If you’re into scrapbooking like me, you’ve probably seen “mat stacks” for sale at your local craft store. Mat stacks are stacks of cardstock paper (printed or plain) sized just over 4 inches by 6 inches. These stacks of paper are meant for “matting” your photos – in other words, layering your photo on a piece of paper to give it some dimension when creating your layouts. Some mat stacks have acid-free adhesive to make photo matting easier, while others are simply pieces of cardstock.
Benefits of using mat stacks when scrapbooking:
Saves time: The best part of using a mat stack for scrapbooking is that it’s already cut in the shape of the majority of your pictures-4 x 6. It takes the time and guesswork of getting the right size mat for your photo. The work is already done for you. As mentioned before, some mat stacks come with adhesive, saving even more time.
Mat stacks easily match lines of paper: DCWV (Die Cuts With a View), a popular line of paper sold at craft stores such as Joann’s and Michaels, makes mat stacks that match their full size 12×12 lines of printed paper. So, if you’re doing layouts using, for example, “The Pet Stack,” buying “The Pet Stack” mat stack makes for easy mix-and-matching within the layouts.
Mat stacks can be used for other purposes: You don’t HAVE to use mat stacks for matting photos. Some paper crafters use mat stacks for card making (they’re the perfect size!) or others use it if they like the line of paper, but don’t need the large and expensive 12×12 stack. Mat stacks also make for easy cutting on the Cricut die cut machine (especially the smaller, “Baby Bug” Cricut personal electronic die cutting machine).
Disadvantages of using mat stacks when scrapbooking
Mat stacks can be expensive: If you’re a scrapper, you know how expensive this hobby can be. There’s ALWAYS something to buy, and mat stacks are another one of these things. Sometimes, it’s simply more economical to cut the paper yourself. Keep in mind that you can purchase mat stacks on sale (Joann’s frequently puts the DCWV line on sale) or on clearance, if you are lucky.
Cropping photos to smaller sizes: If you tend to crop down your 4×6 photos, you’ll need to trim the mat stack. If you crop your photos a lot, buying mat stacks might not make sense.
Bottom line on mat stacks for scrapbooking? It depends on what kind of “scrapper” you are! If you’re like me, and are pressed for time, buying the mat stacks can save a lot of time. However, if you’re on a budget, you might want to cut your own mats or wait until the mat stacks go on sale. Like everything with scrapbooking, there are no rules!