How to Cut a Picture Mat

Photo Mats are very important, as they will create a finished look for your photos. These are placed inside the frame and will make your masterpiece look even more professional. Cutting a picture mat is actually very easy and as long as you take your time to do this accurately, it should look great.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Photo
  • Picture Frame
  • Cutting Mat
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Knife
  • Safety Ruler 
  • Mat Cutter

Step 1: Decisions

Think about how much border you want between the frame and the photograph that you are framing. Normally, most people will want to leave three inches all the way around and four inches at the bottom. It is, however, possible to adjust this depending on what you want. You can also decide to crop the photo by not allowing all of it to show through, or you can cut the hole big enough to see the entire photo.

Step 2: Measurements

Measure the size of the picture frame you are intending to use. Make sure that you are measuring the inside of the frame. Mark these dimensions onto your photo mat using pencil. Mark two separate measurements for each line as far apart as possible; this will minimize the chances of mistakes. It's important that this is accurate so that the photo mat will fit into the frame and also won't move around when the frame moves.

Step 3: Cut the Mat

Put the photo mat on a large cutting mat, and then using a ruler, carefully cut the photo mat to the right size. Make sure that you hold everything perfectly still and that the cuts are straight. Depending on the thickness of the mat, you might need to repeat several times with a knife or mat cutter.

Once you have cut the mat to size, try it into the frame to check that it fits properly and that it won't move. If it's too big, then it might be possible to trim it slightly. If it's too small, then it will be necessary to start again.

When the mat is the correct shape, you should then measure and mark the center position so that you can accurately align your window in the center of the mat.

Step 4: Measure the Window

Measure the window that you want and then mark this in the center of the mat. Measure out from the center mark to ensure that the window is in the correct position and square.

Step 5: Cut the Mat

Now use a mat cutter to run down the lines of the window. It will produce better results if you cut from the back of the mat rather than the front. Also, make sure that the bevel is cut in a way that it will be visible from the right side when looking at the photo.

Check that you are cutting the right positions and make sure you don't overshoot, as this will damage the photo mat and make it necessary to start again.

Step 6: Frame the Photo

Now all that's left to do is fix the mat and photo into your chosen picture frame and hang it on the wall for everyone to see.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: