While there are no set outside dimensions for custom mats, there are guidelines
we can follow to determine the width or reveal of your mats. There are two basic
approaches to creating mat widths.
One is to make the mat equal on all four sides. This method brings balance and
symmetry to the design.
The second is to weight the bottom of the mat, making it larger than the top and
sides. This method was used during Victorian times when pictures were hung
very high on the wall and at a slight downward angle to the floor. By weighting
the bottom, it gave the appearance that the mats were equal on all sides.
Psychologically, the weighted bottom affords the viewer a sense of stability,
insuring them that the piece is not likely to tip over. Both methods are
acceptable and the preference is yours.
There are some basic rules that can be used in deciding the width of mats. First,
there should be no repetition of size. The reveals of the inner mats should be
slightly different. This allows the viewer to see the entire inner mat colors, not
just the more dominant color.
Also, the top mat should be at least 3/4” to 1” wider than the visible width of
the frame. This will set the frame apart from the rest of the piece and prevent it
from encroaching on the artwork.