DIY Picture Frame Mats Using Wallpaper

How to use leftover wallpaper or even gift wrap to make decorative mats for photos and picture frames.

After using wallpaper on walls in your home or gift wrapping a gift you may end up having some paper leftover. Don’t throw these gift wrap or wallpaper scraps out. You can use the excess paper to add color and style to other decorative items in your home – I just did. I made 9 plain picture mats look like custom mats easily and inexpensively.

In your space, maybe you would like to see a color change, or the picture frame mats in your frames have become faded from the sun or discolored over time.

This DIY picture frame mat idea is very easy to do. It will reward you with the likes of a custom frame mat.

I wanted to change the 9 black picture frames with white mats that I hung as a grid gallery wall in my living room a few years ago.

Faux barnwood paneled wall in living room with photo gallery, white sofa with green pillows and seagrass rug.

Over time the photos faded and the white mats became yellowed – some more than others. I knew I needed to change them out or remove the gallery wall completely from the living room.

I like seeing favorite family photos on the wall, so I went the replacement route.

Supplies needed to make a picture frame mat

To brighten up the room for summer, I decided to spray paint the frames white and give the discolored mats a new look with tan grasscloth wallpaper remnants I found at a church rummage sale for $3.00.

If you shop at rummage sales or thrift shops for photo frames there are many creative ways to upcycle photo frames in a decorative way.

9 grid gallery wall in living room with grasscloth wallpaper remnant photo frame mats.

I also painted the wood paneling white. I knew I would want to do this eventually and even as we were putting it on the wall a few years ago, I told Ed, “You know I will want to paint over this in a few years as I like to see change.”

With the white walls and frames, I decided to use color photos instead of black and white. The color changes and wallpaper covered mats make a huge impact-custom framing for a fraction of the cost.

How to Cover Picture Frame Mats Tutorial

If you have leftover wallpaper or even pretty gift wrap you like, you can cover the existing picture frame mats with the leftovers.

Here is the easy tutorial showing how to cover an existing mat or even making your own basic DIY picture mat out of a mat board, piece of cardboard, dollar store foam board or even a piece of cardstock.

Covering these can change any framed piece of art or picture and give them an infusion of new color and style.

supplies needed to cover a picture frame mat with leftover wallpaper.

supplies needed:

  • Wallpaper remnants or scraps or gift wrap – amount needed will be determined by the size of your frame
  • Spray adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Painter’s tape

Time needed: 15 minutes

How to Cover an Existing Photo Mat with Wallpaper

  1. Remove Mat From Frame

    Carefully remove the mat from the back of the frame. Remove photo and set aside if using again.

    Cut a piece of wallpaper that is slightly larger – 2″ on all sides than the size of the mat.

    Center mat face down or cut wallpaper and check that the cut piece of paper has at least 1-1/2″ to 2″ on each sides.

    how to make custom picture frame mats

  2. Glue

    Using spray adhesive, spray the back of the wallpaper and the front of the mat making sure you cover the surfaces well. Let the adhesive get tacky for about 15 seconds. Then place the mat on the wallpaper.

    Turn over and smooth the wallpaper on the front of the mat to make sure there are no air bubbles.
    Spraying spray glue on the back of wallpaper to cover a picture frame mat.

  3. Cut Paper at Corners

    Cut the paper at each corner of the mat as shown.
    snipping corner of wallpaper to cover a picture frame mat

  4. Wrap Paper Around Mat

    Using your fingers, wrap the paper around the corners and sides of the mat and smooth along the back of the mat to make sure the paper adheres.
    grasscloth wrapped around corner of photo frame mat.

  5. Tape Back of Mat

    Using painter’s tape, secure the edges of the paper to the back of the mat.

    grasscloth taped around corner of photo frame mat.

  6. Cut Out Center of The Mat

    Using a craft knife, make diagonal cuts in the center of the mat and directly into each corner as shown.

    Cutting center of wallpaper to make a new mat for a picture frame.

  7. Fold Cuts Back

    Once cuts are made in the center, fold the cuts back.

    Cutting center of wallpaper and folding it to make a new mat for a picture frame.

