It should be pretty clear to you by now that something can never be “too” embellished for my tastes.
Too much glitter?
Too many colors of paint?
I have an actual strategy in which, if I’m embellishing something and I don’t like it, I keep adding more stuff until I do.
Works. Every. Time.
That being said, of COURSE a plain black photo mat is not going to be embellished enough for me. If the photo mat was made of mat board or cardboard, I’d fix it up with paint pens. This particular photo mat, however, is fabric, upcycled from a black T-shirt, and metallic Sharpies don’t show up on it (I know, because I tried).
Instead, I played around with fabric paint, and I love the way that it turned out. The way that the painted design relies on the photo makes it perfectly personalized, and perfectly unique. The color complements the colors in the photo better than a simple fabric print could, and since I’m the one painting the pattern on, I can add only enough to add interest to the photo, without distracting the eye from it.
Embellishing a fabric photo mat is a great trick to add to your arsenal of ways to display art. Here’s what you will need:
artwork and a fabric-covered mat. Here’s my tutorial for making a fabric-covered photo mat. At least half of the framed art in our house is done this way.
chalk. Choose a color that will contrast with your fabric.
fabric paint and a paintbrush. My go-to brand is Jacquard; their Lumiere and Neopaque lines of paint look great on all fabric colors. If you want to paint picky details onto your fabric, use a tiny paintbrush–the one that I used is actually meant for nail art, and I used that same brush again that day to paint more picky details onto my kid’s dollhouse!
double-sided tape. This will lightly adhere your print to its fabric backing; pressure will keep it there.
1. Set your photo on the fabric mat, and draw embellishments in chalk. Don’t tape the photo at this time–you’ll want it well out of the way while you’re painting your embellishments onto the fabric.
If you make a mistake with the chalk, wet a finger and gently rub the mark away.
3. Let dry. Since you won’t be washing this photo mat, you don’t have to heat-set the paint, but you do have to let it cure completely. You don’t want any dampness inside that frame.
4. Stick on the photo and assemble the frame. A little double-sided tape should work fine for adhering the photo to its fabric mat. You might find that the mat fits into the frame quite snugly, since your fabric will add some extra bulk to all the edges, but it will fit.
I think these photo mats would look really cute personalized with someone’s name, or a special date, or just with a lovely phrase stenciled on.