How to custom cut your own mat for framing | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

Beverly Gurganus Fine Art custom matting diy mat cutting how to mat your art matting and framing matting made easy matting tutorial tools for cutting mat board virginia artist

How to custom cut your own mat for framing | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

If you have ever had art matted and framed by a professional framer, then you know that it isn't cheap, but you want your art investment to look beautiful and to be properly protected, right?  Having your art matted professionally is wonderful and convenient if you can spare the extra expense, but some of us need  budget friendly options.  Today, I'm going to share with you some alternatives as well as teach you how you can custom cut your own mats, and I think you will be surprised how easy it really is.

 

stack of mat board | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

 

1.  Buy Pre-cut Mat

One option is to buy your mat pre-cut.  There are a couple ways you can get your mats pre-cut.  First, you can purchase a frame and mat combo or you can buy just the mat.

Most home stores or art stores sell frames with the mat included making this the easiest way to frame your art at various price points. But what if you can't find a frame you like with a mat or you already have the frame?  Then that is when you will want to just buy the mat.

Either of these options are painless and super easy, but there are a couple things to consider when picking out your pre-cut mat.  Make sure you buy the mat that will fit the size of frame.  I know this is pretty obvious, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.  The total size of the mat should measure the same as the window of the frame.  Next, make sure the window of the mat matches the size of your art (actually the window of the mat should be at least a 1/8" - 1/4" smaller so you have enough over hang to attach the art to the mat.

 

cutting mats | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

 

2.  Cut your own mat.

Cutting your own mat is another option, but will take a little more effort on your part.  This is the best option for art that is not your standard size or when you want your art to make a bigger statement by cutting your mat so it creates a large border around the art. I promise, you will find that diy-ing your mat is easier than you think, and once you've invested in the right tools, it's a skill you can use over and over especially for you art collectors.

This is where my tutorial will begin.  I will explain how to first, cut your mat with just a couple of necessary tools, and then how to cut it using a mat cutting tool.

 

tools for cutting mat board | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

 

Cutting your mat with just the basics.

supplies:

metal yard stick

pencil

beveled blade with extra blades

acid free mat board cut to fit your frame

acid free artist tape

xacto knife with extra blades

 

1.  Using your ruler and xacto knife (straight edge cutter) measure and cut your mat board to size.

2.  On the back side of the mat, evenly measure and draw a line where you want the window to be.  (make sure your art is slightly larger than the window so it is easily attached to the back of the mat).  If your border is going to be 3" then make sure you measure 3" on all four sides. OPTIONAL: YOU CAN CREATE MORE WEIGHT VISUALLY BY MAKING THE BOTTOM BORDER 1/2" WIDER THAN THE TOP AND SIDES.

3.  Cut along your lines on all four sides using your beveled blade and ruler.  The ruler may try to slip so make sure you are holding it down tightly. 

Using the beveled cutter:

Look for the small start and stop line in the center of the cutter on the opposite side of the blade.  Place the start and stop line with the drawn horizontal line on the bottom of your mat, press the blade down and slide to cut.  stop when the line on the cutter lines up with the horizontal line on the top of the mat.  Rotate mat and repeat on all sides.

4.  Attach your artwork to the back of the mat using acid free artist tape.

 

matt cutter with beveled blade | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

 

Cutting your mat using a mat cutting tool

supplies:

ruler

pencil

acid free mat board cut to size

acid free artist tape

mat cutter

 

1.  Use your mat cutter and xacto blade (included with mat cutter) to cut your mat to size. 

2.  On the back side of the mat, evenly measure and draw a line where you want the window to be.  (make sure your art is slightly larger than the window so it is easily attached to the back of the mat).  If your border is going to be 3" then make sure you measure 3" on all four sides. OPTIONAL: YOU CAN CREATE MORE WEIGHT VISUALLY BY MAKING THE BOTTOM BORDER 1/2" WIDER THAN THE TOP AND SIDES.

3.  Using your mat cutter and beveled blade (included with mat cutter) cut all four sides of the mat.

Using the mat cutter:

Slide your mat into the cutting board and line up your pencil line to the guide rail.  Set your margin using the mat guide to help prevent the mat from slipping.   Attach the beveled cutter to the guide roll.  Look for the small start and stop line in the center of the cutter on the opposite side of the blade.  Place the start and stop line with the drawn horizontal line on the bottom of your mat, press the blade down and slide to cut.  stop when the line on the cutter lines up with the horizontal line on the top of the mat.  Rotate mat and repeat on all sides

 4.  Attach your art to the back of mat using acid free artist tape.

 

DIY matted art | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

 

You've probably already noticed when scrolling and reading this post that I have included a YouTube video of me demonstrating how I use the mat cutter to cut my mats.  I highly recommend you watching this video as well as reading the step by step instructions especially if you are a visual learn like me.  Just beware...I'm still pretty new at this YouTube situation and my video has much room for improvement.

Please feel free to drop any questions you may have in the comments, and I will be more than happy to answer them.  And...if you give cutting your own mats a try, please let me know how it went.  I would love for you to share a photo of your diy matting and I will celebrate your new skill right along with you.

Happy Creating!

 


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