The first step is to decide on the size. Frames are usually sold in either inch sizes or in standard paper sizes. You can either buy a frame to match your print size or adjust the print size to match your frame. Personally I think that the larger the print the better it looks, so I’ll buy a frame that’s an inch or two bigger than the largest size I can print, to leave room for the mat border. For this tutorial I’m using a 10 x 12 inch beaded frame, slightly larger than A4, but the same technique should work on most other types of frame, including glass clip-frames. Print your picture out to the required size leaving a narrow border of about 5mm all around it. If you print it borderless, some of the image will be covered by the mat card.
Once you’ve got your print, the next step is to cut out the mat card. Start off by removing the backboard of your frame and laying it out on the reverse side of the mat card. Make sure it lines up at the corners and mark out the size of the backboard with a sharp pencil. If you’re going to do several frames, try to plan ahead and lay out your frames to make the best use of your mountboard. As the old carpenter’s motto goes, “Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?” Wise words, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Next using a metal ruler and a sharp craft knife, carefully cut out along the marked lines, so that you cut a piece of moundboard the same size as the backboard of your frame. Please be very careful when doing this, as a slip could result in a nasty accident. You might also want to put a kitchen cutting board under your card if you want to avoid marking your tabletop.
Next you need to find and mark the centre of each edge. Obviously just measure the length of the side and divide by two. Mark the centre of each side clearly with a sharp pencil, and using a ruler draw lines between these marks so that you draw a cross through the centre of the card.
Measure the exact size of your print. Not the paper size, but the length of the edges of the actual printed area of the image. Divide the length of each side by two and measure this distance outwards from the centre line of each corresponding side of the mat card. You should end up with a rectangle the same size as the printed area of the image, centred on the mat card.