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French Desk Set: Fabric Matted Frame

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After covering this plain mat with a scrap of the stunning French General Rounneries Oiseaux Bird Roche fabric used in our French Desk Set, we gave it a vintage feel with a few bits of trim and one cute flea market button. Including repainting the frame, this project took 30 minutes.

What I like about this mat is the texture... the linen in the fabric, and contours of the lace, the rick-rack and button – are all enhanced by keeping the color neutral. Nothing detracts.

You can find a great selection of Moda's beautiful French General fabric online from our friends at FatQuarterShop. Our thanks to them for supplying all the fabric for our French Desk Set tutorials.


  • Frame with a pre-cut mat: we used a 10" x 10" frame matted for a 5" x 5" photo, we found ours at Michael's
  • Paint for repainting the frame (optional): we used Krylon Brushed Metallic Satin in Caramel Latte
  • A scrap of fabric about 2" wider and taller than your mat
  • Scrap trim (lace, rick-rack, ribbon) and button(s)
  • Spray adhesive that is suitable for fabric: we used Elmer's Craft Bond Spray Adhesive
  • Needle & thread for sewing on button(s)
  • Scissors
  • See-through ruler
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • Fabric pencil or pen


  1. If you're going to paint your frame, I suggest you do that first. I used a Krylon spray paint that claimed it "Dries in 10 Minutes or Less." It did! While your paint dries (don't watch it, I hear that's boring), get to work on your mat.
  2. I chose not to use the glass that came with the frame, so the lovely tactile surface is left unobscured.
  3. If you are using a patterned fabric like ours, align your frame over it to take best advantage of the pattern. I placed the mat on a dark table and could see where my fabric pattern would be on the mat.
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  4. Hold your fabric to your mat and flip it so the fabric is face down and the back of the mat is up. Use your fabric pen to trace around the frame.
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  5. Use your see-through ruler and rotary cutter to trim about one inch from the drawn outside and inside edges of the mat (or mark and cut with scissors). Clip into each inside corner as shown below. Spray the back side of your fabric with adhesive spray.
    NOTE: I spray into a deep box with newspaper lining the bottom, which keeps the spray from wafting where it doesn't belong.
  6. Lay your mat, right side down, onto the wrong side of your fabric, aligning to your marks.
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  7. Fold the fabric onto the mat (the adhesive on the fabric will stick to the mat). I started by folding back the center hole pieces. Next, I turned the outside corners down at a 45˚ angle as shown below. Finally, I folded the outer edges to finish wrapping my mat.
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You can stop now or add embellishments.

I added two strips of rick-rack which I simply taped to the back of the mat so only the peaks showed through the photo opening. Then I cut two strips of cotton lace trim. I attached one with spray adhesive, then sewed a button onto the other first, right where I knew the strips would intersect. Spray the back of the second piece of lace trim and press into place.

I let the mat dry for about 10 minutes and put it into the newly-painted frame.

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You could embellish your frame in countless ways; I thought about fabric yo-yos, covered buttons, tiny shells, pretty ribbons, a bit of hand embroidery, and sewing on seed beads to enhance the pattern in the fabric.



Comments (2)

Anna Bee said:
Anna Bee's picture
Yay! I compulsively save fabric scraps and this is a wonderful chance for me to put them to use. Thanks!
Carolyn Arthur said:
Carolyn Arthur's picture
Thanks! Oh this is such a good idea. I am making the bedding for my first granddaughter and your idea has certainly given me an idea. This will be just one more way to use the fabrics to enhance the scene. Thanks again.