Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mat Board Larceny

After matting for a week, I found myself pulling the last sheet of board from under the bed. Time to re-order. Hopped online to my usual art supply websites and was about to place an order when I realized it would arrive too late, since I'm leaving for Comic-con on Tuesday. No matter, I could get a sheet or two from local stores. It couldn't be that much more expensive than the $5.60 per sheet that I get online right?

An hour later I'm at Aaron Bros. frame shop, picking up a few frames that I needed for the shows as well. I got distracted by the friendly fellow at the counter as he started talking about painting with watercolors on canvas. Sounded like an interesting prospect. At the checkout, I remembered I needed two sheets of mat board, and belatedly asked about it. "It's $12.50 per sheet," he said.

I winced. Well, I was already checking out, and I could maybe find some cheaper elsewhere. "Nevermind that for now," I said, and he rung up the frames for me.

I swung by Michael's later. Marched to the framing department in the back. "Do you sell uncut mat board?" I asked.

The young man there scratched his head for a moment, then said, "Yeah I think we do," and offered me the array of colors to chose from. After I repeatedly attempted to select a color only to have him look in back and tell me, "We don't have that one," I finally said, "Well, do you have anything purple?" he comes back with a lilac sheet that would do nicely.

"I'll take it," I told him, not even asking the cost.

He started to punch in arcane codes into the computer to get the price. "I think this should be about $16.00 or so per sheet," he mumbled, fingers busy at the keyboard. I winced a bit harder. But at this point I was willing to just take it anyway. After several minutes he said, "Oh sorry, I was wrong, it's not $16.00." Ah good, I thought, that did seem rather pricey. "It's $35.00 per sheet."

My jaw dropped at that, and I couldn't help laughing out loud. "Are you sure you're looking at the right thing?" He turned the monitor out so I could view it. I laughed again, then told him, "I don't need it that badly!"

* * *

Well after those adventures, I headed home, and did eventually manage to scrounge up a scrap sheet just barely big enough for my needs.

And by the way, for mat board.


  1. again - they are fabulous, oh and thanks for the link ;) $35 ... redonkulous !!!

  2. Lovely ink drawings. I will sooooo clear my schedule if you ever do a con near Dallas/Fort Worth!

    I wonder if, one day, all shopping will be done online. I bet, even with shipping, the online mat board was cheaper than the store bought.

  3. I bought a set of mat corners just so I could order matboard online without worrying if I was getting the right shade. :P

  4. I think Michael's ridiculous price was due to the fact that they probably want you to get a custom framing job rather than doing it yourself.

  5. That's just ridiculous! I think I would have laughed out loud, too. I have noticed their prices are a little (way) on the high end. Thanks for the shopping tip!:)

  6. I know you don't often need to go out and buy them at a store, but this is for the next time you do! If you don't mind going all the way into Berkeley, Utrecht Art Supply (disclaimer: I work there :P) on University Ave has mat boards for six or seven bucks (I can't remember the exact price, but online it's listed as $31 for a pack of five, so it's gonna be something like that).