View Full Version : Overmatting with a margin around the print

19-Mar-2015, 18:18
Inspired by another post on the topic of presentation, I have a related question-more of a survey perhaps. Whether you do your own matting or outsource it, do you prefer to

mat your prints leaving a section of the backer board to form a border around the print, or
mat your prints leaving a section of the paper as your border?

Of course, if you overmat without a border, then this question doesn't directly apply to you, but feel free to contribute to the discussion.


Kirk Gittings
19-Mar-2015, 18:25
I always have a boarder (about one inch around) and use both options. It depends on whether when I printed it I left enough border (which I prefer). Otherwise the print is dry mounted and the boarder is made using the exposed support board.

Ken Lee
19-Mar-2015, 18:35
Option 2: leaving a section of the paper as the border

19-Mar-2015, 18:41
#1 since I started showing/selling work
Recently I've dipped into the inkjet (sorry ARCHIVAL Inkjet) world and have discovered that the papers I prefer don't like being handled after trimming, the edges tear up when applying squeegee pressure (scotch PMA mounting). I don't know what to do about it. Right now I'm printing those with a 3/4" border and overmatting.

Randy Moe
19-Mar-2015, 19:19
Isn't there a concept of museum borders which are very large to allow for whatever may come?

I think I saw discussion of 4 to 6 inch borders or bigger for large prints being desirable for museum quality prints.

Once again, I cannot quote a source.

Kimberly Anderson
19-Mar-2015, 19:45
Both 1 and 2, depending...

19-Mar-2015, 20:40
1 for me. I've settled on a 1/4" border at the top and sides with 1/2" at the bottom


19-Mar-2015, 20:56
Option 2. Leaving a section of the paper as your border.

No Contest. Strongly preferred.
A black print border... Is also an interesting option!

neil poulsen
19-Mar-2015, 21:49
On B&W silver gelatin, I trim to the edge of the image and dry mount the print to archival white museum board. I overmat with the same board with a beveled edge and leave a 9mm margin around the print.

For color pigment, I leave plenty of white space around the image and use corner tabs to mount the print to at least a buffered board. Depending on the image, I bevel cut the overmat to leave a margin or possibly will overmat so that I just overlap the edge.

I tend to sign my images on the back of the print.

19-Mar-2015, 23:19
#1...when I was silver gelatin printing. Image area (trimmed) 15.25"x19" and a hole that was 16.25"x20.25" (I could re-use the hole as a 16x20!) Same board on back as in front (4 ply rag, bright white). Board size is 24x28

#2...for platinum prints...hole just slightly larger than the negative. Black between the window and the image area (film rebate). 8-ply front (natural white), 4-ply back, (8x10 print on 16x20)

Neither...for carbon prints (over-matted to just over the image area). 8-ply front (natural white), 4-ply back, (8x10 print on 16x20)

Jim Jones
20-Mar-2015, 05:33
#2. If the mat is slightly off-white, that border can be toned down to match the mat. This emphasizes the highlights in the image.

20-Mar-2015, 07:27
Darkroom prints - white border removed, dry mounted on archival board, overmat with same archival board with 3/8" borders top and sides, 1/2" bottom to allow for signature below print on mount board.

Archival inkjet prints - similar to above, but print usually not dry mounted. I'll leave a 1-1/2" to 2" white border around image and attach print to mount board using corner mounts. Overmatting same as above. Print signed in lower right corner directly on white print border.

I've found that dry mounting inkjet prints works fine (same manner as darkroom prints). However, as Vinny mentioned, some papers do not cut easily, are difficult to handle or "flake" a bit after cutting. Therefore great care is required with such papers. For that reason, I use the second method above with problem prone paper.

Drew Wiley
20-Mar-2015, 08:58
Do what looks good and actually complements the print itself. Think of matting and presentation as an extension of the whole aesthetic process. Second, it should
also serve the function of protecting the print during handling and display, if long-term value is a factor. Flush-mounting has long been popular for big prints intended as casual decor, but I never do that personally.

Doremus Scudder
21-Mar-2015, 02:14
I like really precise borders for my prints. I usually print a bit extra of the image area and then trim down precisely with a rolling trimmer. This means dry-mounting for me and an overmat with an oversize cut-out so the print borders are clearly visible. For 11x14 prints, I usually leave 3/8 inch top and sides and about 1/2 inch on the bottom. I sign on the mounting board.

As far as I am concerned, the print and the board to which it is dry-mounted constitute the finished work. I hinge overmats with linen tape; they can be replaced if needed in the future if they get damaged, etc.



Rafal Lukawiecki
21-Mar-2015, 03:22
#1 because I like the look, and on balance it seems a reasonable approach that has been fairly popular over the time, though if someone asks for #2 I'm happy to oblige.