Framing Pastelbord

Mike Etie, pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord


We recommend all pastels be framed under glass. The glass protects the fragile nature of the pastels while also keeping their colors true to life. There are many ways to frame Pastelbord. This is only one way. You can change the dimensions of your frame, mat, and glass if you are purchasing standard sizes. Be creative in your approach and take it one step at a time. You can achieve impressive results with this wonderful panel.



  • 8x10 Pastelbord
  • 15x13 wood frame with glass
  • 15x13 mat (outside dimension will be 15x13)
  • 3/16" foamboard
  • Craft knife
  • ATG tape (Adhesive Transfer tape)
  • Conservation white tape (optional)
  • Framer's point driver
  • Framer's points
  • Kraft paper duster sheet
  • Hanging hardware


Step 1: Cut backboard and spacers

First, you will cut down a 3/16" sheet of foamboard to create your backboard. Use a comfortable craft knife with a new blade. The first cut should score the board and the second cut should go all the way through.

Your glass and frame size are 15x13, so cut your backboard to 15x13. This will allow a 2.75" mat on all sides of the finished artwork. Next, cut (4) strips of foamboard: (2) 2.5x10.5" and (2) 2.5x12.5".


Illustration 1:

Step 2: Secure artwork to backboard

Center the artwork on the backboard. Lay the cut foamboard pieces around the Pastelbord in a mosaic pattern (see illustration 1). Secure three of the foamboard pieces to the backboard with two strips of ATG tape along the backs of each, making sure the foamboard fits very snug against the artwork. Remove the artwork and put (3) 2" lengths of ATG tape on to the center of the backboard. Reposition the Pastelbord and press lightly to secure it. Now secure the 4th and last foamboard piece snug against the artwork.


Illustration 2:

Step 3: Create a spacer

Next, you will cut more foamboard pieces. This time cut (2) 2.125x10.625" and (2) 2.125x12.625". Arrange the mosaic pattern over the previous pattern in the opposite direction (see illustration 2). Secure these foamboard pieces with ATG tape 1/4" away from the artwork. The 1/4" space prevents the viewer from seeing the structural support of the spacer. The spacer provides protective air between the glass and the artwork. Conservationally, it is healthier for the artwork. It also allows a drop/fall area for any floating pastel dust.


Illustration 3:

Step 4: Cut the mat and fitting

Cut your mat with a mat cutter with an outside dimension of 15x13. Measure off a 2.75" border on all sides and make your beveled window cut. Lay the cut mat on top of the spacer. It is not necessary to secure this mat, but you can hinge it like a book page if you wish with conservation white tape. A slight attractive shadow will appear between the mat board and the artwork. Lay the glass over the mat board and then lay your wood frame over the glass (see illustration 3).


Step 5: Finish

Turn the frame over and secure with a point driver and framer's points. Apply a Kraft paper duster sheet to the back and attach hanging hardware.

If you are using a metal frame, join three sides of the frame and carefully slip the glass and artwork package into the frame. Adjust and fit the 4th side of the metal frame together.


Tip: Use glass, not plexiglass

The more space left between the glass and artwork, the better. Since pastel dust tends to fall off a little over time and with movement, glass is the best protective barrier. Plexiglass will create static electricity and actually draw the particles towards its surface and they will stay there.


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