CONTACT US TODAY 509-939-0153  

  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/themes/

Glossary of Art & Framing Terms



Paper—A material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, rags, and certain grasses, processed into flexible sheets or rolls by deposit from an aqueous suspension, and used chiefly for writing, printing, and drawing.

Paperboard—In paper terminology, there are two basic categories: Paper and Paperboard. Paperboard is generally stiffer, thicker, and heavier than paper. Paperboard-In the artistic and picture framing communities the more common terms are: illustration boards, mounting boards, mat boards, etc. Their composition and characteristics may also more closely define all of these board types.

(a) Preservation in mat and mounting boards is defined by FACTS Standard “PMMB-2000” or latest revision.

(b) In paper making the distinction between paperboard and paper is not sharp but, broadly speaking, paperboard is heavier in basis weight, thicker, and more rigid than paper. In general, all sheets 12 points (0.012 inch) or more in thickness are classified as paperboard.

Parchmentizing Parchmentize—(Chemical process) The treatment of unsized cotton or purified chemical wood pulp paper by sulfuric acid or other chemicals under controlled conditions to produce Vegetable Parchment Paper.

Permanence—The term ascribed to a material which under specified conditions resists changes in any or all of its properties with the passage of time.

Permanent paper—usually refers to a durable paper manufactured according to one or more of the following;

(a) ANSI Standard Z39.48 (recently revised-ANSI/NISO 39.48-1992) Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials(or latest revision.)

(b) FACTS Standard “MMB-127-97” Preservation Standards for Paper and Paper Products (or latest revision.)

P.A.T—Photographic Activity Test

Pearlescent Pigments—A class of pigments consisting of particles that are essentially transparent crystals of a high refractive index. The optical effect is one of partial reflection from the two sides of each flake. When reflection from parallel flakes reinforce each other, the result is a silvery luster.

Petrochemical— a chemical substance obtained from petroleum or natural gas, as gasoline, kerosene, or petrolatum

pH (potential for Hydrogen)—pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. This logarithmic measurement indicates, on a scale of 0 to 14, the relative acidity or alkalinity of a given solution. pH values from 0 to 7 indicate acidity; from 7 to 14 alkalinity. 7.0± .5 is considered the neutral range-also called pH Neutral.

pH Testing— pH Pen—a felt tipped pen filled with chlorophenol red a pH indicator. The chlorophenol red when applied to paper will become yellow or colorless which indicates an acidic condition pH below 6.0. If the chlorophenol red mark turns purple it indicates a alkaline condition above 6.7. This test is only an indicator of the pH of the surface area tested and can not be considered a reliable test for the total condition of any paper or board. As there are many conditions which can influence this measurement an give false reading as to the true condition of the board or paper e.g. handling, surface contamination, sizing, adheasives, and packing materials.

Phenylpropane—a substance, C9H13NO, related to ephedrine and amphetamine, available in various popular nonprescription diet aids as an appetite suppressant

PAT (Photo Activity Test)—This test is designed to determine whether a material that is meant to be used in close proximity to photographs is likely to damage the image. In this case, matboard would be incubated at an elevated temperature and relative humidity with photographic materials, and changes in the photographic reference materials would be measured with a densitometer.

Photo Mounting Board—A term used to describe mat and mounting boards with preservation qualities, but without an alkaline reserve requirement. These boards, having a pH between 7 and 7.5, as in ANSI Standard IT9.2-1991 and FACTS Standard “MMB-127-97″ or latest revision” may also have special surface qualities designed for the mounting of photos.

Pigment—A finely powdered coloring material used in paints and inks. Pigments are used in paper to alter physical properties as well as to add color and improve brightness and opacity.

(a) Color—A pigment is insoluble in the liquid vehicle with which it is mixed, imparting its color effect by being spread over a surface.

(b) Soluble Colors—that impart their hues to substances by staining or being imbibed by them are called dyes.

Plasticized– any of a group of substances that are used in plastics or other materials to impart viscosity, flexibility, softness, or other properties to the finished product.

Ply—One of the separate webs which make up the sheet of paper. One of the sheets which are laminated together to build up a pasted board of given thickness. One of the separate layers which together make up a multilayer aggregate such as multi-ply tissues, multiwall shipping sacks, and carbon-interleaved business forms. The sheets which are laminated together to build up a solid fiber or pasted board of a given thickness.

Pollutant—Any introduced gas, liquid or solid that makes a resource unfit for a specific purpose.

Pollution—The presence of matter or energy whose nature, location or quantity produces undesired effects (i.e., environment, art, paper, books, framing materials).

Postconsumer Waste—Paper-Paper and/or paperboard products that have gone through their intended use and have been discarded. Includes used corrugated boxes, old newspapers, old magazines, mixed waste paper and tabulating cards. Paper waste created in converting operations is generally but not always excluded from postconsumer waste paper.

