If you’re like me, you have countless photographs lying around just craving a new home on your wall. A fantastic way to showcase those photos is by matting and framing them, and hanging as a wall collage.

One of the biggest reasons many people hold off on matting and framing is fear of the cost it may require. Luckily, matting and framing your photo collection doesn’t have to mean big costs and professional services – you can do it right at home.

A wonderful benefit to matting a photo on your own is that you can use pretty much any frame you already have as long as it is larger than the photo itself. So don’t worry if you have a small photo and only large frames lying around – often, this can create the most intriguing results.

In fact, I’ve had quite a few instances where I have an old photo that I’d like to make hand as a statement piece on my wall, yet because of the original resolution and quality I can’t enlarge it to the size I’d like. My favorite solution is to put that small photo in a larger frame and use matting to fill the space and create a sleek, professional looking statement piece.

Ok, let’s get started! First, you’ll need to grab a few basic tools and materials:

  • Sharp cutting tool, like a box cutter
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Matting board (this can be purchased at most craft stores)
  • Your favorite photograph
  • Frame
  1. Find a clean, flat cutting surface. I usually lay a piece of cardboard (such as a flattened cardboard box) down to protect my floor or tabletop from the cutting tool.
  2. Outline the piece of cardboard that usually comes with a frame to figure out what size to cut your matting board to fit in the frame. If you’ve disposed of the piece of cardboard that’s ok, just make sure the matting board is cut to be larger than the opening of the frame.
  3. Decide where you’ll want the photo to be placed. I usually prefer the center, but sometimes it’s fun to place a photo off-center or in a corner. From there, use your measurement tool to pencil mark where the opening will be. Rather than just tracing the photo, you’ll really want to use the ruler or tape measure to confirm that the lines are perfectly straight and that they are the correct distance from the sides, top and bottom of the frame. Don’t worry about making lots of pencil marks and lines; this side of the mat will not be seen once framed. Remember that you’ll want this to overlap the photo paper slightly so that there is no empty space between the mat and the photo. So don’t make the opening the exact same size of the photo, make it ever so slightly smaller. Very carefully, use your cutting tool along these lines to reveal the opening.
  4. Center the photo on the back of the matting (pencil-mark side) over the opening, and secure it with tape. Place the matting with secured photo into the frame.

There you go, have fun!

By Sara Quigley