Create Decorative Photo Mats for Use in Your Paperweight Designs

Creating a photo mat for your paperweight designs is easy.  This post will show you how I made a simple mat out of colored paper.  I'll also explain different variations that will help you achieve a variety of looks.

The purpose of the mat is to offer a decorative border for your photograph while providing an area that may be used to apply decoration, add a small trinket, or feature text.

For this project I used a hole punch that produces a cameo-shaped opening with a scalloped edge (Recollections 1.5", Michaels Stores).  For the mat I used blue scrapbook cardstock.  The 'baby boy' dimensional sticker was part of a set by K&Company (Sweet Pea Little Prince Grand Adhesions).  The paperweight kit style is the Heirloom Rectangle.

The first step is to trace around your paper kit's mounting board onto the paper being used for your mat.  You can use solid color paper, patterned paper, or paper you've printed a design or lettering on.  For example, next to your child or grandchild's school portrait, you can print their name, the date, the name of the school, and the grade they're in.

After you've cut out your photo mat, create the opening for your image with a decorative punch.  These may be purchased at most craft stores.  My local Michaels and JoAnn stores have a fairly large selection.  Martha Stewart Crafts has a number of punches available.  If you don't see these with the other brands, they may displayed with the Martha Stewart Crafts products.

If you don't have a photo that's the right size to fit into the mat's opening, adjust the size of the image on your computer and print it on quality photo paper that resists fading.  The photo should be slightly larger than the opening so you can adhere it to the back of the mat.

Apply a small amount of glue to the reverse side of the photo mat.  You can also use permanent mounting tape for this step.

After the glue has dried, place the mat (with image) onto the adhesive side of the mounting board.

A dimensional sticker (K&Company, Sweet Pea Little Prince Grand Adhesions) was placed in the open area to the right of the photo.  Other design ideas include a photo of baby's first hair cut with a lock of hair displayed on the mat; a photo taken at the beach with a few small seashells; or a wedding photo accompanied by a few pressed flowers.

Once the design was finished, the paperweight was completed by placing the design face-down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight (shown above).  The plush bottom pad was then placed over the base of the paperweight, holding the mounting board in place.

My next design post will include a couple different variations using a photo mat, including designs that feature text and small mementos.


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