Polymer-Polymers—a compound of high molecular weight derived either by the addition of many smaller molecules, as polyethylene, or by the condensation of many smaller molecules with the elimination of water, alcohol, or the like, as nylon.

Polysaccharide—a carbohydrate, as starch, inulin, or cellulose, containing more than three monosaccharide units per molecule, the units being attached to each other in the manner of acetals, and therefore capable of hydrolysis by acids or enzymes to monosaccharides.

Polystyrene—A rigid, clear thermoplastic polymer that can be molded into objects or made into a foam.

Preservation—As used with framing for display: work done using methods and materials designed to maintain the conditions and longevity of the item. Preferred to the term Conservation which is most often used when there is treatment to the artwork or item.

Pressure Sensitive Boards—Any of a variety of paper or foam boards with a adhesive surface to which another material may be adhered by the application of pressure.

Printability—the ability of the surface to be printed upon.

Protolignin—see lignin

Pulp—Fibrous material produced either chemically or mechanically (or by some combination of chemical and mechanical means) from wood or other cellulosic raw material. Pulp is the principal raw material for papermaking.

Pulping Process—Any process for converting fibrous raw material into pulp. Pulping processes are usually classified into mechanical, chemical and semi-chemical methods.

Pulping—The operation of reducing a cellulosic raw material, such as pulpwood, rags, straw, reclaimed paper, etc., into a pulp suitable for further processing into paper or paperboard or for chemical conversion (into rayon, cellophane, etc.). Pulping may vary from simple mechanical action to rather complex digesting sequences and may be conducted in batch or continuous equipment.

Pulpwood—Those woods which are suitable for the manufacture of wood pulp. The wood may be in the form of logs as they come from the forest or cut into shorter lengths suitable for the chipper or the grinder. The term may also be applied generically to chips produced from groundwood or from whole trees remote from the pulp mill.

Q’s & R’s back to A-Z

Rag Board—Matboard from non-wood products such as cotton linters, or cotton which are naturally lignin free, stable and durable.

Rag Content—Papers containing a minimum of 25% rag or cotton fiber. These papers generally are made in the following grades: 25, 50, 75, 100% and extra No. 1 (100%). They are used for bonds, currency, writing, ledgers, etc.

Rag Paper—The term “rag paper” in the paper industry has become a generic label for any paper containing a minimum of 25% fibers of non-wood origin. This could mean actual rags, cotton threads, cotton linters, linen or manila hemp fibers. Traditionally, rag papers were made from discarded cotton or linen clothing or textile mill cuttings which were hand sorted for contaminants, cooked and beaten to produce rag pulp. Today there are only three mills left in the United States that have the capability to produce true rag paper in this manner. These special papers are usually thin papers which require the extra strength gained from the longer cotton fibers in actual rag pulp. US currency, engineering/architectural blueprint and tracing papers typically contain real rag fibers. The vast majority of “rag” or cotton fiber papers are made with 25% to 100% cotton linters. 100% rag mat or mounting board is made from 100% cotton linters.

Rag Pulp—Papermaking fibers made from new or old cotton textile cuttings. The term may also apply to cotton, flax, hemp, or ramie in the form of textile waste, textile returns or cotton linters-i.e. the short fibers which adhere to the cotton seed after the ginning process. Rag pulps can be used in papers where permanence and durability needed, e.g., ledger, blueprint, map, currency papers, etc.

Rags—Discarded textile materials derived from vegetable fibers, such as clothing, curtains, linen, etc. and cuttings from factories manufacturing these products. The increased use of synthetics in textiles has caused a scarcity of good quality rags.

Recovered Materials—In plant waste falls into the category of recovered materials, of which Recycled/Post Consumer Waste is a subset. In plant waste such as “mill broke” or envelope trimmings cannot be called recycled because it is not post-consumer. FTC & EPA define cotton linters as “Recovered Materials”.

Recycled Fiber—Cellulose fiber reclaimed from waste material and reused, sometimes with a minor portion of virgin material, to produce new paper.

Recycle—Recycling In the paper industry, recycling refers to the process involved in making new paper out of previously used paper including in-plant and post consumer waste.

Resins—any of a class of nonvolatile, solid or semisolid organic substances, obtained from certain pines and plants, as copal or mastic, consisting of amorphous mixtures of carboxylic acids as exudations or prepared by polymerization of simple molecules: used in medicine and in the making of varnishes and plastics.

Rutile—a common mineral, titanium dioxide, TiO2, usually reddish-brown in color with a brilliant metallic or adamantine luster, occurring in crystals

S’s back to A-Z

Saponify—To convert (a fat or an oil) into soap by combination with an alkali; specifically, the formation of sodium salts from fatty and resin acids during kraft pulping. Saponified, Saponification, Unsaponified.

