Make: Baby's First Prints - Nursery Decor

I recently decorated my sister's nursery with a black and white theme.  She had purchased a first prints kit from Carter's, but the colors didn't match the theme.  I had suggested that I could look for a frame with two open windows.  It turns out nothing really fit what I was looking for.  Baby prints are pretty small so the standard 4x6 and 5x7 windows were too big.  So I decided to try cutting my own custom mat for this project.


  • Narrow picture frame
  • Push style mat cutter (here)
  • Mat board
  • Blade
  • Straight Edge / Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Tape (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Stamps / Markers / Paint for adding the design to the mat

Preparing Mat Cutter

The mat cutter comes with a few blades.  You will need to install the blade.

  • Unscrew the knob that secures the blade.
  • Place the blade so that the oval opening opens up to the screw hole.  The blade should point down.
  • Secure the blade in place by tightening the screw.

Preparing Gridlines for Mat Cutting

  • Use the cardboard backing from the frame to cut out the correct size mat.
  • Use your straight edge / ruler and pencil to draw grid lines for where you want to place the windows.  Be sure to draw the lines on the back of the mat.
  • TIP: Cut out paper to represent the mat windows.  Use this as a guide to determine optimal window placing.

Cutting the Mat Windows

  • TIP: Tape sandpaper to the bottom of your straight edge.  This will keep the ruler from slipping when using your mat cutter.
  • Place your straight edge on the outside of your cut line and hold firmly down.
  • Place the mat cutter on the inside of your cut line against the straight edge.  Use the start/stop guide to determine where to place the cutter.
  • Push the blade into the mat and move the cutter along the straight edge, stopping when the start/stop guide reaches the end of your cut line.
  • Repeat these steps for all window edges.
  • You should now have your windows cut out with a nice beveled edge.

Now decorate your frame!  I chose to use hand carved stamps placed above and below the window openings.  For a refresher on how to make stamps see my older post here. Enjoy!