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Mat Board Help Center

Do you have questions about all the different types of Mat Board available?  Then you've found your way to the right place.


  The easiest way !!!!


  What are regular mats?


  What are rag mat 100's?


  What are blackcore mats?


  What are whitecore mats?

  Frequently Asked Questions about mat board

Foam Core & Mounting Board Thickness Chart

Double thick (DT)                counts as 2 sheets
Triple thick (TT)                   counts as 3 sheets
1/8" foam core board         counts as 2.5 sheets
3/16" foam core board         counts as 3 sheets

Matboard Ply (Thickness) Chart

2 ply matboard                    counts as 1/2 sheet
4 ply matboard                       counts as 1 sheet
6 ply matboard                   counts as 1.5 sheets
8 ply matboard                      counts as 2 sheets


The easiest way is to either order a Rag Mat swatch kit  or a set of corner samples.  A swatch kit simplifies the coordination of mat board colors with artwork and other interior decor colors. Mat Corners are larger sized for easier framing choices.  Convenient carrying case enables you to choose mat board colors at home, office, store or a clients location.  These are actual pieces of mat board for accurate texture and color.

Swatch Kits and Corner Samples

       Swatchkit2.JPG (22030 bytes)       Mat_corners4.JPG (5867 bytes)

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Crescent regular mats are the largest grouping of mat boards in the Crescent line of boards. They are boards made from wood pulp. Buffered Acid-Free Pulp Core & Backing Paper. Thickness .052 - .060. A proven, consistent quality mat board line with an extensive color range. Provides excellent protection for a majority of framing needs. Crescent Mat Boards are also suitable as colored drawing boards and are responsive to acrylic, pen & ink, felt markers, pastels, crayon and watercolors as well as rubber cement.

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Class Rag Mat "100" is 100% Cotton, Acid & Lignin-Free, Solid Color, Extra Rigid, Special Surface Sizing for French Matting and Art Media. The big difference is that the color is through-out.  When you bevel cut the mat the color is the same through-out the all cotton mat. Because they are made from cotton they cut easier.

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Black Core Mat Board is buffered Acid-Free Black Pulp Core and Backing Paper. Thickness .052-.060. Dark gray lining paper eliminates black rub off

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White Core provides aesthetic and design benefits of a bright white bevel with the affordability of regular matboard.  Crescent calls it non-conservation, however, it too, is buffered with calcium carbonate and whiteness is maintained through an equivalent 100 years of accelerated aging as verified by independent laboratory testing using TAPPI tests T-452, T-544.

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Q. What is rag mat board?

A. "Rag" is a papermaker's term dating back to the 15th century when cotton rags and trimmings were the principal raw materials used for papermaking. The term continues to be used to describe papers and boards made of 100% cotton fiber pulp.

Q. What is the difference between Crescent's rag mat board and their regular acid-free mat board?

A. Regular mat board is made from wood pulp which is buffered (pH balanced) during manufacture. The core and back of the board are acid-free, but not the surface paper. Rag mat board is made from cotton. The core, backing and surface paper are acid-free. Rag mat boards come in 2 thickness - 2 ply and 4 ply. 4 ply is roughly the same thickness as regular mat board.

Q. What does acid-free actually mean?

A. Paper having a pH factor of 7 or higher. Acid-free paper can be produced from any cellulose fiber if measures are taken during manufacture to eliminate (or buffer) active acid from the pulp.

Q. What is buffering (or alkaline reserve)?

A. Calcium carbonate added to the pulp to neutralize acid that might in the future be generated from aging of the paper or from atmospheric pollution.

Q. What is the difference between mounting board and mat board?

A. The surface paper of mounting board is smooth & acid-free. It does not look as "pretty" as mat board. Mat board has a colored surface paper that may be smooth or textured. The core & backing are acid-free, but the surface paper may or may not be.

Q. What is the difference between foam center board and mounting board?

A. Mounting board is made from wood pulp, making it dense like mat board while allowing it to "breathe." Foam center board is a plastic product. Its resilient polystyrene memory core "bounces" back after cutting & resists denting.

Q. How do I know what type of board I should use?

A. Your board should be determined by your artwork. Logically, if you are framing an extremely valuable work of art (an original Norman Rockwell, for instance) you would want to use Rag 100 museum boards and 100% acid-free mounting boards. If you are framing a Barney poster for your toddler's room, regular acid-free mat board which is good for 100 years) will probably be sufficient.

Q. What color mat board should I pick?

A. Ideally, artwork should be framed for the enhancement of the art itself. Look at the piece carefully. Note the colors that are most prominent: which color covers the most area and which the least? Use matching colors of the same proportion in the mat and frame. Strive to duplicate the "feel" of the art in its framing. There are no hard and fast rules, but the art and framing should be balanced.

Q.  What is the difference in 2 ply, 4 ply, 6 ply and 8 ply?  Which ply do I need?

A. The term 'ply' refers to the thickness of the mat board. The higher the number, the thicker the board. The most common thickness used is 4 ply (around 1/16th of an inch). You can tell the difference in thickness by saying 2 ply is 1/2 the thickness (1/32") of 4 ply. 6 ply (1/8") is 4+2 ply, so it would be 1 1/2 times as thick. 8 ply (1/4") would be 4+4, or 2 times as thick. It is double the size of 4 ply (double the thickness). Which ply should you use? That depends on what you are doing!  98% of all mat board sold is 4 ply.  6 and 8 ply mat is often used in museums or galleries for special presentations of artwork or photos. The 45 degree bevel allows the extra thick core to show and gives a dramatic effect.  Double matted means you will have 8 ply mat on your artwork if you use the 4 ply board. In most cases, 4 ply works great, and anything more is up to you! If you choose a thicker or thinner mat board, you must adjust the blade on your mat cutter to avoid over or under cuts. If you are just starting out in mat cutting use 4 ply only. Also, some mat cutters (both manual and computerized) will not cut 8 ply. If you're interested in a great machine that can handle an 8 ply board, check out the Logan 850 mat cutter!

Q. What is the worst mistake I can make when framing my art?

A. Using a cardboard box for backing and all-purpose masking tape are the Two Awfuls. They have so much acid in them - please, use one of the many inexpensive acid-free choices available.

Q. What if I have more questions?

A. Please call us at 800-334-9060!

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