Adding Detail to Frame Mats

I’ve been picking up new pieces of art for the studio here and there since the big gallery wall in the living room and the other spaces in the house have swallowed up most of the art I already had. Last week I found a cool etching of a Manhattan street scene that reminded me so much of our old neighborhood that I had to have it. It didn’t come with a frame, but luckily I have a habit of buying thrift store art just for the quality frames, and one of the ones in my collection had a mat that was the exact right size for the etching.

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The whole thing looked a little blah together though. Lots of yellowed paper and browny-black. I first thought about painting the pretty, ebonized frame a more interesting color, but I hated the idea of covering up the old black finish. So I decided to try one of my old tricks on the matting. It was fun to think back onΒ this five year old (!) post – I still love the concept.

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I kept it even simpler this time and instead of gluing down tape trim, I used just a felt-tip marker and a straight edge to add a little interest and color to the old, yellowing mat.

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Using a clear ruler made all the difference here in keeping my lines pretty close to straight and evenly spaced. I’m crazy about how this turned out. Such an easy and effective way to bring in a little color without having to buy a new mat! I love a good two-minute DIY! :)

  1. Kelly

    Love the little corners! Great idea!

  2. Wow, I love this! And the clear ruler, why haven't I thought of that! I design logos and yesterday was working with my metal ruler; it's a pain! Def going out today to pick up a CLEAR one. I owe you!

  3. Kackie

    Yes, clear ruler…duh!? And the color and simple lines add just the right detail without overwhelming the charming print. As always…you are fantastic!

  4. This is adorable, and such a great idea to jazz up a basic mat. Going on my "need to do" list.

  5. Have you ever painted mats? I have and it works great. I used latex wall paint.

  6. Oooh, the malachite reacts so nicely with the pink! Nice shot.

  7. I LOVE how your mat turned out! The ones you've done in the past are amazing. I need to do this on some of my frames now too.

  8. Thank you for all your great ideas! I have been following your blog for a long while now, but this is the first time I have made a comment. Thank you for the inspiration…

    I know you are super busy so if any one else knows…I am just looking for a really great gold spray paint to paint a metal library cart. I know you have said which one you like best, but I can't seem to find it. Thank you so much!

  9. bella

    This is a great idea to reuse an old mat.

    I think you need to flip your mat though, so the widest margin is on the bottom. Right now the mat is wider at the top. =)

  10. Looks great! I love that you are so into adding color whenever you can. I recently spiced up a mat as well that I'll be posting about soon!

  11. This is SUCH a great, simple idea!! It adds such a modern feel and interest. Love it!!!

  12. You might want to turn that mat right-side up ;) Sorry, i used to work at a frame shop and I have to point that out! The largest border is traditionally on the bottom, but to each his own :)

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  14. What a great idea! The detailing is really pretty!

  15. What a great idea! The detailing is really pretty!

  16. jcn

    Do you still have the tutorial up for how to paint a table like the aqua one in the first picture?

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