What you need to mat prints

This is the first blog post that I’m co-writing with my wife. After all, she’s putting it all together. I’m just supplying the artwork.

Quick background. Allie and I have been working on the game recently and Roxy and I have been cramming to get ready for a second show this year.

And the owner of the first gallery told me about selling prints. You just don’t make money selling your original paintings. Make sure you take really good pictures of your paintings before you sell them. If you absolutely have to, hire a professional photographer.

The owner said if you don’t, you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table. And to most artists, thousands of dollars is nothing to scoff about.

What you need

The prints themselves

Let’s go over what you need to mat your prints. Of course you need the prints themselves. For the record, I do absolutely zero affiliate marketing on this website. If I endorse a product, it’s either because I personally use the product or you’re a personal friend of mine and I’m doing you a favor.

In this case, these are the same people I use. I happen to use Giclee Today because their prints look really good. I use their archival quality acid free paper, and it’s damn good print paper. Very good looking prints.

I strongly suggest though ordering only one of your first print at first because computers are computers. They don’t always exactly match what you’ll see in real life.

As it happened, I had to muck with colors with a few of them after seeing the initial prints.

If you need to muck with the colors, you can use Photoshop or you can use The Gimp. Sure there are other software products out there but those are the main two.

Then once you get the colors to how you like them, order in bulk since you get a discount when you do that.

The matting

Make sure you get the right size matting for the prints. For instance, all the matted prints you’ll find on my website are 8″x10″ prints. So I got the matting for 8″x10″ which comes out to be 11″x14″. You also lose half an inch in borders.

We bought complete mat kits from Golden State Art. I’m sure they have wonderful competitors out there that also produce quality products. These just happen to be the ones we use.

I’m the type of guy who once I start doing things one way, I’ll keep doing that. Same with product use. I like the product so I’ll simply continue using it.

Anyways, they offer the complete matting set. Even comes with the clear bag. Plus they claim to be environmentally friendly, which is a bonus if that is a concern of yours.

Putting the pieces together

Now, you have the matting set and the prints. That’s everything, right?

Wrong.

You still need the tape. And we also use these corner things to keep the prints in place.

First, the tape. Scotch has a tape gun called the Scotch Advanced Tape Glider. You’ve all heard of Scotch tape. Same company that makes Scotch tape. Scotch also makes a double sided tape that fits in that gun.

When you buy the gun, it comes with two extra rolls of that tape. You’ll eventually have to buy refill rolls. You’ll know the tape because you already have two rolls of it.

As for the corners, we use Archival Polyester Framers Corners from Lineco (lineco.com). They’re pretty cool because you can slip the print in and out before taping the matting pieces together. They’re great because they make things easy to line up. My wife said that with them, you’ll need less tape too.

Note – I strongly believe in products that make your life easier. The less work I have to do, the better. I want to be drawing Allie and Roxy, inking the drawings, and painting them, not wasting time and banging my head against the wall trying to put mats together. Thus, highly advise not skipping purchasing these corner things. You don’t absolutely need them but my wife says it makes the process way easier.

Now, I hate to say this, but I’m an honest guy and I don’t want to screw you up. This article is only an article. I’m only telling you what you need to buy.

You really should watch a howto video or two on YouTube to really know how to do all this. It’s a complicated process the first time. But once you get it, you get it.

My wife only screwed up the first one. Then after that, she said it’s easy. It just takes a lot of work. And a lot of patience.

She does all the matting. She’s good at putting stuff together. This type of work makes me say bad words, so I’m glad someone else is doing it.

That’s all the pieces you need. Until you mail it.

Mailing it out

Here’s the fun part. You also need mailers. Note that the whole shebang we made is 11″x14″ so you have to buy mailers that are bigger than 11×14. You can’t buy the same size. You’ll ruin the plastic covers if you try to cram the matted prints in. Leave some space.

You also have to buy something sturdy enough to protect your prints.

I haven’t fallen in love with anything yet. I’ll update this article once I find a product I absolutely love. Right now, trying a few competing products and I’ll have to ask my customers what they like the best.

Unfortunately, as folks who have sent out feelers know, your customers usually don’t respond to you unless there’s a complaint. So since there hasn’t been one yet (knocking on wood), I’m assuming things are good.

Be sure to write DO NOT BEND on both sides of the packaging too. You can include a business card or a handwritten note. Or something neat. You don’t have to but it’s a nice gesture and some folks will appreciate that.

Check it out

So here is a completed piece.

This is from Waterfall Girls:

Opium Tales Waterfall Girls
Waterfall Girls – matted and in a plastic wrapping

The matting company’s complete set also comes with that plastic wrapping, which is nice. It keeps fingerprints off the print before it gets to your customer.

This is especially important because when you’re selling at an art show or an art fair, you’ll have a million people flipping through your prints to find the one they like. Not everyone has clean hands.

Anyways, let me know if you have any questions.

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