Glossary of Terms

Acid Burn

Yellowish-brown areas that can appear on artwork that was not framed using conservation materials. Acids can cause artwork to discolor and become brittle.

Acid Free

Acid free framing materials are pH neutral and will not emit harmful chemicals that may damage your artwork over time. See Archival and Conservation Framing.

Adhesive Transfer Tape

Used in mounting artwork to a backing board and in similar applications where two adhesive surfaces are needed (i.e. double mats, mats to boards, dust cover to wood frame, etc.)


Archival products differ from acid free in that they actually help absorb acids that may be emitted from your artwork onto the mat and other materials. Archival products protect your artwork against pollution damage and slow the degradation of works on paper. Any product labeled “ArtCare” by Nielsen Bainbridge is truly archival. We carry the Alpharag and AlphaEssentials. For technical reading on this subject, visit Nielsen Bainbridge.


Often referred to as plexi-glass or glazing, it is a clear, breathable and acid free alternative to glass for framing. Offered in four different grades, Standard, UV, Non-Glare and UV Non-Glare. We recommend the UV products for conservation framing. Acrylic can be purchased with or without frames.


Usually this is 1/8" that is added to your frame dimensions when the frame moulding is cut. It allows room for measuring errors and material expansion.

Art Gallery

Our FREE venue for artists and photographers to exhibit, sell and catalog their work. Wholesalers have been known to shop our site to find emerging artists.

Art Printing

See Giclee Printing.

Backing or Mounting Board

This board creates the back of the frame, holding in the artwork and giving it support. We recommend the use of foam core, which is a sturdy, smooth white board with a foam center which provides the best long term backing for most works on paper and photographs. Boards are offered in Standard, Acid Free, and Self-Adhesive. When using Standard or Acid Free boards, we recommend that you attach your artwork to the board with linen tape or a double sided framer's tape. Using a Self-Adhesive board allows you to effectively glue your entire piece to the board so that it never wrinkles.


What your work will look like in our frames. All materials are top brands, and premium quality. We make it easy and affordable so you can frame as much as you’d like on a slim budget.

Bevel Cut (or Beveled Edge)

A 45 degree angle cut at the inside edge of a mat board window. Exposes about 1/16” of the mat board core, which can be white, cream, black or continuous (the same color as the mat board itself).


The American Frame Blog, A Good Frame of Mind, is easily accessed from the preceding link or at the bottom of our homepage under Social Scene. Check in periodically for updates, 'News and Views' pertaining to our world in art and framing.

Canvas Floater (or Float) Frame

It’s a frame that attaches to the back of the canvas stretcher and makes the canvas “float” within the frame. It’s a high style way to finish your work at an economical cost.

Color Calibration

Most computer monitors have never been correctly calibrated for color, which means that the color you see online may not be exactly matched to the product itself. When mat board and frame colors are critical, let us know, and we’ll send free samples of your choice for your confirmation. When printing fine art or photography, you may first want to order a proof on the paper or canvas of your choice to check how colors appear from your digital file before printing your final piece.

Color Proof

In digital printing, it is a tool for checking color on your choice of paper or canvas. Each substrate absorbs inks and reflects light differently, so when color is critical, we recommend you order a proof. We print out an approximate 8” x10” rendition of your image (we use the entire image, preserving the aspect ratio and print as large as we can while still fitting inside of our 8x10 inch proof sleeve). It’s the only way we can guarantee color. Recommended but not required for professional artists and photographers.

Conservation Framing

This framing procedure uses only completely acid-free materials, including the artwork. If the materials used to create or print the art are not pH neutral, then the use of ArtCare materials are recommended to achieve a safe and archival environment for the art. Industry experts advise that all valuable art be unframed, inspected, and reframed every 20 years even when framed with conservation materials.

