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How to Create A Custom Mat for Framing Your Vintage Photo’s

When I decided to frame some old Vintage Photographs, I quickly found that a standard white mat would never do. Since we are in the middle of our to stay at home order, I knew getting a custom mat was going to be impossible. So what to do, what to do??

I was trying to determine how to Create a Custom Mat for Framing Your Vintage Photo’s when I was suddenly inspired. As I was looking at the photos, I noticed how the back was lined and aged. That’s when an idea struck. Do you struggle with what to do with old family photographs? Click here to see my post on a creative way to display your treasures.

Photocopy the back of the photograph

Photocopy the back of old photo to create a custom mat for framing vintage photos.

What could be more appropriate to frame an old photo? I just copied the back of the photographs from different angles and then used the copies to create my custom mat.

Here are simple steps to create a custom mat for framing vintage photos

I ordered a frame from Amazon that would be appropriate for the panoramic photo. In order for the photo to work, it would be necessary to use the mat that came with the frame.

See how to hang a gallery wall perfectly every time here.

Panoramic military photo used with the DIY mats to frame a vintage photo.
Photocopy the back side of the old photographs
Tools for customizing the Mat for the vintage photo.

Supplies Needed

Detail Photo of cutting the mat
Using an exacto knife and a ruler, I cut the center pieces out of the mat.
Next I cut the photocopies into stripes the exact size of the mat.

The Custom Mat was perfect for framing a vintage photo

Application of the photocopy to the mat.
Using Mod Podge, I applied the photocopy strips to the mat

Now let the mat completely Dry

Close up view of the new custom mat.
Warning: you only want a tiny drop of the brown. In the above photo, you can see I almost had to much when I started.

Once the mat was dry, I applied a second coat of mod podge with a touch of brown paint added.

The photo framed with the aged mat.

Additional Art and Photography Tips

I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial. As I was finishing this project, I thought of several applications for this technique. You can use any decorative paper, photo copy or napkin to create custom mats. You can purchase standard mats inexpensively making this a cost effective project. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Be sure to see the whole gallery wall this project inspired here.

Panoramic Military Photo with custom mat and frame

Thank you so much for stopping by. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Your comments are always appreciated.



How to Create a Custom Mat for Framing Photos
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Saturday 3rd of July 2021

This is fantastic. I love the idea and will definitely be borrowing it!

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Tuesday 6th of July 2021

Elle, I'm so glad you like this. thanks for stopping by.


Friday 3rd of July 2020

I enjoyed your project. Very nice. Only one correction in your article. Perhaps we differ on the costs of materials, but I do not feel that “standard mats are inexpensive”. I usually try to find a inexpensive frames with a nice mat at Goodwill. A really good way to buy your craft materials (regular items you can turn into crafts) is to go to thrift stores.

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Friday 3rd of July 2020

Thanks so much! That’s a great idea and I’ve done that before as well. I only purchase new when they are 50% off at Hobby Lobby. Usually pay 2-3 dollars at the most.

I appreciate your input and look forward to sharing more projects with you!