• Sarah, Fellows Framing

Framing Jargon Buster



Do you know your tray frames from your box frames? Standard glass from museum acrylic? V groove mount anyone?


Picture framing is in theory simple, 4 lengths of wood around a rectangle picture.


In reality it can be complex, and we picture framers can use weird complex terms that make sense to us, but is gobbledegook to you.


Below, you will find some of the more common terms I use and hopefully a easily understood explanation of them. 😊



Mount – a piece of card with a window cut out a bit smaller than the artwork so it holds the artwork flat and in place. Comes in various colours, thickness, and grades. Cut with a bevel edge to make it look fancy. You can have a double/triple mount or have many windows in it.



Moulding – the wood that is cut to fit around the artwork and holds everything together. Silly amount of choice of profile, size, and colour. Can be wood, plastic or aluminium. The 4 mitred sections are joined together with V nails.


Standard glazing (glass or acrylic) - ordinary picture glass found in most picture frames, provides little protection for art apart from physical damage.


Conservation glazing (glass or acrylic) – offers UV protection, good for delicate paper works like watercolours.


Antireflective glazing (glass or acrylic) – reduces reflection and minimises light transmission improving optical clarity.


Reversible – reversible materials and techniques can be undone returning artwork to its original condition. Essential for highly valuable items.


Deep/shadow/box frames – a frame designed to display a 3D object so has deep sides often lined with mountboard.


Level of Framing – the specification of protection the frame provides based on the materials and techniques used. Level one is the highest, level 4 the lowest.


GCF – Fine Art Trade Guild Certified Framer. The framer has undergone an examination to ensure the appropriate and high standards of the Guild are being used.


Cockling – loss of flatness of a sheet of paper because of it being exposed to changing levels of relative humidity i.e., became damp & dried out.


Foxing – disfiguring localised brown staining that appears as small reddish/brown spots on paper and cardboard.


Buffered – mountboard that has had an alkaline reserve added to it, usually calcium carbonate making it ph neutral.


Spacer – a narrow strip of wood that distances the glass from the artwork, they are hidden under the frame lip.


Acid free – is a misleading term often used to describe board, paper or adhesive that has been treated to give a ph value of more than 7.0. Over time though chemicals from the processing or atmospheric pollutants may lead to formation of acids. This imprecise term should be avoided.


Well that's some terms BUSTED! If you have any terms you want help with drop me a line. Bye for now.