Glossary of Terms

Acid Free

Acid free framing materials are pH neutral and will not emit harmful chemicals that may damage your artwork over time. Damage can materialize as actual acid burn or fading and discoloration. All American Frame products labeled ‘acid free’ or Artcare will help preserve your work. See Archival and Conservation Framing.

Adhesive Transfer Tape

A double-sided, professional quality framing tape used in mounting artwork to a backing board, adhering mat boards to backing board, attaching double mats to each other and adhering dust covers to the back of wood frames. Adhesive transfer tape is recommended as a basic element of a DIY framing supply kit. For ease and efficiency of application, consider using an ATG gun.


For more information, please click on video link below:


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, protecting artwork against pollution damage and slow the degradation of works on paper. Any product labeled “Artcare™” by Bainbridge is 100% archival. We also carry selections from Crescent and Peterboro Museum that are 100% archival.


Often referred to as plexi-glass or glazing, it is a clear, breathable and acid-free alternative to glass for framing. We offer five types of acrylic, Standard, UV, Non-Glare, UV Non-Glare and Tru Vue Optium Museum. Use the UV or Tru Vue products for conservation framing. Acrylic can be purchased as part of a custom frame kit or as individual, custom-cut pieces.



American Frame adds a 1/8” space allowance to your custom frame dimensions to ensure a perfect fit. Upon request, we’re happy to omit that allowance.


Art Printing

See Giclee Printing.


Art Assistant

Our personalized custom frame service that helps you make your artistic vision a reality. Tell us about your project using the form provided or call our customer service team. Based upon your needs, we will assign a design and framing expert to be your guide – your Art Assistant – who will ensure your satisfaction from the concept stage through the project’s completion. Together, we can create the perfect piece, help you prepare for a gallery show or support your arts-based business.


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 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, Acid Free Black 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.


Bevel Cut (or Beveled Edge)

A 45 degree angle cut at the inside edge of a mat board window. A bevel cut exposes about 1/16” of the mat board core on a 4ply mat board, which can be white, cream, black or continuous (the same color as the mat board itself).



The American Frame Blog, Our Frame of Mind, is filled with stories about our products and artists who use them and is easily accessed from the preceding link or at the bottom of our homepage. Check in periodically for updates, or sign up for weekly e-Tips for automatic updates.


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 – a high-style way to finish your work at an economical cost. When choosing a frame, be sure to align the depth of your canvas with the depth of the frame. American Frame offers both wood and metal choices.


Canvas Wraps

Gallery Wrap
A method of canvas stretching that takes the image all the way around the sides of the stretcher bars and then is stapled to the back as opposed to the side of the stretcher for a continuous, high-quality presentation. Our gallery wrapped canvas is mounted on thick, 1 3/4” stretcher bars.


For more information, please click on video link below:

Museum Wrap
A method of stretching a canvas where the image sits squarely on the front of the display with a slight 1/4” overlap to the sides, left unprinted. Museum wraps are mounted on thick stretcher bars and stapled to the back of the stretchers. Framing not necessary for display.


For more information, please click on video link below:

Standard Stretch (Wrap)
Our standard method of stretching canvases for framing. Printed canvases are stapled on the sides of 3/4” stretcher bars, suitable for use with a majority of our frame options. The frame finishes the look.


For more information, please click on video link below:

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. The American Frame Printing Department operates on a fully calibrated system, end-to-end.


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.
For more information, please click on video link below:

      Print Proofing

  • 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, order a proof. For $9.50 we provide 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.
  • Resolution Proof: Resolution’ in printing is the amount of digital information in a .jpeg or .tiff file and determines the maximum enlargement that can be created from that file. If you’re enlarging your image and would like to check resolution at a certain size, we will print a portion of the image at 100% on an 8 x 10 sheet 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, unwanted abnormalities or pixilation in important enlargements.

Conservation Framing

This framing practice uses only completely acid-free and UV materials, thus contributing to the preservation and longevity of the artwork, creating a safe environment for it to last. When choosing materials, consider items labeled ‘ArtCare™, preservation-quality, acid-free acrylic and mat boards from any of the Bainbridge Alphamat lines.

