Mounting Textile Art on Artist Stretchers

Small pieces of textile art too small to be called ‘quilts’ in my opinion really need to be framed or mounted in such a way to make them look important and not like a potholder just hanging on a nearby wall.  There are different ways to do this, w/wo frames, w/wo glass or plexiglass, and more, but I like textiles to be out in the air, able to be touched with clean hands, breathed on and closely inspected generally! Though of course you can buy the bars and canvas and make your own for very little cost, I find purchasing ready made canvas covered stretcher frames a helpful starting point and economical enough to add only a few dollars to the other material costs.  They come in standard sizes, and are always available in the art supplies stores in my area.

This method will work for any size for which you can buy or make such frames, though I personally have interest only in very small pieces, from 20cm up to about 40cm maximum, and my priority in working this out was wanting the result to be clean and neat on the back once the mounting was done.  

Such frames come in a variety of depths, but this frame was about 2.5cm deep, so I cut piece of fabric about 5cm wide, and the length of the outer circumference, 84cm (18cm +24cm+18cm+24cm) Other frames I use are about  1cm deep – you’d still need a strip of fabric about 4-5cm deep for convenient handling.  Sewing the strip into a circle with about 0.5cm seam, there was enough stretch in the fabric to enable me to ease it over the frame, seam on the outside, bringing one edge of the fabric about level with the front edge of the frame.  Using a tiny #10 stapler and taking care to hold it straight, staples were placed around mid side and close to the corners.  If the staple goes in unevenly remove it and repeat – I confess I had quite a few repeats before I got the hang of it.  Very small carpet tacks would probably be fine, but we didn’t have any.   I’ll check the hardware store some time.

Left hand pic ease the excess fabric back over so that it folds along at the same level of the front corner edge, right side showing now and seam on the inside, right hand pic. I didn’t use glue because on this shiny black fabric it can show through even with care and a light hand, but on a print it would be ok.  What I did was place some bonding web inside the fold to hold it down flat, and rubbed the hot iron over it.

Fold the excess fabric back onto what is the canvas front of the stretcher, envelope fold the corners and either glue or stitch to hold firmly in place.  For the sake of the photo I used white thread but really would use black or whatever else would tone with the fabric 🙂  The work to go on front will be the same size, 84cm round, bound or faced, but could easily be a littlesmaller, so treat those envelope corners very neatly and whether they show or not won’t be an issue of embarrassment.    The back is neat and tidy with the fabric fold sitting even with the back edge that will rest against the wall.

The work that I will be attaching to the front will be glued in place, the frame upturned face down on the table under a weight, and left to fully set in place overnight.  Add your hanging hardware, write in your name, any title, and the date.  Your latest small work will then be ready to go to its new home!

 

 

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