As you may or may not know, IKEA is the ultimate source for standard size frames at unbelievably affordable prices (not to mention it’s also the ultimate source of basically everything in our home).
I’m a RIBBA girl myself, loving the clean lines and modern feel of the design, and you can’t beat the price when a 15.5″ x 19.5″ frame (made for an 11″ x 14″ print) costs only $9.99 and comes in five colors (white, black, aluminum, medium brown and high gloss grey).
Enter the problem everyone has with IKEA frames: Some of the pre-cut mats included with the frames will not necessarily fit what you want them to. The 15.5 inch by 19.5 inch frame would presumably fit an 11 inch by 14 inch print as the traditional frame size for such a print is 16 inches by 20 inches. That half inch difference really screws things up.
(Side note: Not that I would ever recommend using IKEA’s mats to frame anything given their low quality, but the mats in the smaller RIBBA frames ― ie. anything shorter than 10 inches ― do typically fit the pictures they are supposed to. Again, this isn’t recommended as they are really just paper but they would work in a pinch.)
So here I am, wanting to mat six 11 inch x 14 inch prints in RIBBA frames which not only feature mats that don’t work, but the frames are slightly too small to use traditional pre-cut mats with them, too. While you might say, “Just buy frames with mats that fit your print,” I would rather save money and use IKEA frames while also gaining the ability to cut my own mats. I found a set of 16 inch by 20 inch pre-cut mats made to speficially fit 11″ x 14″ prints (opening of 10.5″ x 13.5″ to fit the print perfectly) so I decided I would buy the small number tools I would need to cut them down to fit the RIBBA frames. I can forever cut my own mats thanks to the fact that I now own these few inexpensive items. Given how often I use IKEA frames and need custom mats for prints, spending around $50 on these tools seemed like a good deal to me (especially since that’s the difference of how much I would have paid had I bought Amazon’s cheapest frames at $20 each instead).
WHAT YOU NEED
― 15.5″ x 19.5″ RIBBA frame (for a 11″ x 14″ print, $10)
― 16″ x 20″ pre-cut mat (I found a set of 10 on Amazon, $23)
― mat cutter (X-Acto #2 Knife, $4)
― cutting mat (Alvin Professional Cutting Mat, 18″ x 12″, $9)
― non-slip ruler (Westcott Stainless Ruler with Cork Base, 18″, $3)
― pen or pencil
Since the pre-cut 16″ x 20″ mats perfectly fit 11″ x 14″ prints perfectly, all you need to do is trim down the outside of the mat to make it fit inside the RIBBA frame. Given that the mat is 1/4 inch too large (1/8 inch on each side), all you have to do is measure 1/8 inch of space to be removed on each side of the mat. Start by measuring 1/8 inch from each edge using the ruler and be sure to make the mark on the back (so the marks definitely won’t show).
Use the ruler to align the marks on the opposite sides of the back of the mat on each side, making sure each looks properly lined up with the ruler before attempting to cut out with the X-Acto knife.
Use the X-Acto knife with the ruler on the cutting mat to cut 1/8 inch from the side of the mat.
Proceed to repeat Step 3 as many times as you need to finish cutting all of your mats.
Place the mat and print into your frame. (You can secure it with Scotch tape to provide a malleable attachment to the surface.)
I cut mats for a set of gorgeous city map prints from StudioKMO to put in our living room. It feels great that such a simple project (only took me about an hour and a half to cut six mats) has led to beautifully matted prints that cost me less than $20 each to frame!