Core Color

As it relates to mat boards, the core is revealed when the mat board opening is bevel cut (see Bevel Cut definition). Mat board core colors can be white, black, cream or the same color as the mat board itself. The core color can be found at the mat board selection page, listed under the mat board description. The cores on Alpharag and AlphaEssentials selections will be the same color as the mat board. Consider the color of the paper you are framing when choosing a mat board/core color combination. When in doubt, request a free sample.

Corrugated Corners

Protects the corners of a frame when in transit. Made from corrugated cardboard, they are adjustable to fit two positions: 3/4” and 1 3/8”.

Customer Service

It’s what we’re all about. We are simply here to serve. If you have a question or concern, we’re here M-F, 8:30am-5:30pm, 800-537-0944 eastern. Or email us anytime at Let's chat.  We love hearing from you.


Picture framing is not a typical DIY project. It’s more of a collaboration between you as artist, designer and assembler, and us as the manufacturer, and takes very little if any skill. Our on-line tools make it simple to size and choose materials and visualize your frame online before you buy. You measure your art and choose your framing materials. We send you your ready to assemble, custom picture framing kit. All you need are a few simple framing accessories. (Word to the wise: this is so easy and economical, you may start framing everything in sight! We’re not joking. We’ve seen this happen.)

Double Mat

Technique where the artwork is matted using two separate mat boards, one on top of the other. The amount of the bottom mat you see is called the “offset”. Double mats and even triple mats are used as a design element, often with charcoal and pastel drawings to maximize space between the acrylic and the drawing’s surface. When using multiple mats, be sure that the rabbet depth of your frame is sufficient to hold all of the materials (see Rabbet in this glossary for details).

Drop Bottom

It’s a mat board sized to be larger on the bottom border than on the top and sides. Giving your mat a heavy drop bottom gives the framing treatment a chic, contemporary appearance.


A professional heat-activated method of adhering artwork to a backing board. It’s the process we use here for our Print & Frame orders. The Standard Mount is a permanent process and most economical. The Archival Mount is acid free and can be reversed by a professional; this is the option we most recommend.

Dust Cover

Paper which is adhered to the back of a wood frame to protect the artwork from dust which can seep into the framing treatment over time. Usually made from Kraft paper.

Dust Cover Trimmer

Handy tool used to trim the dust cover to the size of the frame.


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See Beautiful. How your art and photos will look after you frame them.

Fine Art Reproduction

The process of photographing an original piece of artwork (or reproducing original photography) and printing it on fine art papers, photographic papers or canvas. We use the Epson fine art giclee technology with archival Ultrachrome inks. The results are beautiful and often not distinguishable from the original. For best results, make sure your artwork is properly photographed, and order a color or resolution proof to confirm color.

Floating Artwork

Matting technique where the art work is placed on top of the mat board, hence the mat is ordered with no cut. The art is adhered directly on the mat board with its edges exposed so it appears to “float” within the frame.

Foam Core

Stiff, lightweight material used as a backing or Mounting Board to give rigidity to the image being framed and create a back for the frame. Foam makes up the center of the board with a layer of paper on its surfaces. Standard, Acid Free and Self Adhesive options are offered. See Backing Board.

Frame Fairy

She’s cute, she’s zany, and she’ll teach you how to frame. See How-To Page for our entertaining tutorials.

Frame Pair

One pair is equal to two frame sections. Two pairs make one frame.

Frame Treatment

This term is tossed around loosely in framing circles. It’s the contents of your frame, and consists of your frame molding, glazing or acrylic sheet, single or multiple mat boards, and the backing board. A treatment can be standard, acid-free, or archival/UV resistant according to the materials you choose. Think of the treatment as the place where your art will live. It becomes a sealed environment, and protects and displays your work.

Gallery Wrap

A method of canvas stretching that takes the image all the way around the sides of the stretcher bars. Our gallery wrapped canvas is mounted on thick, 1 3/4” stretcher bars and eliminates the need for framing.


Inkjet process used in fine art reproduction. We use the large format Epson Printers with archival Ultrachrome Inks, and depending on file size, can print up to 42” x 90”. Giclee printing allows us to “print on demand”, without minimums, on various choices of paper or canvas. We’re often amazed at how closely our reproductions mimic the originals.