Semibleached—Any papermaking pulp which has been partially bleached and therefore has a brightness in the range from GE 45 through 75.

Silicate—any of the largest group of mineral compounds, as quartz, beryl, garnet, feldspar, mica, and various kinds of clay, consisting of SiO2 or SiO4 groupings and one or more metallic ions, with some forms containing hydrogen. Silicates constitute well over 90 percent of the rock-forming minerals of the earth’s crust.

Sizing Agent—Any material added to paper that increases the paper’s resistance to penetration by liquids. A material mixed with the stuff or stock prior to papermaking is called an “internal size.” The most common internal size in machine papermaking consists of a rosin emulsion precipitated with alum. Cellulose-reactive internal sizes (such as Hercon®) are used in making permanent papers since alkaline conditions and the freedom from acidity are requisite. A size applied after the sheet is formed and dried is called an “external” or “surface” size. Surface sizes (such as starch or gelatin) not only alter resistance to liquids but also affect surface smoothness, erasability, strength, gloss, stiffness, and printability.

Sizing—Treatment of paper to resist liquid penetration, either by means of wet-end additives (e.g., rosin and alum) or surface application (e.g., starch solution). Any material used for sizing (i.e., reducing liquid penetration), an extremely dilute solution of a gluey or resinous substance applied to a surface in order to reduce its absorbency or porosity and make it more receptive to application of paint or another coating material for example rosin with alum, starch, animal glue, gelatin, latex, etc.

Soda pulping—alkaline chemical pulping process similar to the kraft process, except that sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is used alone as the active chemical.

Sodium Carbonate—Commonly known as soda ash, sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) is an inorganic salt which is strongly alkaline in water solution. It is also an intermediate in the preparation of caustic liquor in the soda pulping process.

Softwood fibers—fibers from coniferous trees i.e. nonporous wood.

Solvent Sizing—The use of rosin in a solvent solution, the sizing being applied to the unsized paper and the solvent being removed by evaporation and recovered. (see Sizing)

Specialties—Grades paperboard (matboard) made with specific characteristics and properties to adapt them to particular uses. Grades paperboards made in a given mill which are not the primary products of that mill. (see surface effects)

Specialty Surfaces—(see surface properties)

Stability—The ability of paper or paperboard to resist change in any of its properties on exposure to various conditions.

Stabilized—A paper whose moisture content is in equilibrium with the moisture of the surrounding air.

Stabilizer—An ingredient used in the formulation of some plastics to assist in maintaining the physical and chemical properties of the compounded materials at their initial values throughout the processing and service life of the material.

Standard Test Environment—Conditions of temperature and humidity agreed upon by convention and used as reference conditions for testing. In North America, the Standard Environment is 21ºC (70ºF) and 50% relative humidity.

Starch—a white, tasteless, solid carbohydrate, (C6H10O5)n, occurring in the form of minute granules in the seeds, tubers, and other parts of plants, and forming an important constituent of rice, corn, wheat, beans, potatoes, and many other vegetable foods.

Stock Sizes—Common sizes of papers and boards which are usually stocked by producers, distributors, or consumers.

Sulfate—The term refers to a strong papermaking fiber produced by the kraft process. (see Kraft Pulp)

Sulfite Process—Generic term for any chemical pulping process employing sulfurous acid and/or bisulfite ions as the primary or secondary delignification chemicals. (see Neutral Sulfite Pulp)

Sulfite pulping process—generic term for any chemical pulping process employing sulfurous acid and/or bisulfate or sulfite ions as the primary or secondary delignifiacation chemicals.

Sulfur Dioxide—A colorless gas (SO2) formed when sulfur burns in air. It dissolves in water to give sulfurous acid which, when reacted with soluble bases yields bisulfites, compounds used in the sulfite pulping process.

Sulfuric Acid—Also called oil of vitriol, sulfuric acid (H2SO4), is used in the paper industry to parchmentize paper, to prepare chlorine dioxide bleach from sodium chlorite, to dissolve certain wet strength resins, etc.

Sunfast—not subject to fading in sunlight, as a dye

Surface Coated—A term applied to any paper or paperboard which has one or both sides coated with a pigment of other suitable material.

Surface Coloring—Application of a coloring agent (dye) to the surface of paper. The dyeing may be a part of the papermaking operation on the paper machine or it may comprise a separate operation, either on the paper machine or as an off-machine operation.

Surface pH—pH value of the surface layer of paper.

Surface Properties—Grouping of paper properties that includes roughness, surface strength, erasability, and abrasion resistance.

Surface Sized—An adjective describing paper or paperboard whose surface has been treated with a sizing material applied to the dry or partially dried sheet either on the paper machine or as a separate operation.

Synthetic latices—colloidal dispersions of synthetic polymers or copolymers used as binders and stock additives for internal bond strength and internal sizing.

