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Thread: Matting prints

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Forest Grove, Ore.

    Matting prints

    A lot depends on personal preferences.

    My little "breakthrough" for vertically positioning the opening on the overmat is the following. I use the simple formula below, letting "M" be the upper margin between the print and the top of the opening, "A" be the height of the image, "B" be the height of the mat board in which the opening will be cut, and letting "C" be the distance between the top edge of the mat board and the top edge of the opening. I measure everything in millimeters to avoid all the fractions associated with inches.

    C = 0.435 (B - A) - M.

    Or, 0.435 (B - A) is the distance between the top of the mat board on which the print is mounted and the top of the print. (Assumes that the height of the overmat and the height of the mounting mat are the same.)

    One can change the value of the constant "0.435", depending on how much offset one wants. The smaller the number, the higher the offset. I experimented with this number until I arrived at a value that suits my personal taste. If the constant is "0.5", then the print is exactly centered. I can't imagine going below "0.4", unless one wants a very large offset. With larger mat boards, relative to the image, I've used "0.425".

    Prior to arriving at this simple formula, I tried to position the opening by eyeballing the print on the mat board, etc. It was a tedious process, since I tend to be persnickity. Since using the above approach, I get just the feel that I want. No guesswork. Plus, multiple prints mounted side by side have a more consistent look, when one uses the same constant.

    I divined this formula from what may be the "Falcon Print Mounting Positioner" device to which Brian Ellis refers above. (Not sure on this, though.) If it's the same, the constant used by the device is "0.45", which I found to be high. I prefer a little more offset, so I lowered the value.

    I use the same margin all around. Or, one can extend the lower border of the opening to allow room for a signature.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Matting prints

    Tom. I had the same problem at one time . Looking in art galleries at the stuff that grabed me I found that often the mat and frame equelled about 1/4 of the long side. Bit rough but it seemed to work. Certainly anything that I sold I made about this size and it seemed to be readily accepted. So a 16x20 would have 5ins as 1/4 the long side. either as a huge frame and small mat or the reverse.

    As for placing the print, whats wrong with measuring the print (assuming it's square) and subtracting that from the mat size (assuming it's square) halving it and putting a pencil feather line this distance along two edges. The print then just sits on (over) these lines.
    Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure... Life is either daring adventure or nothing: Helen Keller.

  3. #13

    Re: Matting prints

    Regarding Neil Poulsen's "breakthrough" formula:
    Upon measuring my "Falcon Print Positioner" with a digital vernier caliper (to the nearest 0.1 mm), I've inferred that the scale factor between the two length scales on the lower arm is 0.439 (not 0.45); this is virtually indistinguishable from 0.435.
    I agree with everything else in Mr. Poulsen's very useful post.
    Last edited by jjanzenphd; 15-Sep-2011 at 11:55.

  4. #14
    Wally Wally's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    San Diego

    Re: Matting prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coda View Post
    Here's a little Excel spreadsheet I made to calculate mat borders. Just replace my text with yours and the measurements.

    Oops, forgot the attachment:


    I still can't get to it. The browser says the page cannot be found.

  5. #15
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Seattle, Wash.

    Re: Matting prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Wally View Post
    I still can't get to it. The browser says the page cannot be found.
    That link is 7 years old – it probably got lonely and wandered off. ;^)

    However, you might PM Richard for the spreadsheet. Maybe he’s still be around.

  6. #16

  7. #17
    ROL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Matting prints

    Holy cow, you've revived and old thread!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wagner View Post
    Use these "calculators" or the Falcon positioner if you must, but IMO these techniques vastly overthink and dictate the matting process. Take a look at your "practice" mounts before committing to them. Is obvious (egregious) "center-weighting" appropriate? Do they fit your personal presentation aesthetic? What looks good to you? While not directly addressing specific print positioning, this may also be helpful.

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