DIY: Update a photo mat

It's the first Thursday of June, so I'm counting this as "art-related" in lieu of an Artist of the Month post. I have a feeling that this has officially kicked off the slow alteration of every mat in every framed picture in our apartment, because it was so easy and quick with great impact. Let's start with the before:

I am still using the mats that came with the (craft store generic) frames that our watercolor animal paintings are in. Note that this is the third color these frames have been (Ryan got them for me in 2007 or 2008) but the mats have always been plain white. As you can see, snoozeville. And basically no contrast to the pictures inside...

You may remember I have a little experience painting mats with craft paint (see when I updated this one to navy) so after striking out at two framing spots for a new mat in the color I wanted, I was prepared to DIY the perfect shade.

I'm not too particular about paint brands.

I mixed a lot of white with a few drops of blue and a few of dark gray. I wanted a light blue with gray undertones.

After one coat it was looking a little patchy, so I did two coats... each took about five minutes with five minutes drying time in-between. Thin and smooth coats were the key (tried to eliminate brush stroke and keep it glob-free).

I let the second coat dry for a couple hours, then I brought out my new favorite toy, the gold leaf pen, to add a little something special to the inside edge of the mat (the part that is slightly angled).

It was easy to keep the pen on the inner rim - the angle did most of my work for me. Much more difficult to take a photo while doing this step though! And you can see why laying down paper under my project was necessary...

I love the gleam. I let this dry for another few hours.

And BAM.

Love it! Just what that corner needed. I wish I could capture the "after" better, but with the glare on the glass it's a little tricky. But I love them. And really, for about 20 minutes of actual work on them, not bad at all.

What do you think?