Core Color

As it relates to mat boards, it’s the inside of the mat board or ‘core’ that is revealed with a bevel cut.  Mat board core colors can be white, black, cream or continuous (the same color as the mat board itself). 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

Use corrugated corners when transporting artwork to protect your frame. Made from corrugated cardboard, they are adjustable to fit two positions: 3/4” and 1 3/8”.



Curators' Choice

Curators' Choice is American Frame’s fresh assortment of professionally pre-designed custom frame kits. Using fine archival picture framing materials, our team created museum-quality custom treatments featuring eye-catching color combinations, textures and proportions. Shop by genre and customize to fit. Receive a ready-to-assemble frame kit sized to your work.


For more information, please click on video link below:

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 Eastern, via phone 800-537-0944 or live chat.  Or, email us anytime at




DIY picture frame design and fulfillment is our specialty. It’s a collaboration between you as artist, designer and assembler, and us as the manufacturer, and takes very little if any hands-on skill. Our on-line tools make it simple to size and choose materials and visualize your frame online before you buy. Simply measure your art and choose your framing materials. Receive your ready to assemble, custom picture framing kit within a few business days. All you need are a few simple framing accessories. Check your choices using free samples, available upon request.



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’ on preservation board is acid free and can be reversed by a professional; this is the option we most recommend.


For more information, please click on video link below:

Dust Cover

Kraft paper backing which is adhered to the back of a wood frame to protect framed artwork from dust and small mites which can seep into the framing treatment over time.



Dust Cover Trimmer

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



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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.

Professional Photography
In fine art reproduction, having your work professionally photographed is critical to a good result. Our professionals are equipped and trained to photograph works on paper, canvas and board. Paintings and drawings should be photographed in even light, with long exposures and a low ISO camera setting and accurately proofed to the original. Send us your work or if you prefer to DIY, consult our video for tips and hints.


Foam Core or Mounting Board

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.

When using standard or acid-free boards, attach your artwork to the board with linen tape for professional results. Alternatively, self-adhesive board allows you to effectively glue your entire piece to the board so that it never wrinkles.


Frame Pair

One pair is equal to two frame sections. Two pairs make one frame. Price charts on Frame Detail Pages on show price per pair. For example, a 16 x 20 frame is made up of one pair of 16” and one pair of 20” pieces.


Frame Treatment

The ‘treatment’ consists of the 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 your art will live – the environment that protects and displays your work.



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

American Frame has always taken pride in leading in the greenspace. As an environmentally responsible company, we implement processes through our business to recycle, reuse or reduce. Recyclable materials include aluminum and acrylic scrap, paper, corrugated, wood pallets, and plastic. Most importantly, we are the only online custom picture frame company that ships all its packages Carbon Neutral.
Learn more on our Green Initiatives page.



Everything you order is created to your exact specifications by skilled craftspeople who care that your order is perfect. Attention to detail, precision and quality are our watchwords.



An archival method of attaching art work to a mat board or mounting board with Linen Tape. This allows the piece to be professionally secured within the frame treatment yet easily removed in the future.

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


A digital file format accepted for printing at When preparing files to upload, make sure they are saved as either a .jpeg or .tiff, and sized to your desired print output. See Art Printing for additional information.


An art-quality matte finish protective covering for canvas prints. Laminate is applied using a heat process in a dry-mount press. It is not reversible and therefore not archival but is recommended for its UV and scratch protection. Required for stretched canvas purchases and is optional for unstretched canvases we print.


Every framer should have roll of linen tape at their disposal at all times. The Lineco brand offers a lightweight, acid-free (pH neutral) adhesive at a value. Linen tape is used for hinging artwork to a mat board or for floating artwork on a backing board. This product is suitable for archival framing and 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. Used for mounting smaller sized photographs, prints, postcards, trading cards and other such items.


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


Linen Liner

A linen liner is a traditional design element used in framing canvases yet can also be used in place of a mat for framing works on paper. Picture a liner as a rigid, linen-wrapped wood moulding that creates a “frame within a frame” to add dimension and interest to the finished piece. Available in two widths in natural or white linen. When a liner is ordered in tandem with the frame, we guarantee the dimension and fit.


Mat Board

A board, generally 4-ply, 6-ply, or 8-ply, which serves both decorative and functional purposes. As a design element, mats provide a visual transition from the art to the frame, and textures, colors and proportions you choose influence the look and 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.


