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Logan's Complete Guide to Picture Framing
Mat Cutting
Guide Navigation
Introduction to Picture Framing & Matting
Designing Your Picture Frames and Mats
Measuring and Sizing Picture Frames and Mats
Costs of Picture Framing
DIY Picture Frames
Mat Cutting
Mat Cutter Choices
Mat Cutting Help, Troubleshooting and FAQs
Mounting Your Artwork
Glazing with Glass and Plastic
Securing or Fitting your Artwork in a Picture Frame
Finishing Your Artwork

Mat cutting is an art. A well-made custom mat is the result of quality materials, a quality mat cutter and practice.

To get a mat cutter in tip-top condition, look over the owner's manual that came with the cutter. The time will be well-spent and will save wasted materials and wracked nerves.

Here are a few general tips that can help ensure a top quality mat regardless of the equipment used.

The base of the mat cutter must be fully supported and level.

• Use a perfect T-square when measuring. (Make sure the head does not wobble, etc.)

• Use a slip sheet—a strip of scrap matboard—on the face of the cutting board. This provides a cleaner cut. The slip sheet should be at least six inches wide and several inches longer than the mat opening that will be cut.

• Replace the slip sheet when it becomes ragged from too many cuts.

• Check the depth of the blade. It should slice all the way through the matboard and just scratch the slip sheet.

• Use sharp blades—always. It is cheaper to throw away pennies for a new blade than dollars for the matboard.

• Do not jab the blade into the matboard—slide it into position.

• Using the start and stop indicator, practice inserting the blade into the matboard at the intersections (the corners) to determine exactly where the blade should enter the board. A perfect mat has neat corners with no "overcuts."

• Try to keep the boards in a dry place—damp boards are harder to cut than dry boards.

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