As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.
Best Tips and Ideas For Matting Photos In Scrapbooks
Making scrapbooks is the absolute best way to preserve your photos and memories for generations. It's not difficult to making scrapbook pages. All you need is the basics, some scrapbook paper, some adhesives and some photos. That is the most basic elements of scrapbooks. Then you build on those elements to create a page that will capture the memories of your life.
Matting your photos takes those pages to a new dimension by adding layers to your pages. Mats bring your photos the attention they deserve and create balance to your layouts. They give you the ability to add creativity and artistic elements to your scrapbooks. Best of all, they can be easy to do or as intricate as you want them to be.
Tools To Create Scrapbook Mats
You will need only a few tools to get started with matting your photos. Many of them you probably already have:
- 12 inch clear ruler
- Scissors or a paper trimmer
- Acid free adhesives- tape runner is easiest to use
- Decorative scissors
- Decorative embellishments
- Matting material can be cardstock,patterned paper, vellum, or metallic papers
Basic Matting Techniques - First steps in Matting Your Photos
Photo Mats are simply pieces of scrapbook paper or other flat material that you mount photos onto. That are bigger than the photo itself. Generally they are 1/8 inch bigger than the photo all the way around.
Think of them as frames for your photos. They can be precut mats that you buy for that purpose, or they can be mats that you create yourself. The most basic mat, is just a piece of paper in a color that enhances your scrapbook page or your photo.. It can either be a variant of the colors you have chosen, or it can be a contrast color. That's your choice
Think beyond just cardstock. Here are a few ideas:
- Use a map as a mat for your travel photos. Try searching for a map in your favorite server. Just print it out on your printer
- Use fabric instead of cardstock. Use a solid color card stock or fabric closest to the picture. Then place the pattern underneath
- Use cork as a mat. Use tacks to make it appear the cork is tacked down
- Wrap decorative foil around a mat. This really calls attention to your photo,
It can be a piece of scrap material, lace or a doily. It's up to you and the effect that you are trying to create. Pick a material that can be mounted on a solid piece of cardstock.
Mat Stacks - The Easiest Way To Mat Pictures
If you want to save a lot of time, mat stacks are a great option to mount photos. They come in solid colors and prints. Often scrapbook paper sets will have coordinated mat stacks, so you can get a lot of scrapbooking done quickly and effectively. If you don't feel very artistic or are a scrapbook beginner, the these are a good option for you
Cropping Photos -Step One
Cropping is taking out any unneeded details from your photos. It enables you to focus on the main subject of the picture. Most photos are cropped in a square or rectangular shape. But you can crop a photo in any shape that you want. You simply cut away any areas that you want to "clean up". Remember not to use too many different shapes on photos. It causes confusion on your pages.
So you can use a trimmer to cut your photo or you can use a clear ruler to mark the area to be cropped and cut it away.
Crop any area of the photo that distracts from the main subject of the photo or the story that you are telling.
Use Decorative Scissors To Create Distinctive Edges For Your Mats
Simple Single Mat Photos
A single mat is one piece of paper or material between the scrapbook base page and your photo. It generally should be a solid color paper that will enhance the colors of your photo. If you use a precut mat, you simply will adhere the mat to the photo, centering it to the mat. Then you adhere the mat to the cardstock base.
Easy way to cut your own mat
- Select a color for your mat that matches your photo and the theme of your page
- Measure the photo with your ruler
- Add 1/4 of an inch to your measurements and cut the paper to fit. When you center the photo to the paper, it will make the mat edge to 1/8 "
- Mount the photo to the center of the mat and adhere
There is no rule how large an edge that your mat has to be, so get your creative juices going and create the mat that fits your layout. Your mat can also be 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, 1 inch and 2 inch (0.6 cm, 1.3 cm, 2.5 cm and 5 cm) borders.
Paper Cutter Cut Mats Quickly And Easily
Paper Trimmer-An Essential Matting Tool
Having a paper trimmer to create mats and crop your photos saves you a lot of time and aggravation. With just a good trimmer and a ruler you can mat all your photos with just a few easy steps.
When deciding on which trimmer will meet your needs, there are a few things to consider:
- Is this trimmer brand one that I will be able to readily purchase new blades in the future? The trimmer is no good if you cannot get replacement blades. Stick with a known name brand that you can trust !
- Does it have a swing arm to measure larger pieces of cardstock? Make sure that you are not just buying something meant to cut small pieces of paper
- Can I read the measurements easily on the trimmer easily? I have a black one that I do not use as often as my Cricut trimmer in white, That particular trimmer has groves that help me line up my paper perfectly
So, my first tip on using your trimmer is to always have an extra blade available. Nothing worse than being in the middle of a project and the trimmer is not cutting right.
My second tip is to clean the trimmer every time that you use it. Make sure to periodically clean the groove where the cutting blade slides. Paper and dirt gets in there and will cause bad cuts.
Make sure that when you make the cut, your paper or picture is straight especially when cropping pictures
If you haven't purchased a trimmer, this may be the time to consider one. I promise you will find more uses for it than you can imagine.
Double Matting Tips - Add Depth To Your Scrapbook Pages
Double Matting gives a photo special or focal importance on your scrapbook page. The technique is simple. You mat the photo on a slightly larger piece of cardstock and then mat that onto another larger cardstock. You select the color based on the cardstock and patterned paper that you are using
You can add more than one or two layers of mats, Be careful about adding too much bulk to your mats.
