Monthly Archives: March 2016

Create WOW with Spacing

Attention to detail is always an important skill when creating a frame design. Mat colors and frame selections are important, but attention to even finer details can make a good design into something special! Today in framing creating space and depth is increasingly popular. This can be done a number of ways and for various reasons.

Clear spacers used to separate glass from the artwork

Clear spacers used to separate glass from the artwork

From a technical aspect, a thin acrylic liner can be used to create air space between the glass and a framed piece of art. This is done when there is no mat on the piece to prevent the art from sticking to the glass over time. This can be especially problematic with prints with a glossy finish. However, beyond the functional lies the added opportunity to create dynamic visual interest.
Two mats separated with a spacer can give give depth and interest

Two mats separated with a spacer to give depth and interest

When using multiple mats, spacing can be used to create a “lifted” appearance between the mat layers. Instead of adhering the two mats directly to each other, foam core can be used between them to raise the top mat above the second. This added shadow creates a nice visual effect for the piece. The whole mat can also be built up around the piece, causing it to rest slightly higher than the object being framed.This is both visually dynamic, as it gives the art a recessed look, and a useful technical tool to prevent objects that would otherwise be thicker than the mat, a medal for example, from touching the glass.

Two mats separated with a space to give depth and interest

These mats were separated to add interest

Spacing is also used in shadowbox frames. The depth of these frames allows various objects and memorabilia to be combined and framed comfortably. Again, the practical meets the visual here, as the glass once again must be kept off of the objects. In these cases it is generally best to use shims made of mat board. These shims are glued to the sides of the frame to hold the glass in place. The widths can be varied as needed depending on the depth of the frame and the thickness of the object. These shims are visible, providing an opportunity to play with different colors of mat board. The shims can be chosen to match the background mat, creating a clean, uniform look. They can also be used as an accent by bringing in a new color.

Whatever the reason, visual or functional, spacing can be a great tool and a unique way to set a design apart.

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