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Matboard

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So I have never used matboard for my mini projects and need some advice.  I am trimming out the interior of the Vineyard cottage, and am wondering if matboard is the way to go to trim the dormer windows and the new windows I replaced from the kit.  The new windows are from Grandt - plastic Gothic 5 light windows, and did not come with interior trim.

What is the best way to cut the board for curved areas?  I know a new knife blade will be needed and I have read to cut from the backside of the board.  How well does it take paint or stain, if I try to match it to the wood?  I used brown shoe polish on the wood to give it the look I wanted.  I am curious if the brown shoe polish would work on the matboard?  Any other advice?  

Thanks! :wave:

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40 minutes ago, madtex1967 said:

Any other advice? 

Experiment! Absolutely use a brand new eXacto or utility knife blade. Don't press too hard, especially on curves. Several controlled light strokes work best.

You need to chop up a piece of mat board to see what works for you -- what  blade shape, cut front or back, etc. What works for me my not work for you and vice versa. Some folks cut from the back, but I generally cut from the front without issue. And I always cut from the front if cutting a beveled edge. Same advice for coloring: experiment. Can't think why shoe polish or stain wouldn't work, especially if you use a tan (wood shade) mat board, but probably on white as well. :) 

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Remember, you can sand those curves if they don't cut as clean as like. Also, a thin pieces of quilling paper can be glued on the raw edge to smooth it out.

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I have used mat board successfully for many of my miniature furniture projects, but the Queen of mat board in my opinion is Kris Compas.  She has a section devoted to how to work with the product on her website:   http://1inchminisbykris.blogspot.com/

Disclaimer:  one can get lost for several hours on her site :) 

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37 minutes ago, Test said:

...Disclaimer:  one can get lost for several hours on her site :) 

Is THAT ever true!

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I have a hot knife that I find works well.  If I go to slowly, it sometimes leaves a brown mark, but I don't worry about it because I know I will be covering it up.

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Hopefully our own Keifer will pipe in he did an awesome Kitchen using Matt board I thought. I'm hoping to learn too as I will be doing a kitchen using Matt board "Hopefully"

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31 minutes ago, NellBell said:

Hopefully our own Keifer will pipe in he did an awesome Kitchen using Matt board I thought. I'm hoping to learn too as I will be doing a kitchen using Matt board "Hopefully"

Okay I completely missed the fact that Keifer's kitchen was made from mat board!  Count me in on wanting to learn how to do the same!

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MikeUK also used matboard to make many of his minis, if I recall correctly.

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2 hours ago, havanaholly said:

MikeUK also used matboard to make many of his minis, if I recall correctly.

Yes, indeed! I sent him an email asking if he has any words of wisdom to add.

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Mike responded with his usual good humor: 

I did notice the thread and agree with you on the cutting…….always front to back….you just need a bit more care is all. The problem with using the ‘back’ side is that, that side is untreated and so doesn’t take paint as well…….not as stable either. (This is assuming that Mat board is the same on both sides of the Ocean).

Shame the sheets are so large or I’d send some…….just before I dropped out of minis I made a bulk purchase……75 sheets! that’s a big heap. Saved over £3.00 on each sheet though…….clever boy!
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Matboard is a wonderful material! The downside is that is it more prone to bending or water damage. I would not hesitate to use it for small scale houses or 1:12 furniture  and small interior walls. The methods that you would use to cut, sand or paint it are similar to basswood. It is easier to paint than wood, since you don't need a primer. If you have one of the newer Cricut machines, it can cut matboard up to about 1/16 inches thick!

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51 minutes ago, Blue Morning Glory said:

Matboard is a wonderful material!...you don't need a primer...

Seeing as it's used to frame artwork, it's obviously acid free.

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49 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

Seeing as it's used to frame artwork, it's obviously acid free.

Yes ...

Regular mat board is made of wood pulp based paper.  Untreated regular mat board could be a threat to art but it is no longer possible to buy mat board that is untreated.  ...

So we're good to go, right? But ...

The problem with acid is that it migrates.  Once it seeps out of an acid bearing material it can contaminate anything it comes into contact with.  Museums and others who handle valuable heirloom art are concerned that while neutralization can keep acid neutralized for a period of time, once it breaks down it becomes the source of the problem, not the barrier against it.  For them mat board should be a barrier and hindrance to acid migration.  The way to achieve this is to make mat board out of a material that cannot become potentially acidic in the future. 

So it seems that there should be some kind of barrier/primer between the raw wood and the applied mat board unless the mat board is designated to be of archival quality, not just acid free.

See full article here.

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