Industry term to describe the clear glass, or acrylic (plexi-glass) used in picture framing. See Acrylic.

Green Initiatives

We’re an environmentally responsible company. It’s just good business. We recycle aluminum and acrylic scrap, paper, corrugated, wood pallets, and we ship packages carbon neutral. Learn more on our Green Initiatives page.


Everything you order from us is touched by skilled craftspeople who care if your order is perfect. Even our ready made Picture Frame kits are hand manufactured. When automation is used, (with precision saws and mat board cutters) your order is handled and inspected by professionals.


A method of attaching your art work to your mat board or mounting board with Linen Tape, so the piece can hang freely within the frame treatment.

Visit our How-To page to view our Hinging video.


A digital file format we accept for printing. When preparing files to upload for printing, make sure they are saved as either a .jpeg or .tiff, up to 100MB. If you have a larger file to print, simply send it to us on disk and we’ll take care of the rest. See Art Printing for additional information.


A protective covering for canvas prints, applied using a heat process in a dry-mount press. It is not reversible and therefore not archival but is recommended for the ultimate UV and scratch protection and required for stretched canvas purchases. Available in matte and luster finishes.

Lineco® Tape

Every framer should have roll of linen tape at their disposal at all times. It’s a lightweight, acid-free (pH neutral) adhesive used for hinging artwork to a mat board, or for taping the back of artwork that has been torn. This product will not flake or become brittle over time.

Self-Adhesive Linen Hinging Tape: Used for hinging window mats to backing board or for attaching art and photographs. It’s a pH neutral, self-adhesive, white flexible tape.

Abaca Self-Adhesive Hinging Tape: This self-hinging tape incorporates the strength and supple nature of Abaca paper (manila hemp), along with a very strong acrylic adhesive that is permanent and non-yellowing. Abaca paper is acid-free and biodegradable.

Polyester Archival Mounting Corners: Clear mounting corners hold art and photos firmly in place. Use to display photographs, prints, postcards, trading cards and other items.

Archival SeeThru 4 inch Mounting Strips: Mounting strips used for hingeless, archival mounting of artwork and photographs to mat board or mounting board. No adhesive ever comes in contact with your artwork.

Linen Liner

Used instead of a mat and mainly with framed canvas pieces, this is a rigid, linen-wrapped wood that creates a “frame within a frame” to add dimension. When a liner is ordered with the frame, we guarantee the dimension and fit. Our liners are offered in two sizes, with a natural linen or white linen covering.

Mat Board

A board, generally 4-ply, 6-ply, or 8-ply, which serves decorative and functional purposes. As a design element, mats provide a visual transition from the art to the frame, and the colors and proportions you choose influence the feel of the artwork. Mat boards also functionally separates the acrylic sheet from the art, which allows air to circulate within the frame. All of our mat boards can be custom cut or purchased in full sheets (32” x 40”) if you prefer to cut your own.

Mounting Board

See Backing Board, and Foam Core

Multiple Mat Board Openings

We happily cut multiple mat board openings to your specifications, although the web site does not currently handle this function. Simply draw out your board with opening sizes, and email or fax it to us (419) 893-3553 for production. An operator will contact you if we have any questions. Extra openings are priced at $3.00 each.

Museum Wrap

A method of stretching a canvas where the image sits on the front and the sides of the canvas are white. Stretching the image produces a slight 1/4” overlap to the sides. Museum Wraps are mounted on thick stretcher bars. Framing not necessary for display.

Offset or Reveal

This measurement relates to the use of multiple mat boards. It is how much of the bottom mat will be showing underneath the top mat. A typical offset is 1/4”.


The measurement by which a mat board overlaps your artwork. A slight overlap, typically 1/8” on all sides, keeps the art within the mat board window.


