Matting is the perfect way to create layouts and frames within frames. They can be stacked as many times as desired and we can customize where each window goes, what size the window is and what style it is. With so many styles, colors, and cuts available, the possibilities are endless. However, I'll use this blog post to go over a few basic terms and example.
First off, the typical method of stacking mattes can be referred to as a reveal. The mat on the bottom has a cut out that surrounds the art or object it is for and the mat on top covers almost the entirety of that mat on the bottom, revealing just a sliver of the color from the mat below. Typically the reveal is 1/4 inch on all sides and that includes the bevel from the cut.
Below are a few examples.
As you can see, different cut can alter the reveal or both mattes could have unique cuts where they overlap each others edges.
The other common practice is to float things off mats. This means that instead of the bottom mat being cut at all, it is just a solid backdrop. This works particularly well when framing things with uneven edges like plaques or knit objects with a lot of gaps or watercolor with torn edges. Then a top mat is used to create the reveal.
In a particular example, we recently did a piece that was to mat and frame a photo, plaque and an encased sports game ticket all in one piece. We floated both the plaque and the ticket off a red mat. Then we placed the picture between this mat and the blue top mat. This left no reveal on the black and white photo, but a hint of the red around the two objects which also received a window cut in the blue top mat as well. It was then placed in a deep frame to account for the thickness of the ticket's case with a piece of plexiglass on the front to protect the memorabilia display.
When it comes to matting, there is so much you can do with just two mats and you aren't even limited at just two!