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Make Your Own Fabric Covered Photo Mats

Updated on October 16, 2012

Refresh an old frame or update a space by creating your own fabric covered photo mat. The materials are simple and inexpensive, and the results are wonderful. This craft would be a good way to make photo frames match fabrics or themes in baby nurseries or children's rooms. Holiday fabrics can add a festive touch to a family photo or other treasured image. This project reuses fabric scraps and cereal boxes that might otherwise end up as waste.

Materials needed:

  • Cardboard from empty cereal box
  • Fabric scrap 9" x 11" or larger
  • Spray adhesive
  • Ruler
  • Knife
  • Fabric cutter or scissors

Step 1: Cut out your mat

To make a mat for a 5" x 7" photo, you will need an 8" x 10" piece of cardboard. Open and flatten a empty cereal box. Measure and mark your dimensions. Use a straight edge and knife to get clean cuts. Once you have your 8" x 10" piece, mark off points 1.5" to make the cut out for the photo. I found it helpful to use a self-healing cutting mat to make sure I had a good cutting surface and straight lines. I used a brand new Exacto knife and metal ruler to make the cuts.

Step 2: Iron and cut your fabric piece

I have a lot of left over fabric scraps from sewing projects, but you could also purchase a new piece of fabric if you have something specific in mind. Iron all winkles and lines out of your fabric. Cut it down to size, it doesn't have to be exact, but I cut my piece about 9" x 11" to allow a one inch border around my mat. I used the self-healing cutting mat and a rotary cutter for the fabric.

Step 3: Glue your fabric to your mat

A good spray adhesive works best for this step. I used Elmer's Craft Bond Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive. Go outside for this step as spray adhesive has a very strong smell. Lightly spray the plain side of the mat. Any printing or graphics should be the backside of the mat so they don't show through the fabric. Push the coated side of the mat down on the fabric. Smooth it out, making sure that your fabric is straight--this is critical especially if your fabric has a linear pattern or else it will be obviously crooked.

Step 4: Fold the edges

Starting the with outside edges, fold them over the backside of the mat to "wrap" it like a present. Fold in the corners then fold in the middle to make a nice corner. Using your fabric cutter or knife, cut an X in the center window where the photo will go. Make sure to cut into the corner closely to make a sharp edge to fold. Cut the straight lines out to finish the photo window. Fold the inside edges and press firmly. You might have to stretch a little to make it flat and tight.

Step 5: Dry, add photo, and frame

Once your mat has dried, you can add your photo. Use clear tape to hold the photo in place on the mat. Clean the glass of the frame, add your matted photo, and replace the back of the frame. Your project is now ready to hang!


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    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Beautiful and useful! Great instructions too. This would be a great way to create a matching arrangement of frames all with coordinating mats!

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image

      Rhonda Humphreys 5 years ago from Michigan

      what a great and inexpensive way to decorate your photo's. thank you for such an informational hub. Voted up and useful