Matting is a great way to upgrade your print from amateur to gallery-status. Matting gives prints more body and dimension to a smaller piece (like our 5″ x 7″ Marathoner Maps). Framing a print can be intimidating, let alone matting AND framing; but your prints deserve the best display. Below I’m breaking down how to mat your frame like a pro, from the comfort of your own home.
Buy a frame, and if it comes with a mat you just saved yourself some cash! The frame pictured below is an 8″x 10″ Ikea Ribba Frame, the gap in the mat (where your print will go) is 5″ x 7″.
If you need to buy a frame and a mat separately, that isn’t a big deal. Purchase a frame with exterior dimensions that match your mat’s size.
Turn the frame over and remove the back. Remove any backing board (and the mat if included). Try to do this on a relatively dust-free surface, it’ll make your life easier in the end.
Layout all the pieces of your matting project. Backing board, mat, frame (with glass intact), your print and your masking tape. For tape, I used archival artist tape but don’t feel that you have to. Archival artist tape is great becuase it won’t yellow over time, which is important for visual continuity.
Place a 1in, or less, piece of tape on either side of the top two corners of your print. Make sure there is some overlap so it can adhere to your mat.
Position your print so that your graphic is behind the gap in the mat, until you think it looks straight. Once your satisfied with your print’s placement, push down on the top two corners of your print with your finger tips to adhere the tape to the mat. If you are, say, good at math and measuring (something I am not) you could do some measuring on the reverse side of the mat to make sure the print is straight. I always just eyeball it because math and measuring is hard.
Flip the mat over and place longer pieces of tape on each side of the print, pictured below. Make sure to smooth the print into the mat as you do this, to avoid any wrinkles in your print.
Windex both sides of the glass with paper towel (or a lint-free cloth), and place your matted print into the frame and replace the backing board. If you keep getting dust particles, a compressed air duster is very handy!
Now, give yourself a pat on the back and maybe make your bad-self a drink. You just took your print to the next level. Gallery status. Look out, art world.
Any questions or additional tips? Hit me up on twitter!