May 7, 2011

How to Cut a Mat

If you like to frame your own photos, I am a big advocate for cutting my own mats.  Not only is it WAY cheaper, but you can customize them any way you want.  Double mat, add decorative elements, more than one photos, better color selection, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  This week, I just cut a mat to fit two 4x6 photos in one 8x10 frame.

The first thing I did was dig through my pile of mats and decided on which color I wanted to mat my photos with.

The dark blue looked great!  It matched well with their outfits and helped make my kiddos stand out more.  I pulled out my mat cutter by Logan.

I understand that these can be pricey, but I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.  Yup, on a high priced item like this, it has NOT been excluded on the coupons yet.  I think I ended up paying about $60 for mine.  Here is a photo of what it looks like.

Here is a photo of the blades that come with it.  One is for straight cutting, the other for doing your bevel cuts.  It also comes with an instructional video...which I haven't ever watched.

Next I measured the size of the inside of my picture frame, then marked my mat for cutting.

I removed the ruler (the adjustable metal piece) and inserted my mat.  I grabbed my straight cutter and made my first cut.

I made my second cut (always cut from the back of your mat).

Once it was cut to size, I measured out where I wanted my photos and marked all the lines I would cut.

Now here is the hardest part, making the bevel cuts.  You have to understand the angle to make the bevel cuts correctly.  I have messed this one up before (okay, I've done it quite a few times).  So, I suggest making marks to let you know which way you need to place the mat in the cutter to get the bevel angled correctly.  If only doing one photo on a mat, the way I remember is to place the outside edge to the ruler, like shown below.  Also, on the bevel cuts, you need a scrap mat placed underneath to prevent rough looking cuts on the front of your mat.

Do all your cuts and then tape your photos in place with photo safe tape.

Now frame it and hang it.  It's really quite simple and in the long run, a giant money saver.

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