Here’s how to cut Custom (non standard sized) mounts

Custom sizes for print mounting.

Kevin Keogh has already given instructions how to cut a mount for an A4 image, and this has already been uploaded to the Club website - here's the link -

This step by step shows how to cut custom sized mounts for images that don't conform to A4 size, which is 297mm x 210mm.

Step 1 - first assemble what you're going to need.

A stable surface to work on - Kitchen table is fine, but make sure you have something to protect it from the cuts which will be made to the mounting board.  I use a large cardboard box with thick walls folded double.  Sheets of newspaper can also be used but make sure they're thick enough to avoid damaging Granny's antique mahogany table.

A stable surface to work on - Kitchen table is fine, but make sure you have something to protect it from the cuts which will be made to the mounting board.  I use a large cardboard box with thick walls folded double.  Sheets of newspaper can also be used but make sure they're thick enough to avoid damaging Granny's antique mahogany table.

An inflexible straight edge as a cutting guide - I use a length of Element shelving which is very strong and won't bend or flex while you are cutting the board.  Avoid wooden strips as the scalpel (or Stanley knife) can cut into the wood resulting in wavy lines.  A metal right angle set square is also a good idea - available periodically from Aldi and LIDL.

A measuring tape, a scalpel (or Stanley knife) but they must be very sharp.  A blunt knife will make a mess of the cutting and look bad.  Health and Safety warning - scalpels are best but are razor sharp and even brushing off one can result in a bad cut, and getting blood on your mounting board!!

A Logan Bevel Mount Cutter - check the internet for options - some tape to hold the print in place on the mount, and a pencil with a fine point (not included in the photo).

Step 2 - prepare a sheet of Daler board.  This comes in sheets measuring 840mm x 596mm and is available in a range of colours from stationery suppliers.  Black is a good neutral colour to use but white and cream / ivory are other popular choices.  The colour of the board can add to the visual presentation of your images, and even though judges at the Club say they don't consider the mounting when awarding points, a well presented and professional looking mount will subconsciously influence they way they see the image presented.  You can experiment with various colours in Picasa - click on your image then on the 5th tab with the blue sky and paintbrush, and then the "Border" option, 3rd row right hand option, Outer colour > select from the colour palette, Outer colour width > set slider to maximum (right hand side).  Clicking on the various colours will give you an idea of how the choice of mount colour will affect your image.  Use the inner colour options if you want a double mount, which you can then print as part of your final print for mounting.

I cut the Daler board big sheet into 4 equal sheets as shown below.

First, cut the sheet in two by measuring the long side 840mm and marking the board at 420mm on each side.  Remember with all the cuttings in this procedure - measure twice, cut once.

Using the right angle set square, mark the board with your fine point pencil.

Using the straight metal edge as a guide, carefully position it along the cutting line, and applying gentle pressure on the scalpel cut the board in two.  You may need several strokes to cut the board.  Don't exert great pressure on the scalpel - it will cut through in 2 or 3 strokes if it is sharp enough.  Male sure that the straight edge cutting guide doesn't move between strokes.

You have now cut the big board into two.  The next step is to cut the 2 resulting smaller boards into 2.  The long side of these smaller boards in 592mm, so half this size is 296mm.

So measure the boards to 296mm and mark them as before with the right angle set square.  Then cut them using the cutting guide and scalpel as described above.

You now have cut the original big board into 4 smaller identical boards, each measuring ? x ? mm

Next select and print your images to be mounted.  In the picture below there are 5 images, 2 of which on the left (Rusty Railings and Beach Scene) are A4 sized and can be cut using Kevin Keogh's instructions (from the Clondalkin Camera Club website).

The others will need custom mounts cut.  The Rainbow scene is slightly off A4, while the Bray Seafront railings and the 5 gulls are definitely odd sizes.  It would be possible to cut mounts without cutting the prints which are printed on A4 paper, but a far easier way is to trim the prints, and then custom cut the mounts accordingly.

You can use a paper trimmer like the one shown (available from Aldi and LIDL occasionally and costing about 15.00 euro).

Alternatively you can use your straight edge and scalpel to trim the mount.  Make sure to have the straight edge on the scrap piece of the print and not over the printed image to avoid damage to the print itself.  Leave the size of the white border the same all round.

Using the print trimmer you will need to position the sheet to be trimmed thus.

