Journaled Photo Mat Tutorial

worded mat project

So, this was supposed to go in Creative Techniques this past year and I was REALLY disappointed when it folded, cause this project was crafted by both me and my mom.
The frame above features a picture of my grandma along with writing that she wrote in a journal before she passed away. My mom gave this as a gift last year to her siblings in remembrance of my Grandma. She was a really special lady. She was my step-grandma, but she treated me just like one of her own.

This project was actually my mom's concept and idea, I just helped bring it to life with a little Photoshop magic. This is a great idea for anyone wanting an inexpensive personalized gift this year. You can buy a frame with a mat for less than $5 and get a photo printed for around 25¢. With some basic crafty supplies, you can easily create this mat design and I'm here to tell you how!

Supplies:
– Frame with mat
– Scanned in journal, type, or image of choice
– Self-adhesive label stock (mine was fabric label stock, but you can use both)
– Exacto knife
– cutting matte
– Photoshop or photo editing software
– Inkjet or laserjet printer
– ornate label (or make your own using the shapes in Photoshop, that's what I did)
– foam mount squares

Instructions
1. Take apart a photo frame. Measure your mat (include opening in your overall measurements). Make your Photoshop document 1/4" wider on all sides for bleed.

2. Open up your scanned journal writing or image. In my case, I opened up several pages of journal pages, placed each page in its own layer in my document, then rotated them around the page. You may want to measuer and make guides where the opening will be. That way, you can get crucial information into the matted frame area that might be important. You don't want to print out your image only to find that that crucial part gets cut out!

3. Save, then flatten document. Copy and paste into a 8.5" x 11" page. Print through your inkjet or laserjet printer onto your label stock. Let dry for a few minutes to make sure the ink sets.

4. Peel off the label stock, line up, and place on the good side of the mat. Start at one corner and smooth to the other corner so that you won't get air bubbles. Smooth out any wrinkles or pockets of air.

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5. Using Exacto knife, cut at corner of opening 4 slits in the shape of an X.

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5.
Wrap each corner to back of mat and smooth out as shown.
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6.
Print out a decorative label onto cardstock or use a similar scrapbook label or embellishment to adorn your photo as shown. I actually elevated mine and made it look 3-dimensional by using sticky foam mount squares.


7.
Add in photo and put frame back together.

Get creative with this. Here's some more options for this mat!

– Use children's drawings or handwriting for a special mat for mom.

– Scan in love letters and frame a picture of a couple. This could also make a sweet anniversary gift!

– Document an era of time in someone's life! For example, scan in newspaper pictures and articles about them during their childhood. Put a picture of them in that frame from that time period!

– Scan in family recipes and feature a favorite pic of you and a loved one cooking in the kitchen.

– If you want to do something extra special, make or have a a custom mat made and feature a unique item shadowbox-style. Here's an example of another mat featuring both my grandma and grandpa (their wedding picture). When my grandpa was in the navy, he would send my grandma a $2 bill in the mail each week for her to save. She actually had kept 3 of the original ones and those were given last year as Christmas gifts to the eldest grandchildren. I still got a frame, it just didn't feature one of the original $2 bills. My mom was going to help my grandma do this as a project before she passed away; however my grandma passed away before they could work on it. My mom ended up making all of the frames for all the grandkids as a final gift that my grandma wanted everyone to have.

$2 frame

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