Home Arts & Crafts General Arts & Crafts How to Make Layered Picture Mats for Framed Images

Related Articles


How to Make Layered Picture Mats for Framed Images

(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Writecorner2   

Create beautiful picture mats for any size photo, using layered papers and colorful designs.  Transform decorative cardstock into picture frames to enhance framed photos, using a few simple craft tools to design them.


two sheets of decorative card stock ruler with straight edge measuring tape exacto or paper knife pencil tape

Making the Inner Picture Mat

Choose a sheet of card stock and lay it face-down on the table. Place the desired photo to be framed either centered on the sheet or to one side, with at least one-inch margins surrounding the photo's sides. Trace around the photo using a pencil, then remove from the sheet.

Estimate a quarter-inch or smaller margins to surround the photo and frame it; use the straight edge, measuring tape, and pencil to draw a smaller box inside the photo's outline, representing the framed image.

Measure and trace the length and width desired for the picture's mat (with a little extra that will be hidden beneath the largest mat), making sure the photo's outline is centered within its margins. Cut out the mat's shape, using the pencil lines as a guide.

Using an exacto or paper knife, cut out the smallest, centered box that represents the framed image, creating a space to display the photo.

Making the Second Mat

Take a second sheet of card stock and cut to fit the exact dimensions of the frame (i.e., fill up the frame space inside). Turn the sheet face-down, then lay the smaller mat, centered as best possible between all sides. Use a pencil to trace its shape on the paper.

Estimate the desired borders for the second frame -- should a little of the small frame show, or most of it? Once the desired size is determined, draw a second box inside the traced outline of the small box, representing its "frame". It should be centered, with even margins. Use the straight edge, measuring tape, and pencil to draw it.

Cut out the frame for the second mat using an exacto or paper knife.

Assembling the Picture Mats and Photo

Center the small mat face down behind the large one and secure with strips of tape on the back; when the mats are turned over, the smallest mat should be framed evenly by the biggest mat's sides.

Center the photo face-down inside the smaller mat's frame, securing it in place also with tape. Once the layered mats and photo are enclosed in the frame, two centered, colored mats should surround the photo and enhance its display.

Experiment with different types of paper, including old wallpaper scraps and sheet music in place of card stock.  Use the same technique to create three or four layered mats for displaying a photo, with all differences sizes and shapes for the image frame.

Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.