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Make Cheap Easy DIY Matting

Can you make cheap easy diy matting for pennies. Yup, you can. I have been using this trick for years! 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.

Make Cheap Easy DIY Matting Tutorial

This is an image I had in an old encyclopedia that I wanted to frame for a Halloween display. 

This will work the best if you are framing your piece behind glass.

Have a frame with glass larger than the piece of art you want to put in it. In general frames tend to be 1 to 4 inches larger on all sides than the piece of art that you are putting into it, a 4 x 6 piece of artwork can go in a 5 x 7 frame and a 5 x 7  is usually placed into a 8 x 10 frame,  a 8 x 10 picture could go into a 11 x 14 inch 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 and that you are measuring to the very edge of the glass, you might have to remove the glass from the frame.

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. I'm putting it into a 8 x 10 inch size frame with paper is 8-1/2 x 11 inches which is the standard size of cardstock.

If you need larger pieces of paper for your matting you can use scrapbook paper which is 12" wide and long, or Bristol board which is 22 x 28 inches.

I used card stock for the matting paper. You will be cutting 4 strips. Two sides and a top and bottom. 

If your piece is small then if at all possible do this on a large paper cutter so you know that you will get straight and true cuts. 

If you don't have access to a paper cutter or you are using very large pieces of paper then use an exacto knifeand a straight edge ruler as scissors rarely give you a good straight cut. For my 8 x 10 my side matting I cut the 2, 1-3/8 x 10 inch strips and the top and bottom 1 x 8 inch strips.

You are going to be making a rectangle with the strips.  With the good side of the paper down, over lap the strips exactly to make the mat. Make sure that the matting strips are fully on top of each other, corner to corner, and 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 and again, using a straight edge.

Here is a photo of two of the corners cut with the excess pieces removed.

When all the pieces are cut then place them in order (that's why you marked them 1 to 4) with the good side down again, so all the corners match up perfectly.

You have to glue 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. (I have also used clear tape to carefully hold the paper together when I have been in a hurry. When you use the paper strips if there is a tiny gap then the strip hides it.)

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 with the white mat against the glass 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, post cards, images from books or other odd sized paper items. 

This is a postcard that I bought in Florence a few years ago. You can see that the paper does not quite sit flat but it will when you put it in under glass in the frame.

You can make cheap easy diy matting is a quick, frugal and that will give you great results!

For another great cost saving craft learn to make Storage Boxes for Tissue Boxes or check out all my Craft Ideas.

My ebook Make Inexpensive Gift Baskets That Look Expensive is now available! Read more HERE