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How To Make Your Own Fabric-Covered Mats For Any Picture Frame – (Video Tutorial)

How To Make Your Own Fabric-Covered Mats
How To Make Your Own Fabric-Covered Mats

How To Make Your Own Fabric-Covered Mats For Any Picture Frame!

This viral tutorial is so easy, you’ll soon be effortlessly swapping out mats on all your framed art pieces! Oh, it’s a bit of a rabbit hole but in the best way! Using existing vintage frames or store bought picture frames, cardboard and a few easy steps, I am going to show you a fun way to breath new life into older frames and create your own DIY Fabric Picture Frame Mats With over two million views on Pinterest, it’s a favourite amongst DIYers, designers and artists because it’s super simple and makes a BIG IMPACT! 

I love creating a custom look for my wall art and creating uniquely styled art out of older frames that I have lying around or have salvaged at a vintage market or thrift store. I create these in my professional artwork and they work in just about any frame! They’re also wonderful additions to a gallery wall or can create a nice balance against white walls. This tutorial is simple and can be done in about 20 mins with very simple supplies that you probably already have at home. You can use any frame and the steps are the same. And, you can find all the supplies at your local craft store. As for fabric, have fun with it and try out different textures and tones! I use a raw linen in the video but you can use any fabric you like. Extra points if you think outside the traditional and create some super unique versions – share it with me and I’ll post it to my Instagram.

Here’s what you’ll need for this easy tutorial. 

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Supplies To Make Your Own Fabric-Covered Mats

In terms of the supplies in this video, I am using the following:

  • Vintage Frame Sourced in an Antique Market in Ontario, Canada
  • Raw Linen Table Cloth 
  • Doubled Sided Tape (or spray adhesive)
  • Exacto Knife 
  • Ruler 
  • Mat Board, Custom Mat or Backing Board. In this tutorial I’m using this one and cutting out my own opening: (Various sizes available) 
  • Cutting Mat

How To Make Your Own Fabric-Covered Mats For Any Picture Frame (Video Tutorial)

Step By Step: How To Make Your Own Fabric-Covered Mats

1. If you have an existing picture frame lying around the house, you can use that. If it comes with a mat board or custom mat, remove it and the glass (to clean), and make sure you remove any tape or adhesives that may be attached to it. The older the frame, the more likely it is to have some debris or torn pieces or paper or tape that need some clean up.

2. If you don’t have picture frame with a mat that will work for whatever piece you’re placing inside the frame, we’re going to create one using cardboard or museum board. Measuring out the inside dimensions of the picture frame, cut out a piece of card stock that will fit nicely into the frame. Leave a tiny gap of about 1/8 – 1/4″ (1-3cm) gap around each side as the fabric will cover and wrap around the cardboard and you want some space for that. 

3. Now that you have a piece of mat board, we need to create the opening for your artwork. Measure out the middle of your mat board and dimension and confirm the length and width of your artwork. Translate those dimensions to your mat board and create a penciled outline of the art print. Once you’ve drawn your artwork outline, take another 1/8 – 1/4″ inside of that outline so that your mat opening is slightly smaller than your artwork. 

4. Cut out your window opening, and double check that your artwork fits nicely but isn’t too small for the opening. If it is, you’ll have to start again! Best part – you don’t need a mat cutter because we’re going to be wrapping our cardboard so that edge cut doesn’t really matter. 

5. Taking your piece of fabric, cut out a piece that is the length and width of your mat.

6. Using double sided tape, line the outside of the mat and adhere your fabric tightly to the mat face. 

7. Flip over to the back of the mat, and using your exacto knife, cut 1-2 inch diagonal lines on the fabric into the centre of the opening. Connect each end of the diagonal with cuts, and remove the extra piece. 

8. Flip your mat over again, and apply the double sided tape (or adhesive) to the inner edge along the opening of the board. Slowly take each “flap” of fabric and adhere it to the top. 

9. Your fabric mat is completed, and ready to be inserted into the frame. But first, make sure to add your artwork! Voila!! 

I won’t keep you any longer – you’ll find the video below, linked from our Youtube channel. Give it a try and keep me posted with your creations! I’ll reshare on my instagram stories @donatadelanoart.

Also, keep scrolling below for some common FAQs and how to solve them!

Common FAQs:

Can you use hot glue instead of tape or adhesive? 

You can, yes. I only caution that you don’t want to create and bumps where the glue will dry because that will make the fabric mat look sloppy. Another thing I’m not particuarly fond of with hot glue are all the little webs of glue that are hard to remove or clean off. 

Does my outer edge need to be wrapped?

Nope! Because the outer (or outside) edge is behind the frame, if you end up with some loose bits or strings of fabric just cut them off and don’t worry about it. You won’t see it. 

Will this tutorial work with store bought frames? 

Absolutely! As long as they’re space behind the frame for you to add fabric without squeezing everything up against the glass, it’ll work!

Do you have a tracing guide?

Not at the moment, but I’d be happy to create one if you need some help with the measurements. Send me a message or comment and I’ll get back to you with some suggested dimensions and proportions for your specific frame. 

Do you have any really easy ways to cut cardboard? 

?Honestly, I always found the exacto knife to be the best way. Using a new blade, it’ll cut through just about any craft paper or backing board. Just watch your fingers, please!

Whats a cutting mat?

It’s this handy little thing that I use almost daily in my studio! Linked below for you.  

Here are a few: 

Ruler: https://amzn.to/3GoVwgS

Exacto Knife: https://amzn.to/3t9HBs5

Cutting Board: https://amzn.to/3UCwWRY

What do I do about air bubbles?

Another reason why I love the double sided tape! If you find you have some air bubbles, you can easily peel off and re-stick the fabric to the tape. With glue, it gets a bit messy. 

Just slowly peel back the edges of the fabric until it’s completely off the mat board and working from one corner to another, slowly glide and stick the fabric back down. The front of the mat should be very tight and smooth. 

I have some extra fabric on the edges, what do I do with it? 

Same thing happens to me because I prefer to have more and then trim it off. Once your fabric is snuggly adhered and your corners are tucked in, flip your board around and using your knife, trim the excess fabric along the outer edge. Don’t worry about it being perfect because as I’ve mentioned, that edge won’t be visible. 

Where do you get your art supplies?

?In Canada, mostly Michaels. In the US, hobby lobby will do the trick! You can also get most of these items on Amazon as well, but if you’re wanting to start right away, any local craft store will probably do. 

What fabrics work best?

I’ve found that natural and slightly rough fabrics (raw even) work best as they have more margin for imperfections. I love using canvas and linen fabric. Most of the fabrics I have in my studio are old linens from table cloths or rolls of linen that I got from my mom over the years. I like neutral colors against my art but I’m currently waiting for a dark, almost black linen fabric to do some darker versions. 

If you need something to frame, head over the prints section to shop all our favourite art prints. You can order your print in any size or request a custom size.

This Week’s Best Selling Art Print:

Happy Creating!

.If you’re new here, I’m Donata Delano. I am the creative owner and artist behind Donata Delano Art. As for my business, as some of you know, I run my art studio out of our home. I have a dedicated room where I paint, package and ship all my artwork to you. If you’re curious about my daily life and how I run my business, I post often about my process, my studio and my work on my instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/donatadelanoart/

Happy Framing!

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