Asked on May 26, 2015

How to paint a photo mat

Melinda Edwards
by Melinda Edwards
I finally found the perfect collage photo mat and frame. I have almost finished placing very old family pictures. I just found a small stain on the mat, about the size of a quarter, or bigger. There is not a way to hide this ugly spot! Is there a way that I could paint the entire mat? Maybe a spray paint of some sort?
  10 answers
  • Jacalyn Jacalyn on May 26, 2015
    I think I'd try to camouflage it. Can you stick so ething over the stain that is meaningful in some way, like an old political button or service medal?
  • Darla Darla on May 26, 2015
    You can paint with acrylic paint, but there is a high risk of making a mistake.
  • Shari Shari on May 26, 2015
    Yes, absolutely, mats can be painted! I painted several mats (and frames) after we moved to our current home. The mat colors (and/or frames) I had used in our previous house didn't work with the wall colors I selected for our current house, but I still liked and wanted to use the prints. I have used craft paint and the sample size jars of latex paint you get from places like Lowes and Home Depot. I don't see why you couldn't use spray paint too, if that is what you would prefer. Unfortunately though, you will have to remove the mat from the frame and also take out all the photos, even if you use a paint brush. You definitely don't want to risk getting paint on your photos! Below is just one example of a mat and frame I painted. I also have a very large print that I paid a lot of money to have professionally matted and framed for the living room at our old house. The mat had a velvety-like texture to it and I was able to paint it too so it would work in the new house.
    comment photo
    comment photo
  • B. Enne B. Enne on May 26, 2015
    Spray paint works, however I don't know if it can damage your photos long term. I did it with a copy of a pic. I just used cheapy water based (?) paint.
  • Kathie Condon Kathie Condon on May 26, 2015
    I would have scanned the old photos and printed them out. That way if you mess something up, the original is safe and you can make another print. And you have them stored on a hard drive or preferably in a cloud.
  • Melinda Edwards Melinda Edwards on May 26, 2015
    Thanks Kathie, the pics are all just fine. I just noticed a spot on the edge of the mat, was probably there from the beginning, just destroys the look I had planned; my parents when they were young and through the years.
  • Melinda Edwards Melinda Edwards on May 26, 2015
    Thanks everyone. At this point, I have just positioned pictures on the back of this collage mat, nothing is stuck there permanently. I can easily remove the pictures to paint/repair the mat when it is totally empty. I guess I wasn't specific enough, I only need to paint, or whatever, to be able to use this mat with the pictures that will go into it.
  • Louise Adkins Louise Adkins on May 27, 2015
    Spray paint the mat, just be sure to use light coats so that you don't have runs. I've done it before and had no problems. Good Luck.
  • Melinda Edwards Melinda Edwards on May 27, 2015
    Extra big thank yous to Louise! It's good to hear from everyone, but especially someone who has had experience doing this. I appreciate your warning about light coats, makes sense. I don't know how/why this happened, I'm wondering if the mat was damaged when I received it and I was so involved fitting and choosing pictures, that I missed this spot. I've tried to be extra careful to keep any food or drink (diet coke) far away from projects. Your help is much appreciated.
  • J Brown J Brown on Nov 23, 2020

    I have used a thinned paint and applied it with a stick foam. Using several "'washes" until I liked the color. Be sure to let it dry between washes. foam