Multi Opening Double Mats


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Aug 9, 2003
setauket, ny
If only I could cut a multi opening double mat. No matter what I try there is always a side or two that is just not right. I just can't seem to get the reveal to be even on each side. :(

I have reviewed all the posts I could find on the subject, and have tried most of the suggestions. I'll just have to keep trying...or wait until I get a CMC (which will not be soon).

Maybe there will be a class/workshop on the subject (hint hint).
What? Don't fret too much this isn't as easy as it sounds. First of all what type of tabletop straight mat cutter are you useing? Some have either a wider btm. measureing guide than others (up to 9-10ins.I think) and still others have attachments that extend the btm measureing guide and the left side of the base.Still another important question is how many and where are the multple openings located.
But aside from all this a trick I used before i had any of theses or my Wizard ;was to combine the two mats with a minimal amout of ATG in stategic places so they could be easily seperated and so the atg wouldn't be on any of the cuts OR "reveals".Then I'd lay out the openings on the btm. mat useing a good T-square to insure correct measurements and Squareness to the sides. Then I'd cut the btm openings,being careful not to make any overcuts.Next you seperate the two mats and there will be score lines where the TIP of the blade came through as though the top mat were the slip sheet.Then you use the tsquare to draw lines for the larger openings ,useing the score lines as guides.I have this great quilters rule which is clear and seperated into 1/8 in grids,with 1/16 in. divisions on the edge .This is particularly helpful since to achive a 1/4 in lip or "reveal" you will need to draw 3/16 in paralel lines to the score marks. But another method to detrmine how far to draw these lines is to pick a score mak you can measure with your Mat side guide bar and increase the wido by how big you wish the reveal to be and gentily touch the top mat with the blade then use this with to increase all the parallel lines you will draw.And finally install a slip sheet and cut the top mat exactly on the drwn lines.
With a little skill and practice and a bit of adjustment this should give you what you are looking for.It works for me.LOL
Or Get a Wizard and forget all this head ache.LOL
I use a rather unconventional method of cutting multi-opening double mats.

I size the boards as usual, then I attach the undermat to the top mat with just enough ATG to hold them together and lay out the measurements for all the mat openings on the back of the undermat. I cut these openings first. When you lay out the mat openings, make sure that you register these measurements to the edge of the top mat an not the undermat.

After the undermat is cut separate the two mats. You will see cut lines on the back surface of the top mat at every location where you cut a mat opening in the undermat. If you want a 1/4" reveal, simply measure out from those cut lines 1/4" all around each one of the cut lines that define the openings. You need to take enough time here to make sure that each one of the lines you draw around the outside of each opening mark is precisely 1/4" away to the outside of each cut mark on each mat opening position. You can adjust this measurement for any other size reveal that you desire (1/8", 3/16", etc.).

After marking all of the mat openings as described, you simply cut all these openings using the lines as guides as you did on the undermat. When you are finished place this mat over the undermat and line up the mat openings. They should all be precisely as close and even as the lines you had drawn on the back of the top mat.

Attach the two mats together with whatever method you normally use to attach mats and you should have a double mat that has even reveals around each opening like you have dreamed of for the past couple of how many (insert appropriate length of time here.)!!

Give it a try and good luck.

OK, Buddy, we're gonna have to stop doing this or people will be talking about us in terms that are from a Rod Serling show!! :cool:

I lay out both set of measurements on the top mat with a good t-square. Make sure that you go all the way to the out side edge with markings. After cutting the top mat I then ATG together ( make sure undermat is smaller) same as if one opening. I transfer the markings to second mat and then cut.
What? Would you consider changing your screen name? You can do it in your profile without having to re-register or anything drastic.

Here is how I used to do this before I acquired the notorious Mat Maestro. This is probably exactly what Buddy and FramerGuy suggested, but I'm too tired and cranky to read their posts that carefully:

  1. Cut the top board to size</font>
  2. Cut the bottom board about 1/2" smaller</font>
  3. Place the top board face down and tape the bottom board (also face down and centered) to the top board along one edge. You can use masking tape since it will be removed later</font>
  4. Draw your windows on the back. Remember to reverse everything.</font>
  5. Take your hammer and awl and punch a hole through both boards in the center of each window</font>
  6. Without yet removing the tape, swing open the bottom mat and apply some ATG over each hole. The holes are to guide the position of the ATG.</font>
  7. Close the "door" again and smack the mats together to make sure the ATG gets stuck.</font>
  8. Cut the windows for the bottom mat.</font>
  9. Remove the tape and lift the bottom mat off of the top mat. The window fallouts should remain stuck with the ATG to the back of the top mat.</font>
  10. Find something straight and 1/4" wide (or whatever reveal you choose.) A wooden ruler usually works.</font>
  11. Lay the straight edge up against each side of each window fallout and draw the lines for the top mat windows.</font>
  12. Remove the fallouts and either rub off the ATG or cover it with tape.</font>
  13. Hey! Wake up! We're almost done!</font>
  14. Using the new lines, cut the windows for the top mat</font>
  15. Realign the two mats and attach them together with ATG.</font>
  16. Pat yourself on the back. Your mat is perfect.</font>
I swear, this is faster to do than to write about it. I honestly believe I discovered this independently after about 24 years of struggling with multi-layer mult-window mats, and about 6 months before I bought a CMC.

It would not surprise me to learn that there are millions of other framers all over the world who have also discovered this independently.

(I guess it WOULD surprise me to learn that there are millions of framers. If there ARE, I'll bet most of 'em are in North Carolina.)
Another method, just to muddy the waters:

Go to a fabric store and purchase a device called a Quilters' Wonder Wheel. This is a brass disc with a 1/2" diameter and a hole in the center.

Cut the top mat. Put it face down on the back of the second mat. Drop the Wonder Wheel into the first opening, insert your pencil point into the hole in the center of the disc and run the wheel around the edges of the opening.

Repeat for each opening.

Cut on the lines you just drew.

There, wasn't that easy?

Thanks everyone. I'll keep trying.

Buddy: I use a Fletcher 2100 (60"). I have considered buying the extension, but I think I might have a problem fitting it on my table. I'll check into that further. This particular multi-opening was for a title block, and I needed to go in 13 3/16" from each side.

Ron: I'll try to think of a new, witty screen name. Maybe something like "Anne". What's wrong with What? ? Is it the "?" Anyway thanks for the tip. I like the bigger hammer idea. And I can always use the hammer when I am on my thirty-something try at multiple openings and still haven't gotten it straight (no pun intended).

Do you guys think an 1/8" reveal is to small on multiple openings? Cause if I am off a hair, it really shows up.
You just have to be very careful laying out your lines with 1/8" reveals.

But some practice will make you an expert at cutting these multiopenings.