Matting to the Optical Center


Two dimensional design/art works should be matted for presentation. Scanning books or the internet renders numerous formulas for laying out a mat, however, matting to the optical center creates, the easiest, most efficient and best for presentation.

Allow adequate mat area around presentation art. Art should have room to breath. For art 8 x 10 " or less, a suggestion would be to add 6+" to the width and 7+" to the height. For 11 X 14" add 8+" to the width and 10+" to the height. For images which are 16 X 20 " the mat should be at least 10" larger in width and 12" larger in height. With works larger than 16 X 20" adjust the mat size accordingly.

The outside dimensions of a mat should be standard frame sizes.Both metal and wood frames can be cut to any size bt iIt is much less expensive to purchase high quality pre-made frames.

Anything worth matting should be matted with high quality materials. Use buffered material for color mats and 100% rag for all other matting!

The Layout Process

The mat lay out is simple. Place the art work in the upper left corner. If this is going to be a window mat, measure the area that will show through the window and mark the lower left corner and the upper right on the presentation mat.

[First Mat]

Measure to find the midway point to the right and bottom of the remaining board. Using a t-square and draw a very light line both horizontally and vertically. Please try not to dent the board with the pencil pressure.

[Second Mat]

Place a straight edge from the lower left corner or the mark to the spot where he horizontal line cresses the right side of the mat board. Place the lower right corner of the art work the where the straight edge crosses the vertical line or draw a square to cut a window mat.

[Return to the Top]

[Third Mat]

Draw the square to cut a window mat or mount the art work. Erase all lines. The work is in the optical center of the presentation board. It looks better and is much easier than all the calculations most use.

[Forth Mat]

This works and works well. Try It! For a quick reference guide to this, click downloads and download the file entitled "Matting to the Optical Center."

[Return to the Top]

[Resources gif]

Equiptment & Supplies

Other Tutorials

[blue bottom]