Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Ikea Frame of Mind

Last year I bought a bunch of frames at Ikea to display some photos I have. I didn't realize until I got home that...
  1. Ikea mats are off white
  2. Ikea frames have European sizing

I never even considered getting new mats for them until I read this on Little House Blog. Lindsay is a smart woman - she even had a link on her twitter page to a 25% coupon at Deserres, so I promptly printed off that bad boy and headed over to the store to pick up my own mat cutter and a couple of mats.

I spent most of Friday night reading the instructions and setting about cutting my first (and second and third) mats. The first one pretty much took me forever, and then I cut the second and third one with no issues. I got Kevin to take photos as I went along because it was easy enough for him to take shots sporadically as he was watching TV :-) Here's my process, folks!

Measure the Ikea mat as a basis to draw the outside border for the new mat

Use the ruler and utility knife to cut the outside border to size

Admire your first cut. What?.. It's an important step!

Make sure the new mat fits into the frame

Do some quick (or not so quick... math's not for everyone) calculations to figure out where the horizontal and vertical middle are of the mat and photo

Draw a cross section on the back of the mat and back of the photo. Line the photo up on the back of the mat, mark the corners of the photo, and then cut the mat 0.5cm shorter than the photo edge on each inner border so that the mat overlaps the photo a little bit on each side. 

Cutting my first inside edge with the bevel edge tool

Almost done...

DISAPPOINTMENT! And here's why...

Crap! This edge (the side closest to the lamp in the photo above) wouldn't cut all the way through, so I went over it a couple of time and it came out choppy. Kevin suggested I just cut that edge a couple millimetres wider - smart man! One edge is slightly narrower than the other now, but the cut is smooth so I'm a happy girl

So, remember waaaay back at the beginning of this post when I said there are two issues with Ikea frames? It's ok if you can't. Here's a refresher and some photos to go along with it!
1. Ikea mats are off white. Boy oh boy are they ever! Check out this side by side comparison:

2. Ikea frames have European sizing. Here is the Ikea mat sitting on top of the mat I cut. The mat is supposed to overlap the photo on all sides, but Ikea's wasn't even touching the edge of my photo. 

Here is my finished product! I am SO happy with the results. Some quick facts: The photo is 8"x10", the mat outside edge is 11 3/4" x 15 3/4

What do you think?


  1. I totally want one of those.

  2. You did a great job! We have a mat-cutter too and it is a life saver. My husband is actually the mat-cutter of the family.

  3. @emily
    Thanks Emily! It really is a handy tool. I can't believe I'd never thought to buy one before now.


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