How To Cut Picture Frame Matting


Choosing the Right Tools

When it comes to cutting picture frame matting, having the right tools is essential. Here are some must-have tools that will make the task easier and ensure precise cuts:

  • Cutting Mat: A good quality mat provides a sturdy surface for cutting and protects your work surface from damage.
  • Straightedge: A metal or plastic straightedge is useful for guiding the cutting blade and ensuring straight and accurate cuts.
  • X-Acto Knife or Mat Cutter: Both of these tools are excellent for cutting matting. The X-Acto knife provides versatility, while a mat cutter offers precision and ease of use.
  • Pencil and Ruler: These basic tools are essential for measuring and marking the dimensions of the matting.
  • Masking Tape: Using masking tape to secure the matting to the cutting surface helps to prevent shifting during the cutting process.
  • Clean Cloth or Brush: Ensuring that your tools and work area are free of debris will help you achieve clean and professional-looking cuts.

By investing in these tools, you’ll have everything you need to tackle the task of cutting picture frame matting with confidence and precision. Having the right tools not only makes the process easier but also ensures that the finished result is of the highest quality.

Measuring and Marking the Matting

Before you begin cutting the picture frame matting, it’s crucial to measure and mark the dimensions accurately. Follow these steps to ensure precise cuts:

  1. Measure the Artwork: Take measurements of the artwork or photograph that will be framed. Include any borders or desired overlap for the matting.
  2. Determine Outer Dimensions: Decide on the desired outer dimensions of the matting by adding the desired borders to the artwork’s measurements.
  3. Mark the Matting: Place the matting on a clean, flat surface and use a ruler and a pencil to mark the outer dimensions of the matting. Double-check your measurements for accuracy.
  4. Mark the Window Opening: If you want a window opening in the matting, measure and mark its position and dimensions on the matting. Ensure that the window is centered and appropriately sized for the artwork.
  5. Label the Markings: It’s helpful to label the markings on the matting, such as “cut here” or “window opening,” to avoid confusion during the cutting process.

Remember to use light, gentle markings with a pencil, as heavy markings may show through the matting. Taking the time to accurately measure and mark the matting will result in clean and professional-looking cuts.

Cutting the Matting

Once you have measured and marked the matting, it’s time to proceed with cutting. Follow these steps for clean and precise cuts:

  1. Secure the Matting: Place the matting on a cutting mat and use masking tape to secure it in place. This will prevent any shifting or movement during the cutting process.
  2. Select the Cutting Tool: Depending on your preference and expertise, choose between an X-Acto knife or a mat cutter. Ensure that the blade is sharp for optimal results.
  3. Start Cutting: Hold the cutting tool at a 45-degree angle and make a slow, gentle cut along the marked lines. Apply even pressure to maintain control and ensure a smooth cut.
  4. Take Breaks: For larger or more intricate cuts, taking short breaks can help prevent hand fatigue and maintain accuracy throughout the process.
  5. Use Straightedges: If you require straight cuts, use a metal or plastic straightedge as a guide. Press the straightedge firmly against the matting and cut along the edge for a precise result.
  6. Double-Check Measurements: Periodically check your cuts against the marked measurements to ensure accuracy. Making adjustments early on can prevent mistakes and wasted matting.

Remember to cut slowly and steadily, allowing the blade to do the work. Rushing through the cutting process may result in jagged or uneven edges. With patience and precision, you’ll achieve clean cuts that elevate the presentation of your artwork or photographs.

Cutting Out the Window Opening

If you’ve chosen to include a window opening in the matting, follow these steps for a clean and professional-looking result:

  1. Secure the Matting: Place the matting on a cutting mat and use masking tape to secure it in place. Ensure the matting is flat and doesn’t shift during the cutting process.
  2. Mark the Window Position: Using a ruler and a pencil, carefully mark the position of the window opening on the matting. Double-check the measurements to ensure accuracy.
  3. Create Your Entry Point: Use an X-Acto knife or a mat cutter to create a small entry point inside the marked area. This will allow you to start cutting the window opening.
  4. Cut Along the Marked Lines: Using a gentle and controlled cutting motion, follow the marked lines to cut out the window opening. Take your time and make precise cuts for clean edges.
  5. Work from the Inside Out: If the window opening has intricate or curved corners, start by cutting the inside corners first before moving to the outer edges. This approach allows for greater control and accuracy.
  6. Smooth the Edges: After cutting the window opening, carefully inspect the edges for any roughness or imperfections. Use sandpaper or a fine-grit emery board to smooth out any rough edges.

