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Tutorials and artistic advices

Framing: Decorate a mat with a wash drawing and filigree lines

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Embellish the mat with a delicate colored line? A classic framing element! Cut from colored paper, drawn or wash painted, the filigree line will increase the impact of your subjects, whether classic or contemporary. 


Good to know

  • The wash drawing (a line painted with diluted ink or watercolors) must be painted on water-resistant laminated paper.
  • This technique, very demanding, requires time and calm: did you turn off the phone? Your children are at school or away on vacation?
    3, 2, 1: let's go!
  • Choose colors that harmonize with those in your project.


Paint a line 


Materials: 1 3H pencil, 1 watercolor or 1 diluted ink color of your choice, 1 wash brush, 1 water jar

  • On a scrap of laminate board, make color tests, diluting more or less, until you obtain the desired shade.
  • On the laminate board, trace, around the mat opening (previously cut), the frame in which you will paint the wash drawing. With the 3H pencil, make a small channel that will contain the color and keep it inside the designated frame.
  • Dampen the inside of the frame with clean water, using the wash brush.
  • Load your brush with sufficient color to complete the line from one end to the other. Work very quickly, starting from the corners. Repeat on the 3 other sides. Connect before allowing to dry.


Protect the outline of the area to be painted with strips of masking tape. Extend your wash with a paintbrush or create texture with a sponge or a stiff brush.


Apply ink filigree lines


  • With a straight edge and pencil make reference marks around the mat opening. Space them as you like
  • Paint a watercolor line, with a wash brush.
  • When inking, always begin with the line closest to the mat opening, then make the others in succession.
  • Position a straight edge, preferably skid-proof, on the reference line. Draw the line with a fountain or felt-tip pen, using a nib of the desired weight. 
  • Move the straight edge to draw the other lines.


Pens are easier to use than a traditional ruling pen, a type of adjustable nib holder (which allows you to control the width of the line). Careful, they have a short life!


Gluing a paper filigree line


  • In colored paper, use a paper cutter to make four lines (two for the length and two for the width): use the dimensions of the mat opening + 2 cm extra.
  • Plan their placement on the mat.
  • Put a coat of white glue on a glazing plate, apply the line, then take it off.
  • Glue it to the mat and cut the ends on the bias with a cutter.


Suggested products

Canson® Mi-Teintes® mount boards

See also

Framing: Mount the work on the backing board
Encadrement : Fixer l’œuvre sur la carte de centrage
After days of intense concentration, the moment has arrived to hang your frame on the wall. Hardly time to admire your work and it has already slipped from the mat... To avoid this disappointment, think of fastening the document to a mounting board, made from paperboard.