It is important to place your artwork in an archival package so you have it ready to put into the mail or into a frame when given the opportunity to sell or exhibit it. Once you’ve signed and photographed the painting (see blog posts Signing Your Painting and How to Photograph Your Work) it is time to put your painting into a protective sleeve.

There are many mats and sleeves on the market. We suggest paying a little more for materials marked “archival” or “acid free” because you don’t want your artwork to be affected by packaging that causes the paper to become discolored over time.

How to Save Money
It is cost effective to measure the inside dimensions of standard size mat openings, then paint paintings that will fit into that space. That way it becomes unnecessary to pay a premium for custom-cut mat boards. One trick of the trade is to use a standard-size mat and buy in bulk. Some retailers offer mats and acetate sleeves in packs of 5, 10 or more.

How to Save Your Customers Money
While doesn’t require you to list standard-size paintings, it is to your customer’s advantage to offer paintings that will fit a frame they might easily purchase over-the-counter at their local store. This way, you will save them having to order a custom-built frame.

Mat Thicknesses
You may choose whichever thickness of mat you prefer.
4 Ply Mats are thin but adequate, usually beveled on the inside
8 Ply Mats are thicker and show a nice, thicker beveled inside edge
Double Mats are an extra nice option but cost more

Mat Color
At WaterMediaGallery we do not require you to mat your paintings in any particular color. This is entirely your option.

Backing Boards
Backing boards are not necessary if the back of your painting is tidy but will provide a bit of rigidity in the package, protecting the corners of the mat.  If the back of your painting is messy, it is important to put a backing board behind your painting, inside the acetate sleeve, to give the package a clean look. Always put your name and the title of the painting on the back of your backing board so that it is visible through the acetate.

Where to buy Mat Packs and Matting Materials
There are many great options.  For example:

Jerrys Artarama:

Dick Blick:

Clear Bags:

Cheap Joes:

We always welcome your input and suggestions. It benefits our entire network of artists to have feedback.

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