Basic Fabric Matting Design



I've received several emails about basic fabric mat designs. This thread will deal with basic fabric matting. The materials and brand names I use will be listed at the bottom of the article.

1. Size two pieces of 3/16 inch foamcore. Place a pencil mark across the backside of the piece where you will cut the opening out. Cut your opening like you would any other single mat. The pencil mark is to allow you to position the cutout back into the mat opening the same way it came out. You may overcut the corner if you like. Now check the mat opening with the picture you are framing as seen below.


2. Iron on drymount tissue (MT5, MD96, postermount, or any glassine type tissue), use release paper between the drymount tissue and the iron. Set your iron's temperature at a medium low setting. It should not cause any distortion to the surface of the foamcore as you iron. On my iron I use a number 3 setting.


TIP: You can slightly change the color of white fabric by selecting different color drymount tissues. MD96 a brand from United Manufactures Supply Co. has a cream color and can give a antique tone to the fabric.

3. Cut a slit in each corner about 2 inches long. Now cut out the center of the tissue leaving about an inch of excess tissue.


Take the iron and reheat the top inside edges of the opening one edge at a time. While the edge is still hot, burnish the top edge with a bone to get a nice sharp edge. A light fast stroke works better then a heavy slow stoke in burnishing the edges.

4. Trimming the excess off the back may take a little practice. Use a thin .012 matblade or SE blade. Slice the excess tissue off by placing the razor blade flat on the backside of the foamcore and drawing it down while holding the tissue tight in a near vertical position.


For best results you need to cut the tissue clean at the edge of the foamcore.

5. Cut another foamcore blank the same size as your mat for a backing. Now place your mat on the backing. Place your fabric on top of your mat and insert the cutout back into the opening the same way it came out. Get the grain/texture of the fabric to line up with the cutout.


NOTE! If you want to have a mat with a depressed area in the center, IE. float mount, object mount etc. Place a sheet of drymount tissue on the backboard, set your mat down, then the fabric and last the cutout. When it comes out of the press it is done. No wrapping needed.

6 . Place a standard matboard on top and place into a drymount press for 10 - 15 min at 190 - 200 degrees. MAKE SURE THE CUTOUT IS LINED UP WITH THE OPENING when you close the press. Oversize mats can be put through in sections on standard drymount presses.

7. Now cut out the center of the fabric leaving about an inch of loose fabric around the center.


8. Turn the mat over and place 2 strips of 969 ATG across each corner as shown in the picture below.


9. Using a bone, burnish the corner and press the fabric into the ATG. You should have nice crisp corner lines.


10. Take a sharp razor blade and make a slit in the corner. Make it from the bottom of the corner to the inside of the fabric as accurately as you can. Don't cut fabric in the bevel start at the bottom it must be accurate.


11. Turn the mat over and place several rows of 969 ATG around the inside edge of the opening.


12. Burnish the fabric on the bottom inside edge, back till it stands up about 90 degrees.


13. Carefully wrap the fabric around the backside and burnish down with the bone. The edge should be keep straight and tight as you wrap the fabric. You may seal the edge of the fabric with white glue if you wish.

14. Finish off the mat's back anyway you need to.

Material List

FoamX Brand foamcore --> The center is harder and it gives sharper edges.

MT5 --> Seal Brand
MD96 --> UMS
PosterMount from

Double sided release paper

969 ATG Super Sticky

Burnishing Bone

Thin flat razor blades, Fletcher .012 oe SE type.

Have Fun.

Copyright 1998 William McKay DBA The Picture Framers Grumble

[This message has been edited by framer (edited 02-03-99).]
Cool Beans! I didn't know this was hiding in the recesses of the grumble!


PS I just copied this to save. Any way to copy the photos too?

[ 03-04-2003, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: B. Newman ]
right click over picture and save as

or in your web browser hit the print button and the whole thread will print photos and all. I just tried it and it works.

WOW what was really cool was I just high lighted the text and the photos hit copy (ctrl-C) opened a microsoft word doc and pasted it (ctrl-V) - text and photos were pasted to the word doc.

Cool beans? I say that too. Where does that come from?

[ 03-04-2003, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: lessafinger ]
Still doesn't work for me whether I use right click and copy/paste, or control c/v, or save as. Nothing.

Cool Beans? I dunno, I got it from my husband. The cool teenager now says "sweeeeeeeet". Or if he's mocking Opie (in a fun way) he'll say "groovy".

Betty, I copied and pasted, if you'd like I can send it all to you as an attachment via e-mail.
Cool Beans?

My wife says she has heard "Cool Beans Jack", and that it comes from Jack and the Beanstalk.
If you're using a mac, just drag it to your desktop or where ever you want to put it.

Framer put several of his designs on the G. prob. around 1998 or so. They were fabulous and intricate. His instructions were very easy to follow.