• Annie Mason

Mats for your frame - DIY

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Watercolor painting, scanning the artwork, posting online (see POD blog), printed greeting cards, artisan at Heather Boutique in downtown Fredericksburg Virginia...all of this is an evolution that I could not have envisioned six years ago. Things have a way of moving a certain direction that you could not have anticipated.

Such is the role that this artist took on when she decided to mat and frame her artwork, both prints and originals. Initially, it was a quick purchase of retail frames, either 5x7 or 8x10 inch. This suits the greeting card prints. I hand-letter the titles on the back of the greeting cards that I sell in the boutique, and I make an occasional "oops", and this card now has a new life as a framed print. All it need is a mat and a frame.

I decided to take a crash course to refresh my days as an art student in college. I found a local lady who owns a framing shop not a long distance from our home (who knew?) Life is full of wonderful circumstances.


  • You need mat board.

If you are matting to a standard size frame 8 x 10 inches it is economical to purchase a pack of mat board 8 x 10 in size, and you can cut to a 5 x 7 opening. You can find pre-cut 8 x 10 mats with 5 x 5 openings but sometimes it's an odd size artwork that needs specific dimensions. Packs of 8 x 10 is what I started with...and when I was more comfortable I began to purchase my board in larger sizes, which is the most cost-effective.

  • You need a cutter.

I knew that I didn't need a top-of-the-line system. The mat instructor showed me several choices and I went for the LOGAN line which has a very good reputation at a reasonable cost.

These are recommended cutters and mat boards available on Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Clicking the product link

above and making the purchase of this product will be an Amazon commission

for me but will have no cost to you. Recommendations are my own.

Next, come the measurements. It's pretty straightforward.

EXCEPT I'm NOT a math wizard! I paint.

There's an app for that !! LOGAN APP Whoo, hoo!

The graphic below shows how you can load the app to your phone, put in the frame opening size, then the artwork size, finally the mat opening (single or a double mat).

Next, the fun part: Pick out the artwork, find a color mat to suit, and start cutting. In this video I show the artwork "Magnolia Grandiflora" which I have as a print on Society6. It is 7.5 x 5.5 in size and suits an eight x ten inch frame.

Having the right tools is also very important. The LOGAN system which I mention above is very good. In addition, there are various adhesives if you use a double mat, hinge tape for the floating mat, and you might need a backing for the frame so you would need a Point Driver for attaching the back.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Clicking the product link

above and making the purchase of this product will be an Amazon commission

for me but will have no cost to you.

Here is a video that covers the tools that I use in making mats.

Logan has a video using this same kit that shows the process:


There are four crucial advantages to matting your artwork or photographs:

  • A mat makes the artwork stand out.

  • The mat protects the artwork, The mat board prevents the art from coming in contact with the glass. There are spacers that are quite easy to use to attach to the inside of the frame to increase the air space. Wonderful for charcoal or pastels (see product below).

  • Matting your artwork intensifies the art by adding size, color and depth to what’s being portrayed. The point of the mat is not to distract from your art but to direct the person viewing said art to the main focal point

  • Matted and Framed Artwork is more professional and, therefore, more sellable and increases the prestige and reputation of the artist.

Lastly, I want to make sure that I did not imply that I make my own frames. These are still purchased at local craft stores, like Michaels. Making frames are a whole different level. I have, however, taken to adding the hardware if the frame does not come with hanging supplies. For my 70th birthday this past December I asked my husband for a drill. I was serious. Before the day arrived I made sure that he knew that I would be somewhat miffed (no, really miffed) if I did not get a drill for my birthday. "Make it relatively small for my small hands, and NOT pink".

I got the drill (seen in the graphic above). I can add hanging hardware: d-rings and wire and my heart is satisfied that I can do this myself. It's a great feeling.

If you have a desire to add hardware to your frames...these products are a great start:

This product is a spacer and for adding space between the artwork and the glass. Pastels, charcoal, or other mediums with fragile texture should not come in contact with the glass as it may compromise the image.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Clicking a product link

above and making the purchase of this product will be an Amazon commission

for me but will have no cost to you.


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Try Your 

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drawing !



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Pens, Paper, and a Doodle book.

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