  8. Trim & Secure

    Trim excess paper and secure to the back of the mat.

    taping down center of wallpaper in photo frame mat opening.

  9. Add Photo

    Have your art or photo sized slightly larger than the mat opening. Center the artwork or photo on the back over the opening. Use painter’s tape to secure.

    Put frame back together and hang.

    close up of grasscloth mat in frame

OPTION: Create Impact Using A Small Photo in a Large Frame

Even if you don’t have existing mats in your frames, using wallpaper to make a simple DIY photo mat is a way to use a small photo in a large frame. Making a mat will also add a personal touch to the framed image.

How to Do This: Simply cut out the wallpaper to the size of the frame and then cut the opening on the wallpaper the size of your existing photo. Instant impact for a small piece of art or a photo.

Completed Wallpaper Wrapped Picture Frame Mats

photo of pretty girl in a frame with wallpaper made into a mat for the frame.

I have a bright new look for the short wall in my living room now. Please ignore the reflections in the picture frame glass. The grasscloth mats look perfect.

color photo of family in grasscloth wallpaper matted picture frame.

I didn’t want to have to remove the glass in each of the frames or wait until the sun was not shining in the room just to take blog photos where glass reflections and shadows were showing. :-).

Creative Ideas: What Can You Do With Wallpaper Scraps?

Maybe you don’t have frames with mats in your home. They are only one creative way you can use wallpaper scraps to decorate your home.

Here is a list of other decorative ideas and DIY projects you can do using leftover wallpaper scraps. Even the smallest scraps of wallpaper or gift wrap can add style to your space.

  • Besides using to cover a picture frame mat, you can also simply frame a piece of pretty wallpaper to use as art.
  • Cover a piece of furniture that has straight sides. Use spray glue to attach it.
  • Line the back of a bookcase or the undersides of each high shelf.
  • Cover books and use them as lifts for lamps or small decorations on a table.
  • Cover with clear contact paper to make pretty placemats.
  • Decoupage small scraps onto lamp bases or ugly vases.
  • Line drawers and also to the sides of each drawer for an unexpected pop of color and pattern.
  • Cover a lampshade.
  • Decorate stair risers.
  • Wrap a gift.
Picture frame mat ideas

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  1. Such a cool idea!! I love the tip of wrapping books in pretty paper to use as risers. I always look for vintage books to do that but have a hard time finding them. Wrapping books I already own would be so easy!! Thanks for the ideas!

  2. Hi, Diane! I love this project and am going to check my stash of papers today,lol! Quick question though…why did you wrap the wallpaper around the mat rather than just cut it the size of the mat? Personal preference?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sharon – I wrapped the grasscloth around the existing mats to keep the ends of the cut paper from fraying. I was afraid when I cut the paper that some of the grass would stick up or rip. Another reason was I wanted the inside photo placement square of the mat to look more custom-framed since there is a slight bevel on the mat. Just cutting the paper to the size of the mat as you mentioned, works well also – especially if the mat is flat and has no center bevel around the photo opening.

  3. This is a great idea and using wallpaper and gift wrap on bulletin boards is an old teacher

  4. Brilliant!!! I have a number of black Aaron Bros matted frames that this using idea would be fantastic. Also a set of 4 frames in white. I’m in a modern coastal inspired home making this an awesome idea!!! Now searching for some grass cloth wallpaper or a similar textured material. Maybe a roll of textured something (??) that’s not wallpaper. Thank you for this idea!!!

  5. Great look and what a steal on the grass cloth.

  6. I love it Diane ! What a great inexpensive idea.

  7. Christine Reilly says:

    I love them!! Seriously stunning!

  8. Donna Marie says:

    Looks really good!!!

  9. Mary Price says:

    Wow, what an insightful idea! Did the mat fit back into the frame ok?

    1. I love your ideas! Beautiful and affordable! You give me inspiration and courage.


  10. That is really clever. Your ability to always come up with new ideas continues to amaze me.

  11. Fabulously done ! Bravo 👏

  12. $3 for all that texture. Love it. Beautiful job.