all the way around and that it will slightly overlap the art print after it is cut.

Measure all sides equally - image 1 Measure all sides equally - image 2 

Set the mat guide to the desired boarder width as that was measured on the mat board in the previous step. Place the slip sheet or a large scrap of mat board underneath the mat board that you are planning to cut with the bevel cutter.

Slip Sheet Place matt board on cutter.  

Place the mat board color side or face side down with the rectangle drawing facing up. Be sure that it is snugly against the guide rail and squaring bar. Fold down the guide rail. Notice that like the straight edge cutter, the bevel cutter also has grooves which fit onto the guide rail.

 	 Line up the grooves on the bevel cutter to the guide rail. Place bevel cutter on track.

Once the bevel cutter is properly placed onto the guide rail, line up the mark on the bevel cutter with the pencil mark on the mat board. Push down the lever on the bevel cutter and pull towards you and stop at the other pencil mark. Repeat this process on all four sides until the middle of the mat board falls out and a frame is left over.

Line up the pencil line to the line on the bevel cutter. Pull bevel cutter towards you pressing down with even pressure. 
Stop bevel cutter when the pencil line matches up to the line on the bevel cutter. Finished matt frame

Step 3: Mounting Art Print or Artwork and Finishing Up

Center the art print or artwork in the center of the mount board and be sure that when the matting frame is placed over the image that there is no gaps. Mark all four corners of the image on the mount board as shown below.

Mark all four corners on the mount board. Mark all four corners on the mount board.  

Now that the corners are marked on the mount board, spray it with the Acid-Free Repositionable Adhesive Spray. While the adhesive is still tacky, carefully match the four corners of the art print or artwork to the corners that you had marked earlier and lay flat. With the hard plastic squeegee or stiff credit card, smooth the image from top to bottom and then left to right. Once the image is in the correct position and totally flat, then work with the hard plastic squeegee from the center out using firm strokes, ensuring there is no bumps or bubbles left behind. Place the cut mat board border over the mount board and art print or artwork. Then turn it over and sign the back including writing down the date the artwork was completed and any other information that you would like to include. From here you can either place it in an acid-free plastic bag with an adhesive flap, or put it in a frame.

Sign and Date the back.   	 Place mounted art print in acid-free plastic bag
 Seal Plastic Bag  Competed Matted Art Print



Notice of Copyright! ALL of Monica's artwork is copyrighted and are protected by law. Please DO NOT use or copy artwork without the permission of the artist. Read More about the artists Copyright Policy.

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Mounting and Matting Artwork or Art Prints Instructions

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Monica Gunderson Fine Artist

Modesto CA