- Create your first mat in a light color, such as white, that will highlight your photo. Choose a smaller size, such as a 1/4 or 1/8 inch (0.6 or 0.3 cm) border.
- Make a larger photo mat in a complimentary, but darker, color. Make it 1/4 to 2 inches larger than your first photo mat. You will need to double the border measurement and add it to your last mat's dimensions before cutting the new mat.
It's easy to make a double or triple mat. Make it 1/4 to 2 inches larger than your first photo mat. You will need to double the border measurement and add it to your last mat's dimensions before cutting the new mat.
Remember, to make the mat closest to the photo a solid color. You can use patterns between the first mat and your base cardstock
Triple Matting Tips
With this technique you create the smallest mat closest to the picture, then a larger mat and then a smaller mat. This is a good technique if you are going to use patterned paper. You would use a neutral color paper, then printed paper, then neutral paper again. Try to avoid using a patterned paper directly against the picture.
- Measure and cut 3 mats. The first mat should be 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) larger than the photo on all sides. The second mat should be a 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) larger on all sides than the first mat in a different color. The last mat should be 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) larger than the second mat on all sides in the same color as the first mat.
- Glue the mats together and then affix the photo. This mat may need extra time to dry. There are many variations in sizes and shapes for this mat.
Window Or Frame Matting
Matting can be done from under the picture or on top of it. In window or frame matting, you add a frame or window made of cardstock on top of the picture instead of underneath. The frame or window can be cut by hand or it can be cut with a punch. The photograph should actually be bigger than the frame so that the frame covers the edge of the photo. An X-Acto knife is perfect for this type of mat. Click on the picture and you will learn more about this technique.
Die Cut machines are also a good resource for cutting mats
Washi Tape Adds Lot Of Style And Dimension To Your Scrapbook Mats
Mats can be offset to add embellishments to one side or the other. Layer papers of the same shape in sequential angles for a dramatic effect or simply use multiple mats and place the photo to one side of the mat, hanging over the edge.
Torn Mats Are A Fun Way To Frame Your Photos
Photo Mat Tips
There are lots of things that you can do to create beautiful scrapbook pages. Your photos are the centerpiece of every page that you make. Matting them makes each of your memories shine. Here are some of my favorite tips for all your matting and scrapbook pages
- Anytime you cut a piece of scrapbook paper, save the remainder scrap paper in a file. These papers can be used foir matting to enhance your mats
- If you want to use a printed paper on top of a solid scrapbook page, double mat the photos. Mat the photo on a solid color and then mat that on the printed paper. You will get a beautiful layered look and not take away anything from the picture
- Use washi tape as a border for your mats
Multi Matted Layout
Matting Photo Examples
Add More Dimension To Your Mats
- Use Colors To Add Dimension Use two colors or a variant of two tones to add more dimension to your layout.
- Use Decorative Scissors Use a decorative scissor like a deckle scissor on your mat to add more layering to your projects
- Add Embellishments To Your Mat I love to add rhinestones, flowers, stickers and beads. They give that needed pop of color to your layouts
- Add Photo Corners To Your Mats Instead of using them to frame a photo add them to the corner of your mats. You can buy them or make them yourself.
- Use Border Punches. Decorative border punches make perfect edges to your mats
Preformatted Papers and Mats For Scrapbooks - Quicker And Easier Ways To Create Scrapbook Layouts
Many times if I am creating a gift scrapbook for a wedding or a baby shower, or have way too many pages to create, I resort to preformatted mats and scrapbook pages. To do these, basically all you need is some scrapbook adhesive-I prefer the tape runners, some scissors and you are good to go !
More Photo Matting Ideas And Tips
More Matting and Scrapbook Layout Ideas
Here are my favorite go to articles and resources is scrapbook page design. Since matting and layout design go hand in hand, learning about both will help you create special pages of your fondest memories
- DIY photo mats- a great way to reuse old pieces of cardboard
Use old cardboard to make a diy photo mat, perfect to add a dramatic flair to any photo or sign. Easy and simple to make!
- Scrapboooks Ect-Beginner Scrapbooking
You can started with this page, but I guarantee you will spend hours on this site
Create Mats On Electronic Cutting Machines
If you have an electronic cutting machine, you can make mats in minutes. Most of these machines, like the Cricut has a shapes feature. You can chose the square or rectangle. Size it to fit your photograph and cut it to fit. Easy way to make multi layered mats. Once you create these mats, you can save them for future use. You can also pre-cut mats for future use
If you search your program, you can find lots of tags that can be used as mats. Find what you like and enlarge to fit your photos. These decorative mats can be cut in minutes.
Want More Creative Ideas And Insiration?
- A Paper Craft Workshop
Resources, ideas and information to help you learn, share and grow your paper crafting passion.
- Paper Craft Workshop Facebook Group
Paper Craft Workshop. 103 likes. Community for everyone who loves to craft and make projects with paper. We invite you to join the conversation.
- Paper Craft Workshop (linfcor) on Pinterest
Paper Craft Workshop | How would you like to create something special, be inspired to reach some new goals, or create a new joyous chapter in your life? I'd love to show you how
© 2013 Linda F Correa