Pastel with no mats


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jul 11, 2001
Wautoma, WI USA
One of my long time customers brought in a pastel of a dog yesterday that she wants put in an old frame with no mats. The frame is the same size as the picture but has a very shallow rabbet. I'm trying to talk her out of it but she is very instistent. I've explained to her all the reasons why a pastel needs a mat and needs some space between it and the glass. She has another one that was framed with out mats years ago and loves the look of it. She says I framed that one for her, but I have my doubts. I don't think even in my early years I would have done it that way. Besides I don't remember the project.

Anyway, she is having the frame extended (by someone else, I'm not a wood worker) so there is at least enough space for spacers. Should I tell her that even so, I can't possibly frame it without a mat? I don't even know how I would mount it without a mat to hold the edges down. The piece seems to be on a heavy paper with alot of tooth and possible fixed. There is not alot flaking off it.

Oh, did I mention she is very insistent.
I use 1/4 inch spacers on my pastels that are not matted and haven't had a problem. Some are dry-mounted to acid free foamboard with acid free tissue and some are just hinged.

With or without a mat it will probably ghost onto the glass but if that's what she wants put a disclaimer on the inside of the package. You can use two T hinges at the top by placing the cross on the back of the backing board and that should hold it in place. The glass spacers may also do the trick.
I have mentioned in other threads that I also paint with Pastels. Actually, that was the first thing I framed. (other than photo frames

As Jack says, v-hinge the work and put in a
spacer. Don't push down when you put the points in so the paper isn't pinched. I usually use 1/4 when I frame Pastels with no mat, but I have been successful with 3/16 as well.

I think the "no Mat" look with the right frame is VERY nice with some original pastels.
JPete, we posted together. I have hinged over the top of the backing board on occasion. I would only do it if the work is on a strong substrate like sanded paper. If it's on a toothed paper like most of the Cansons, or some watercoor papers, I'd use the v-hinge. Although, where's it gonna go? ;)
To all you Framers who don't mat your work (with or with out Glazing) ,may i ask if you ever have any dust form at the bottom of the frame?
I am not the most experienced Pastel framer but all that I have seen do drop at least some particles and logic would indicate that this will continue ,especially if it is moved or jostled in any way.

The method I have been taught to frame Pastels is to allow a good amount of space between the glazeing and to also incorporate spacers inbetween mats or a single mat all of which have been REVERSED beveled so as to prevent the dust from accumulateing on the white normal bevel.
The spacers under the mat give the dust a place to fall that isn't seen( no mat would allow the dust to accululate under the rabit I guess,on a Dlazed work but the Frame space may take up that.If you have no glazing it would fall on the frame or the floor and you couldn't begin to keep it cleaned,since touching it would be impossible.

I know some Artist spray Fixatives on their work but I was told that this is fround a upon (since it discolors the work) and isn't at all permanent and the particles will fall eventually anyway.

I have a work here that is not only on rough paper but actual SAND PAPER and it was lightly dusted with a fixative and tapped for excess dust and it still sheds particles. So i would opt for the afore mentioned method .
that's my 2 cents worth but then I'm no expert and i am not a pastel artist ,But I know some very good ones ,includeding my Art Major daughter who has a degree from UNO.
Buddy, exactly!

Except when the gallery owner was unnecessarily rough with the work falling dust was (is?) trapped in the reservoir formed by either the spacer or the "spacer" under the mat. (usually reverse beveled f/c, but I have used a four ply for some situations.) I usually use a normal bevel and don't reverse it for the top decorative mat, but, with rough handling it can become soiled.

MOST of the time the falling particles fall into the cavity and do not show on the bevel. The "uninformed" will sometimes lean or put the picture glass "down" which tends to cause the problem. A reverse bevel will reduce the risk.

If the owner understands how to handle it, a reverse bevel shouldn't be necessary.

AND, sand paper is my favorite substrate.
Frame arrived this morning with the back extended. She had a woodworker she knows do it for her, I don't do woodworking. I don't trust myself around power tools. It should be deep enough now to at least get spacers into it. Still couldn't talk her into a mat. Oh, and the worst part- she needs it by tommorrow as a birthday present for her dad!