What It Means To Float Your Artwork?

What It Means To Float Your Artwork

There are many techniques that can be used when it comes to framing. One of them is the float mounting method. This is an alternative to the traditional over-mat method where the art is placed below a mat with a window opening through which the art is viewed. With the float mounting method, the art is placed above the mat such that it appears to be floating. To help you understand exactly what it means to float your artwork, here is an overview of the different types of floating and the best use for the same.

Types of Float Mounting:

Elevated/Tile Floating

One way to float your artwork is by using the elevated option. Here, the artwork seems to be raised off a bit from the mat surface. This makes the print to appear as if it is floating inside the frame. Also, by having the print elevated from the mat, a shadow is created underneath it. This gives the piece some extra vibrancy and definition.

To give it this lift, the print is first of all mounted on to a tile of matboard or a foam board lift which is smaller than the print on all sides. This is then what is mounted on to the larger mat. Due to the height of the lift, a small space is left between the art and the mat backing to give the piece that floating appearance. The lift is made sure to be cut in a way that it cannot be viewed from the side.

Sandwiched Floating

Sandwich floating is the other method that can be used to float your artwork. This is the more traditional way of float mounting compared to the tile floating. This floating technique gets its name from the fact that the art gets “sandwiched” between the glazing above, and the mating below. In this case, lifters are not used and the print gets placed on the mat directly. However, some space is still left all around the art to allow the edges of the print to be seen.

With this, however, no shadow effect is brought about at the edges. With no shadow to be revealed, you also have the option of using a black mat, provided that you have a light-colored print. This will help the piece to stand out more. If you are framing high valued artwork, you may be worried about it getting stuck on the glazing. Nonetheless, spacers can be used to create some distance between them.

When to Use Floating for Your Artwork:

Art Goes All the Way to the End

When it comes to the traditional overmount method, a part of the artwork gets covered by the mat. Hence, if you want your art to be viewed in its entirety, then floating is a good option for you. This is more so suitable for artwork that comes all the way to the edge of the print. This will ensure that there is no part of the artwork that is left out.

You want to Show off the Edges

At times, a piece of art will use its edges to express itself. This means having some extra detail or cutting design at the edges which contributes to the overall look of the piece. You, therefore, do not want these parts excluded as you will be taking away from the piece. Float mounting will be ideal in this case as the edges will be showcased as well.

Framing Artefactual Items

Artefactual items such as old dollar bills, postcards, handwritten letters, and so on tend to have a lot of history and personality-whether its stains, ruggedness or chipped edges, etc., which may have developed over the years. You want all these details to come out so that viewers can enjoy the old richness. The floating technique will therefore be the perfect way to frame them.

To Add a Dramatic Effect

One way to make your wall piece stand out is by floating your artwork. More specifically, by using the elevated technique. The floating effect brought about by the shadow produced will be a good way to give it a dramatic effect. With a bigger lift, you can make this look even more dramatic.


Framing is about choosing various styles that work for both your artwork as well as your personal taste. As you weigh your options, the above information should help you determine whether the float mounting technique is the best for you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.