Good matting sets off your artwork and photography so it moves from looking good to looking fabulous, but anyone who has ever started shopping around for matting quickly finds out how expensive it is.
If you are matting a fine piece of quality and expensive art then you should take the time and effort to do it properly with museum quality matting, but if you just want to slap something on the wall or display it for a short period of time then this is ideal.
Cheap, fast and easy you can make your home made art and photos look professional with this matting method.
This method will work the best if you are framing your piece behind glass as the mat will not be as sturdy as one cut from a single piece of mat board.
You have to have a frame already for your art work. In general frames tend to be one or two inches larger on all sides the the piece of art that you are putting into it ( a 5 x 7 photo is usually placed into a 8 x 10 frame) but you can make exceptions to this if you think a wider or narrower frame would set off the artwork better.
Center your artwork over the glass that will be used in the frame that you want to use and measure out the distance to each side. Make sure you will be covering any part of the art you do not want showing.
Here the matting will be 1-3/8 on the sides and 1 inch on top and bottom.
The paper that you will be using has to be as long as the longest side of the frame that you are putting it into. As we are putting it into a 8 x 10 inch size frame that paper is 8-1/2 x 11 inches.
I used card stock for the matting paper. You will be cutting 4 strips. Two sides and a top and bottom.
If at all possible do this on a paper cutter so you know that you will get straight and true cuts. Since my frame is 8 x 10 my side matting will be 1-3/8 x 10 inch strips and my top and bottom will be 1 x 8 inch strips.
Over lap the strips with the good side down to make the mat. Make sure that the matting strips are absolutely square to each other.
Tape each corner temporarily with masking tape so it is sturdy. Number each strip 1 through 4.
With a fine pencil and a ruler draw a line from the inside corner to the outside corner of each corner of the mat. (I used a white pencil on black paper so you would be able to see it but use a color that you can see but is not so obvious).
You are going to cut through these corners. If the paper you are using is card stock then it will be thin enough you will be able to do it on the paper cutter but if it is a thick paper then you might find it easier to cut through it with an Exacto knife.
When all the pieces are cut then place them in order with the good side down again, so all the corners match up perfectly.
You have to tape up these corners very carefully. You want them to be sturdy. Take a thin piece of card stock the same color as your mat and with a glue stick, glue it over the corners.
As I wanted my art work to have a double mat I did the exact same instructions with white card stock that was 1/8 of an inch narrower than the black strips ( the side strips were 1-1/4 x 10 and the top and bottom were 7/8 x 8) and constructed it the same way.
With the good sides down place the black mat on top of the white mat and check that they are aligned. Using a glue stick, glue them to each other. Place the mat into the frame and place your artwork over the mat and tape in place making sure that your art work is centered properly.
I showed this in very traditional colors of black and white but this could be great in matting colorful artwork with wild colored card stock. This is the perfect way to get a custom look when you are matting items like birthday cards or other odd sized paper items.
This is a easy, quick, frugal method of matting that will give you great results!
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Copyright Ingrid Talpak 2011