Mats and Layers in Paper Crafting

Using mats and layers effectively is an essential paper crafting skill to develop.  It's pretty easy when one layer is 1/4" smaller than the one it sits on, but what about other common mat sizes? 

As an example, look at the interest created by the different sized mats on this card.

Comparing sizes of mats and layers in handmade card

When cutting and measuring mats, most paper crafters will add or subtract a fraction to each dimension of the layer on top of it.  So when I talk about a 1/4" mat, for example, it's not 1/4" smaller on each side, it is actually 1/8" smaller on each side. In the above example, the Baja Breeze layers are 1/4" mats.

Sometimes you want a really skinny mat, like the Rose Red layer that is under the Old Olive mat.  It can help add a striking accent without overpowering the other colors.

If you've done any of my tutorials, you know that I often use 3/16" mats.  They give a nice border without being as weighty as a 1/4" mat, which is especially useful for small focal points.  The Old Olive mat under the stamped image is a good example

Do you groan at the thought of measuring 16ths of an inch?  Many of my customers used to, until I sat down with them in a class I taught them how to read 16ths on a ruler.

The Mad Stampers Club tutorial for this month has eleven mats with measurements like 1-13/16" x 2-15/16".  So to keep my club members from pulling their hair out, I decided to help them out with a little video about making friends with 16ths.

Since it isn't part of the free tutorial they earned by placing an order, I made it a public video, and thought I'd share it with you.  Maybe you're already good at fractions, and your elementary school lessons on reading a ruler are still serving you. 

But if you're one of the many people who couldn't make sense of that lesson, or forgot it as soon as possible, or maybe even never had that lesson, then you'll appreciate this video.

If you want the drawings and list of fractions I showed in the video, use this link:

Download Making Friends with 16ths

Leave me a comment and let me know if this was helpful.  I like to know what my followers want/need to learn!  Then go back to your paper crafting room and practice making mats and layers of different sizes. 

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