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Frame Mounts

Frame Mounts are picture mounts to fit into your existing picture frame or standard size off the shelf frame.  We usually call these standard mounts, or refer to one as a frame mount.

If you have come to this page for information about mounting pictures or framing in general, and you are not in the UK, we are talking about Mats, Picture Mats or  Pass-Partout.  Sometimes they are referred to as Window Mats, or Window Mounts.

This isn't a hard-sell page, its part of our customer information area. Of course we would like you to buy your mats or mounts from our online shop, after all we deliver all over the UK, but if we had a sale for every person who visited an information page we couldn't keep up with all the mount cutting!

A list of commonly available standard picture frame and frame mount sizes

Tip: Selecting the right size mount for a frame: When choosing a frame mount be careful to measure your frame from the back, (inside the rebate). This measurement is sometimes known as the "glass size". Often there is an allowance in the picture frame size. Your mount should be a good fit, not an exact fit, because both the frames and mounts expand and contract slightly due to changes in temperature, its normal to have around 1mm or so clearance to allow for expansion or contraction in the picture frame or its frame mount.

 Photoframes or pictureframes you can buy ready made are often made slightly larger for ease of fit, and so they include this allowance built into the frame .

There are a lot of picture mount (picture mat) designs to choose from, specially if you visit a shop with a CMC (Computerised/Computerized Mount Cutter). And you can even have unique designs created for you which can be saved as a file and cut again for you at the click of a mouse. Most framers with a CMC will also have a library of standard sizes and designs ready to cut for you.

Here are a few examples of picture mounts on display at Moonshine Framing. Almost any shape, design, even lettering can be cut out to form the window of your mount.

90 percent of picture mounts are rectangular, with rectangular apertures (mount windows). 

examples of picture mount designs on display

computerised mount cutting at Moonshine Framing

are computer cut mounts better than a hand cut picture mount?

It all depends who is cutting it. Mount cutting is a skilled job, which depends on a lot of hand/eye coordination. With practice great picture mounts can be produced using a manual mount cutting machine. 

Here you can see a Wizard CMC cutter through the workshop window at our Penzance framing shop.  Its quite big, isn't it! Actually It is the only such machine in the county for cutting oversize jumbo mountboard (a "jumbo" is the trade term for a double sized sheet of board). The largest we can cut is a huge 5 foot (60 inches) picture mount.

Special mounts, if cut by hand would be unaffordable or impractical to do due to the time involved. The CMC equipped framer can quickly cut multiple quantities of mounts from each sheet of board, and easily manages arrays (eg. Cigarette Card display mounts) and almost any muli-aperture mount.

What do ask for when you go to your local picture framer for a mount: Or what the framer should ask you if you don't really know what you need. (These are the same pieces of information our mount price calculator uses when you ask it for a price or order picture mounts online)

  • Do you want acid free or regular (standard) neutral ph mounts for your pictures? see FAQs
  • Do you want a mount to fit a standard size frame?  Its best to bring the frame with you, or measure it carefully. If you vaguely make a shape in the air and say "about this size" you wont get an accurate price. The chances are, if you have a standard size frame, the framers shop will have a mount which you can be the proud owner of there and then.
  • How big is the picture? Don't mix this up with the size of the window in the mount. The window will always be cut smaller ("to fit") so that your picture does not fall through the hole!  Its obvious when someone points it out, but that's why you'll be asked if you want the aperture cut exact, or to fit.
  • What colour do you want? See the most popular colours for artist mounts and photography mounts on these information pages.
  • How many windows do you want?  Many people want multi-aperture mounts,  for multi aperture frames.  These are to display a row or a group of pictures together. As your framer needs to cut an aperture for each picture, he or she can't give you a price unless he knows.
  • Do you need a backing board? Probably yes. A backing board (also known as an undermount or liner) is a key part of the framing. It not only keeps the picture flat against the back of the mount (pass-partout) but it also serves as a barrier against any acidity in the back of the picture frame.  Off the shelf frames, and photoframes are frequently backed with MDF, so the backing board layer helps to protect your picture or photo.

    Armed with the above info, you should be able to specify and order a custom frame mount at any picture framers shop counter. You'll be helping yourself, and helping the framer to give you quality framing advice. 