Mat Board Styles:

As simple as it sounds. A single mat board within the frame treatment that complements and elevates the look of the artwork.


Double/Triple Mats
Technique where the artwork is matted using two separate mat boards, one on top of the other. The visible portion of the bottom mat is called the “offset”. Double mats and even triple mats are used to create depth and interest within the frame treatment. Often used in framing charcoal and pastel drawings in order to maximize space between the acrylic and the drawing’s surface. When using multiple mats, check to make sure that the rabbet depth of the frame is sufficient to house all of the

Note: The offset of the bottom mat can vary from the offset of the middle mat (visual)

Drop Bottom
A ‘drop-bottom’ mat board is one that has been designed to be proportionally larger on the bottom border than on the top and sides. The drop can be as little as a fraction of an inch and as great as several depending on the purpose of the treatment. Giving your mat a heavy drop bottom lends itself to a chic, contemporary appearance especially when using linen or cotton-rag mats.


Matting technique where the art work is floated on top of the mat board with linen tape, hence the bottom mat is ordered with ‘no cut’. Can be used as a stand-alone mounting method or used with cut mat  borders.


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.


Offset or Reveal
Typically 1/4”, the offset or reveal is the amount of mat board exposed on a bottom or middle mat in a multiple mat board treatment. This measurement can be customized to your preferences.


The measurement by which a mat board overlaps the artwork. A slight overlap, typically 1/8” on all sides, keeps the art within the mat board window. Within the American Frame website frame engine, our design tool will automatically add in the overlap when ordering by art size.


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.


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.


Reverse Cut
With a reverse cut, the bevel will be hidden at the back of the mat board opening, providing a seamless look for your matted art. Typically used when framing pastel drawings to keep the pastel dust from accumulating on the mat board or to mask the white or cream cores or when using mats with varying core colors.


The opening in the mat board usually cut to art size less the overlap. We routinely cut squares, rectangles and circles.


Mounting Board

See Backing Board, and Foam Core


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


Point Driver

An amazing tool for making wood framing easy and efficient. Think of a point driver as a stapler for framing. Its’ one-touch trigger drives a framer point instantly into a frame’s rabbet to securely hold the artwork in place.


Print & Frame

We offer gallery quality online custom printing and framing services on demand. Reproduce artwork and photography on a variety of substrates including fine art and photographic papers by Epson, Hahnemuele, Moab and Canson. Specialty choices including canvas, acrylic and aluminum. Simply upload your digital file and the site will suggest appropriate size options accordingly. Finish your work with a custom frame treatment and receive it ready to hang. High quality. No minimum orders. White label fulfillment available for professionals.  



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



The inner channel of the frame which holds the art and materials including backing boards, mat boards and acrylic glazing. It is important to confirm that the frame you choose has sufficient depth for the materials being framed. All frames in the American Frame line are deep enough for basic framing of works on paper including drawings, posters, photographs and watercolor paintings. Profile information is featured with each frame on our website. When in doubt, contact us for consultation and/or free samples.



Defined as a space or float between the edge of a canvas and a float style frame. We generally recommend a 1/4” float however this can vary according to personal taste and frame choice.



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 calculates a recommended print size based on the resolution of the file uploaded. The minimum resolution we print is 125 ppi, ensuring the quality you expect from a fine art print house. For more information see our Art & Photo Printing page..


Customers local to the Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan/Metro-Detroit may enjoy all the benefits of our factory showroom in Maumee. Work with our experts using hands-on assistance in a beautiful gallery setting. Explore materials and play with the possibilities. Assemble your DIY framing projects using our tools or hire our professionals to do the work for you. Open weekdays 8:30-5:30. 


EconoSpace© from FrameTek® is a neutral pH plastic "peel & stick" type art-acrylic (plexi-glass) separator. It is designed to bond to the edge of the acrylic in a frame and used for floating artwork or photography. It creates airspace between the art and acrylic in both wood and metal picture frames. The spacer helps prevent image transfer and adhesion to the acrylic when framing without a mat. Available in black or clear.



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

Volume Services

Since our beginnings we’ve been framing in volume for artists, galleries and businesses nationwide. When you have a volume need , let us be your Production Department. Focus on your work and we’ll get your product out the door. White label and custom fulfillment services available.