Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Subject: Boring Mat Makeover

Dearest Melissa -

This is a project that took me no time at all to complete and one I wanted to share with you, as you are decorating your own home and maybe looking for some interesting wall art ideas. As you know, we took family pictures back in September to mark Suz's sixth month and these were the first professional pictures we'd had taken since our wedding, so it was kind of exciting.

Anyway, I got the proofs back and ordered two 8x10's, one of just Suz and then one of all three of us. I already had frames that I was going to use and they had mats in them, but the mats were a blah gray and I wanted to make them more interesting, and maybe even had some texture. I don't know that I can take full credit for this idea, but I am having a hard time remembering where I may have read about it. Basically, I had seen in the past where people used burlap as a cheap alternative to linen, and I'd seen in catalogues where they sold picture frames with linen maybe I put the two together and came up with it on my own? Anyway, all that to say I don't want to plaigerize someone else's idea, but I honestly have no idea where the original inspiration came from.

Without further ado, my boring mats:

I bought half a yard of burlap from Joann Fabrics and that was plenty for this project. I didn't save my receipt, but believe me: burlap is cheap, and even cheaper if you only get half a yard. (Keep in mind there is also outdoor burlap, which is more expensive and unnecessary since it is safely protected by the frame.)

I used clear packing tape to afix the sides of the burlap to the backside of the mat and then cut out a rought square along the inside. Then I cut the burlap diagonally in the inside corners to the corners of the mat, and folded everything back and taped it again. (Sorry if that doesn't make sense and also for not taking more thorough step-by-step pictures.) I wasn't concerned with perfection, as you can see:

Once I got the mats into the frames, I was able to pull the burlap even tighter. Then I used tape to afix my picture to the top of the mat (to the packing tape that was already there) and then attached the frame's back. At some point, when I have nothing else to do (which, according to my previous post, won't be any time soon), I could probably go back and tighten up the burlap, but for now, I am pleased with the result:

And here is a closer look at the corner, which isn't perfect, but who's looking for the flaws other than me? Exactly.

Burlap comes in a few colors, so you could get any color that you think would work for your pictures and wall colors. I think it adds subtle texture and warms up the stark black frames. This will definitely be a project I will use again and again!

Happy hanging,

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