The titles sound like this could be about something a little dirty, but it's not. Sorry guys. But I am going to show you how I finished up the art for our bedroom. It's not really all that amazing. I didn't make this art, I just framed it. But I thought I would go through how to cut mat board. For someone that frames and mats a lot of pictures, this could be helpful.
Here is the art that needed to be matted and framed. We picked up a set of three of these pictures from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale. I love Hobby Lobby, they always have great sales and a 40% off coupon every week, and it doesn't hurt that they are only 2 min away from us. But I digress, back to the prints. We wanted to get an original of these, but we're not ready to shell out that kind of money. I believe that our prints are the work of Albert Koetsier. So we will settle for a nice set of prints.
Here are all three that will be going up in the bedroom. The two smaller prints could have been matted by purchasing pre-cut mats, but what about the big one? They don't sell pre-cut board that size, well at least that I can find. So, I would have to have it custom matted, which isn't a bad thing, Micheal's always has coupons for that. But having pictures matted can get expensive, I spent $300 on one frame and three mat boards one year for Christmas. And the frame was pretty chincy. So that's when I decided that I needed to by one of these...
That my friends is a mat cutter. It's is the coolest thing in the world. It will cut a beveled edge on your mat board with just a quick pull. Now there are a lot of options on there for mat cutters, but I went with this one. It's one you pull, not push. I fell that it's much easier to pull the cutter then try to push it through the mat. It didn't come with the whole set up like some do (and those run between $150 and up), but basically the set up is a straight edge. So I just use a little scrap board and a clamp, works just as well. This one cost $40, but I had a 40% off coupon (thank you Hobby Lobby), so it was only $24. And mat board is only about $7 for a 24 in x 36 in sheet at Micheal's, and with a 50% coupon, it's only $3.50. So you can see that when you have a lot of mat to cut, this option is a much cheaper way to go, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love cheap.
So how do you use this baby? Simple, using a straight edge draw the dimensions of your picture frame on the BACK side of the mat board. I normally can't tell the difference on white board, so I just picked the side with the sticker on it. I will also use the back of the frame to help sometimes, it's easier using a ruler.
Okay, now your outside edges are marked, time to cut. I use the mat cutter to do this as well, you don't need to, but I'm to lazy to go get a exacto knife. And don't forget to make sure you have something under this because the blade will go through the mat board as well as anything underneath. I use a piece of thick cardboard.
Okay, you're basic shape is cut. Make sure it fits in the frame, and make any additional cuts if it is too big. Remember, it's always better to cut it larger and have to make adjustments.
Now the other cool thing about my mat cutter is the built in measuring and marking pencil. I placed my print on the mat board and decided how wide I wanted my board to be cut. I went with 2 1/2 inches for this one. But you can make it any width you're little heart desires. Now to use the little built in pencil. I just set the ruler to 2 1/2 inches and slide my cutter (without pressing down on the blade) around the outside of the mat board. Now I have a perfect 2 1/2 in line drawn without the hassle of measuring.
Time to cut again. Determine what way your bevel should be and what directions your cutter cuts. Mine cuts in this directions, so it needs be inside the lines.
Place your straight edge on the outside of your cut and clamp it to your surface. I found this is the best way to stabilize it and get a perfect cut. And line up the blade with your starting corner. My cutter has a little line that tells you where the blade starts. Then firmly pushing down on the blade, slowly pull it towards you along the straight edge. I would practice a few times before you start making mat boards.
Once that cut is done, rotate the board, clamp your straight edge down and cut. Repeat this for all four sides. I like to check and make sure I'm cutting all the way through each cut before I move on. You can go back and re-cut, but it's a little tricky. So better just to make sure before.
And BAM, you now have a custom cut mat board. That easy. And look at how pretty it looks in the frame. Fantastic. Now this might not be for someone that just gets a mat board here or there, it's just easier to go get it cut. But for someone like me that mat's a lot of things, it's a awesome way to go (I mat things like pictures as well as my beaded tapestries).