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Author Topic: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?  (Read 8114 times)

7h3C47

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Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« on: April 24, 2015, 06:25:17 pm »

In an effort to save a little money, I'm going to try to mount and mat one or two of my prints this weekend.

You know how you do something for the first time, and when you look at the finished product, you're like "Okay well for next time I know that I should do x instead of y"?  Yeah.  That.  If you could tell me anything like that, that you experienced if you've DIY'd this, that would be awesome.

The good news is that patience and finesse (or at least attention to detail), are not problems for me.  I know what needs to happen (in theory), and am going to take my damn time doing it.  Here goes nothing.

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framah

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2015, 09:52:49 am »

Well....

Don't attach the print to the back of the mat.  The mat should be hinged to the f/c board so it can be raised up for access to the print. If the print is on the back of the mat, there is the possibility of damaging the print. Plus, if the mat is damaged sometime in the future, it can be replaced and the image stays in the same place.

Don't tape the print all around the edge or across the top.  Any of these methods cause the paper to ripple as it tries to expand or contract and the tape is restricting it.

Either use 4 corner pockets or 2 t-hinges at the top of the print, or dry mount it.

Do not use: masking tape, brown plastic packing tape, duct tape, scotch tape, or even band-aids to attach the print!!!  These are all thing I have seen on art brought in by my customers over  the years.

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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 11:53:11 am »

I just finished a year and a half project. It is a two man show, which will exhibit my father's work and mine. I printed, mounted, matted and framed 60 prints in size from 16"x20" to 30"x36". I used Lineco see through mounting strips. I use the 12" strips, and cut them to about 1" or 1 1/2" lengths. I leave a slight amount of room when positioning the strips to allow expansion and contraction. They are archival, and the print can be removed. Good luck.
Dave
PS: you can see my work and my father's work on my web site. My father's negatives were lost for 72 years, and recently returned to me in mint condition. I have been scanning them (medium format B&W negatives) to complete the show. See the "ALEXANDER GURTCHEFF" page on my web site here:
www.modernpictorials.com
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7h3C47

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 03:35:31 pm »

Thanks for the replies!

I ended up dry(whoops) mounting on foam board with two t-hinges (acid free tape).  I wanted to easily be able to redo or scrap the project once I saw the finished product, so this seemed like the best option.  I also used the tape to make a top hinge so the mat can swing up for easy access to the print.

I think I did okay for it being my first go-round.  My biggest flaw is simply that I traced the print on the back of the mat, and used those lines to cut with a beveled mat pull cutter.  When I laid the mat onto the mounted photo, there was a little gap between the edge of the print and the beveled edge all the way around the print.  In other words, I made the doughnut hole in the mat a little too big.  Luckily I can easily redo just the mat itself, and will make the hole about 1/8th of an inch smaller so that it presses the print down against the mat board.

Also, man, it's really tough to keep the straight edge still as it guides the pull slider.  I'm going to recruit my girlfriend to hold the ruler in place while I slide the cutter next time.  The finished edges turned out a little wavy because I couldn't keep the ruler still and the cutter guide flush with just my two hands.

Overall, I'm glad I tried this.  I paid about $30 for the cutter, $2 for an exacto knife, and $2 for the tape.  The foam board and mat were $2 each, so now that I have the start-up equipment out of the way, $4 a print is going to save me SO much money in the long run, especially if I keep this hobby a part of my life for the foreseeable future.  It took a little over an hour for this first project, but I took my time and also deliberated a whole lot before actually doing anything.  The first cut with the mat cutter was a good 5-10 minutes of figuring out how best to position my hands and how to stand/lean, and suppressing nerves :)

Not a complete failure, but huge room for improvement.  What are you gonna do?!



Well....

Don't attach the print to the back of the mat.  The mat should be hinged to the f/c board so it can be raised up for access to the print. If the print is on the back of the mat, there is the possibility of damaging the print. Plus, if the mat is damaged sometime in the future, it can be replaced and the image stays in the same place.

Don't tape the print all around the edge or across the top.  Any of these methods cause the paper to ripple as it tries to expand or contract and the tape is restricting it.

Either use 4 corner pockets or 2 t-hinges at the top of the print, or dry mount it.

