How best to store and manage matboard?


Grumbler in Training
May 20, 2004
Ontario, Canada
Morning all!

Does anyone have any hints and tips for storing and managing matboard that they can share?

What type of container do you store your matboard in? Do you store the small, cut pieces with the large uncut pieces? Do you organize matboard by number? What system do you have to ensure that matboard is re-ordered in a timely manner? What colours and types of matboards do you always keep on hand?

Lots of questions.....but I have lots I need to learn.

Thanks so much.
Hmmm . . .

I could've sworn I posted part two with photos of a six-foot long double-decker acrylic mat sample rack (from Showcase Acrylics) stuffed with all the c/p samples from Bainbridge, Crescent, Tru-Vue and Artique. It was very impressive.

Can't find it now, so maybe it got purged.

Part three never happened.

BTW, that acrylic sample rack is sitting in the garage and I only have the 500-or-so mats I actually stock on the design counter now.
Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version of parts 2 and 3:

The best way I've found to organize mat samples is using the color wheel system developed by Kaye Evans for Bainbridge. Newer Bainbridge samples come pre-labeled (e.g. yellow-green tint) and, if you are exceedingly ambitious or bored, you can use the Bainbridge samples as "templates" to label your other samples.

Once you have them organized that way, you can go through and make sure your have representatives in stock from each group, while avoiding duplicates. In my database, I cross-reference dupes or near-dupes so I can easily locate substitutes when needed.

Whether you choose from several manufacturers or stick to just one is probably a matter of what distributors you work with. If I used just one, it would be Bainbridge 'cause I like the line, it's very comprehensive and I very much like the color wheel system for design. I am actually heading in that direction, but there are some Crescent boards I will not give up.

If you show samples of special-order boards, keep them separated, show the stock mats first and charge enough for the special order boards so you don't feel compelled to save the scrap. (Use it for backing and get rid of it.) If you are frequently special-ordering a board, add it to stock, but put a cap on the total number you stock.

The moment I hear even a hint that a board has been discontinued, I destroy the sample, pull any sheets I have in stock to use for backing or slip sheets and look for a substitute - from another manufacturer, if needed. That way, I'm not posting messages on TG looking for a board that was discontinued in 1987.
You can build a mat rack prety fast out of slat wall. The spacing is about 3" apart. Build a 5 sided box with the top and bottom out of the slatwall, then fill the slots with masonite or plywood.
We use save every bit we can! Everything bigger than 18" is stored pretty much like you all do. But where we differ is in our small stuff. We cut down into 16X20 these are stored by color, and #'d. 11X14 and 8X10 are just stored by color. The reason we do this is because we are part of craft store and mat board is being used for many purposes other than framing! Scrapbookers are using it alot now days. We have made up little packages of all those "little" fallouts, interesting shapes, and sizes. They are selling well in our scrapbook department.
We also sell "blanks" customers can choose blanks and we cut them to order, while they wait! Creating their own custom ready made mat!
Having a Wizard is the key to this--lol!!
We also make our own Ready made mats!

This might not work for other places but it works well for us!
As for your other questions we carry a lot of mat on hand in a variety of colors in both AF and paper in full sheets. Basic Blacks and Whites of course, some nice greens, blues, creams, very basic colors--if they want anything fancy we are happy to order them!
Our ordering system is pretty easy. When an order comes in, we look through the scraps first and pull a mat if we have it-- I am sure you do this too! We then have a clip board on the wall and if the mat needs to be ordered it is simply written down, with the customers name and due date. Simple!
Happy Framing
I have 60 feet of mat storage... one a double decker and the other a single storage system. I carry the whole Bainbridge line, plus 1/2 dozen Crescent colors, stored in sequential number order. We don't stock up on mats as we get deliveries on Wednesday and Friday. But we do restock all shorts/drop outs larger than 11 x 14. When an order is placed, we check the bin and if needed, the mat number is placed on the order form, and a notation made on the work order. I truly believe this is one of the main reasons my cog stays below 25%.