- Arts and Design
Picture Framing - Advanced Mat Cutting
Picture Framing: Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mat
An Inlay Mat is simply where two or more pieces of mat are set together and are mounted flush in such a way as to be cut like one single mat.The overall appearance should be like inlay wood design, flush and smooth despite it being several pieces put together.
The main function of using an inlay mat is for decorative. I personally don't use it all that often in my frameshop used though it's a really nice way to dress up a document or merely add visual interest> You might also use an inlay mat to pull some sort of decorative element from the framed object out into the matting. For the purpose of this tutorial an inlay mat is simply a way to add color in a fun and funky way which will make it stand out.
This tutorial is running under the assumption that you already understand the basics of cutting mats so I will skip the minute details of the mat cutting process. If you are unfamiliar with cutting mats or would simply like a refresher please visit my Mat Cutting: How To Cut A Basic Mat Tutorial Page.
All copyrights are retained by the artist,
Mona Majorowicz of Wild Faces Gallery.
The artwork or content in this lens may not be used or reproduced, either
in part or in whole, without the express written consent from the artist.
Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mats
Do You Cut Your Own Mats?
About The Checkerboard Mat - Picture Framing: Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mat
Where Did I Get That Groovy Matboard.A creative idea for making your own matboard
So in case you're wondering this mat was created specifically for a client who wanted something fun, unusual and a little wacky for his sister who could be described using those words. So using the photo supplies which was a family shot I selected a black & white color palette with the hot Barbie pink which was also drawn from the photo.
Mat board does not come in a check pattern (or at least not from any of the companies my frame shop carries) so I actually printed out a black and white checker board pattern on our fine art giclee printer and then drymounted it to a sheet of white mat board. Then I selected just a standard acid free pink matboard.
Note: I almost went with polka dots but the finished mat was only going to be showing less than an inch. The client had made his own frame and so that's what I had to work with.
First Things FirstFiguring out the math. My frame was 12 x 15 and so I need to center my checkerboard within the opening. That is essentially how I came up with a 1 3/4 pink splice in the center. For any other project it really would have been a matter of personal taste.
Step 1: Splicing The Mat Pieces Together - Picture Framing: Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mat
So now that I knew my overall dimensions I cut my checkerboard mat as well as the pink inlay splice. In order to get a really smooth joined finish with the slice pieces I cut my bevels on the pink going one direction and then cut the bevels on my checkerboard mats going the other direction so the would fit together perfectly. (Image Right shows you what a cross section view of how those bevels fit together.)
Please Note: The pink splice needs to be the same width as the checkerboard. I just took the photo before I trimmed the pink mat to size.
Step 2: Taping The Splices Together - Picture Framing: Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mat
This is pretty self explanatory. Here I'm using a 1 Inch wide archival clear tape called J-Lar.
I place the splices together as tightly as I can and then apply the tap.
Note: Be sure the outside edges of your mat line up exact as well or you mat may not cut square.
Step 3: Cut Your Mat As Usual - Picture Framing: Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mat
When handling the spliced mat be careful because it will fold at the splice lines and if this happens too often it may affect your bevel join. Other than that it's cut the mat just like any other.
Step 4: Finished Mat - Picture Framing: Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mat
Because of the inherent mat weakness and to help tie it all together I add a second mat in the same pink as the first. This is not absolutely necessary for stability but it really does help.
Explore More Framing Options In This How To Book
An Example Of Possible Inlay Mat Look
Picture Framing: Advanced Mat Cutting - Inlay Mat
Since I did such a wacky mat as an example I thought i'd show you a couple of more subdued ideas for inlay mats.
Inlay mats can add class and distinction to a framing project. The are a clean contemporary way to decorate without overdoing it.
This type of inlay mat look works well with diplomas and documents. You can vary the ribbon width or add multiple lines for a more dramatic look..
Another Example of Using The Inlay Mat Cutting Technique
This sort of inlay look also works well with documents but also wedding photos or also sporting and school photos.
About The Author Of Picture Framing: Advanced mat Cutting - Inlay Mats
Mona Majorowicz of Wild Faces Gallery
My name is Mona Majorowicz I am a professional artist who has been making my living selling my work for some time now. I am an animal artist, (meaning I paint critters) who works primarily in Oil Pastel or Water Soluble Pencil.
I own and operate Wild Faces Gallery with my husband Mike in a small rural town in Iowa. There we sell my original artwork and prints, as well as do quality custom framing and offer Giclee printing for other artists as well as for ourselves. I have over 20 years in ate art and framing industry both as a business owner and as a working artist.
Animals are my passion and art is how I chose to express it.