Do not use: masking tape, brown plastic packing tape, duct tape, scotch tape, or even band-aids to attach the print!!!  These are all thing I have seen on art brought in by my customers over  the years.



I just finished a year and a half project. It is a two man show, which will exhibit my father's work and mine. I printed, mounted, matted and framed 60 prints in size from 16"x20" to 30"x36". I used Lineco see through mounting strips. I use the 12" strips, and cut them to about 1" or 1 1/2" lengths. I leave a slight amount of room when positioning the strips to allow expansion and contraction. They are archival, and the print can be removed. Good luck.
Dave
PS: you can see my work and my father's work on my web site. My father's negatives were lost for 72 years, and recently returned to me in mint condition. I have been scanning them (medium format B&W negatives) to complete the show. See the "ALEXANDER GURTCHEFF" page on my web site here:
www.modernpictorials.com
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 10:46:50 am by 7h3C47 »
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framah

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 05:57:33 pm »

A good idea is to get the nomenclature straight. A dry mount is when the piece is completely mounted in a heat press and  T hinging is just that.. T hinging. Two separate processes.

As for cutting the mat... you REALLY need to get a better system than whatever you paid $30 for!!  It sounds like a pure disaster. Go on eBay and you can find mat cutters for around $100. Try to find one that the cutter head rides on a rod so it doesn't move all over the place and you won't need another person to hold stuff for you.

You may think you are getting by on the cheap with what you have but you need to figure the hassle factor into the project. For what it takes for the 2 of you to get a poorly cut mat, you can do clean, professional looking mats all by your self and repeatedly as well. Spend a few hundred on a better cutter and it will pay for itself many times over in time saved not to mention a better looking finished product.
As for figuring the opening, you now know that isn't the way, is it. ;)

Measure the image and make the opening 1/4" less in each direction. That allows 1/8" overlay of the mat opening. 16x20 image needs a 15 3/4" x 19 3/4" opening.

Another problem with mat cutting is that the opening is parallel to the edge of the mat. If the mat isn't square, the opening  won't be, either.  Personally, I sort of cheat.. I have a computerized mat cutter. It doesn't matter what shape the mat  board is, it always cuts true right angles.  Doubt  $25K mat cutter is in your immediate future, eh?


Remember, everyone started out sort of like you did....well some did. I went right to a C&H professional mat cutter for about $600 because that is what I was taught on.

Wait till you try to make a frame using one of those wooden miter boxes and a back saw to cut the frame corners!!! :o :o :o
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BradSmith

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 08:07:08 pm »

Framah is absolutely right about a Mat Cutter.    The major amateur level cutter company is Logan.   I've had their Logan 301 cutter for 10 or 12 years.  For the amateur user, this is, I think, perfectly adequate.  I've probably cut a couple hundred mats with it over the years.   Here is the ebay link for used cutters. 
http://www.ebay.com/sch/Mat-Cutting-Tools-Supplies-/37574/i.html?_nkw=logan+compact+mat+cutter&=&rt=nc&LH_ItemCondition=3000   
New are about a $100. 

A couple tips.....be sure you use a new or almost new blade.  I change blades after 5 or 6 mats. Be sure to have an old mat board under the one you're cutting so your blade cuts into it also (this keeps the bottom side of your mat from getting little ragged edge tears).  And finally, but sure you adjust your cutter so it cuts deep enough to be sure that it gets all the way through your mat on 1 pass.   
Brad
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7h3C47

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2015, 11:00:11 am »

A good idea is to get the nomenclature straight. A dry mount is when the piece is completely mounted in a heat press and  T hinging is just that.. T hinging. Two separate processes.

As for cutting the mat... you REALLY need to get a better system than whatever you paid $30 for!!  It sounds like a pure disaster. Go on eBay and you can find mat cutters for around $100. Try to find one that the cutter head rides on a rod so it doesn't move all over the place and you won't need another person to hold stuff for you.

