Introduction: Free Instant Matte for Perfect Picture Frames - No Special Tools

About: Architect, Urban Designer, all-round tinkerer of odds and ends. Small solutions for big city living. Dreaming of lands faraway where garages are big enough to build a workshop in, or lakes are there for taking…

Here's a quick trick I came up with for quick and easy picture frame mattes that cost next to nothing!

Traditional picture mattes need expensive matte board (mounting board), special cutting tools and skillful cuts to get perfect edges.

This trick gets you perfect mattes Everytime without any of the above!

Step 1: All You Need Is a Box Cutter

The trick here is that cheaper frames such as those from IKEA often come with acrylic sheets instead of glass. This acrylic is protected with adhesive films on both sides.

Just measure out the size of the matte that you want and draw that on one side of the acrylic sheet. Overlay it on the painting to make sure the framing is just how you want it.

Cut along the lines with a regular box cutter. You don't need much strength, just enough to cut the protective film. Go slow as any mistakes and scratches will show in the final product.

Step 2: Peel and Spray

From here the rest should be self explanatory. Peel off the film from the outer perimeter of the acrylic, leaving the film on the inner portion.

Use whatever spray paint you want to complement your frame and painting. Do a couple of coats to get it nice and opaque.

Once dry, you can peel off the remaining film from the acrylic, leaving a perfect straight-edged matte.

Step 3: Assemble Your Frame and Picture

I just used clear tape to mount my old sketches to the backing board of the frame. I applied tape along the top edge of the drawing only, so that the paper hangs straight by gravity. Hopefully this will eliminate wrinkles later on.

Assemble the frame with the painted side of the acrylic facing inwards, i.e. facing the painting. No matter how junky or streaky your spray paint was, the other side still will be a perfect mirror-smooth matte facing out!

I love this technique as it takes a cheap picture frame and really elevates it. Also, the white matte will never go mouldy or discolour.

Step 4: Enjoy!

There you go. A quick and cheap trick for perfect mattes to frame almost anything!

Except your expensive gallery artwork, perhaps.


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