See Acrylic


The thickness of a mat board. Mat boards are offered in 4, 6, and 8-ply. The deeper the ply, the more dramatic the bevel cut of the mat. 4-ply mat boards are approximately 1/16" thick. 6-ply mat boards are approximately 3/32" thick and 8-ply mats are approximately 1/8" thick.

Print & Frame

We offer an easy and accessible online custom printing and framing service on demand. Print and frame your art and photography on a variety of papers or canvas. Upload your digital file, and we will offer appropriate size options accordingly. Select your frame treatment and we will send you a framed print, ready to hang. No minimum orders. Quick fulfillment. Low pricing, just as you would expect.

Professional Photography

In fine art reproduction, having your work professionally photographed is critical to a good result. Paintings and drawings should be photographed in even light, with long exposures and a low ISO camera setting. Consult our video for tips and hints, or if you want guaranteed results, we will photograph your work for you.


The cross section illustration which displays the Height (H), Width (W) and Rabbet Depth (R) of the frame, giving you a better understanding of its size.


High quality gallery-worthy products are what you’ll find here. Low prices. No artificial mark-ups for deep discounting. (We don’t like those games.)


The inner channel of the frame which holds the picture and any framing materials. It is important to make sure that the frame you choose is deep enough for the materials you are putting into it. Profile information is featured with each frame on our website and in our catalog. When in doubt, just ask.

Rag Board

100% cotton mat boards used in archival framing. These are the highest quality, most beautiful boards we offer from the Bainbridge Alpharag ArtCare line. These can be purchased as cut mats or in full sheets, with or without frames.


Defined as a space, which gives you eye a resting place. For example, the mat board provides a relief between the art and frame. When framing a canvas in a float frame, it is the space between the canvas and the frame.

Reverse Cut

With a reverse cut, the bevel will be at the back of the mat board opening, providing a seamless look for your matted art. Typically used with dark mats to mask the white or cream colored core or when matching mats with different core colors.


In digital printing, it is the image size expressed in dots per inch or pixels per inch. A higher resolution results in a higher quality print. Our website does this calculation for you so you don’t have to think about it. The minimum resolution we will print is 125 ppi, which ensures the quality you expect from a fine art printing house. For more information see our Art & Photo Printing page.

Resolution Proof

If you’d like to check the resolution of your image at a certain size, we will take a portion of your image and print it at 100% on an 8 x 10 sheet of paper for your evaluation. A resolution proof is unnecessary if you follow our sizing guidelines in the upload process, but this proof allows you to check details and spot jagged lines, artifacting or pixelation. Keep in mind that the majority of the images we receive are printed successfully without a proof sheet.


Customers local to the Toledo area may enjoy some of the ‘deals and steals’ and hands on assistance available in our Showroom. Come see us. We love visitors.

Social Media

Connect with us on social media. Share your finished framed pieces with our community using #framinghappiness.

Standard Stretch (wrap)

It’s how we stretch canvases for framing. Canvases are stapled on the sides using 3/4” stretcher bars. The frame finishes the look.


EconoSpace© from FrameTek® is a neutral pH plastic "peel & stick" type art-acrylic (plexi-glass) separator that bonds to the edge of the acrylic in a picture frame, when floating art on mat board. It creates airspace between the art and acrylic in both wood and metal picture frames. This airspace helps prevent mold growth, paper buckling, image transfer and adhesion to the acrylic. We carry two colors: black and clear, in two heights.


An accepted file format for fine art printing. Preserves all of the color instructions within the profile. See Art & Photo Printing for additional information.

Video Tutorials

We’re visual learners and assume that you are too. Video tutorials can be found on the How-To page of our website.

Volume Services

For nearly 20 of our 40 years, we’ve been framing in volume for businesses nationwide. When you have a volume need, let us be your Production Department. You can focus on marketing and we’ll get your work out the door.


The opening in the mat board which allows you to view the picture underneath. All windows are custom cut to your artwork size, less the overlap. We routinely cut squares, circles, and arches.