You may think you are getting by on the cheap with what you have but you need to figure the hassle factor into the project. For what it takes for the 2 of you to get a poorly cut mat, you can do clean, professional looking mats all by your self and repeatedly as well. Spend a few hundred on a better cutter and it will pay for itself many times over in time saved not to mention a better looking finished product.
As for figuring the opening, you now know that isn't the way, is it. ;)

Measure the image and make the opening 1/4" less in each direction. That allows 1/8" overlay of the mat opening. 16x20 image needs a 15 3/4" x 19 3/4" opening.

Another problem with mat cutting is that the opening is parallel to the edge of the mat. If the mat isn't square, the opening  won't be, either.  Personally, I sort of cheat.. I have a computerized mat cutter. It doesn't matter what shape the mat  board is, it always cuts true right angles.  Doubt  $25K mat cutter is in your immediate future, eh?


Remember, everyone started out sort of like you did....well some did. I went right to a C&H professional mat cutter for about $600 because that is what I was taught on.

Wait till you try to make a frame using one of those wooden miter boxes and a back saw to cut the frame corners!!! :o :o :o

Thanks for the correction.  I had seen the term somewhere and figured 'well what the hell else could it mean' haha.  That's what I get for assuming.

About the mat cutter?  Point taken.  I looked up a couple cutters that run along the little rail system, and it seems like you'd get a great return on investment.  At the same time, I'm in no particular rush.  I don't get to do many DIY things in life, and I had fun with this little saturday afternoon project.  One thing I guess I didn't really speak to is my expectations.  The short of it is that these are just going up around the apartment, and as the toughest critic will be myself, I don't need these to look like a home run right away.  I'll likely do a few fore with the current cutter, and at that point take a step back to re-assess.

The funny thing is that I got my mat edges perfectly parallel to the opening in the center in the mat due to my goofy little mat cutter.  It has a sliding ruler with a small graphite stick on it, so all I had to do was run it back and forth along the inside of the hole a few times and I had a 2" border perfectly parallel to the hole in the mat.  A small victory in the grand scheme of the project :)

Framah is absolutely right about a Mat Cutter.    The major amateur level cutter company is Logan.   I've had their Logan 301 cutter for 10 or 12 years.  For the amateur user, this is, I think, perfectly adequate.  I've probably cut a couple hundred mats with it over the years.   Here is the ebay link for used cutters. 
http://www.ebay.com/sch/Mat-Cutting-Tools-Supplies-/37574/i.html?_nkw=logan+compact+mat+cutter&=&rt=nc&LH_ItemCondition=3000   
New are about a $100. 

A couple tips.....be sure you use a new or almost new blade.  I change blades after 5 or 6 mats. Be sure to have an old mat board under the one you're cutting so your blade cuts into it also (this keeps the bottom side of your mat from getting little ragged edge tears).  And finally, but sure you adjust your cutter so it cuts deep enough to be sure that it gets all the way through your mat on 1 pass.   
Brad

Thanks for this.  Honestly I'm surprised at the 5-to-6 use life on the blades, but I guess that makes sense.  As for blade depth, with my current dinky little cutter, I found it best to depress the blade only slightly to score a little highway without too much pressure so I could be accurate.  I then ran the blade through the slot fully depressed, and it turned out okay.  I was actually surprised that the corners, which I expected to be the ugliest thing in the finished product, were pretty clean.
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framah

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2015, 11:48:31 am »

With the way you are cutting mats, your method is the best. Give yourself a groove for the blade to follow. It's like cutting f/c. First score  cuts   the top layer and into the foam center, the next cut finishes the cut.
Most times a bad cut is the result of something sending the blade somewhere other than where you want it to go.

Blades are cheap.. replace often.

On a mat cuter other than what you have, the rule of thumb is for the blade to  extend 1/3 of the way into the bottom slip sheet. Any more than that and the blade tends to bend a bit giving you hooked corners.

Move the slip sheet enough so you don't start to cut in the same place too many times. That lessens the ability of the slip sheet to support the good mat edge which makes for poorer cuts.

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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2015, 07:21:42 am »

I'll echo what Brad said about getting a decent mat cutter "if" you plan to do a significant amount of framing.  It will save you from throwing out failed attempts at cutting a decent mat.  I have a Logan 450 and have done a couple of hundred mats over the years.  It's multifunctional and can be used to cut mat blanks from large sheets.  You need to have some patience but wastage can be minimized by careful work.

