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Glossary of Terms

Conservation Framing

Conservation Framing

Conservation refers to framing with the intention to maximise protection of the art. Using glass, matboards and backings of the highest quality ensures there is no adverse damage to artwork.

Ultraviolet (UV) light

The invisible light waves (from the sun) beyond violet in the colour spectrum that cause fading of artworks.

Glass: Conservation

Glass with a very fine coating, used to effectively block out 99% of ultra violet light, your artwork is protected without affecting the the image. Colours show true over time as they did when you first framed the artwork. Close inspection of this glass reveals a very fine ripple, this is the fine coating and indicates that conservation glass is being used  Specifications
Tru Vue Conservation Clear glass from the USA is used in conservation framing by Framingonline.


A small piece of acid free adhesive paper or tape used to attach paper art to a backing or matboard.

Alphamat (matboard)

A conservation board which is made from natural cellulose that has been chemically altered, cleaned and buffered to remain stable and safe for artwork. Alpha cellulose board comes in a wide range of colours. Most alpha cellulose boards have a bright white core Specifications
Bainbridge Alphamat is the choice of board used in conservation framing at Framingonline.

Archival Foamboard (backing)

A lightweight 3mm foamboard specifically designed with archival properties to ensure the maximum protection of artworks. Used with Bainbridge Alphamat in conservation framing. Specifications


A term used to describe materials that have the least harmful effects on the art being framed in order to preserve items for the longest period of time.

Framing Terminology


Refers to materials with a pH of 7 or higher. It is sometimes used as a term for alkaline or buffered material. These materials can have either
a) been chemically neutralised with the addition of alkaline products
b) other materials that are processed to remove acid-producing elements.

Acid-Free Foam Board

A board made of foamed plastic (polystyrene) material sandwiched between coated paper from which the acids have been removed or have been chemically neutralised to raise the pH level above 7 (alkaline).

Acid-Free Novacore Matboard

Buffered acid free white core board with a pH of 8.9 plus or minus 0.5. It has a 2.5% minimum content of Calcium Carbonate Buffer. The white core of this board remains white over time. This is the standard matboard we use at Framingonline, however this is not considered archival.


All our acrylic products use PMMA Acrylic (Poly(methyl methacrylate)). This acrylic is more scratch resistant, has better clarity over polycarbonate and doesn't turn a yellowish colour over time as polycarbonate tends to (especially when exposed to sunlight). For these reasons it is ideal for displaying artwork/posters in homes and offices - giving a clean, sharp look and stays clear over time.

Backing Board

A variety of backing boards are available to the framing industry. The most popular is foam board. They vary in thickness from 1.5 mm to 10mm. The size most commonly used is 3 or 5mm. Backing boards vary in their level of protective ability of artworks.


An angled or shaped cut on the edge or end of a mat or board. It is approximately at an 45 degree slope, usually cut on the window edge of a mat.

D’ Rings/Tri Hangers

A flat D shaped or triangle shaped hanger that is screwed into the back of the moulding to attach cord for hanging, enabling the frame to sit flat against the wall. Comes in two or three sizes and is used for most small to medium large works.


A means of securing an artwork to a raised backing so all edges are visible so that the artwork appears to ‘float’ in the air inside the frame.

Glass: Clear

2mm thick glass made with a smooth or polished surface on both sides. It has not been etched or coated in any way.

Glass: Non-Reflect

Glass which has been etched on one or both sides to defuse light onto the artwork, resulting in a minimum of glare and reflection.


D rings, tri hangers, strap hangers, screw eyes and security hangers, all come in various shapes and sizes and are attached to the backs of the frames for cord to be attached


Put on the wall to hang the artwork, comes in various sizes, shapes and made from various types of metal


This is referred to the card border cut out of a sheet of mat board. It has a window or hole cut in to it to take a certain size photo or print with the outer size being cut usually to fit a standard size frame. It separates the image from the frame and helps to enhance the image.

Mat Board

A multi-ply board usually comprised of a core, adhesive, backing paper. Called a 4 ply board, it is 2mm thick. The surface paper comes in a wide variety of colours. Mat boards are either acid free, archival or museum quality.
Mat boards are referred to as "Mountboards" in the UK.


Wood or metal which has been refined and shaped with a rebate for use as frame stock.

Photo Frame

A frame specifically designed for standard sized photographs allowing the photo to be easily inserted in the frame and photo changed at any time. Usually comes with a stand-back and hanging hook. See ‘Stand-Back’.

Screw Eye

A screw with a head shaped into a loop to which the hanging cord on the back of a picture frame is attached. Used for very small artworks. Frame will sit out from the wall slightly.

Stand Back

The backing board used on photo frames with an attached stand to allow smaller photo frames to stand on a horizontal surface. Usually made from stiff card or custom board.

