If you're thinking about updating your style with new window blinds or rugs, don't throw away the old ones just yet. With nothing more than some scrap fabric - such as what you might salvage from curtains, drapes, or even carpeting - you can create a custom art mat to frame any picture, in colors and designs that may be hard to find in stores. All it takes are a few simple steps.
Make your own mat
You can create your own mat from scratch using a rug or carpet square. Before you start, though, make sure that the color and texture of the rug look good with the artwork that the mat will be framing. When deciding on the size of the mat, keep in mind that small art often looks more impressive in a wider frame, while large pictures may not need as much of an edge.
To create the inside window of the mat, carefully measure your artwork. Then subtract a quarter inch from each dimension. The window should be slightly smaller than the artwork itself so that it overlaps the edges. So for a 5 by 7-inch drawing, for example, your window dimensions would be 4.75 inches by 6.75 inches.
Carefully measure the window dimensions onto your rug, ensuring that the window is centered. Then cut this section out using a carpet knife or utility knife. Be sure to keep the edges straight and square.
Customize an existing mat
If you simply want to personalize a mat using your own fabric, you can buy matboard already cut to size. Cut your fabric large enough that the edges will be able to fold over and cover the back of the mat.
Evenly spread craft or fabric glue over both the front of the mat and the back of the cloth, then place the mat face-down on top of the glue side of the fabric. Cut off the corners of the fabric at a diagonal just past the corners of the mat. Then fold the remaining cloth over the back. Next, cut out most of the fabric stretched over the window of the mat, leaving enough to fold over the inside edges and glue down on the back.
At this point, simply secure your rug or fabric-covered mat over your artwork with the art centered in the window. You can then either place it within a larger frame or add solid backing and hang it just as it is. When choosing colors and patterns, keep in mind how your mat will look alongside other fixtures such as artwork, blinds and shades.