Alan
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PeterAit

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2015, 08:29:13 am »

Get a good mat cutter. I use the Logan Simplex Elite. This is not the heavy duty production type of cutter you see at framing shops, but with a little practice it is capable of 100% professional results. I bought it to hang a show a couple of years back and the savings over having a frame shop cut my overmats more than paid for the cutter.
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dwswager

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2015, 02:28:41 pm »

A little late, but...

The Logan mat cutters are fine for once in awhile matting and low volume. Make sure you square it up regularly using a good framing square.  I prefer the 550 Simplex Classic (formerly the 750) or 750-1 Simplex Elite.  These are both 40" cutters and differ only in the 750-1 comes with extra cutters for glass, acrylic, paper and 8 ply matboard.  The Logan 550 is shown below.  Be aware that it is shown backwards.  You would stand at the end with the black squaring arm and pull the cutter toward you down the rail.



If I'm mounting the print myself, I use archival corners.  Basically the corners get glued to the mounting board and the print sits in the corner.  Hence, the print can be removed at anytime.  This is only good if you then intend to mat the print and hide the corners.  You can hinge the mat to mount if you think you will be in and out of the art work or if you think you will change out the print from time to time like on a wall at your house.  If you don't need to get into it, then I use transfer tape and stick the mat to the mountboard.  You basically have a finished sealed product at the end.  If you need access to the print though, you will likely be discarding both the mount and mat boards.  But with either method the print is still 'untouched'.

If you do not intend to mat the work, then you need to mount it in a hidden fashion.  At home, the easiest thing is using a self adhesive mounting board.  Recommend you mount the print to a slightly oversized piece of board and trim away the excess.  Alternatively, cut the board to size and mount a slightly larger print and trim away the excess of the print.  It is pretty darn hard to get two pieces the same size to line up perfectly!
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dwswager

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2015, 05:39:07 pm »

One last point.  It is customary to cut the window in a mat 1/4" smaller than the print.  If you are printing your own and have the ability, I find it easier to cut the window to the size say 11x14 for a 16x20 inch frame and over print the print by the 1/4 inch.  That is crop to 11.25 x 14.25 and print that instead.   I also leave some extra border when trimming as a place to handle the print. 
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ericbowles

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2015, 10:06:06 am »

One more option.  If you are printing and framing regularly, buying precut mats in standard sizes can save a lot of time.  I buy dozens of mats through FrameUSA.com.   http://matdesigners.frameusa.com/

Standard sizes cover more than 90% of what I print, there is no waste, mats are archival quality in a range of colors, and the mats are perfect.  They will produce any custom size opening you want, so I stock mats with standard proportions.  I buy paper that matches these sizes so I minimize waste and can quickly produce prints.
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uintaangler

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2015, 08:48:02 pm »

One last point.  It is customary to cut the window in a mat 1/4" smaller than the print.  If you are printing your own and have the ability, I find it easier to cut the window to the size say 11x14 for a 16x20 inch frame and over print the print by the 1/4 inch.  That is crop to 11.25 x 14.25 and print that instead.   I also leave some extra border when trimming as a place to handle the print.  

Would you mind if I ask you to help me be sure I understand what you are recommending here?
I ask because I am about to undertake a project of printing, mounting, and matting approx 60 prints
Let's say I purchase a mat with an opening for a print 13" x 19"
Are you suggesting that I actually make a print that is 13.25" x 19.25"?
What if there is something of interest in that .25" that will now be covered by the 13 x 19 mat opening?
Thanks.
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dwswager

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2015, 09:00:50 pm »

Would you mind if I ask you to help me be sure I understand what you are recommending here?
I ask because I am about to undertake a project of printing, mounting, and matting approx 60 prints
Let's say I purchase a mat with an opening for a print 13" x 19"
Are you suggesting that I actually make a print that is 13.25" x 19.25"?
What if there is something of interest in that .25" that will now be covered by the 13 x 19 mat opening?
Thanks.

If you are using pre-cut mats, then it is almost guaranteed that the mat window will already be slightly smaller (usually 1/4" in each dimension) than the print it is made for.  Say you buy mats for 13x19 inch prints.  They will likely be 12.75 x 18.75 windows. 


