I don’t need much of an excuse to whip out the craft and drawing tools. Been working (a little bit every night) on framing various things for hanging on the walls at home. I’d forgotten how excellent Exacto knives are! (Are there “Approximato” knives, by the way? I want one.) You might not believe this, but the T-square is the one I owned since Technical Drawing O-level back in school in England, some 25 years ago. I loved those days. I would do technical drawings of everything under the sun. Here, I’m just using it to guide the knife while cutting. The bad news is I cut a small part of it at one point when the knife went astray due to a hasty move I won’t repeat again.

Two of the products:


For those looking closely: Yes, those are a couple of photographs from of my favourite buildings in Durham, England.


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10 Responses to Crafty

  1. DancingBear says:

    Ah, wonderful! I myself have a set of photographs in dire need of framing, but I can’t get precut mats with openings of the right size, and in stores they charge you an eye for cut-to-order mats. I should really try to emulate you…

    I have a couple of questions, if you can bear with me: where do you get good quality, thick matting stock? And are you able to cut it at an angle, so that the mat (kind of) slopes into the picture? Any tips appreciated! (And congrats on the nice pictures!)

  2. Clifford says:

    I’m using good acid-free mat board (by Canson) from the art materials part of the USC store. I imagine any art supplies store can do it for you. I found some in the wonderful Pearl Paint the other night, although at rather a higher price. I’ve been doing straight cuts with medium and light duty exacto knives… I have not tried angle cuts for a beveled edge, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to get a consistent angle without an appropriate guide.

    I think that the straight cuts are rather nice though. The angle cut is not really needed, for the right thickness of board. I’m using mat board 2-3 mm thick. A straight cut looks good with it.


  3. DancingBear says:

    Thank you, Clifford! I’ll give it a try and let you know about my results.

  4. Pyracantha says:

    I cut matboards all the time. I don’t bother with an Exacto knife which is fragile and doesn’t last long. I use an Olfa smalll size snap-off razor blade in a holder. As soon as the blade tip gets even slightly dull, I can snap it off into the plastic receptacle and have a new one. I have never cut beveled boards either.
    I also don’t consider it a true mat-cutting session unless I have somehow drawn my own blood from a cut from either a paper edge or the razor. I sometimes use a butcher’s anti-slash metal mesh glove to hold down boards.

  5. Clifford says:

    The exacto I’m using also has the snap-off-type blades. They work pretty well.


  6. Bob McNees says:

    That’s a funny coincidence: I have a t-square that is 23 years old. Actually, since my t-square is 23 and not 25, I guess it’s more of an “approximadence”. When I was {insert current age minus 23 years} my parents bought me a drafting table for my birthday. I blew my allowance (several month’s worth) on a t-square and a set of triangles. The table was retired a few weeks ago, after years of faithful service. It’s been replaced with a really nice, new, hardwood table. I have no idea where the triangles are, but I expect that the t-square, which is propped against the wall by the new desk, will last forever.

  7. Plato says:

    Is it a fascination with the architecture, that these pictures remind you, or is it the place you lived?

    Also I noticed you said “mat board,” and was thinking that the picture you using is “on cloth?” Maybe it’s just the way I am looking at the way “the paper” is?

  8. Clifford says:

    Plato: Both.

    Also, on the materials. There’s not cloth involved. Just textured board, which indeed might look a bit clothy.


  9. Lea Shato says:

    According to the DVD that came with my fancy dancy mat cutter, a beveled edge keeps the mat from casting a shadow on your art work.

  10. Clifford says:


    What does your fancy dancy mat cutter do?! Sounds exciting!