Sunday, October 15, 2017

How To Cut Your Own Custom Picture Mats

Custom framing is soooo expensive!
Even when you take advantage of deals at the frame shop, a typical framing job will cost you a bundle.

I found this great website that has a princing estimator built in: https://www.framebridge.com/pricing
I ran the numbers for a 16 x 20 print....
YUP....$99!  Now that might seem reasonable to you....but NOT to me.  Especially because I am someone who wants to change out the stuff on my walls a LOT!

Here at Sweetwater, I have found a way to mat and frame things without spending this kind of money.



Sometimes you have to spend some money to save some money.

This post is all about that!


A few (or maybe many) year ago, I invested in a professional mat cutter like this one.



Okay.....$220 seems like a lot of money.....but remember how much ONE 16 x 20 picture cost?

You also need to buy matboard and frames.
I buy matboard at Dick Blick.  A 32 x 40 inch piece costs between $8 and $10 depending on how fancy it is.....
I buy my frames at the thrift store.  The array is pretty amazing.  You look at the FRAME not the ugly art that is in there.

Any new tool can seem intimidating.....but once you learn the basics....you can mat and frame your piece in less than 30 minutes.

So let's get started on the tutorial!

I was "just gonna" go down to the craft room and do a step by step photo shoot for you....
And then I realized that....hmmm.....somebody probably already did that on YouTube!
Watch this and see how it is done!
(this is the link if the video doesn't load)  https://youtu.be/PT1n0r_87tQ


It really isn't that difficult after you have practiced a bit.

Now the fun begins!
With a few pieces of mat board and some thrift store frames....the sky is the limit!

Framed Projects Around Sweetwater


A spooky photo of a graveyard in a thrift store frame.  Instant seasonal decor.
  Favorite photos from Halloween past.  Mats only....displayed on the big chalkboard in the stairwell.

 
 Gallery style display of photos taken by the Sweetwater Son.
 This old window is from the childhood home of Mr. S.  The poster was a gift from the Sweetwater Daughter and SIL.  The Minnesota Home print from the Sweetwater Son and DIL.
My family always gives me fun things to frame because they know it can be done inexpensively.


Nobody wants to see ALL of our vacation photos....but making a quick collage is a fun way to display just a few.  This is an unframed mat with a foam core backing.  The back has magnets that let it hang on the refrigerator.  A quick way share without "oversharing".  BTW....Ireland was amazing! 


This is a tea towel that I picked up in a fun boutique on a trip to Florida.  It can easily be switched out when I want a new look....or find a new tea towel!


More Minneapolis themed art....would you believe that I actually took the top photo....good for me!


A cluster of framed posters and photographs lean against the wall on Mr. S's desk in the office.
I love the look of the vintage posters....The blue and green one was purchased on a trip to Voyageur National Park.

We have had this chalk pastel for many years.  I love being able to change the mat color to coordinate with what ever decor scheme we have.  No need for new art.....just $10 for new mat board.  I am always amazed that you can find a color in your favorite image that goes with any scheme.


These white mats look nice with the off white walls.  This is another photo by me and the New Orleans scene is another we purchased at an art fair in Memphis....go figure. 
These are just a few of the ways I have used the ability cut custom mats....
Even better....
Now that people know that I have the mat cutting system...they come over and either mat their own things or let me do it for them.

I always tell folks...."I MAT FOR WINE"....

Hope this inspires you to spend some of your crafting or decorating budget on a mat cutter....you will be glad you did.

Have a Wonderful Day!



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