Once you have trimmed the prints you will end up with prints like this.

Once you have trimmed the mounts you need to decide where to position them in the cardboard mount.  Try them in different positions as can be seen in the photos below.

First image shows the image at the bottom of the mount......

or in the middle of the mount.....

or at the top of the mount....

and it's this one (top mount) which I will choose to mount.

Turn the mount over so that the back (white) side is facing up and position the trimmed print on it.

Aligning the top left hand corner of the trimmed image to the top left hand corner of the mount as below.

Mark the board at the right hand edge of the print.

and the same for the bottom of the image.

For the side borders remove the trimmed print and measure the distance from the line you marked to the edge of the cut mount - in this case it's 123mm.

Divide the 123mm by 2 to get 61.5mm each side.  Normally the side borders are the same measurement to have the print centered in the mount.

Round the 61.5mm to 62mm, 0.5mm is too small to make a difference.  Draw a line using your straight edge 62mm in from the edge of the mounting board thus...

Turn the mounting board through 180 degrees and repeat the last step.

The back of the board now looks like this, with the trimmed image centered on the mount.

That's the side borders marked for cutting.  Now let's tackle the top and bottom borders.  Turn the mount through 90 degrees and repeat the process for the top and bottom borders.  In this case, it is usual to have the top border half the size of the bottom border, so instead of dividing the number on the right of the mark you made earlier, divide it by 3, and in this case the figures are 190mm divided by 3 = 63mm (for the top border) and 127mm for the bottom border.

Place the trimmed mount in it's centered position and mark the bottom of the image as shown below.

Using your straight edge draw a line across the back of the mount as below...

So now the back of the mount looks like this, with the image centered equally left and right borders, and 1/3 : 2/3 top and bottom borders.

If that looks okay, no lines crooked or off centre, it's okay to proceed to the next step which is the actual cutting of the mount with the Logan Bevel Cutter (or equivalent).  Don't try to cut the mount with a scalpel or a Stanley knife - it won't work.  Believe me, I've tried it and wasted time and mounting boards in the process.

Place the straight edge exactly on the marked line for cutting as below.

Make sure it's exactly on the marked line, not as in the image below.

If you were to cut along this line the hole in the mount would be too big and the print would fall out the front of the mount.

Make sure the The Logan Mount cutter has a sharp blade in it.   Blades are cheap compared to the price of mounting boards, and if they are not sharp the finished mount will look unprofessional.  The Logan Mount Cutter has 2 guide marks on it.  Place the cutter on the mounting board pressed against the straight edge and align the lower guide mark against the line to be cut. 

Using your thumb, press the blade into the mount, and using steady and firm pressure move the cutter along the marked line stopping when the the upper guide line meets the line you have marked on the mounting board.

It is vital that the straight edge does not move from the marked line during the cutting process.  If it does, the mount will not be cut properly, and you need to start from scratch again.  Don't be rude if this happens.  Put it down to experience!!

Turn the board anti clockwise through 90 degrees and repeat the cutting process.  When you have cut all 4 sides, you should be able to lift the outside of the mount leaving the cutout behind as below.  Save the cutout for use as a backing board.

The next step is to fit the custom trimmed print to the mount.  Align the print to the intersection of the lines on the back of the mount - make sure you have the mount and the print right way up!!  Fix with a small piece of tape as shown on the top corners.

Turn the mount over to see how it looks, and if you're happy with it stick a small piece of tape to the bottom centre of the print to attach it firmly to the mount to avoid it slipping during handling etcetera...

Once the print is firmly attached to the mount add some backing to the back of the print to protect and strengthen the mount.  You can use the offcuts and the panels cut out to make the window for this.  Secure with strong tape.  In my experience, masking tape tends to come apart and the prints fall out of the mounts.

Finally, if entering the image into a Club competition you need to add the following - your grade - N for Novice, I for Intermediate, or A for Advanced, underscore, Your membership Number (if unsure ask the Competition Secretary), underscore, and the Title of the image.  Use a descriptive name, not Image 1, image 2, and so on.

In this example, the Competition Secretary knows that the image is for the Intermediate Competition, from member Number 8802 and it' title is "5 Gulls".

Good luck with the Custom Mount Cutting.

Remember, if you need help, just ask - that's what the Club is for.