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Matting and framing is relatively simple, and doing it yourself costs less and is more rewarding than using a framing service. In this course, photographer and professional framer Konrad Eek describes the tools, techniques, and creative decisions involved in matting, framing, and hanging photographs.
The course begins with an overview of framing concepts, terms, and tools and then shows how to choose and work with the various components of a framed print: matboard, frame, glazing, wire hangers, and more. The course also examines the issues and creative options behind hanging an exhibit, whether in a gallery or in a home.
The last thing you want to do in your matting process is just look over the finished work and see if there's any little flaws or problems that need to be fixed. The first place I usually start is look to the corners. It's very common when you cut a mat, no matter how well you have your production cutter aligned, or how much practice you have had with your handheld cutter, that your over cut will be a little bit bigger than it needs to be in order to create the bevel. So they usually will be a little cut line at the corners that goes beyond the area it should.
You probably can't pick it up on camera, but it's fairly easy to see with the naked eye, and for it in order to fix that we use a tool called the Burnishing Bone, and put pressure on that little over cut and rub it in a circular motion. So I'm going to start on this corner here, and I just see this little over cut, and basically what we're doing is flattening the paper surface back out from where the pressure of the blade kind of bowed away a little bit, and so I'll just go to the four corners, and it's just a real tight circular motion.
A little bit of pressure, you don't want to apply too much pressure because you can actually create a depression in the matboard, that they would be more noticeable than a slight over cut. So we have smoothed those down a little bit. The next thing I'll look for is I will inspect the edges of the bevel. Occasionally, particularly if you allow your blade to get dull or if you use the same piece of backing board for too long on your beveled cut, your cut won't be as clean as it needs to be. You can get little bits of pilling, you'll see little rough spots.
If they're not too bad, you can use an emery board to clean that up. And so I see this one little area here, there's a little bit of a pill. I'm going to go in and just lightly sand that away with the fine side of an emery board. If you can't find an emery board they will be usually in the beauty section of your local grocery store. They're easy to find. I like these large black ones because since they're a little bit wider, they make it easier to go on real smoothly. And what I try to do is go ahead at an angle that is less than the angle of the bevel.
That way I don't run the risk of creating any odd marks in the bevel, and that smoothed out very nicely. The last thing I'll look for is just inspect the mat and see if there is any dirt or smudges, and over here I see a little bit of a smudge. It could be from something that was on the mat cutter or something that was on my work surface. The first eraser I have started with is always an art gum. It's a real soft, noninvasive eraser, and I'll just go to the spot and try to make that go away, that worked pretty effectively. Another spot right there, and that got it taken care of.
If an art gum doesn't work, a polymer eraser may work. I also don't have one here, but I keep a brush around that I use for brushing things off. It's a natural fiber brush that allows you to get all these little bits of debris away, and you want to always to be sure when you're using your eraser to get all that eraser to be out of your workstation. The cleaner is better when you're putting these things together. Occasionally too you'll find flaws in your matboard, there may be a little something that's embedded in it that won't go away with an eraser, you can't seem to figure out what to do with it, and you have got all this time and energy invested in a mat.
If it's going to go under glass, you can usually get away with actually etching the surface slightly to remove a little imperfection. Perhaps a pencil mark that penetrated a little more deeply into the surface of the board. You literally just go in with the tip of the blade and very gently pick little bits of the board away. I try to do this very gently, tiny little bits and only working around the spot where the little flaw is and then go back with the Burnishing Bone, and you can smooth it out. And generally, if it's going to be under glass, if you're going to put it in a frame with glass over it, nobody will ever notice that it's there.
So now we have gotten to the point, we have got our work mounted in the mat, the mat is pristine perfection, and we're ready to move on to the next part of the framing process.
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