1. The deckled edge
To showcase the deckled edge of the paper, we will want a narrow mat that doesn’t cover the edges.
First, we’ll mount the watercolor to a piece of no-cut mat board using float hinges (V-Hinge or S-Hinge) using archival or acid-free tape, or your preferred method to give the watercolor a “floating” effect within the mat.
We will then place a second mat board over the watercolor, raised on a spacer. Thin strips of foam core are mounted to the back of the mat board using archival or acid-free tape. The foam core strips must be cut thin enough so that they don’t come to the edge of the mat board.
Float mount with spacers
Again, use archival or acid-free tape to float the watercolor on a no-cut mat board. Since we aren’t using another mat board to separate the acrylic from the artwork, we will attach Econospace Spacers to the back of the frame. It is important to keep a little space between the artwork and the acrylic because direct contact can damage the watercolor over time.
3. The minimizer — minimal buckling under a raised mat
If you’re looking for the traditional mat look, use this method to make sure you capture the watercolor — without the watercolor buckling.
Mount the watercolor using a piece of mounting board and archival or acid-free tape, as we did in option 1.
The second mat will cover the edges of the paper like you would see in standard framing. Because watercolors are created using so much water, the paper is typically wavy and buckled. To minimize that buckling, we raise the mat board above the artwork using homemade spacers. To create the spacers, attach thin strips of foam core to the back of the mat board using archival or acid-free tape.
The shadowbox effect
The shadowbox effect is created by again floating the watercolor on a no-cut mat board, but it is also raised.
To achieve this raised, floating effect, the artwork is attached to a piece of foam core that is smaller than the artwork, again using archival or acid-free tape.
The piece of foam and the artwork attached to it are mounted to the center of a no-cut mat board.
Additional strips of foam core, faced with strips of mat board, are then attached to the rabbet of the frame. Make sure your frame is deep enough for the artstack and the strips for the shadowbox style.
All stacked together, the “artstack” is what creates the depth in the frame and the shadowbox effect.
How to Attach Artwork in a Framing Treatment” post from our blog, Good Frame of Mind. Happy framing!