Cut Mounts: A Better, Professional-Looking Border for Your Picture Frame

A mount can enhance a framed picture, particularly a watercolor or print, by giving it a border that separates it from the frame. The picture can be mounted directly onto the mount board. But a cut mount, which has a “window” in it through which the picture is seen, gives a better and more professional-looking finish. A cut mount also protects delicate pastels and watercolors by separating the picture from the glass.

Mount boards can be bought from art supply shops, in various thicknesses, sizes and colors. Color is a matter of personal taste, but should either contrast or blend with the color of the frame, the color of the wall on which the picture is to be hung and the general tone of the picture itself. A thickness of 2mm (1/16th inch) is suitable for most purposes.

Making a cut mount

You will need: a straight edge; heavy duty trimming knife; set square; rule and a cutting board. The board can be a piece of 25mm (1 inch) thick wood which is longer and wider than the length of the straightedge.

Position the straightedge along the centre of the cutting board, and partly drive in two small screws for the straightedge to butt against. Measure and mark on the face of the mount the rebate size of the frame and the size of the picture. Allow for the edges of the window to overlap the picture by about 6mm (¼ inch).

Make the bottom margin 13mm (½ inch) wider than the rest; this is to compensate for an optical illusion, which causes the margin around a centrally mounted picture to look narrower at the bottom. The side and top margins should be not les than twice the thickness of the frame molding.

See also  Fun Fall Tile Art Project

Use the set square to mark the position of the window on the mount, and check that the corners of the window and the mount are at right angles, and that the sides of both are parallel.

Lay the mount on a piece of spare card and slide them under the straightedge. With the straightedge held firmly against the screws, cut out the window, using firm pressure on the trimming knife. If you wish, you can hold the knife about 45 degrees from the vertical, to give the window a bevelled edge. Remove the cut out center and carefully clean out the window corners with the knife and a piece of fine grade glass paper. Use the straightedge and knife to cut the mount to the frame size.

Mounting the picture

Lay the picture, with the mount on top of it, on a table, with both picture and mount projecting over the table edge. Position the picture so that it is central in the window. Use one hand to hold the mount and picture together, and with the other hand apply two strips of adhesive tape to the underside of the picture and mount. Turn over the mount and picture, and fix a strip of tape along the top edge of the picture. Remove the tapes from the bottom edge.