With hand mat cutters, it is easier to cut a mat with a 2.5 inch boarder than a ...I don't even want to try the math.  Just easier to remember and adjust on the mat cutter.  And no, I do not mean take a 13 x19  inch crop print and print it slightly bigger.  What I mean is to crop it a little larger at the start, say 13.25 x 19.25 inches.  That way you can keep the important stuff inside the window.  Sometimes, the framing from the camera won't allow it.  I just find it easier to work the mat cutter at marks like 1/4, 1/2, or full inches.  On a computer, it is a non issue to set the crop to some slightly screwy number.

Hope that clarifies.
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leuallen

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2015, 09:58:15 pm »

MatWorks 1.2 (google) helps with the math and gives you a graphical presentation.  Don't know if Windows only.

Larry
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dwswager

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2015, 01:18:40 pm »

MatWorks 1.2 (google) helps with the math and gives you a graphical presentation.  Don't know if Windows only.

Larry

Looks cool!  Nice find.

BTW, another reason I cut a standard window when I have the option of cropping and printing an arbitrary size is they tend to line up to standard frame sizes.  For example,  If you are framing a 11x14 ish sized print in a 16 x 20 frame.  You start with the 16x20 piece of stock and cut a 11 x 14 window mat.  The window piece that drops out is then the correct size (though with a beveled edge) to fit into a 11 x 14 inch frame.  You wouldn't do that if you are selling or giving away just a matted and mounted piece, but if  you are framing it too, then the beveled edge isn't seen.  Since printing size is arbitrary and the minute aspect change isn't noticeable, it just makes for less waste and cost.
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ashaughnessy

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2015, 12:12:46 pm »

Does anyone here make the bottom side of the mat slightly larger than the other three sides? E.g. top, left and right will be (say) 6cm and bottom will be 7cm ? I usually (always) do it like this. I picked it up as a recommendation from somewhere but haven't noticed too many other people suggesting it.

Other tips:
- Make sure everything is clean. It's a bummer to spend half an hour doing all this then finding you've left a dirty mark somewhere. That includes your hands, by the way.
- If you find you are over-cutting at the corners of your mat and you don't want to throw it away, try using a burnishing bone to press it down, makes it much less obvious.
- You've marked out the window position on the back of the mat with pencil lines, then you line up the bevel cutter to those lines. If you are either over-cutting or under-cutting, learn which end (the "to" or "from" ends) you are making the mistake on and learn how much to compensate when you line up. With some practice you can get it spot on.

No doubt professionals have much better ways of avoiding these problems in the first place.
Anthony
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Fred Salamon

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2015, 09:30:05 pm »

Does anyone here make the bottom side of the mat slightly larger than the other three sides? E.g. top, left and right will be (say) 6cm and bottom will be 7cm ? I usually (always) do it like this. I picked it up as a recommendation from somewhere but haven't noticed too many other people suggesting it.

Bottom weighted mats are fairly common. I use them all the time.
These links might be helpful,

http://www.pictureframes.com/faq/what-is-a-bottom-weighted-mat

https://www.larsonjuhl.com/matting-ideas.aspx

https://www.pictureitframed.ca/to-weight-or-not-to-weight/

http://www.logangraphic.com/blog/should-the-mats-bottom-border-be-wider/
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BobShaw

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Re: Any tips for DIY mounting and matting?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2015, 04:07:49 am »

Like most things that people do themselves, they don't save the money, they earn the money, at a couple of dollars per hour.
How many mats are you going to do before you pay for the equipment and the time and effort of learning to use it? That's the first question.

I owned a Logan 301, then a 450, then a Keencut. Buy cheap buy thrice. I now make great mat boards and frames, about $6000 later.

I suggest you look for someone in your area that does mat boards at a reasonable price. If you are in Australia you can talk to me.

If you want to see what different colours of mat boards look like with different frames then you can go to my website at http://aspirationimages.com and go to Framing and use the Quote and Simulation Tool.

If you do want to do it yourself then I suggest you discover millimetres. Inches are simply not accurate enough. If you make a mat board or build a house accurate to one millimetre then that is close enough.

Good luck.
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