Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Denim Mat Tutorial

It's almost a daily occurance that Little Brother stands up on a chair after eating, so we can see if he's grown taller like Daddy yet.

So, I fell in love with this "Faith in God Makes Me Stronger" print the minute I saw it (available here from Shirleen Bland's Art Studio).  I love the simple lesson about God in a little boy's life, and to me it just capture's the essense of how boys relate to things.  It's an extra bonus for me that this little boy looks so much like Little Brother, but I think this print would be at home in any boy's room.

I figured a print that was just SO BOY needed a frame that was just as boyish...especially if it was going to end up in such boyish photos as this... 

I think he thought he was being cooperative...I'll give him the benefit of the doubt since it was naptime.
I decided to experiment with making a denim mat to match the little boy's shorts, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  (I think you could use some pink ribbon or lacy trim to make this girly too, though...or even some rainbow striped grosgrain for something more gender neutral.)

I started with a nice n 11x14 frame I scored at Goodwill.  It came with a mat, so I used that as a guide.  I took the measurements and then cut my mat out with a quilt ruler.  If you don't have a quilt ruler, you could easily just trace a mat that you already have.  If your source of denim is an old pair of jeans like mine was, there probably won't be quite enough width to your denim without a seam in the way, so your denim will be in two pieces.  I'll show you how to hide that the seam/gap.

I trimmed the denim mat, so it was exactly the size I needed to go around the picture with just a really tiny gap.  (You don't want it to overlap because that will be bulky in your frame.

Find about 5 inches of some trim that coordinates with your print.  I used some grosgrain ribbon.  You'll it in piece for the top and one for the bottom.

Cut a couple of pieces of Heat 'n Bond or similar adhesive just a tiny bit smaller than the size of your ribbon.  Iron the Heat 'n Bond onto the back of your ribbon.

Peal the backing off the Heat 'n Bond.

Put your mat around your print to double check the placement and line up your ribbon.  Use a ruler to make sure the top and bottom ribbon matches exactly.  Iron the ribbon down, so that the Heat 'n Bond holds the whole mat together.  (You may want to remove your print first, in case the heat could damage it.)

Trim the ribbon to match the mat exactly.

Then I used a small bit of painters tape on the very edge of the print to hold it in place inside the mat.  (Painter's tape will come off easier than masking tape later if you want to remove it.  You may want to check your tape to see if it is acid-free to make sure it will not damage your print.)

Then I put it in the frame.  I love how the mat looks...but I love the print even more!

You can find this print as well as many other's here at Shirleen's Art Studio.  (You might the print we put by Sweet Pea's bed called "Jayden with the Savior."  Yep...that was Shirleen's work too.)

You'll also want to be sure to check out this post where Shirleen is having a giveaway (ends April 15th, 2011) for a chance to win one of three amazing prints.

Please show my sponsors some love...
Monster Pair Original Painting from nJoy Art
Faith in God Makes Me Stronger from Shirleen Bland's Art Studio
Personalized Transportation Collage from nJoy Art


  1. So cute! And using ribbon to cover the gap in the pieces of denim is so smart!

  2. So sweet! You little man is too funny with those faces, I have all this to come!

  3. This print is wonderful! I love the muscles!

    How does one sleep with 50 board books in bed?

  4. So adorable as always and I am so in love with the dino shirt!

  5. What a great way to use all those outgrown jeans - because as a mother of boys we know they always have holes in them!

  6. What a fun idea! I will be featuring this tomorrow on Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle. Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button. Thanks!

  7. oh this is such a fun idea!! Thanks so much for linking up to Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings.


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