Framing Materials

As our customer, you should know the truth about conservation versus non-conservation materials.


The Frame and Mat Shop has the largest selection of frame moulding in West Michigan. Frame moulding is the material used to cut and join to make a picture frame. Frames are made from different materials that include wood, metal, compressed wood products, plastic and other man-made products. Be aware of what you are purchasing. A frame that looks like wood may not be. As in everything, you get what you pay for. The Frame and Mat Shop carries only the finest real wood frames in a variety of stains and finishes. In addition to wood moulding, we carry a large selection of metal frame mouldings.


We carry a large selection of matboard. Matboard is the material used to create space between a piece of artwork and the frame. Matting is a wonderful way to accentuate and individualize a cherished piece of art. We carry only acid and lignan free matboard. Why? All paper, including newspaper, is naturally acid-free, but the binder or glue used to hold the wood-pulp together is not. When you see newspaper or the edges of a mat turn yellow or brown it is this ‘lignin’ binder that is to blame. Be aware of framers who tell you the mats used are ‘acid free’ when in truth they are not lignan-free. Check the mat sample to be assured that they are both acid and lignan free. The difference in price is negligible, but the difference in the preservation of your art is enormous!


We carry several glass options including plexi glass. Glass or plexi glass is used to cover and protect your art from the environment and is highly recommended for the majority of custom framing projects. Glass is often referred to as glazing and may be the most critical component in the majority of framing projects. The most important thing about the glass or plexi glass you choose in the protection it gives your art against ultra-violet light (UV). Light is light, natural or artificial, and all has some of the components in the UV range. Your artwork WILL fade in time regardless of bright sunlight or dim non-direct light if not protected.


Clear glass is wonderful. Regular glass screens out 47% of UV rays. It does not distort color or details and is the most economical. However, it is not useful in front of a direct light source. Non-glare glass is a great option for art that will be displayed in front of a direct light source. Non-glare glass should not be used with art that has four or more mats or shadow boxes. The farther away the glass is pulled from the art, the more the colors and details in the art will be distorted. Conservation glass is ideal to use whenever there is a concern about ultraviolet (UV) light damage to the artwork. The energy of UV light is high enough to sever the organic bonds of paper-borne art. In addition, ultraviolet light contributes to severe color loss, paper embrittlement and deterioration of artwork. These effects are both accumulative and irreversible. Conservation glass is made with protective layers of film applied to the art side of the glass. You can’t see it, but it does an incredible job of protecting your art. Conservation glass screens out 99% + of UV light and subsequently lowers the temperature inside the frame. Conservation glass is available in clear, non-glare, and museum grade. Museum glass has the added enhancement of being both clear and glare-resistant.


Plexi glass is a great alternative to using glass. It is half the weight of glass and more shatter resistant. It is ideal for a child’s room, high traffic areas, or oversized art, and it survives shipping nicely. Plexi glass is also available in clear, non-glare, conservation clear and conservation non-glare. Unlike plexi glass from building supply companies, framing grade plexi looks like glass and offers incredible protection.


Mounting is a process used to attach your art to foamcore. The Frame and Mat Shop carries foamcore in regular, both black and white, and also acid free available in white. Regular foamcore is typically used for mounting a poster, print, or photo. This ensures that a print will not ripple or bow during changing climates. Foamcore is used to compress the contents in a frame towards the glass. This guarantees that nothing falls out of the frame.


Photo mounting is a dry process that involves using a sheet of adhesive on the back of a photo and using heat from a press to permanently attach it to foamcore. Spray mounting is a wet process that involves spraying an adhesive on the back of a print and slowly attaching it to foamcore. Hinging or museum mounting is a non-permanent process of attaching a print or photo to matting. This process allows art to hang freely hang in a frame. Depending on the artwork, preserve mounting might be a great option as it is reversible by applying heat.


How high should artwork be hung?

In real estate, you hear the term ‘location, location, location’. When hanging artwork, let the phrase ‘line of sight’ guide you in determining the optimum position for the piece. The guideline is not meant to be taken literally but as a general ‘line of sight’ for the average human.  Decorating experts recommend placing the focal point of a piece at 60”, a guideline that is used in galleries throughout the world.

If you are still unsure of the placement (we recommend this method), cut a piece of paper the same size as your artwork and pin or tape it on the wall. If you also mark your piece of paper where the center is and the height of the wire at the center point, you’ll know exactly where to place the hanger on the wall. This method enables you to move and refine the position without putting visible holes in the wall.

How do I hang framed pieces around furniture?

Always keep in mind that a piece of art should never exceed the width of the chair, sofa, bed, buffet, etc. that it hangs above. The rule of hanging too high or low still applies. If the piece of furniture does not intrude on the 60” height, the ‘line of sight’ guideline still applies.  However, if the furniture is taller than 49”, the bottom of a picture should be hung 6″ to 10″ above the furniture.

How to I hang groups of framed pieces?

You can accessorize small pieces or hang groupings of framed pieces that complement the space. Start groupings by spacing the center of the group at the 60” mark and building around it. The rule of thumb with groupings is to place heavier and larger items closer to the bottom with a minimum of 2″ to 3″ between pieces. Again, use paper cut-outs to visually help you space and position the grouping without damaging walls.

You can use these easy techniques to create professional looking results in your home!

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