DIY: Matting & Framing My Fantasy Art
Tools, Material & Equipment
mat knife or x-acto blade
mat cutter with straight and bevel cutters
long straight rule 30"-36"
acid free mat board
acid free backing board or foamcore
art on paper board
When I decide to show my art at an art show, I do most of my own matting and framing to save on costs and to present my work in the manner I prefer. Since I do most of my art on illustration board, this means removing the acid free surface layer that the image sits on from the heavy backing board. I cut a slit along one edge with an x-acto blade and begin carefully pulling the top white layer away from the backing board.
Once I get enough of a lip going, I use an old mailing tube to begin rolling up the top layer. This is done by holding the paper tightly to the tube and separating the two layers very slowly and carefully, checking all the time that I'm not ripping through the image.
The top image layer may tend to curl after this, and I just slip it under some heavy boards for a few days until it flattens out.
I choose to double mat my art, and I look for board colors that will enhance and complement the artwork. Because this art had a brown and ivory center with a black border, surrounded by blue gray stone flowers, I thought a brown and beige mat with a black frame would suit it best. I use Bainbridge Alphamat and an acid free foamcore board for the new backing board.
I cut all three boards (Brown mat, Beige mat, Backing board) to the dimensions of the framed art, which I decide will be 26"x30". I have a Logan mat cutter that is 25 years old and still going strong, and I use it for all my mats and boards. Like they say in carpentry, measure twice, cut once. Acid free mat boards are expensive and you don't want to mess one up. I usually do my cutting on a table in the basement but I needed more room and more light since I was photographing the process. So I laid out some towels on my dining table and put the mat cutter on them. This protected the table and all the items laid out on it.
The Logan comes with two cutters: a straight edge cutter and the bevel mat cutter. Both run on the silver track for straight, perfect cuts.
I slip the 30/32" x 40" board beneath the straight edge arm of the mat cutter.
Making a straight edge cut to reduce the board down to 26" x 30".
Now for cutting the mat openings, I change to the bevel mat cutter and place the mat on the cutting board so that the long pencil lines of the horizontal cuts are visible to me. Line up the cutting arm with the small vertical marks. My version of the Logan mat cutter needs a scrap board inserted below the mat or the mat blade will cut into the pressboard surface of the mat cutter itself. So I save my 30" or 40" pieces of mat board that I just cut off to use for that.
Begin and end by lining up the bevel cutter with the long horizontal pencil lines. You see there are two lines? Well, I measured incorrectly the first time, but caught my mistake when I checked it. This is why I need only two long horizontal pencil lines - so I can see when my blade cutter lines up with my markings at the top of the cut, and the bottom of the cut. When I cut along the pencil lines I will use the vertical cuts I made as marks as where to begin and end.
When your blade gets dull, change it! This is what happens - the cut doesn't go all the way through and one gets a ragged edge. I gently sand off this rough edge with super fine sandpaper. I was framing 4 pieces of art at this time, so the mat below was for another painting.
To be continued...