finishing a fiber art piece
Most fabric art pieces have raw edges that require finishing. I’ve used a variety of techniques to accomplish this task. My newest and most interesting method is to mount the project onto pre-stretched canvas. I recently shared three posts titled
- Canvas Mounted Fabric Art Part One
- Canvas Mounted Fabric Art Part Two
- Canvas Mounted Fabric Art Part Three
Contained within those narratives were details on how to prepare for and attach your art piece to a canvas. Below is the fourth and final installment. Without any further delay let’s wrap this project up.
before getting started
Welcome to the fourth installment in my tutorial on attaching a fiber art piece to a pre-stretched canvas. If you have not read and accomplished the steps contained within the first three editions I highly recommend you do so now. For those that have already completed the previous tasks let’s get started on today’s project.
Let’s Add Finishing Touches
Left to finish on our project is the dust cover, hanging apparatus, bumpers and signature.
- A Ruler
- Dust cover material
- Double sided tape
- Scissors for cutting dust cover (or dedicated rotary cutter)
- Smooth edged tool to help affix the tape and paper together
- Hanging apparatus (see below for suggestions)
- Wire cutter (if using wire)
- Awl or drill
- Screw driver
- Felt or rubber bumpers for corners of frame
- Permanent marking pen for signing
What is a dust cover?
A dust cover is a barrier that is added to the back side of a frame. It serves several purposes:
it camouflages the unfinished side of the frame and
provides a barrier to prevent dust accumulation, among others things.
The application of a dust cover is optional. I add a cover because I like the polished appearance it adds to my framed art piece.
what is a dust cover made of?
Dust covers can be made from several products. The most common and least expensive is brown Kraft paper. Many professionals choose not to use it because it will, over time, deteriorate. There are other options available. I use Lineco Backing Paper from Blick. Choose the product that suits your budget and your intended outcome.
In my practice dust covers are adhered to the back of my projects with double sided tape. Lineco Hand Held ATG Tape is my preferred product. I’ve tried Scotch double sided tape but have not had much success.
Let’s add a dust cover
- Start with a clean dry surface.
- Lay art piece upside down on a table.
- Take measurements both horizontally and vertically of the area to be covered. I typically leave 1/8” uncovered all the way around my project. So…if your piece measures 8”x10” then I would cut my backing 7 3/4”x 9 3/4”.
- Next add strips of double sided tape to the four edges of the dust cover.
- When you are ready to add the dust cover don’t remove the protective backing from all of the strips of tape immediately. Only remove it from the first edge that will be adhered. When you are ready to move on to another edge then remove the protective strip from that edge. To make certain the paper adheres to the fabric I apply pressure by rubbing my fingers along the edges of the dust cover. Sometimes the tape and fabric have difficulty working together. If they are being stubborn and don’t want to adhere properly a little added massage with a smooth edged tool can make all the difference.
There, now doesn’t that make the backside of your project look so much more professional! Let’s keep moving.
Just like with a dust cover, there are several options available for hanging your art work. Three of the most common are:
-a sawtooth hanger (jagged-edged metal strip added along top edge of your frame),
-metal screw with eyelet opening and wire (added to the sides of your frame) or
-steel D-rings and wire (also added to the sides of your frame).
The product that will last the longest and allow your art piece to lay as flat against your wall as possible is the steel D-ring. All of the products have varying sizes available. Read the package instructions to determine which one is suitable for your art piece. The D-ring and wire is the option I choose for my applications.
Attaching a D-Ring
To attach the D-ring to your frame first measure the distance between the top and bottom edges of your frame. The D-ring should be attached 1/3rd of that distance down from the top edge. Make a mark on your frame with a pencil. Using an awl or a drill, pre-drill the hole where the screws will be added.
Use a screw driver or drill to sink the screws. A screwdriver works just fine for me.
adding the wire
Before attaching the hanging wire we must determine how much wire is needed. As a general rule I measure the distance across the frame (side to side) then add eight inches. The extra length will provide enough wire to wrap around both the D-rings plus have extra slack for hanging.
To secure the wire to the D-ring take the end of the wire and pull it up through the opening of the D-ring. Next wrap the end of the wire once around itself, then pull the free end back down through the D-ring. This motion creates a slip knot which keeps the wire tight. Next, tightly wrap that same free end of the wire close to where the slip knot was formed several times. Using a wire cutters snip off the excess wire.
Repeat this process with the other D-ring. Before making the slip knot this time make sure you leave enough extra wire between the two D-rings to allow for hanging the frame on the wall. If the wire is too tight the frame will not hang properly.
Bumpers are the small square or round pieces that are attached to the back of your art piece in the two bottom corners. Bumpers provide air circulation between the wall and your frame, and help to keep the frame straight on the wall. Bumpers can be made from either felt of plastic. Either one is suitable.
To apply them first remove the paper backing (if there is one). Next using gentle pressure attach them to one of the bottom corners on the backside of the frame. Repeat the process in the other lower corner.
There are varying opinions on whether you should
sign or print your name;
include your full or partial name,
if you are female, whether you should use your married or maiden name.
In this day and age, given the tendency toward identity theft, I have chosen to print my married name. I use a Micron pen. I like this type of pen/marker because it is permanent, does not typically bleed and is archival safe.
adding your name
To provide parameters for the application of my name, using a rectangle of card stock I cut out an opening equal to the length and size of my signature. Also included was space for adding the date of completion. The card stock template is placed on top of my art piece, in the area where I want to add my name. Then using my pre-selected pen I print my first and last name and completion date. I repeat this process, without the use of the template, on the back of my art.
one more thing
This next embellishment is totally optional. To the back of my canvas stretched fiber art pieces I add a card containing details about my item. Included on that card is
- the number of the art piece (all of my art pieces are assigned a number)
- description, including materials and thread used
- what, if any, beads or buttons added
- as well as the measurements of the item.
The information is printed on card stock, trimmed to size and then attached with double sided tape.
We have now finished the process of mounting a fiber art piece onto stretched canvas. While the steps used to complete the process can seem labor intensive the end result is well worth the effort. The technique will add a flair unlike any of the other methods used to finish an art quilt. I hope that you have found these instructions to be helpful. Feel free to leave a comment with any questions, concerns or suggestions you might have. Also, if you decide to test the process on one of your own art quilts send me a photo of your triumph. Here’s mine.
With warm wishes for a wonderful day!
© 2012-2020 Cindy Anderson and In A Stitch Quilting