Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Trend Watch: Framing Fabrics

The word “framing” usually conjures images of professionally displayed photographs, sketches, or paintings. But there’s a big world of creativity beyond those mediums.

Lately, framing trends have embraced more unorthodox art like gift wrap, dried foliage, and a new favorite: fabric. It’s a versatile, easy-to-frame, and unexpected design element in any space. Style experts seem to agree, touting custom cloth art everywhere from the popular blog Apartment Therapy to the online home of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart.

It’s easy to see why framed fabric has captured so much attention. It allows artists and hobbyists to flex their creative muscles: playing with textures, experimenting with image orientation, and elevating everyday items to art.

The options are endless. Spice up a den with a mounted sports jersey. Display and preserve a delicate heirloom handkerchief with protective glazing and archival mounting board. Have leftover floral print material from a sewing project? Turn it into an eye-catching statement piece. Our own framing expert Mike Cromly tells you how here.
Up for a challenge? Create your own DIY printed cloths. We love the Japanese Shibori dyeing technique (think upscale tie-dye) as well as trendy make-at-home African mud cloth. Or try framing patterned fabric wallpaper and hanging it against a stark white wall for a stunning effect.  
Whether it’s a vintage letterman jacket or a recently finished cloth creation, any textile item can be framed and used as an interesting focal point in your space.

Ready to get started? Here are some things to keep in mind.
Creating Composition

Don’t be afraid to experiment with composition. The cloth may have vertical lines, but that doesn’t mean it has to be displayed that way. How would it look tilted at a diagonal? What if you framed several pieces of the same fabric oriented in different ways? Take some time to imagine a unique layout, not necessarily the one the fabric designer intended. Then, iron and trim the fabric for a professional finish.
Securing the Fabric

Slipping fabric can destroy the look of the finished treatment. But before choosing a method of securing your items, be aware that some of them require holes in the cloth. If the piece holds no sentimental or resale value, don’t hesitate to sew it directly to the mounting board. Using a thin fabric? Self-adhesive mounting board will keep it in place without puncture marks. To avoid holes altogether, try a jersey case. It uses a garment hanging system to keep the items secure without damage.

Matching the Frame

When choosing a frame, keep the subject in mind. For vintage pieces, select a frame that fits the era of the clothing. An ornate carved gold wood frame, for instance, would look right at home displaying grandma’s wedding veil, while a Mid-Century Modern one might pair nicely with a 1960s dress. For bold patterns, consider a classic black metal Nielsen™ frame that won’t compete for attention. Framing sports memorabilia? Look for Nielsen™ metal frames in the team’s colors. Need inspiration? Browse our wood and metal collections for the perfect frame to enhance the piece.

Selecting Accessories

Accessories also play an important role in the look and longevity of the display. For extra protection, count on conservation-quality Bainbridge Alphamat Artcare mat board. It’s free of lignin and acids, which could decay the piece over time. Concerned about U.V. rays? Our acrylic glazing in U.V. or Non Glare U.V. varieties blocks them.

Excited to try framing fabrics? Share the results with us. Tweet a photo of your creation to @AmericanFrame using #AmericanFramed or email it to

Have framing questions? We’re here to help. Contact our customer service experts.

For tips and exciting offers, sign up for our e-Tip newsletter.


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  4. the hardest part is mounting the fabric

  5. I love this idea. This seems like a great and easy way to decorate for the holidays. Simply buy one frame and swap out different fabrics for every holiday!

  6. That looks so nice. I wanna buy this frame for the beautiful countryside painting I just bought some weeks ago.


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