Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ottor, Nov 12, 2009.
Do you cut your own mats, or purchase pre-cut ?
I cut my own. But thats because I'm (1) In college and thats what they teach us to do and (2) I didn't realize I could buy them precut. Actually, I kind of like cutting it myself. Something about angles and math and sharp objects.
Have any good sites for instructions on making them?
here are a couple
Mounting | Frame Destination Picture Framing
I began cutting my own and doing my own framing early on in the hobby. It quickly became much too cost prohibitive to have it done professionally. Mat cutting is very easy and you can teach yourself in just a few minutes. There is some $ investment though up front, but it will pay for itself virtually the first time you do it.
First, you need a decent mat cutter. I use a Fletcher MatMate I think it's called. It can cut a piece of mat board up to 42". I think you can find it on ebay for probably $150 or less. I'm not sure where you are located, but in the US, you should have either a hobby lobby or Michael's somewhere close by. I go to Hobby Lobby as they are the cheapest, and buy up mat board when I need it. Usually, a sheet of 36x42 costs me about $5. I usually buy my glass from them as well. A 16x20 piece of glass is usually about $6 on sale (and they have sales frequently, especially around the holidays). I also do some stained glass as a hobby so I have all those glass cutting tools, but you can pick up a simple pistol grip glass cutter for under $5 on ebay as well, then all you need is a straight edge. For frames I go to American Frame - Picture Frames Wood Metal Canvas Custom Photo Printing Custom Art - American Frame and I use the simple gallery frame which costs me about $8/frame. The nice thing about doing your own framing is that you don't have to settle for the traditional sizes and don't pay extra for odd sizes.
So all of that sounds like a big upfront expense. However, the first time I took 4 16x20 prints to be professionally matted and framed, it exceeded $300. Eeeks. I'll never pay that again, and I can now mat and frame my own for about $15 or less. Buy in bulk too.
I do both. For simple more casual pix that I crop to standard print sizes I generally use commercially made matts.
For my better work where the image if cropped to a shape dictated by the subject and not usually a match to a standard aspect ratio I must use a custom cut matt. For these I use a Logan 301 Compact matt cutter. I've had it for some 20 years and its worked well. Its a rather siimple cutter, but does a good job if used carefully.
Board Mounted Mat Cutter: Compact
I also use a Logan cutter and does a fine job. Cutting my own mattes saves me a decent amount of money when I am framing a show. All of my fine-art stuff is uncommon sizing, so cutting my own save a bundle in that regard also.
I'm super cheap, so I decided to try cutting my own. Bad idea. I went out and bought a Dexter mat cutter and some mats and after a few attempts gave up. It's really hard to get straight lines and perfect corners without professional tools. Hobby Lobby has some pretty decent prices for custom cut mats and you'd be able to buy a whole lot of them (unless you're doing really large pictures) before you break even on some really good mat cutting gear.
I'd say before you do anything, go check Hob-Lob's prices on the sizes you're wanting and compare it with what you'd spend on mats and cutting gear. Then consider your patience level and your desire to not accidentally slice part of your finger off.
You really need a mat cutting system that clamps the mat board down and has a straight edge built in. Then you can effortlessly cut straight lines and then turn the cutter to make the beveled window opening. You can't really do it (well) w/ just a cutter by itself.
I have something like this:
Logan 450 Mat Cutter - BLICK art materials\
It's not rocket science and if you can cut a straight line w/ a ruler and a razor, you can make your own mats.
strange i had more than one site listed on my comment, along with some other information, wonder what happened.
Pardon my ignorance on this, but how exactly is a photo attached to the board?
At ACMoore crafts down the street, they sell some board cut to size with pre-cut holes in the center, for a 4x6, 8x12, etc. There is nothing else, so it's a square (or rectangle) with a square (or rectangle) in the middle, like a window.
you can dry mount, tip in or use tape hinges to attach the print to the backboard.
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