Skip to Main Content

Matting and Hinging Works of Art on Paper

Materials & Tools

basic tools needed for matting and hinging. Top row: starch cloth strip, gummed hinging tape. Middle row from left to right: adhesive, cutting mat with grids, pouncing brush, flat brush, bone and teflon folders, scissors, and weight.


The materials used to make mats for collection items should be of the highest quality available, with consideration given to permanence, durability, and aesthetics.

  • Mat Board: The Library uses museum-quality board that has been tested to LC standards, in a variety of colors. We usually have 2-ply, 4-ply, and some 8-ply on hand. For nearly all purposes we will use a white or cream color that best matches the item or standardizes a collection. (Occasionally other specialty colors will be tested and used in conjunction with a specific curatorial request). For most purposes 4-ply board is sufficient. Sometimes 2-ply board is used to save space for small, light items or used as a wrapper only. 8-ply is usually reserved for very large and heavy items. Unbuffered board is available for materials incompatible with our usual buffered stock.

  • Card Stock: 20, 40 or 60 point card stock (also tested to our specifications) is sometimes used as a cover/wrapper instead of matboard as a smooth, cheaper, and thinner alternative.

  • Corrugated Board: E-or B-flute corrugated board is sometimes used as material for creating a sink layer, especially for larger items because of its lightness. Occasionally it will be added as a back-board stiffener for larger items (usually will be faced with mat-board on the side item is mounted).

  • Mat hinging materials such as starch cloth strips, gummed hinging tape, or book cloth.

  • Adhesives: Water for activating adhesive on hinging tape or PVA to adhere starch cloth or book cloth strips. Wheat starch paste or other approved adhesives for hinging art. Approved/tested double-sided tape for mounting corners, Mylar, half-moons, sink layers, and other supports. Other paper tapes, hinging tapes, etc. should be carefully evaluated to ensure they meet material compatibility and archival storage standards.

  • Polyester sheets may be added to protect the surface of art (especially if it is frequently displayed). They may also be used to hold objects in double-sided mats, often with ultrasonic dot or line welds. They may also be used for channel mounts or half-moon supports. (Make sure the media is not friable if using polyester sheets, as they have a slight static charge).

  • Smooth-surfaced translucent paper may be added to protect the surface of objects with friable media from the cover mat. Research materials before use as not all translucent paper products are appropriate for long term storage. Translucent paper can also be used to create corners or channels for non-adhesive attachment.

  • Papers: Japanese kozo or other mulberry papers are usually used for hinging artwork. Archival bond or other papers suitable for long-term storage are used for making corners, channels and other mounts.

  • Polyethylene strapping is occasionally used to strap bulky items onto backboards.


Tools needed include:

  • Mat-cutter (either hand or automated)
  • Cutting mats
  • Rulers
  • Scalpels and/or scissors
  • Bone or Teflon folders
  • Weights
  • Brushes and/or rollers
  • Blotter
  • Hollytex or similar spun polyester webbing
  • Acrylic, such as Plexiglas, strips or other boards (for weighting hinged mats evenly while drying)