No Matting Required

frugal image

Let’s face it, some art and photos need to be matted. I was smitten with desire for a 1939 Collier’s Magazine cover found on a website. I really wanted the magazine cover, but didn’t buy it. My conscience wouldn’t let me pay what the seller was asking. Weeks later I set up a booth at a flea market; nearby was a vendor who had loads of vintage stuff, including stacks of old magazines. Did I mention my gravitation towards vintage magazine and commercial art? The colors in magazine and commercial art of the 1930’s through 1950’s is the most appealing to me. You can imagine the thrill of discovering the very magazine I wanted in one of those stacks! I gasped, trying to control my voice tone while asking how much she wanted for several of them. “Oh, a couple dollars each,” she said. My smile was so big I thought my face would crack. It cost thirty dollars to have that magazine cover double matted. Boy, did I cringe while checking out. I felt the frugal god’s hot displeasure with me (probably just my conscience, but still a really uncomfortable feeling). I did save money by not purchasing the magazine cover online, but that is little comfort to me. Gosh, I still feel a wee-bit guilty, but it was necessary to protect the fragile print.


For a while I’ve been planning to fill an empty space under my kitchen cabinets. Armed with a stack of vintage fruit crate labels and a frame, I began. Selecting prints from the stack was fun. I envisioned how the labels would look beneath the cabinets as I tried several groups of prints before deciding on three.

My collection of colorful crate labels.
My collection of colorful crate labels.

By the way, beautiful vintage crate labels can be very inexpensive, and some can be down-right pricey. I always shop around to find the best bargain and bookmark the sites I like. Click here to visit a good site with lots of interesting items to browse, including crate labels. Etsy has bargains on the labels too, click here to view. Etsy seems to have better prices but as I said, best to shop around first. If you find a site with lower prices, please share with the rest of us!

My first thought was to use material as the background, though a good idea, it would take much longer to finish the project. Using material would require a lot of messy glue and clamps. Staples couldn’t be used to hold the material because they would show. Then I remembered my stash of spray paint. That’s perfect, and it can be finished in less than two hours! I chose a flat black so the colors of the labels would pop more.



After the paint dried I placed one dot of white glue in the corners of each label and carefully place them directly onto the cardboard back. It looks great and there’s no bad feeling because I didn’t pay for expensive matting =) Another plus to finishing this, I will no longer have a set of canisters on my counter. Moving the canisters so that a better photo could be taken is the moment I decided to place them elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, my canisters aren’t ugly. I have a really nice chrome set of Tramontina, purchased at a moving sale for ten bucks, OO-RAH! Go check out what a set of those cost online at full retail and you’ll understand my appreciation for moving sales! My home is small, so making use of every inch (or freeing-up space) is necessary. The canisters have a new perch atop my refrigerator. This adds two and one half feet of clear counter space!

no matting 2


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