A mat is also called a matboard. It is a material that looks like cardboard, and it sits between your artwork and the frame. Mats are meant to give the framed piece a more finished look. All depending on what you want, you will find mats in different materials, cores, and colors.
The Purpose Of A Mat
The mat used when framing serves two purposes. They are used in protecting the piece and for decoration. Using mats can add more beauty to your artwork. In using mats, an appropriate color, which matches the artwork must be selected. Choosing the right color will help draw the eyes to the framed piece.
Since mats are placed between the frame and your artwork, they ensure that the piece is separated from the glass. This is important because there can be a buildup of condensation in the glass. Matting will protect the art piece from getting damaged as a result of the moisture.
How To Customize Your Frame Mat
Mats are generally used when framing pictures and other pieces of artwork. They tend to draw focus on the art piece as well as giving it a sense of partial depth. Adding a sleek mat that is properly cut will enhance the look of any artwork in your frame.
However, frames and mats that are commercially produced may be very expensive. Some are even more expensive than the artwork itself. Cutting and customizing your own is a cheaper alternative. You can make use of basic materials that are relatively inexpensive in customizing your frame. Here are three steps to follow when customizing your picture frame:
1. Gather your materials
For starters, the picture you want to frame should be in your possession. Examine the picture and get an idea of the size of the mat and frame, which you will need. You should know that when the framing is completed, your picture will be in between two mats that are uniformly sized. To ensure that your picture is displayed properly, the center of the front mat must be well-cut.
Two pieces of the mat will be needed at the least. One will be needed to cut a window frame for the picture’s front, and the other will be the back of the picture. Larger mats will be required for larger pictures. You need to do the following afterward:
Decide on the style of the mat to use: Mat comes in a variety of designs, colors, and thicknesses. Select a mat that will be good for the picture. Then decide if you will use it as a frame or if it will go around the picture’s edges. Use multi-layered frame mats if you want to give the picture some added depth. Also, the texture combination and color of the selected mats should complement each other.
Chose the type of mat to use: Mats come in archival board and standard board. Go for archival mat board for original pictures, while a standard mat is good for pictures that are not to be professionally displayed.
Choose a cutting tool: You will need a material sharp enough to cut the mat in perfectly straight lines. A box cutter with a fixed handle or a standard razor blade is a less expensive option.
Get a T-square or ruler: Measuring tools will ensure that you measure the mat correctly. Correct measurement is required so that the mat fits correctly with the frame and picture. A T-square or a ruler is useful in keeping the edges of all sides consistent.
2. Measuring to fit the mat
The next step is measuring all the important components of the frame to fit the mat. To do so effectively, follow these procedures:
Measure the picture that is to be framed: A ruler may be used in measuring the width and height of the picture. The mats you cut should exactly match the dimension of the picture. Write and set aside the dimensions you have just taken. It is at this step that you will decide how wide you want the window mat you cut to go on top of the piece.
Measure the frame: If you have purchased a frame for yourself, it is likely that it already has specifications. However, do not rely entirely on these specifications; rather, take your measurements. It is better to take your measurements since you want to cut the mat to fit the frame. Take no chances.
The window mat size should be chosen: Since you already have the dimensions of the picture in mind, decide the size to use when cutting the window mat.
3. Cutting the mats
Cutting is the final step when customizing your frame mat. You can do the cutting following this procedure:
Mark where the first mat is to be cut: This is the part where you refer back to the dimensions you have penned down. Mark the area when you are to cut on the backside of the mat. Ensure that you cut only at the back of the mat to make any imperfect cut invisible.
The first mat should be cut: Line the cutting tool at the edge of the ruler. Press firmly when cutting manually to ensure that the ruler does not move away as you cut. The cut should be made in a slow and steady motion. Repeat this process for the other three remaining sides.
Cut the second (window frame) mat: The window frame mat should now be cut to specification. This mat will be used in the front of the picture as the window frame. Cut the same way you did for the first mat. However, make sure that the dimension of the backing is the same as that of the window frame.
Create layered mats: For a more complex layered look, cut more than one window frame mat. To give the space around the picture a deeper look, alternate the layered mats.
Secure the mat: Line both mats up in the frame and ensure that the picture is centered. When done, use strips of artist’s tape and slightly stick halves of both mats together, then tape across the back edge.
Matting helps protect your framed picture and enhances the space where the piece is displayed. The procedures above seem an easy way of customizing your frame mat; however, if you are not sure about getting it right or are framing an important artwork then it is better to go to a frame shop. You can get your artwork professionally framed. Following the procedures and you’ll have no issue customizing your frame mat.