If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive, but personalized gift or a special touch in your home decor, make a quick and easy hybrid photo mat to display your favorite picture!
I used the Family Affair Bundle by Alamama’s Pressed Petals, and a cool shaped frame from my local craft store, along with an inexpensive plain photo mat. With a perfectly-sized hybrid coverup, the mat + frame gave a unique flair to my photo display!
I wanted to create a fairly simple but collaged background, so I chose one favorite paper from the kit and added a couple of journaling cards “hanging” off the edges. A frame, banner, flower, and a few word arts completed the background.
I wanted my digital work to be exactly the same size as the photo mat with the photo spot in the correct place, so I started by scanning the mat itself. I placed a dark piece of cardstock behind the mat, so that it would be easy for the computer to distinguish the mat from the background (making extracting the mat a cinch!). I used an 8×10 mat with a 4×6 photo spot, but any size mat would work. Here’s what mine looked like immediately after scanning:
I used the wonderful Magic Wand tool to remove the black background; after selecting the tool, I just clicked on the black areas and hit “delete” (you can see the “marching ants” around the areas I deleted).
When I did this, it gave the jpg a white background instead. The image was “locked” as a background layer; I double-clicked and followed the pop-up instruction to turn it into an editable layer.
After I “unlocked” the layer and deleted the white background, it became a transparent background with the mat shape on its own layer.
At this stage I was able to use the mat shape as a clipping layer for the collage I wanted to create!
When I was ready to print my collage, I placed it on a new canvas that was sized 12×12. I could have simply printed it as an 8×10, but I wanted to be sure that none of the edges got cropped by my print shop. Allowing the extra space ensured that my image wouldn’t be distorted. Just be sure before you print that you don’t resize the mat at all! You want everything–especially the photo spot, if you have decorated around it as I did–to stay perfectly in place!
Once I had my print, I trimmed it, allowing a tiny bit of overhang on the sides and in the center photo spot. I used my favorite gel medium to adhere it to the mat, and once it was dry, I used a craft knife to very carefully trim all the extra from the sides and from the center.
On the photo spot, I trimmed the image so that the beveled photo edge was visible; I wanted my finished product to have that slightly 3D feel of a real photo mat, and the small bevel keeps that look.
After trimming the center spot, I also sanded it with a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the image’s edges and blend the paper in with the mat itself.
Hybrid photo mats are an easy option for seasonal photos or gifts; it would be fun to add a child’s name or a personal greeting! Have fun making your own photo decor!
Other Articles by NikkiFB:
- A Treat for Santa... and for You! - December 24th, 2012
- Thanksgiving Countdown Banner - November 6th, 2012
- Personalized Hanging Hooks - October 12th, 2012
- Hybrid Wrapped Wreath - August 27th, 2012
- Mailable Memory Mini-Album - July 9th, 2012