Framing and Matting - Single/ Double Mat?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by boy scout, May 2, 2008.

  1. boy scout

    boy scout Guest

    For my photography final project, we're required to frame and mat our prints.

    I've decided to print at 6x9, and mount on an 11x14 so it'd fit into a portfolio case (11x14). While I was on FrameDestination.com, under the Bainbridge 4Ply Alphamat, it gives me an option of "single mat", "double mat" and "triple"; what does it mean? Is it asking me about the shade of the mat? How am I supposed to know what single/ double/ triple mat looks like?

    Lastly, when it comes to choosing the color of the mat (black/ white), is it advisable to place black on black, or should I go with white on black? Is there a preference in the "artworld"?

    I apologize for bombarding you with questions; this isn't something that was covered in intermediate photography class today. My professor had a lot trouble with her demo. :sad:

    I have enclosed some sample project photos if that helps any! :tongue:

    Thank you! :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2008
  2. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I would use an 8 ply white single window mat. I would also not mount with an equal border on each side. The bottom border would be larger. Bill Barber
     
  3. Solarize

    Solarize Member

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    Single mat is refering to a single aperture cut into a piece of mountboard. Double mat is where two bits of mountboard are layered on top of one another, and the one on the top has a slightly larger aperture than the one below it; in effect creating two beveled layers. Triple mat is course three mats stuck on one another, with apertures that get gradually larger to reveal three beveled layers - personally I find this a bit much, at least on a 6x9 print.

    The shade of the mat refers to its colour, and the ply its thickness. As for the colour of the mat, well thats subjective. I quite like a simple off white shade with some texture to it.

    Ciaran
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I agree,
     
  5. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Double mat, slightly wider bottom borders and "museum white". Can't really go wrong there.
     
  6. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Add my vote for this approach. It is ideal for the size you are working with. The bottom border only needs to be a half inch bigger than the top and sides in this size. There is a very specific technique for doing double mats in order to get them precise, and if not followed, will look sloppy. Double is way too much for prints this size.

    Bob
     
  7. photographs42

    photographs42 Member

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    You don’t say how you are mounting your prints or if you will sign and/or number and/or title them. Normal mounting for a portfolio would be to attach the print to a 4 ply board and hinge the window mat at the top to attach it to the mount board. Mount and mat should be the same type and color (don’t use Foamcore board for the mount). 8 ply mats are nice for a framed piece but I wouldn’t use it for portfolio prints. A single 4 ply white mat and mount is pretty standard for B&W prints.

    If you are going to over mount the print, the window needs to be slightly smaller than the image because it is next to impossible to cut the window exactly the size of the print, and with the hinge method there can be a slight amount of movement between the mount and the mat.

    Several folks have mentioned “bottom weighting” the mat. This is because of an optical illusion that occurs if all of the borders are equal. By making the bottom slightly wider, it looks like it’s the same. You may want to study this effect by cutting paper mats first because with 6x9 prints and 11x14 mats you can’t make the bottom wider without making the top narrower.

    Jerome
     
  8. boy scout

    boy scout Guest

    Thanks nsurit, Solarize, Bob, rw, Lopaka and Photographs for the advice. :smile:

    The problem is that I have exams (semester is ending) + projects to complete, so the mats (4 ply) I'll be ordering will be precut. I'm looking towards an 11x14 with a 6x9 window; the outer edges all being equal at 2 1/2 inches, so no optical centering for me.

    Since I'll be choosing to print at 6x9, I'll cut it with maybe an inch to spare all around making it 7x10. That'll give me about one inch to place paper corners on it and affix it to the mounting board (and not Foamcore as Jerome suggested).

    Afterwards, they'll be placed into a portfolio case; which I assume will be just a case. Similar to the boxy plastic three ring negative binders that we photo kids carry.

    Does this sound alright to you? Or am I missing something here? :confused:
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    That should work. For small prints I usually cut a window maybe 1/2 or one inch larger than the image, and print on larger paper than that. Acid free tape works well to fasten the print to either the window mat or the mounting board. The latter can also be 2 ply rather than 4 ply. Bottom weighting isn't essential in many applications, but school can be an exception. You might check with your instructor about this. When photographing, it is good to consider the whole process through to the final presentation of the print before clicking the shutter. This lets you prepare for problems like bottom weighting before they happen. Some purists do their final framing on film. It is more practical to allow more space around the subject on film to permit different cropping for different applications.