How to Measure and Cut a Mat

How to Measure and Cut a Mat

Today we’ll talk about
the basics of mat cutting to help you frame
your artwork. The first step
in cutting a mat is to take
a sheet of mat board and cut it down
to fit inside the frame. Today’s project we’re going to
use a frame that’s 16 inches wide
by 20 inches tall, so we’ve cut this mat
to fit those outside dimensions. We’ve also cut
a second board that we’re going to
use for mounting. This is also 16×20 inches. Then we’ve taken some artwork
and we’ve mounted it in the centre. Now there are no
rules of thumb for border widths. Some people like to put
a little extra weight on the bottom, and most people like to
have a minimum of about two inches border
around your mat. This particular artwork is
seven inches wide by 12 inches tall, so we’re going to need
to do a little math to figure out how big
these borders will be. Over here I’ve got
a little diagram. The outside dimensions
of the mat board, 16×20 inches,
and the window opening, 7 inches by 12 inches to
match up with our artwork. What we want to do is take
the width of 16 inches and subtract the artwork
side of seven inches. That leaves us
with nine inches. We take that number,
divide it by two, that gives us
a 4 1/2 inch width border on either side. So we’ll put those
numbers in here. Secondly we want to
calculate the borders for top and bottom. We take the height
of 20 inches, we subtract the inside
print size of 12 inches. That leaves us
with eight inches. Divide that number by two,
for a four inch border on top and bottom. So we want to cut a border
that’s four inches on top, four inches on bottom. Those are our
border dimensions, and now we’re
ready to go cut a mat. We used the
Logan Compact Elite to mark out and cut
the opening of the mat. We want to work on
the back side of the mat board, and we’re going to
set the mat guide at 4 1/2 inches so we can
do this width cut first. We’ll make a mark
on either side before we have to
move the mat guide. Now for the top and bottom
we need a dimension of four inches so I’m moving
the mat guide to the four inch mark. And I’ll make those marks
on the mat board. Now keeping
the mat guide there we’ll go ahead
and make these two cuts. We’re going to cut
from start to finish using these lines
as a reference, and our
stop/start mark. So we hold the mat cutter,
insert the blade ’til it goes to the bottom, and then push into
the other side. When you reach
the pencil line, stop and retract the blade. We’re now going to
do the other side, and use the same technique, starting at the line
closest to us, stopping at
the one furthest away. Then retract the blade. Now we need to adjust
the mat guide back to
the 4 1/2 inch line. Tighten it down. Insert the mat board. Using the stop
and start marks, again, as our guides to make
for accurate corners, we cut out
the 4 1/2 inch widths. Now we’re ready to
frame our artwork. And the last step now
is to put it all together. We’re going to take
the mat that we cut, and apply some
transfer adhesive to the outside edges of
the mat all the way around. This transfer adhesive will
help the mat board stay in contact with
the mounting board. Align the opening
over our artwork, make sure everything’s
line up nice and square, and then apply pressure
all the way around the mat board to make sure these two don’t
come apart inside your frame. We take this,
lay it inside the frame after we’ve got
the glass in place. And then slide in
our backing board. Place the clips in place
so it doesn’t fall out. And there we have
our finished artwork. Captioned by GigEcast

Dereck Turner

52 thoughts on “How to Measure and Cut a Mat

  1. Blick Art Materials says:

    @lisaaghamiri Thanks for your note!

  2. Dylan Blake says:

    That's a really nice mat cutter.

  3. Carlos Trejos says:

    mat cutting made easy. Thanks.

  4. frode says:

    I agree; fantastic, I finally know exactly what to do!! I must have a Logan Compact Elite!!

  5. Andre van Wyk says:

    Thanks a million. I've been struggling to get it right all these years and now I know where I'm going wrong.

  6. Laura Miller says:

    What did you use to attach the itself to the board it is centered on?

  7. MyStorm2012 says:

    Very easy to follow

  8. Philip Pilkington says:

    Great, straight to the point, no messing about.

  9. richard rasmussn says:

    great …very helpful

  10. geekboy32 says:

    Very clear explanation, very helpful video. Thanks.

  11. Nethercore says:

    I'm so glad I found this video 7 days before an art show!!  Thanks for uploading this.

