Most people think of only the frame when they imagine wooden photo frames — they never think of the mat board where their picture actually sits. There are positive and negative sides to each of the three different mat boards you can choose from. Let’s examine each in turn and see which is right for you.
High Acid, No Longevity: Paper Matboard
Paper matboard can be troublesome due to its high acid content, which is unavoidable with a matboard made from wood pulp. Many companies will insist their paper matboard is acid free, but this is not true because any quantity of wood pulp is inherently heavy with acid. Some companies will buffer their wood pulp so as to reduce the acid levels, but rest assured that in as few as five years, your paper matboard’s acid levels will revive and damage your painting, which means these types of boards are for temporary use only.
On the positive side, paper matboard is also cheap.
Purified and Permanent: Cotton Rag Matboard
The purified cotton rag matboard is ideal for keeping painting fresh and maintaining their beauty for years on end. Since it’s lignin and acid free, there are no concerns like the paper matboard, but on the negative side this limits the colors you can choose from for the board. The cotton rag matboard is crafted from a series of dyed layered cotton boards, which produces a thick base that is uniform.
The cotton rag matboard provides great security, but it’s not cheap. Two paper matboards could be purchased in the place of one cotton rag matboard. Do you want to store your paintings permanently, or is the price enough to make you accept having to purchase a new paper matboard every few years?
Somewhere In Between: Alpha Cellulose Matboard
This matboard is made from wooden fibers and acid free thanks to chemical treatments so you don’t have to worry about it being simply buffered. This allows for a much more stable matboard that will keep your nicest paintings pure and like new.
The alpha cellulose provides a medium level between the paper and the cotton rag, being cheap but not too cheap for conservation, and good for archiving but not perfect.
Using This Information
Do you want a matboard for art you purchased in the budget section of a dollar store? If that’s the case, then you should definitely pick up a paper matboard, which will be cheap and hold up for about as long as you’ll want something like that on your walls.
For your more important pieces, though, it’s definitely worth the extra money to store your beautiful paintings for long term viewing. That extra cash will pay for itself by protecting the stuff you want to look at forever: the art that inspires you to dream on a daily basis.
Wooden photo frames have been reliable for several centuries of painters and art buffs — they are beautiful and elegant with a price tag that won’t kill your bank account. Why not purchase personalized picture frames for your pictures and art? Make sure you buy from a trusted website to make sure you’re getting genuine quality.
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