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How to Mat a Photo on a Budget

I LOVE white space. White space is referred to the white (duh!) space around a picture that is framed. It can also refer to lots of free wall space in interior design, graphic design, etc. Basically, white space creates that airy, effortless feel. That uncluttered, clean and pristine look.

For our bedroom gallery wall, I was worried about it all becoming a little too busy and overwhelming. So I chose minimal colors and – you guessed it – lots of white space within the frames!

You could have your images professionally matted and framed (and spend $$$) OR, you can DIY this project! I prefer the budget option, that still looks absolutely gorgeous and custom!

How to Mat a Photo on a Budget – Supplies:

  • Picture Frame
  • Photograph, Artwork, etc.
  • Plain Watercolor Paper
  • Ruler, Pen, Calculator, Knife, Cutting Mat, Washi Tape

How to Mat a Photo on a Budget / House of Menig

Step 1

After selecting your frame and art piece, unravel the frame. Put the glass onto the plain watercolor paper and trace it with your knife.

BTW, I like to use watercolor paper, because of two reasons. One, it’s a beautiful warm white color. Two, the texture is just DIVINE!

How to Mat a Photo on a Budget / House of Menig

Step 2

Figure out how much of your art piece you want to show in the frame. Aka, how large or small the cut-out is going to be. Then take the measurements of the watercolor paper and subtract the cut-out measurement, then divide by 2 and you have the side measurements of the border. Repeat the same for the top and bottom measurements. Here you can also make the bottom just a tad wider than the top, to give it some interest.

TIP: I like to use centimeters for this, as it’s just a bit easier to be accurate. But of course, inches will work just as well!

33cm – 9cm = 24cm : 2 = 12cm

How to Mat a Photo on a Budget / House of Menig

Step 3

On the backside of the watercolor paper, pencil in your measurements. Then, very carefully, use your knife and ruler to cut out the square.

How to Mat a Photo on a Budget / House of MenigHow to Mat a Photo on a Budget / House of Menig

Step 4

Your mat is done and you can attach your art piece right to the backside of the watercolor paper. I like to use washi tape. Put together your frame and you’re done!

How to Mat a Photo on a Budget / House of Menig

TIP: This one’s a weird one! But I like to frame my pieces without the glass! I love to see the texture of the watercolor paper and quite honestly, I hate how the glass tints my beautiful whites to a green-blue hue. To make sure I keep the glass in pristine condition – and to give my frame the extra weight – I put it right behind the artwork. Think whatever you may, I love this trick 😉

How to Mat a Photo on a Budget / House of Menig

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