Tuesday, November 2, 2010


There are some great options out there if you love things framed.  Some basic ideas include:

  • buying frames with already made mats inside
  • going to a professional to have something framed
  • buying a frame and then cutting the mat yourself
Buying frames with already made mats inside:

This is an excellent option if you're happy with the frame and the color of mat it provides.  One option if you weren't happy with the mat, is to stencil it or paint it.  It can work well, and can be really cheap.  This frame shown with the mat was only $10 from Wal-mart about a couple years ago.  It works well as I didn't want anything to distract from the photo.  The only thing to remember is that your mat is a limited size opening, so you need to select your mat based on the size of your photo.

 Buying frames and cutting the mats yourself:

It's not as hard as it sounds.  Find a frame that you love and then grab a mat, which can be bought from most craft/framing stores.  The mats that you see in the pictures shown were mats that were given to me by a person who no longer did any framing, so they didn't cost me any money.  Here's what you do:
  1. Pick your frame and your photo/print that you want to display.  Make sure the frame is larger than the photo so that you can have the proper matting.  Consider going even larger if you really want to make a statement. 
  2. Pick a mat color that will complement your frame and your photo. 
  3. With measurements provided from your frame, measure carefully with a ruler, pencil, and small level, drawing the size of the frame onto your mat.  Place your mat on a cork surface and cut out the outside of it with an exacto knife.
  4. Now the inside is a bit tricky.  Take the length of your mat (let's pretend it's 17") and the length of your print (we'll say it's 10 inches).  Subtract 17" from 10"=7".  Divide this number by 2 and you get 3.5".  You need to measure from the outside in 3.5".  Make a mark, or a line.  Do this for the other length side.  Now do the same for the width side.  I'll post some drawing pictures to help you all if you're having a hard time following.
  5. Using tape (you can buy archival tape or acid free tape), but I just tend to use regular tape.  Flip your mat over so that you're looking at the wrong side.  Secure the back of your photo to the mat, flipping over to make sure everything is lined up properly.  Tape.
  6. Get it ready to hang!

Buying a frame and then getting a professional to mat it:

This is harder to do now as a lot of professional framers refuse to do this anymore, including mine.  But if you can get someone to do this, it saves you the hassle and you get really precise cutting that looks great.  This picture shown is of me when I was around 2 at Christmas.  Because these photos were linked by subject, I wanted them all together and I knew it was way to complecated for me to frame myself.  So I just purchased the frame (on sale from Michaels for $20) and then had it professionally matted.  I think it only cost me $20, but this was probably about five years ago.

Getting a professional to frame and mat it:

The great thing about getting a professional to frame and mat your photo is that it's completely customized to your photo.  The framer knows the latest stylings of framing and can give you some incredible advice.  Framing can be expensive, but if you look hard, you can find some great framers out there for reasonable costs.

The family I've always dealt with have been the Ruddells.  The lady that does it is fabulous and I swear her prices can't be beat!  This photo shown only cost around $100 to mat and frame, with a double mat.

If you're interested in her, her contact info is:

Ruddell Frames
Phone: (204) 857-3901

55 3rd St NW

Portage la Prairie, MB, R1N2B8


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