    If they have to cut a mount by hand on a manual machine it can be a bit of a bind. That's maybe why we have happy repeat customers all over the UK who buy from our online shop. The website works out the price, then its a simple click-and-buy, and it arrives delivered to your home, office or desk in a few days. Its "fire and forget" shopping.- so easy. (see for yourself here, no need to buy!.)  If you get the irresistible urge to click the "add to cart" button, and buy your picture mounts online from us, we wont mind.   After all, its often easier to click, than find and visit a frame shop, then go back again next week, or the week after and pick up your order.  Many framers will accommodate a genuine emergency "while-u-wait" mount cutting job,  picture framers are people too, and some are helpful, some are not. But many (wrongly in our opinion) turn away, or don't value customers who simply want a mount to fit into their own picture frame.

    Fire and Forget shopping is just the sort of thing a nation full of blokes do on ebay a fortnight before Christmas.  You have to weigh up whether the delivery charge is saving you the time and cost (car parking, perhaps) of two special journeys. Or a first time visit to a framer who may, or may not, tell you to naff-orf  because you already have a nice frame from Ikea,  your picture doesn't quite fit, and you only want a picture mount. At Moonshine Framing we value all our customers, online and at the shop counter. Our only regret is that we are frequently too busy to reply to emails or get to the phone quickly enough.

    In most cases you should be able to buy a frame mount off the shelf in a high street photography shop, big-box DIY store, or elsewhere.  But remember that most of those mass produced frames and their mounts are made down to a price, and they will usually be neutral ph and cream core rather than acid free/conservation quality white core, which is the better quality, and which we offer over our own shop counter as the "default" board for bespoke framing and special order picture mounts. 

    The tell tale signs (or otherwise) of a framer with quality board:

    Some picture framers won't use standard mounts at all, preferring only to stock one brand or another of acid free white core board or conservation mount board.  

    This is great for keeping their costs down, and their stock management easy,  sometimes it helps them keep prices keen if a competitor is playing the "price cutting monkey" game. Cutting prices often means cutting corners, and it may limit your choice. After all, its good to have a choice, and not get the feeling that they are saying "this is all we have got". 

    We offer both standard and conservation quality in our online picture mount shop. For bespoke work, we use and recommend acid free white core, preferably a conservation standard. There is no difference in price at the shop counter, because we do not want our customers to sacrifice quality for price. So when we mount pictures for framing at its conservation quality, but standard board prices - Online we have discounted the standard boards so that realistic savings can be made, specially if you are putting a few pictures into DIY or ready made frames -you make the informed choice which is the right board for your picture.

    Some picture framers (like us) prefer to keep a variety of types in stock,  not merely a choice of colours, so that they always have the right board for your picture mounts.  That way you get an equal choice regardless of your budget. We stock Slater Harrison's Colourmount in standard, Acid Free and Conservation quality. As a rule the darker colours just slip out of the  official "conservation" category only because of the colour pigment in the face papers. In practice these face papers are not in contact with your mounted art. 

    Our own "Key Colours" are not tied to any one supplier or make of board. They have been selected carefully, and they are based upon what our customers order, both nationwide, and at the shop counter.  Arquadia boards are in stocked in the standard for Acid-Free/Conservation mounts. 

    Look for a framer who stocks quality brands, rather than generic ones. Many of the "generics" are actually manufactured by top quality manufacturers, but usually sold in bulk packs. This is fine if the framer has a brisk business and turns over the stock quickly, because the customer will always be getting fresh board. . Sometimes generics are bulk packed in wrapping that is designed to get them only from the warehouse to the bulk user, where they are opened immediately and used up quickly. Problems start for the customer when framers start trying to cut quality picture mounts from board that has been lying around in opened packs that have been in the racks for months, or even years.  If its a busy place, no worries, the board will probably be factory fresh, specially the fast moving popular colours (whites, creams blacks, bottle green, midnight blue etc). 

    If it is a small framers, a home business or a one man band, the chance  is that he or she orders the board in as they need it, not in bulk. So you can be fairly sure that its come in a smaller sealed "retail" pack straight from the wholesaler. In our workshops we seldom have a bulk pack of a popular colour more than a week old. 

    Modern mount boards are designed to last for years, in fact the art-bak backing we use and supply is supposed to be guaranteed for 300 years!   But bear in mind that mount colours may vary batch by batch. This is rare, but does happen. And your old mounts (particularly standard board) may have faded slightly over time too.

With  a bit of luck, that's armed you with the knowledge you need to make the right choice when choosing your  framer, and you picture or frame mounts.

Shop Services   

Framing it

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Mounting it

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dry mount board

Glazing it

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If you don't see what you are looking for, just ask!

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