Textiles can be made into rich visual displays. Whether it’s batik artwork bought on vacation, an autographed sports jersey, a hand-made cross-stitch, embroidery, or needlework piece, clothing such as a uniform, baptismal gown, wedding dress etc. why not display it as a custom framed textile and, at the same time, preserve it instead of leaving it tucked away in storage.
If you’re not familiar with us or our work, we invite you to take a look around our website or, even better, come in and talk to us about your custom textile framing project and we can walk you through the process and offer design tips.
Custom Framing for Textiles
Framing a textile correctly is an art but the science means it must also be framed with preservation in mind. At AUM we have the expertise to do both – creative designs and framing using museum quality conservation techniques and materials. Textiles require the same acid-free matting or backing that art on paper requires otherwise the acids in the substrate can leech through into the textile changing colors and damaging fibers.
There are a few things to consider when custom textile mounting:
- Frame design
- Mounting of the textile
- Type of glazing (glass, acrylic, or none)
Frame Design for Textiles
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about framing textiles is that they are three-dimensional works of art.
This means that the frame design needs to include space for the textile to exist comfortably between the glass (if used) and the mounting substrate. This is achieved by using frame spacers. Spacers can be constructed of regular archival matboard or fabric-wrapped foam-core strips; often spacers will be constructed of the same material used as the mounting substrate for a seamless design. We also use acrylic spacers for textiles that do not require significant depth. If the textile has a height of 1/4″ or more, handmade matboard or fabric-wrapped spacers are required.
In addition to using frame spacers, textiles require a frame with some amount of depth to house the contents. For this reason, we will recommend using shadowbox frames or our custom closed-corner frames that can be made to any depth to frame a textile. Both of these frame types have additional depth that can safely contain the glass, the mounted textile, backing, and frame spacers.
Lastly, we will make sure the design, profile, finish, and overall aesthetic of the frame complements the textile according to its colors, material, and historical significance.
Mounting of the Textile
Methods used to mount the textile may be even more important than the frame itself for purposes of preservation.
When accessing a textile for mounting, our framing experts consider the following characteristics:
- Value – Is it historically, sentimentally, or monetarily valuable?
- Material – How fragile is it? Is it stable or will it be prone to degradation over time?
- Weight – Heavier items will require additional attention to be properly supported.
Our standard practice of mounting a textile is to sew the artwork by hand onto a fabric-covered substrate or regular conservation matboard. Hand-sewing ensures that the textile is properly supported within the frame. The type of thread varies based on the project; we have many different colors and thicknesses of threads to accommodate the needs of each textile.
The value and material of the textile will affect how we decide to mount it. We take care and pride in every project we do; however, objects of higher value or textiles that are very fragile may require special attention such as using lower heat or archival paper hinges instead of sewing through the fabric.
Protecting your textile with glass or acrylic could significantly extend the life of the art. Delicate fabrics and animal skins will especially benefit from protection from the elements – sunlight, dust, abrasions, smoke/soot, and moisture are just a few concerns when it comes to protecting the textile.
So what kind of glazing should you use on your textile framing?
UV rays can be extremely damaging to most artwork; framed textile art is no exception. UV rays don’t only come from sunlight – most interior lighting creates UV rays which can fade pigments in a textile and could potentially dry out the fabric over time. We recommend using a UV protective glazing over most textiles; UV filters are available on a variety of glazing options such as Conservation Clear glass, Conservation Clear Acrylic, Museum glass, and Optium Museum Acrylic.
Conservation Clear Glass/Acrylic
- 99% UV protective
- Acrylic is lighter in weight and may be more appropriate for large textile
- 99% UV protection
- Anti-reflective properties maintain crisp detail without the ‘foggy’ coating of old-style non-glare glass
- Brightens colors since less light is reflected
Optium Museum Acrylic
- UV protection and Anti-reflective properties identical to Museum Glass
- Anti-static protection – this is very useful in textile framing as loose threads and dust will be less likely to stick to the inside surface (which is quite difficult to clean)
- Shatter resistance
- Abrasion resistance – most acrylics will scratch over time from cleaning. Optium Museum has an abrasion resistant coating.
For a truly amazing custom framed textile design, Optium Museum Acrylic is the best glazing available. In most cases, we will recommend Optium Museum Acrylic due to its safety features, anti-static properties, UV protection, and anti-reflection surface.
In some cases, it may not be necessary to use any type of glazing. However, it is important to keep in mind that damage can rarely be undone. It is always better to protect your textile in the beginning than take the risk.
More Framed Examples of Textiles
If you have a textile you’d like to preserve and display, please bring it in to us. During our design consultation, we’ll walk you through not only design we recommend to make your textile stand out, but also the materials and techniques we’ll use to make sure it’s preserved for future generations.
If you’d prefer to make an appointment, please call us at 303-394-3362 to set up an appointment to come in and talk to one of our designers for a free design session/discussion. Alternatively, send us an email below with some details of what you’re looking for and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.
AUM Framing & Gallery
2227 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80206