  12. desertcafe says:

    Thanks! Really clear. Really concise. Much appreciated!

  13. bubsy bubbles says:

    An excellent way of showing how  it's done. Am going to try it.

  14. M Wasim says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Chad Henry says:

    Yes, what did you use to adhere the drawing to the support?

  16. erlock21 says:

    sorcery,,,surely it cant be that easy…and where can i get me one of those cutting gizmos

  17. Day Thomas-Smith says:

    After watching this video I went purchased.  I'm excited to start cutting my own mats and hope to get to the point where I can do it with as much ease as you.  Thanks!

  18. Northstar_004 says:

    whats the math for multiple images in one mounting board?

  19. Nicholas Maxwell says:

    Thank you, that was a nice presentation!

  20. Ernest Casey says:

    Very helpfull

  21. Wingsdomain Art and Photography says:

    Great matting info, thanks.

  22. Mae Mae says:

    Very good!

  23. Jim, Stacey, Clayton, Maria Wasenius says:

    I would think you would not want the mat whole to be exacly the same as your picture so that it does not "fall" through the whole. Like 1/4 inch smaller whole than the picutre??

  24. Michael Hartigan says:

    Spot on! Clear and concise instructions.

  25. Amaury Negron says:

    Every Day I look at you procedure till I will learn , Thanks , Negron Bronx, N.Y, City ,.

  26. Richard Butler says:

    Man , that baby worked like down town . I'm most likely getting one .For some reason I envisioned it being more of a struggle and taking longer .

  27. Anglynn74 says:

    can anyone tell me where I can find mat and mat board cheap and in bulk? maybe a website or catalog? I have a lot of vintage advertisements that I'd like to sell on ebay and I'm currently looking to buy this mat in bulk somewhere.

  28. Jennifer Pedneau says:

    What keeps the mat board from sliding as you push the blade through it?

  29. Paulina Allure says:

    Love this video ! Enjoyed watching it !

  30. D She says:

    I was trained to cut a wider border at the bottom.

  31. TheDauntlessGirlonFire says:

    Wow, thanks so much!1! This helped a lot. I will definitely be framing my art this way from now on- since I finally learned how!1!!

  32. sgvpotter says:

    anyone know what he used to mount the actual picture to the backing? was it the same transfer adhesive, spray, double sided tape?

  33. Silk Fabrics says:

    what is the base instrument with scale called for measuring the length and breath

  34. Jay Brown says:

    I just now purchased one of these from Ebay. the 450 model.

  35. Myabritt Tolbert says:

    This is a great video!! Thank you so much for sharing, very helpful 🙂

  36. Myabritt Tolbert says:

    Just got the same mat cutter and cut my first perfect mat today!! Used your equation method., made it so much easier to understand. Thank you so much for sharing!!!😃

  37. Dinan Nugrah says:

    Thank you so much !

  38. Eliz Donovan says:

    Very helpful. Thank you. 🙂🌲☘

  39. Repsi Baccol says:

    I died when you started using math lol

  40. Little Sparrow Craft Works says:

    Makes me want a mat cutter! Great tutorial. Thanks.

  41. Jayden Brumous says:

    plans for this and many other interesting things are on the stodoys site.

  42. Ahmed Saloom says:

    What's the name of this machine please ?

  43. Pradhyumn kumar says:

    great. video

  44. amandajstar says:

    Excellent instruction: thank you.

  45. Jakob Ractliffe says:


  46. Shawnee Union says:

    Something really satisfying about how seamlessly he did this. Picture perfect

  47. Nicholas Hunter says:

    "Taken some artwork and mounted it in the center…"
    It would have been useful if you had described this part in a bit more detail.

  48. Tahir Faisal says:

    thanx for sharing video of framing technique. its very helpful.

  49. M McTaggart says:

    Thank You for de-mystifying this process!!

  50. georgew84 says:

    anyone else think he cut his mats crooked? They really should've lined the camera up with the edge of the mat cutter to make this appear correct

  51. dabble778 says:

    I did a course in the late '80s. There was a bit of scalpel work in the corners post-board cutting. Great to see the process has improved. Thanks for a clear tutorial.

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