Strap Hangers

Large flat hangers with one, two or three screw holes to attach to the backs of large or heavy mouldings. Frames will sit flat against the wall.

Art Terminology

Abstract art

Any art in which the depiction of real objects has been subordinated or discarded in favour of patterns, lines and colour.

Acrylic Paint

Artists’ colours made by polymerising a methyl methacrylate by emulsification, thus dispersing the resin into tiny particles in water. This fluid is used for a base in compounding polymer colours. Acrylic colours are water soluble when wet, but dry to an insoluble film. Colours are bright, dry quickly and are flexible. It is a highly versatile paint that can be used for thick impasto effects or thin watercolour types of painting.

Artist’s proof

Historically, an artist’s proof is a print retained by the artist for his or her own use or sale. It may bear the designation ‘A/P’.


A heavy woven fabric usually of cotton or linen, used as a support for a painting. The surface is prepared for painting by applying gesso.


A colour photograph based on the silver dye-bleach system. The necessary colours (azo dyes) are built into the emulsion layers. Colours are bleached out where not needed during developing. Azo dyes produce more brilliant colours and have greater stability and resistance to light than any other current process. Ilford has renamed its process Ilfochrome.


Artwork created by securing pieces of paper, fabric or other materials onto a substrate. Though basically two-dimensional, it may have a sculptural effect.


Lines cut into a plate by hand with a steel burin or graver; no acid is used. The metal which is displaced in cutting is smoothed with a scraper which results in crisp, meticulous lines. Then the entire plate is thoroughly inked, with care taken to force the ink down into all of the lines, completely filling them. The surface is wiped clean, leaving the incised lines filled. A press is used to transfer the image onto paper.


A printing process. A metal plate is covered with an acid-resisting ground. The design is scratched through this ground, exposing the metal beneath. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, causing the scratched or exposed areas to be eaten away. The plate is wiped clean, inked and the higher surfaces cleaned again, allowing the ink to remain in the incised areas. A press is then used to transfer the image onto paper.


A term describing the spots and browning seen on old prints and artworks on paper. The name is believed to derive from the fox-like reddish-brown colour of the stains. While unsightly, and a negative factor in the value of the paper item for collectors, foxing does not affect the integrity of the paper.
It is believed that high humidity contributes to foxing. It can be removed by a specialist conservator.

Gicleé (zhee-clay)

A generic term for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. It is derived from the French verb ‘gicler’ meaning "to squirt, to spray". This process was invented in the early 1990s to reproduce fine art prints created on Iris
printers (a digital output printer created by the Iris Graphics Company of Bedford, Massachusetts). The word “giclée” was created by Jack Duganne, a printmaker working in the field, to represent any inkjet based digital print used as fine art with the intent of distinguishing between the commonly known industrial "Iris print" proofs from the type of fine art prints artists were producing. This process now refers to any high quality ink-jet print.

Limited edition

The issue of something collectible, such as prints, limited to a certain quantity of numbered copies. The first number indicates the number of the piece; the second number indicates the total quantity of the edition, e.g., 135/250.


The traditional planographic printing method which involves drawing or painting with greasy crayons or inks on a limestone block. The surface is then moistened with water. An oily ink is applied to the stone and adheres only to the drawing. The ink is repelled by the water which has soaked into the areas around the drawing. The print is pulled by pressing paper against the inked drawing, using a press. Variations of the technique are widely used in commercial reproductions.


Collection of objects that have a sentimental value. They can be in a 2 or 3 dimensional form.
They can be sport, military, ethnographic and collectibles, For example: rugby jerseys, medals, kete, coins.


An intaglio process in which the plate is pitted all over with a tool called a "rocker." By scraping or burnishing the raised burrs, gradations of light and shade may be produced in the printed image. Mezzotints are characterised by an overall rich, velvety appearance with numerous tonal ranges.


A process in which the printed image is transferred, or offset, from one roller or plate to another and then transferred to the printing paper. Offset lithographs should be termed reproductions rather than originals prints. This process eliminates the need to draw the image in reverse on the stone or plate.


A printing technique in which a negative is exposed to a photo-sensitised lithographic plate, the image is then developed on the plate. Non-image areas are desensitised and the image area becomes an ink attracting surface. The plate is inked and printed in the normal manner.


A generic term used to describe an impression made on paper from a block, plate or film negative, you can also have:
a) Reprints: Produced after the original edition was issued and from the original plates or blocks.
b) Reproductions: A copy.


A stencil process of printing in which a cloth (originally silk) is stretched over a heavy frame and the design painted by tusche or affixed by stencil. It is printed by having a squeegee force colour through the pores of the fabric in areas not blocked out. The term silk-screen now implies a commercial use, the same process used in fine art is termed serigraph.


Watercolour is a painting method using paint made of colorants suspended or dissolved in water. Although the grounds used in watercolour painting vary, the most common is paper.