Online Print and frame recommendations

Started Dec 15, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Are you matting these?
In reply to MrDagger, Feb 28, 2011

MrDagger wrote:

OK so I have to print four 24X36 photos...

I do all of my own matting and framing, so let me offer some insight that may be helpful.

A standard-size sheet of mat board (USA dimensions), is 32 x 40 inches (81 x 102 cm). If your print's long side is 36 inches, that means you have only 2 inches of mat on either side (36 + 2 + 2 = 40), while you can get a nice side 4-inch border going the other way (24 + 4 + 4 = 32). Of course, you'd trim to have a 2-inch border on all sides -- and it would look awful, because 2 inches is not nearly enough.

If you want to mat a 24 x 36-inch print with acceptable borders ( a minimum of four inches all around), you'll have to go to oversize 40 x 60-inch (102 x 152 cm) mat board, a considerable extra expense (mat and mount board, frame, glazing, packaging, and shipping fees). And if you do that, you might as well go for a nice, wide 8-inch mat border all around, meaning your mat board would be cut to 40 x 52 inches (24 + 8 + 8 = 40) and (36 + 8 + 8 = 52).

However, to minimize your cost, I recommend not exceeding a mat board size of 32 x 40 inches. To do that and have mat borders of 4 inches all around, your print cannot be larger than 24 x 32 inches. To maintain your print's 24 x 36 aspect ratio, that results in a print size of x 21.34 x 32 inches (not accounting for the slightly larger size you'd actually make the print to simplify the math for the overlap in the mat window). Now, the mat can be trimmed to 29.34 x 40. I'd round it up to 30 x 40 inches (gotta love those whole numbers!) and go from there.

Finally, I strongly recommend using 8-ply (double thickness) mat instead of the garden-variety 4-ply. The difference is astonishing and transforms your photo into museum art. I use Crescent Museum Solids Rag Mat, usually "soft white" #21112 for 32 x 40 and #821112 for 40 x 60, or "white" #2238 and #2268.

Bottom line: when it comes to framing, it's essential to consider the whole package, and that includes the mat board as well as the photo.

This may all be completely useless to you, but I do hope it provides some insight.

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