What’s in a Frame?

What’s in a Frame?

When you think of having something framed the average person thinks of a wooden frame around a piece of art with glass over it. There is much more to a completed framed artwork. Most of which you may remain blissfully unaware of until you are suddenly confronted with framing jargon and choices.The following is a brief anatomy lesson on framed artwork.

The Frame:

What is it? The frame is the moulding around your artwork.
What does it do? The frame is the rigid border which supports the finished artwork and manages to be decorative while doing this!

The Glazing:

What is it? The glazing is usually glass but other clear products may be used.
What does it do? The glazing protects the artwork from dust, fly and spider dirt and other household pollutants, if you choose UV filtering glazing this will also protect your artwork from harmful UV energy.

The Matboard or Spacer:

What is it? The coloured board which forms a window around your artwork.
What does it do? The matboard is actually not only decorative it is there to keep your artwork from coming into direct contact with the glazing. If you do not want a matboard it is important to still have a spacer which is not visible but till doing this important job.

Cresent Mat Board Selector - Art and About Picture Framing, Papamoa, Tauranga, NZ

Mat board for picture framing comes in a huge range of colours.



What is it? This is the board the artwork is mounted onto,it can be any number of materials formacote, foam centre board, matboard being a few examples.
What does it do? The mount board supports the artwork and allows a surface on which to anchor, paste or lace the artwork.


What is it? The fillerboard is the board behind the mountboard.There will only be a fillerboard if it is required.
What does it do? The fillerboard may be used if there is a need to fill in the depth of the rebate on the frame in order to make the back flush.


What is it? The backingboard is the board at the very back of the framed artwork.
What does it do? The backingboard protects the artwork from behind and adds support, while helping to make the back flush with the moulding.

Sealing Tape or Backing Paper:

What is it? The paper or tape which adheres to the moulding and backingboard at the back of the frame.
What does it do? The backingpaper or tape is very important as it acts as a seal to stop insects and dust getting into your frame.

Bumper Pads:

What are they? Small shock absorbing buttons on the bottom two corners of your frame at the back.
What do they do? Bumper pads are optional but they help not only to portect your wall but also to allow an airspace around your hanging artwork.

Hanging Hardware:


There is normally a label stating who framed the artwork and there may also be a label with descriptions of the artwork, artist, date etc. These can prove very useful.