Making Matted Clip-Art or Photo Greeting Cards
Read through the tutorial before starting.
- Step 1: Getting Started
Some beginning cardmakers have a hard time combining colors in a
pleasing way. One way to address this problem is to minimize the
color choices. In week one, we did this by using a single color or a
single sheet of decorative paper. This week, we'll add another
color choice by matting clip-art and photos. What's interesting about the color
of a mat is that it can both enhance the color of the image and
set the mood of the card.
A card mat is simply a piece of paper or cardstock a little
larger than the clip-art or photo. The mat is used to create a frame
around the image. Its main purpose is to draw the eye to the image's
focal point. If you plan to make cards regularly, it's convenient to have
mats pre-cut in a variety of colors. Letter-size colored paper cut into
quarters and 12" by 12" scrapbook paper cut into six 4" by 6" mats both
work well. For a group or class, buy a ream of colored paper in a variety
pack—pastels, brights and darks. For home cardmaking, it may be most
economical to buy a pack of 6" by 6" or 4½" by 6½" cardstock in a
variety of colors. For the best buy, look for value packs of 100 sheets.
Clip-art comes with most word
processing and grapics programs and is also freely available on the internet. Just search for the picture you want and include "clip art" or
"illustration" at the end—like "birthday cake clip art" or "zodiac
Since this week is about matting and color choices, our first sample card
features black and white clip art. This makes the mat color choice very
easy and allows for the easy introduction of matting. After that, we'll
go on to learning how to mat colored clip-art and photos.
Follow the steps below to make a black and white clip-art or photo card,
then read on for how to select mats for colored clip-art.
- Step 2: Select and Cut a Mat
Select and cut a mat using heavy paper or cardstock of any color
except black or white. You might select a favorite color, or just the use the
paper that is most convenient. Cut the mat to about 3¾" by 5" for a
4¼" by 5½" card, or cut a mat ½" (1 cm) smaller than
the card blank you are using. For a 5" by 7" card, the mat would measure 4½" by 6½".
(See the first card tutorial for how to make a card blank.)
Mats can also be cut in other shapes. Print the patterns in the
Shaped Frames download on colored cardstock,
and cut them to size. To make clip-art and photos in these shapes, trace around a
cut-out frame on the back of the clip-art or photo with a pencil, then cut.
- Step 3: Select an Image
Select a black and white image for your card. It could be a
favorite photograph or clip-art downloaded from an online site.
The image used in the sample is available in a
- Step 4: Print
Print the clip-art or photo and cut it to about 3¼" by 4½".
- Step 5: Add a Message Strip (optional)
To add a message strip like the sample card,
- Cut a ½″by 5½″strip of the mat paper. Leftovers trimmed
when cutting the mat to size work well. For a larger card, make
the strip longer—about the width of the card.
- Cut a message strip from the
African savannah PDF that is about 3/8″ wide. Or, make your own message
strip using rubber stamps or a word processor.
- Decorate the message strip with a small punch or stamp. The
color of the strip of mat paper will show through any punched hole.
In the sample card, a small heart punch was used.
- Glue the message strip to the strip of mat paper, then glue that to the clip-art and trim
- Step 6: Glue
Center the clip-art on the mat and glue in place, then glue the mat
with clip-art to the card front.
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Selecting Mat Color for Colored Clip-Art or Photos
It is usually best to select a mat color that matches a secondary
color in the clip-art or photo: in essence, an accent color as opposed to the
image's main color. Take, for example, this butterfly clip-art from Microsoft.
The main colors are the oranges and black of the butterfly, while the accent
colors are the pinks of the flowers. The background colors
are various greens. Let’s see how different mat colors look.
Main Color – Orange Mat
Background Color - Green Mat
Secondary (Accent) Color – Pink Mat
All of the mat colors coordinate well with the clip-art, but each has a
different effect. The orange mat tends to compete for attention with the
butterfly. The green mat simply extends the background and makes the orange
butterfly appear duller. The pink mat (secondary color) adds dimension to the
clip-art, and the butterfly seems to come off the page. Move your chair back
from the screen to see these effects the best.
Also notice the white border around the clip-art. This separates the mat
from the clip-art and adds a more finished look. Experiment on your own to get
a better feel for how mats work with colored clip-art and photos.
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