Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cheap and Easy DIY Picture Matting and Framing

A few weeks ago, I took a picture into a framing place to get a quote. The bored looking saleslady replied, "It'll be around $60."

Sixty dollars?! For a 9 x 12 picture?!

I went home empty handed and was pretty worried, considering I had 14 pictures to frames and am not, in fact, made of money. How could I stay on a budget and still frame?

Luckily, the next day my brother (who's an art major) casually mentioned on the phone that he was framing a bunch of artwork for his upcoming show. I was intrigued, especially when he told me how easy it is to do DIY framing and how cheap.

We likes cheap!

The finished project, minus Fionn's pictures which were already hung up at this point

By the end of the weekend, I had 14 matted, framed pieces of art waiting to be hung. I managed to do it all for $130. Here's how, courtesy of my very useful artsy bro!

For This Project I used
12 Frames ($110, all bought during a 50% off frame sale) 
Pack of  pre cut 11x14 Mat Board ($6)
X-Acto Knife ($6)
Double Sided Tape ($3)
2 packs Self Leveling Picture Hangers ($4)
1 pack of felt bumpons ($.99)

Measuring Tape
Cutting Mat/Cardboard

Let's do this!

Step 1: Gather supplies

the supplies

 First off, measure your artwork and determine what size frame you'll need (don't forget to keep in mind how big of a mat board border you want around it! 

To get the best price on frames, watch out for when stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby run specials on frames. According to my brother, about once or twice a month they discount everything 40-60%. I went to Hobby Lobby the week all frames were discounted at 50% and picked all of mine up-12 frames for $110!

While you're there, you should pick up double stick tape, an X-acto knife and choose your mat board. Mat board is a thick, heavy paper that comes in lots of different colors. If you know the measurements for your frame and the cut out area where your picture will go, you can get the store to cut it for you. In my case, I bought a pack of 30 sheets of 11x14 inch mat board is various colors and cut it myself.

Step 2: Measure and Cut Your Matboard

Once you have a store bought frame, take the cardboard or paper insert behind the glass and trace its outline on two pieces of matboard (make sure you do the tracing on the side that you don't want visible) so that they will fit inside the frame. Then, very carefully, use your X-Acto knife and a ruler to cut out the outline.

Measuring the frame insert against the uncut matboard

My brother helpfully added that this step is the biggest pain in the butt of the whole ordeal since it takes a little time to cut matboard with an X-Acto knife. If you know your measurements beforehand, get the store to cut it for you.

Once the matboard has been cut to fit the frame, decide how big you want the borders around your artwork to be. Generally I did 1-2 inches on each side, but for the picture I'm working on above, I wanted to include the artist's notes under the drawing, so the border on the bottom was slightly smaller than the one on top.

Once you make your marks, use a ruler to draw lines and create an outline for you to cut out (again, do this on the side that won't be visible so you don't have pencil marks marring your framing job)

Step 3: Let's Make an Artwork Sandwich!

Now that you have a back and a front for your artwork, slide it in there and see how it looks. Are the lines straight? Do you need to move it around?

Now you have some options. If you want to be a fancy pants professional, tape the two pieces of matboard together at the top so they are connected but can still open. Then carefully put a small piece of double stick tape onto your artwork to hold it in place on the bottom mat.

If you want to be lazy like me, get the artwork just so and double stick tape it to the back matboard. 

Then, sandwich your art!

Ta dah! Sandwiching successful.

Step 4: Put your art in the frame

Once your art is sandwiched, pop it in the frame and secure the back. You can do this by either using the cardboard back that came with the frame or by covering the back with brown craft paper. Your call.

Add on some felt bumpons to the bottom corners on the back of the frame to protect your wall when the picture is hanging.

Finally, carefully hammer your self leveling picture hanger onto the top of the frame, and voila!


When you're done, call over your darling husband favorite handyman to hang them all up for you.

Isn't that crazy easy? I can't believe I was about to pay $60 for ONE when I was able to do 14 for $130. Wowza. 

Thanks to my awesome bro for all his help, tips, and inspiration.

So, are you inspired to get your DIY on this weekend?

1 comment :

  1. They really do look great, and no different to a professional job. DIY Hausfrau extraordinaire!