Whether it's a fragile work of art hundreds of years old or a newly woven creation of modern textile manufacturing, mounting embroidered tapestry for display should always be done with meticulous attention to detail. There are a variety of mounting options available, often depending on the hardiness of the tapestry and the permanence of the display. One common method of mounting however is a good all around solution that you can use for any but the most fragile embroidered tapestries. Using a stretcher mount, you can display your tapestry with museum presentation quality that will last for years with a minimum of maintenance.
Measure the tapestry and obtain a canvas stretcher large enough to hold the tapestry along with a border edge of one inch. A canvas stretcher is a wooden frame used to stretch a piece of canvas for painting, giving it a taunt surface. Purchase stretchers of all sizes from an art supply store.
Cut a piece of silk large enough to be placed onto the stretcher with an additional inch of fabric for wrapping around the stretcher.
Place the silk facedown onto a flat surface and place the stretcher centred onto the fabric. Beginning in the centre of one of the stretcher sides, wrap the fabric over the sides of the stretcher and then staple it to the rear of the stretcher, placing three staples centred with two inches between each. Repeat the process on the opposite side of the stretcher, pulling the fabric taunt and then stapling the middle in place. Repeat the process with the other two edges.
Return to the starting point and staple from the middle of the edge to one corner with two inch intervals between placed staples. Repeat the process from the other side, stapling to the corner diagonally opposite from the first corner placed. Continue until all the silk has been attached. At the corners, fold the silk over the placed edge and staple it into place.
Cut the soft cotton flannel fabric to the size of the tapestry.
Turn over the frame pointing the stretched side face up.
Sew the flannel fabric securely in the centre of the silk frame. The flannel cloth will form a soft protective layer for your tapestry to lie on.
Mount the embroidered tapestry by sewing it into place over the flannel placed in the centre of the stretched silk. Use thread that is carefully colour matched to the tapestry to prevent the thread from being noticed. Sew the tapestry using large staggered stitches around the edges. Stretch the stitches across multiple yarns for the best support. For heavier tapestries, reinforce the attachment by sewing the tapestry in place every six inches across the surface of the tapestry in two inch threaded blocks. This will evenly distribute the weight support over the total area of the tapestry rather than only at the edges.
Attach a shadow box frame to the stretcher containing a UV coating on the glass for further protection of the tapestry. Place the stretched tapestry into the frame and clip it into place at the rear with the glass on the front not touching the tapestry. The UV coating will protect the tapestry from fading with light exposure, and the shadowbox frame will allow air to move freely through the tapestry to prevent mildew.
Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Canvas stretcher
- Silk fabric
- Staple gun
- Soft cotton flannel fabric
- Shadowbox frame with UV coated glass