T’s back to A-Z

Test—A procedure for critical evaluation; a means of determining the presence, quality, or truth of something. A basis for evaluation or judgment.

Test Accuracy—Difference between the test value and the true value. In practice, assessment of test accuracy is often difficult because the “true value” may not be easily determined.

Test Measurement—Single quantitative value obtained from a test determination. More than one test measurement is commonly required in a test method.

Test Method—Detailed, step-by-step procedure for carrying out a test procedure and determining test results.

Test Precision—Measure of the variation that can be expected when repeated tests are made on the same specimen or on a near-duplicate specimen.

Test Procedure—Detailed procedure for the measurement of a specific property or quantity.

Test Result—Value obtained for one test unit of a sample material. This value may be a single determination or an average.

Texture—The characteristics of a sheet that pertains to its feel and appearance such as a rough or grainy surface quality. (a) Texture (of paper)-Surface finish and smoothness.

Thermoplastic—oft and pliable when heated, as some plastics, without any change of the inherent properties.

Tinctorial—pertaining to coloring or dyeing.

Titanium Dioxide—The white oxide of titanium, TiO2. There are two crystalline forms useful to the paper industry: the anatase form employed primarily as a filler pigment and the rutile form used primarily in pigmented coatings. Both types are particularly useful because of their white color, high brightness, and high refractive index (2.52-2.76) which makes them highly effective for improving both brightness and opacity. Commercial grades are usually specially treated to facilitate use in the many papermaking and coating applications and to provide particle size for optimum optical behavior.

Titanium Pigment—The name given to the type of titanium white made with barium sulfate or some other inert component, as distinguished from pure titanium dioxide.

Titanium White—Titanium dioxide; a dense, opaque, white pigment, highly inert chemically, and therefore of the highest permanence in all artists’ paints.

Tooth—A characteristic of the grain in the surface of various papers, especially drawing papers, handmade papers, and other papers of low finish. The term is used to describe their ability to take pencil or crayon marks. The roughness or surface contour of the paper is one factor in its tooth, and probably the fuzz and the stiffness of fibers projecting from the surface is another. Also referred to as bite. Also a patterned roughness in the form of minute depressions between fibers or groups of fibers on the surface, a characteristic of some low-finish papers which facilitates pencil or crayon marking. Tooth can be produced on the paper machine during forming or pressing.

U’s back to A-Z

Ultraviolet Spectroscopy—Identifying a substance by photography of spectrum lines in the ultraviolet region (wavelength) through a spectroscope. (see Appendix,)

UV (Ultraviolet or Ultraviolet Rays)—That portion of the invisible spectrum that lies beyond the violet or on the shorter wavelength side of the visible spectrum; that portion of the light spectrum between 200 and 400 nanometers.

V’s back to A-Z

Virgin Fiber (Primary Fiber)—Pulp used for papermaking that has not previously been used in any paper or board product.

Virgin Pulp (Virgin Stock)—Pulp that has not previously been used in the papermaking process. It is distinguished from Secondary Stock.

W’s back to A-Z

Warp—Loss of flatness for paperboard sheets or corrugated board.

Wet strength—a test of tensile strength of a wetted strip of paper.

White—The achromatic color of maximum lightness; the color of objects that reflect nearly all light of all visible wavelengths; the complement or antagonist of black, the other extreme of the neutral gray series. Although typically a response to maximum stimulation of the retina, the perception of white appears always to depend on contrast.

Whiteness—Extent to which a sheet of paper approaches theoretically perfect white due to high brightness, high light scattering and minimum perceivable hue. In practice the terms brightness and whiteness are used interchangeably.

Whiting—Native calcium carbonate mined in various parts of the world and used as an inert pigment in such products as gesso.

Wood Pulp—Refers to a wide variety of chemically processed softwood and hardwood fibers normally used by the machine papermaking industry. Fiber also be produced by the mechanical treatment of wood. Fiber length varies considerably depending on the source and the degree of treatment of the pulp. (a) Unbeaten softwood fibers usually have an average length of 3 to 5 millimeters and an average width of about .040 millimeters. Hemicellulose content ranges from several percent to twenty percent; and lignin content, from zero to twenty-seven percent, depending on pulping yield and bleaching. (b) Hardwoods by comparison average 1 to 2 millimeters in width, and have similar hemicellulose and lignin contents. (see alpha pulp see groundwood)

Wood-Pulp Board—Paperboard made of wood pulp or a combination of virgin wood pulp and reclaimed paper stock.

X’s & Y’s back to A-Z

Yellowing—Sometimes called color reversion. A gradual change from the original appearance of a pulp or a paper as a result of environment or aging.

Z’s back to A-Z

Zeolite—An inert crystalline aluminosilicate which has an affinity for specific molecules. Naturally occurring but often man-made to specific performance characteristics. Also called molecular traps or molecular sieves.