Different Ways to Mount and Mat Art In a Picture Frame + Essential Tips

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Different ways to display framed art in order from left to right; floating, matting, double matting and full bleed | Vino Art Print, The Savvy Heart $24+

Let’s talk interior. The framing of pictures, photographs, and art to be exact. Have you ever had a room that has an empty feel to it? Maybe it just doesn’t quite reach its full potential? Lucky for you, there is an easy way to fix those interior blues. Usually hanging a piece of art or a group of art pieces can do the trick. But have you ever thought about all the different ways there are to display and frame that art? There are numerous ways to mount your art in a frame and today, we are going to look closest at floating and matting as well as a simple types of mounting. 

The Art of Floating

Floating art example | Image via

I know what you may be thinking. What does it mean to float art? Floating art means to mount the art to the backboard of the frame and then create a space between the art and the glass so the art appears as if it were floating. This technique is often used in museums and galleries and is a great way to elevate your frame skills at home. To achieve this look, there are a couple different ways to go about it. 

Option 1: Float your art straight on the backboard. Honestly, you can’t mess this one up. To do this, you can just simply mount your art directly to the backboard with a specialty tape called gummed linen tape. Of course, you should measure and make sure it’s centered before mounting it.

Option 2: Mount art on a thick mat board and then mount to the backboard. In this case, the artwork is mounted on a piece of acid-free mat board that is slightly smaller than the size of the artwork, so it is barely noticeable. From there, it is mounted to the backboard, just like the first option.

Pieces that work best for floating:

  • Works on an interesting paper or texture

  • Artworks that are signed

  • Textiles

  • Original paintings & drawings

  • Artworks with unique or uneven boarders

Floating allows the piece of art to breath in the frame and highlights the detail in the piece such as texture, frayed edges, etc. The backboard can be customized to any color that works best with your piece of art, however, a nice white or cream colored background will always work perfectly. Just measure the matboard to the exact size of the frame and viola! You have a perfect backboard. Instead of using a a mat-board for the backboard, you can also use another piece of glass so you can see straight through to the wall.

The Art of Matting

Mat frame example | Image via

Mat frame collage example | Image via

You most likely have seen mats in frames before, maybe even used it, but probably didn’t even think twice about it.

What is a mat you ask? A mat is a thick paper-based material that separates the picture from the glass within the frame and serves a decorative purpose by adding texture and dimension. You can think of matting as a “reverse float.” Floating is mounting the art to the backboard and the backboard becomes the border around the art, whereas a mat acts as a border in front of the art. 

Mats can be used in a variety of different ways to achieve different looks. For instance, if you have a small piece of art, you could hang it in a large frame and use a wide mat to create some extra drama. This will draw even more attention to the artwork that is centered in the middle. Another trick, if you consider yourself someone who is big on textures, you can layer multiple mats to make the work look even more multi-dimensional. You can even play around with multiple colors if you’re feeling daring. 

Pieces that work best with a mat:

  • Important documents

  • Press Clippings

  • Small to Medium Sized Photographs


The Art of Full Bleed

Full bleed collage example | Image via

Full bleed enlarged print example | Image via


Full bleed is most likely what everyone already knows pretty well. This is a picture or art print that takes up the entire frame with no border from a mat or the backboard. The great thing about full bleed framing that that is it very easy and straightforward, as long as you can find just the right size frame for your art. The full bleed framing works best with oversized art prints, posters, and photographs that don’t have a border. 

There is one dilemma you may come across when framing full bleed. Borders. A common question asked is, “If my picture has a border, do I fit it in the frame to show the border?” Most of the time, yes, you would want to frame your picture with the border. But to be honest, this is a case by case scenario.

Pieces that work best full bleed:

  • Posters

  • Oversized art prints

  • Large photographs

  • Large Images with an existing border

Mat example | Image via

Floating, matting, and full bleed collage example | Image via

While this was just a head start, the framing options are endless. Some of my favorite places to find frames are at local antique and art stores. It can be fun to find old frames and paint them all one color so you can collage your walls with whatever you like, just with a vintage yet modern spin.

Decorate your way and send us your pictures! If you have any further questions or comments you can find us at hello@thesavvyheart.com


Hey! I’m Terra


I’m a lover of neutral colors, simple style, and DIY projects that actually look good. You can expect to find interior design and styling inspiration, how-to’s, DIY projects, videos, and more!

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Different Ways to Mount and Mat Art In a Picture Frame + Essential Tips

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