Want to save some money and mat your own prints and artwork? It’s not hard, but having the right tools will really help you cut a straight, clean and beveled mat.
I’ve been giving the boys’ bathroom a little updating and one of the things that I wanted to do was add some artwork. Because the bathroom has predominantly blues and whites, I’ve been sticking with a coastal theme. I decided to create my own art using photos of the ocean.
I found two photos that I took of the boys from past vacations and emailed them to myself. Then I saved them to my phone and ran them through the Waterlogue app (only available for iPhone right now.) The app turns any photo into a beautiful watercolor painting. I’m seriously addicted to this app right now.
After running the photo through the app, I emailed myself the new photo. Then all I had to do was open it on my computer and print it onto Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper. The paper has a watercolor paper texture and produces beautiful images.
And viola! Instant meaningful art!
Luckily I already had frames on hand to use for this project.
Before cutting the mats, I painted the frames with Annie Sloan Paris Grey and finished them off with Miss Mustard Seed’s Linen. Then I distressed the edges of the frames.
Now, about matting that artwork…
How to Cut an Art Mat Like a Professional:
First, choose a firm and flat surface to work on. Hopefully you have a self-healing cutting mat to cut on top of. If not, you can use thick chipboard or scraps of linoleum, but be careful that you can’t cut through to your work surface.
- Colored Mat
- White Artist’s tape (you can use masking tape or scotch tape, but it might discolor your print over time.)
- Logan Mat Cutting System
- Extra Mat Cutting Blades
- Self-healing cutting mat
- X-acto knife
A Note about Cutting Blades:
When cutting mats it is imperative that you have a fresh blade. I sometimes have to use 2 blades per mat. So, don’t be shy about swapping that blade out. If a tip breaks off, it’s going to drag on the mat and won’t give you a clean cut. (Discard old blades by wrapping them in tape to avoid personal injury.)
If you don’t own a mat cutter, you can cut your mat window with an x-acto knife, but you won’t achieve a good clean bevel. Typically, if you cut 2-3 of your own mats, your tools will pay for themselves! The Logan mat cutter I use runs about $50 for the guide and cutting handle.