Monday, 16 September 2013

Matting & Layering Lexie Style - tutorial

Morning everyone!

Hope you all had a great weekend and that you've had a look at the challenge and are busy planning what you're going to be making for your entries!  :o)

I did say when I started this blog that I will be doing all sorts of things on here including tutorials, and here is the first of many - I hope!

I know that most people know how to mat and layer their cards but a lot of people who are new to crafting don't know AND a lot of people don't do it my way..or any way at all, lol.

I'm a big fan of digital papers rather than real paper kits, and this is how I plan out my cards and layouts.

We all know how important matting and layering is in our cards.  It makes the difference between a homemade card and a handcrafted card...if you use matting layers your cards look instantly more professional.

I'm a bit tight when it comes to spending out on ink and cardstock when crafting so here's how I plan things out so that I can make sure they're going to work, make sure the colours match up and work out my layout.  And doing it this way means that you only print out what you need so you save ink and card.

I use various software programmes when I'm designing...MCS (My Craft Studio), Serif Craft Artist, Docrafts Digital Designer...  My favourite is MCS, though there are a few things it can't do.  I have used MCS for this tutorial as it's nice and clear for demo purposes.

For this tutorial I am using my downloadable  Vintage Lady Card Kit.

1.  Bring all the elements you wish to use into the programme.

For this project I am using a kit that I designed myself.  I have pulled onto the screen one matting layer (which is shown four times in this image as I need to cut four shapes and sizes out of it) and four different but matching papers.  If I hadn't already created the kit I would have used the colour picker tool to pick a shade from one of the papers and used that to create the matting layer).  I would usually bring the topper on at this point but haven't for this tutorial.


I have made all the papers and matting layers the same size which means that I can use the virtual punch tool to cut the shapes out rather than to alter the size using the corners which would distort the patterns and make them different sizes for different layers (not so important in this project).  The blue square is the virtual punch.

I like to use 6 x 6 scalloped edge cards so find that 14 cm square is perfect for the first matting layer.  I don't like wide borders around the papers so I have taken the punch down to 13.5 cm for the first paper layer and I'm using that to punch out the perfect size.

So that's been cut out and I've placed it over the first matting layer...and grouped them together so that I can move them around to play with.  

I have followed the process for the second set of mat and layer, taking 0.5 cm from both the length and the width for the paper layer. 


Here I'm having a little play around to see where I want the next layer to be.  I've punched out the  mat and layer set (square this time).  I already know what layout I'm going to create as it's one of my favourite ones but you can have a lot of fun playing around and moving things about when you're using software for your designing. 

Now I'm working out the size of the next mat I need to punch out.  By trying it out with the virtual punch itself, you can make any adjustments before cutting and possibly distorting the matting layer.

And then you use that punch to create that matting layer before removing 0.5 cm from the length and width to cut the paper to go with it.


And I've not brought in the chosen topper for the card and this is how the finished (but unembellished) card will look once made up.


Once you are happy with your layout, take it all apart and lay it out on the design area how you would like to print it.  You can fill the white areas in with sentiments or even extra pieces of the matting layer so you can punch shapes out for the embellies.  Then you just print it out and cut it out before assembling your latest work of art!  I always cut out two of the second sheet as I like to make the inside of the card match the front.  Often I will follow the other layers on the inside as well, but with this layout the card would weigh a ton if I did that!

Obviously, if you don't have or want to use software you just find the matting card to match the papers as closely as you can and then just cut the layers out again taking 0.5 cm off the length and width of the papers (my preference) to form the mats and layers.

And here's why you should spend the time doing the matting layers.  Both these cards (unfinished as I didn't want to detract from the matting and layering) have the same layouts but one has the matting layers and the other doesn't.  What a huge difference matting makes.  That's why it's so important.  In the version with the matting layers it would take very little embellishing to finish that card off.  I'd smother the other version in embellies to hide how weak it looked!  :o)

I hope that you liked the tutorial and have found it helpful.
Take care everyone & happy crafting!


  1. A brilliant tutorial Lexie, the cards really do look different. The matting layers give the second one a more professional look xx

  2. Like you I use software to do draft layouts, and it takes away all the angst about cutting shapes and then wasting paper if you don't like the result. Preparing a tutorial like this is really helpful especially to those new to digital crafting. Wish I'd seen one when I first started! Thanks

  3. I use another program but this is exactly how I plan my cards :) Thank you for sharing!
    Eret x

  4. wow, that is a lot of work, but your cards always look lovely. Thank you for sharing your secrets Lexie.

  5. Great tutorial and I am really pleased to be part of Scribble and Scrap

  6. Thank you everyone! Glad to see that you're enjoying the Scribble and Scrap blog.


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