Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stretched Canvas Mounts

Another favorite method to use for preparing quilted artwork to display in galleries is to mount the work on fabric-wrapped, stretched canvas surfaces which can be purchased at any art supply dealer, locally or on line. Stretched canvases are made in a variety of sizes and shapes, square, rectangular and even circular. For wrapping a stretched canvas select the size and profile desired to mount and display the quilted art work. The choices for profiles (depth of canvas) are 3/4”, a typical profile; or, one can choose a 1 3/8” Gallery profile or a  2 3/8” Museum profile. 

To wrap a stretched canvas with fabric, the additional supplies needed are: staple gun with 1/4” staples,  background fabric to coordinate with the artwork, a finished quilted piece, eye screws and picture wire.

I like using a 9”x 9” square canvas with a Museum profile because I like depth the mounted work projects from the wall after it is hung. A 7” square pictorial (with a 1” background margin around four sides) centers nicely on the covered canvas. For groupings such as above, I use the same batik fabric to cover all 8 canvases, and varied the finished theme-related artwork that were stitched on top. Each one one sold. 

The method for making the fabric wrap is straightforward and is easily accomplished after practicing with one or two stretched canvases. 

The size of background fabric is determined by adding together the dimensions of the canvas, plus the profile size (round-up to the nearest ½") times 2, plus the width of the wooden stretchers on the back times 2. For a 9" x 9" canvas, the math is:

9" + profile dimension (2½") doubled (5") + 1½" doubled  (3") to cover the stretcher bars on the back = 17" square. 9" + 5" + 3" = 17" square of fabric to be cut to be wrapped around the stretched canvas.   

First: The finished artwork is centered on the right side square of background fabric chosen. With a sewing machine, stitched the artwork onto the fabric square using a stitch-in-the-ditch along the inside edge of the binding.

Double Trouble, 9" x 9"

Secondly, lay this onto the top of the canvas making sure everything is centered and carefully begin wrapping two opposite edges around the canvas. Holding it flip the canvas over and begin stapling the raw edges along the back. Start stapling in the center of one side and gently pull the work across to be stapled on the opposite side center. It does not have to be stretch super tight. Be gentle.

Fold the excess at the corners like a miter and tuck them underneath before flapping the remaining two edges and stapling them in place. Staple along the edges to hold firmly. 

The final step is to place two eye screws inside the stretcher bars so that when strung with framing wire, the piece will lay flat against the wall when hung in place. 

How to make a Hangng Sleeve

My artwork has appeared in a number of exhibitions in art galleries and in museums. People are always interested in how a textile artist presents their art for such events. Because I design 3-layered textiles in quilted form, which are created to be displayed on walls, I have two ways of preparing my work to be included in gallery venues. A traditional method follows:

An inexpensive, traditional method would involve preparing a 4” wide sleeve that is attached along the back edge of the piece. The purpose of a hanging sleeve is to evenly support the weight of the quilt. The double sleeve, resembling a tube, also protects the quilt from being damaged by the hanging rod, dowel, or wooden strip. To make the sleeve, you will need muslin or fabric to match the quilt backing.


Cut a strip 8½" wide and as long as the top edge of the quilt.  Fold the piece lengthwise, wrong side together.  Stitch the longest raw edges together with a ½" seam. Leave the two ends open. Press flat to make the first crease and the fold along the bottom edge of sleeve. Press the raw seam to one side; it will run down the middle of the casing. It will not show because the raw seam edge will be flat against the quilt and can not be seen once sewn down.  Roll the first crease down to form and press a second crease ¾" – 1" from the first one forming some extra ease or slack.

Measure and hem the ends so that the sleeve extends only to one inch on each side of the finished quilt edges. NOTICE: The sleeve has some slack to accommodate the size of the rod and to permit the quilt to hang flat. Without slack, the quilt might pucker or bunch up along the hanging rod.

Place & pin the sleeve on the quilt with the second crease along the lower edge of the binding at the top of the quilt back. Using a Blind Stitch, sew along the second crease and the bottom edge. No stitches should appear on the front side of the quilt. You may also stitch along the open ends to attach to quilt back, remembering to leave the opening for the rod to slip into.