Remember to measure twice and cut once, ensuring the window opening is perfectly aligned and centered on the matting. With patience and attention to detail, cutting out a window opening can add a beautiful dimension to your picture frame.

Assembling the Picture Frame

Now that you have cut the matting and window opening, it’s time to assemble the picture frame. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

  1. Prepare the Frame: Ensure that the frame is clean and free from any dust or debris. If needed, use a cloth or brush to gently clean the frame’s surface.
  2. Place the Glass: Carefully place the glass on top of the frame’s backing. Make sure it aligns properly and sits securely in its position.
  3. Position the Matting: Place the matting on top of the glass, making sure it’s centered and aligned with the window opening, if applicable.
  4. Secure the Artwork: Gently place your artwork or photograph on top of the matting, ensuring it’s centered and positioned as desired.
  5. Add Backing and Secure: Place the backing board on top of the artwork and secure it to the frame using the appropriate hardware, such as clips or screws.
  6. Inspect and Adjust: Carefully inspect the assembled picture frame for any misalignments or imperfections. Adjust the components as needed to achieve a professional and well-balanced appearance.
  7. Hanging the Frame: If you’re ready to hang the picture frame, attach hanging hardware to the back of the frame and use appropriate wall anchors or hooks for support.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to assemble a beautiful and professionally finished picture frame. Take your time during each stage and make any necessary adjustments to create a visually pleasing presentation for your artwork or photographs.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Matting Cuts

When it comes to cutting picture frame matting, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve perfect cuts. Consider the following advice:

  • Sharp Blade: Ensure that your cutting tool has a sharp blade. A dull blade can result in jagged or uneven cuts.
  • Use Light Pressure: Apply gentle and consistent pressure when cutting the matting. Avoid pressing too hard, as it may result in slips or uneven cuts.
  • Take Your Time: Cutting matting requires precision and patience. Rushing through the process can lead to mistakes. Take breaks if needed to maintain focus and accuracy.
  • Practice on Scrap Matting: If you’re new to cutting matting, practice on scrap pieces first to familiarize yourself with the tools and techniques.
  • Maintain a Clean Work Area: Remove any debris or dust from your work area and tools to avoid interference while cutting.
  • Measure Twice: Double-check your measurements before making any cuts. A small measurement mistake can affect the overall appearance of the matting.
  • Experiment with Angles: Depending on your desired style, try cutting the matting at different angles to create unique and visually appealing effects.
  • Invest in Quality Materials: Choose high-quality matting materials to achieve the best results. Cheap or inferior materials may affect the appearance and durability of your picture frame.
  • Seek Professional Assistance: If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with cutting matting yourself, consider seeking professional framing services to ensure flawless results.

By implementing these tips and tricks, you’ll enhance your matting cutting skills and achieve cleaner and more professional-looking cuts. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. With time and experience, you’ll master the art of cutting picture frame matting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about cutting picture frame matting:

  1. Can I use scissors instead of a cutting tool?
    While scissors can be used for cutting matting, they may not provide the same level of precision as an X-Acto knife or a mat cutter. Using a cutting tool specifically designed for matting will give you cleaner and more accurate cuts.
  2. What type of matting is best for framing?
    Acid-free matting is recommended for framing as it helps protect the artwork or photograph from deterioration over time. Acid-free matting is made from materials that will not harm the artwork or cause discoloration.
  3. Can I cut a window opening in store-bought pre-cut mats?
    Yes, it is possible to cut a window opening in pre-cut mats. However, it requires careful measurement and precision. It’s advisable to practice on scrap matting before attempting to cut a window opening in a pre-cut mat.
  4. How do I prevent the matting from shifting during the cutting process?
    To prevent matting from shifting, use masking tape to secure it to a cutting mat or another flat surface. This will keep the matting in place and ensure more accurate cuts.
  5. Can I cut matting with intricate designs or patterns?
    Yes, it is possible to cut matting with intricate designs or patterns. It may require more time and precision, and it’s advisable to use a mat cutter for better control and accuracy when cutting detailed designs.

If you have any additional questions about cutting picture frame matting, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional framer who can provide further guidance and expertise.