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Fabric Mats

You might have seen cloth-covered picture mats at custom-frame shops, but did you know you can create the same effect at home?

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2006


Try a variety of fabrics, letting the images unify the arrangement (leave the original photo-safe mats in place to protect your prints and to give the displays a pleasing sense of dimension). We fitted this trio in a sunny yellow damask; a nubby, green silk; and a loosely woven golden silk. The colors and textures stand out splendidly against the muted grass cloth on the wall.


  • Paperboard (available at art-supply stores)

  • Utility knife

  • Ruler

  • Positionable mounting adhesive (sold at office-supply stores)

  • Bone folder

  • Frame, original mat, print, and backing board


  1. From paperboard (available at art-supply stores), use a utility knife to cut an insert the same size as your picture mat. Cut a window in the insert, measuring and marking to make it 1/4 inch wider and taller than that in the original mat.

  2. Cut the fabric 2 inches taller and 2 inches wider than the insert.

  3. Following the manufacturer's instructions, use positionable mounting adhesive (sold at office-supply stores) to affix fabric to insert, centering it so there's a 1-inch border on each side.

  4. Miter corners of fabric, as shown, then fold and adhere; smooth with a bone folder.

  5. Using a utility knife, cut an X in fabric in the insert's opening. Trim excess fabric, then adhere by folding and smoothing fabric flaps.

  6. Place finished insert against frame, followed by original mat, print, and backing board.

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