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How To Use Mat Cutters To Cut Your Own Mats


how to frame pictures

It is really easy to learn how to use mat cutters to cut your own mats to frame your own pictures. In this article I will show you how to cut picture mats using various kinds of mat cutters to do your own picture framing.

In another article on this site I explained how you could cut your own mats using nothing but a utility knife and a ruler. I also showed the benefits of at least buying a hand held mat cutter. There are links to that article on this page.

As this is an article about mat cutters, I want to touch on the hand held mat cutters for just a bit, then I am going on to show you how to cut mats on the larger mat cutters that are available to you.

Hand Held Mat Cutters

The hand held mat cutters are highly recommended if you are planning to cut a number of mats. These cutters come with instructions for use.

The bases of these cutters are made to run along side any straight edge. A metal ruler for example.  You just place the mat cutter at the starting point, push and hold the blade down and run the cutter up your marked lines using a straight edge. The blade is held at a perfect angle for you and you will find cutting mats easy with one of these cutters.

These are nice!  They hold the blade at the prober angle making it easy to get a nice clean mat cut, with a beautiful beveled angle almost every time! These cutters hold the blade very firmly. 

They are rugged and the edges are made to ride along a ruler or other straight edge.  Once used, you would never go back to a utility knife!  They take out all the guess work out of holding a prober bevel angle and make it much easier to cut mat boards. These cutters are not very expensive and you can see them on this web site. There are several types.

Larger Pro Mat Cutters

Logan mat cutterCutting mats using one of these large mat cutters is absolutely duck soup. Almost instantly you can learn to cut single and double mats that look and are professional in every way.

Click here to see a larger image of the
Logan Mat Cutter

The blade holder holds the cutting blade at the proper angle and the cutter helps you lay out the lines to be cut and the cutters hold the mat in place while you make the cuts. It takes only a couple of hours to learn how to use these cutters to get professional results. You can get very good at cutting mats using one of these mat cutters.

logan mat cutter headThese mat cutters have a running mat cutter, just like the hand held ones I talked about above. These cutter heads are very well made and hold the prober angle for you to cut perfect beveled mats. Every time if you practice! The blades are easily changeable and the cutter is is easy to use.

Click here to see a larger image of the
Logan Mat Cutter Head

The cutter heads runs along side the straight edge which is built into this machine.  You can see the hollowed out groove where your thumb pushes the blade down into the mat board.  You can easily see the marks you have made on your mat board and quickly learn where to start the knife.  Once you have learned the starting point you can then easily do it every time. Then you just hold the blade down and run the cutter up along side the straight edge to make your cut in the mat board.  The nice bevel will be made for you automatically because the cutter head holds the blade at the proper angle.

This cutter above is not the most expensive cutter logan makes.  No, for the purposes of this article I picked out one of the least expensive mat cutters. You don't need to spend lots of money to cut mats like a pro.  This mat cutter retails for around $100.00, less than the cost of having several mats cut at a frame shop.

The cutter show here is the Logan 301-S Mat Cutter which is the worlds most popular mat cutter.  It has a 29 inch mat capacity which is big enough to cut 99% of the mats you would ever want to cut. It includes a free instruction DVD and includes both straight and bevel mat cutter heads. The best part is that we sell it right here on this web site! How about that!

how to cut mats with a mat cutterThis next picture shows a lady making a cut in a mat board using this mat cutter. Notice how she holds the blade down into the mat with her thumb, while pushing the cutter forward along the side rail.

Click here to see a larger image showing
how to cut mats with a mat cutter

The mat board goes under the mat cutter rail as shown in the photo. This makes it easy to hold down the mat board while you are cutting the mat with the mat cutter. This is a vast improvement over trying to hold the mat, and a ruler at the same time while you cut it using a utility knife or hand held mat cutter.  This ability to hold down the mat using these cutters is not to be under estimated.  In fact, that ability is one of the strongest reasons to buy one of these mat cutters.

Also notice the small black rule just above her wedding ring. (you really need to see the larger image above for this) Well, that is a ruler.  Also her hand is resting on a movable guide bar. By the use of this ruler, and the ability to move the guide bar to different settings easily; it soon becomes apparent that this makes it way more easy to mark out your markings on your mats. And, the cutter will hold the mat to these settings for you while you are cutting the mat.  If you have been cutting mats by hand and this is the first time you use one of these machines you will be so over joyed!  Words can't express it!

how to cut a mat using a mat cutterThis next photo also shows the lady cutting her mat from a different angle. Using one of these machines makes it possible to easily cut any size hole you desire to make in a mat board.

Click here to see a larger  image showing
how to cut a mat using a mat cutter

These mat cutters make cutting common mats quite simple. This machine will easily do the job for the average home owner who wants to cut a few mats now and then.  There are more expensive and better machines out there costing well over a thousand dollars.  Only a professional frame shop needs a mat cutter like that.

You can with a little knowledge cut more than simple plain mats on this mat cutter.  Keep in mind that this mat cutter works just like the big expensive ones.  You can cut the exact same high quality mats, with all the fancy designs right on this little mat cutter.

(in fact the really, really expensive mats with the really, really fancy hand made designs are done using mostly a small hand held mat cutter and ever a small cube mat cutter)

All it takes to cut a fancy mat on this mat cutter is a little training on your part.  You can get this training just by studying a few books on mat cutting.  Just keep it simple at first and study and learn as you go. Once you cut a few simple mats, it becomes real easy to learn to cut double and triple mats. Then you can learn to cut v-grooves and fancy corners and the list goes on.  You can take mat cutting to any level you want to go.

how to cut mats bookThere are lots of good books on mat cutting out there.  But I would suggest that you start with the booklet called The Complete Guide To Basic Mat Cutting.  I do sell this book on this web site but I don't suggest it because I sell it.  This book is one of the best instructional books on mat cutting I have read.  It is very easy to understand and learn how to cut mats using this book and this book shows many different ways to cut mats.  It is a really, really nice book!  I highly recommend this book where ever you get it. This book is put out by Logan and is usable for all their mat cutters.

There is a link to the page this book is, on the left side of this page.

The biggest difference between the beginner and the professional is that the professional will almost always use a new blade most of the time. Why? Because the customer is paying for the mat, the blades are cheap, and the new blade allows him to cut a beautiful mat every time and usually he never even has to use a mat saver file. He has also learned to cut his mats quickly and smoothly from the experience of cutting many mats.

If and when the day comes you should ever decide to buy a mat cutter. Always purchase at least one roll of hand held ATG tape. You will need this tape to cut double mats. This tape is so good for so many projects; you should always have some around anyway. It is a must have item.

Several other items you need are of course a few mat saver files, and our burnishing bone. The burnishing bone I sell is the real thing and does wonderful job and works great. This is not the junk ones usually found in stores.  This is the real McCoy!  I am not trying to sell you anything here, but I have really had to hunt high and low to find this bone tool. With this tool you can lay down a piece of scotch tape and using the burnishing bone, smooth it down to perfection. This is necessary in putting some mats together such as when making v - grooves in your mats. Also the tip of the tool is useful in burnishing down a hang nail in the cut edge of a mat board. There are many uses for this tool. It is a must have tool.

Thank You for visiting
Sincerely, Reimond Grignon