Mounting and Framing Small Pieces

I once had a shopper ask me “How much do you charge for one of those place mats?”  Quch! Not what I wanted to hear, but I get it.  To viewers who are not used to seeing art made from fabric the small pieces can look somewhat utilitarian.  To avoid that, I often mount or frame my smallest pieces.

There are plenty of tutorials online about how to do this, but I think my approach is somewhat unique.  That’s because, when using a frame with glass, I always put the art ON FRONT of the glass.  Like this.

Framing small pieces. Ellen Lindner,

I love this presentation.  The frame gives the small art work more “presence” and shows it off as fine art.  But, the textures of the piece are not hidden under glass.

This is very easy to do.  Just use double sided tape to hold the artwork in place.  The following pieces have the same presentation, but it’s hard to see when viewed straight on.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

You can do the same thing without glass, just attaching the artwork to mat board that’s framed.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

Of course a small art piece can also be mounted on an artist’s canvas.  It can either be left white, painted, or covered with fabric.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

When using this technique, I recommend using a “gallery wrapped” canvas.  This is the deeper style with staples on the back.  It makes a very nice presentation.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

Once again, you can use double sided tape, but I generally hand sew these onto the canvas in a few places.

Another great thing about using ready-made frames or canvasses is that they help unify a collection of artwork with slightly different sizes.  Like this (digitally mounted) collection.  Even though each piece has little bits extending here and there, they all read as the same size, thanks to the constant size of the canvasses.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

There are many more ways to mount small pieces.  What are your favorites?

Ellen Lindner
P.S. Related post on my old blog:
Notes for a Friend, #10-12

22 Responses to Mounting and Framing Small Pieces

  1. Susan Freudenthal April 24, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful way of presenting small art pieces. I have used framing but never tried mounting. It’s especially effective for a grouping.

    • Ellen Lindner April 24, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      You’re right, Susan. Framing or mounting really elevates a grouping.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Sarah April 24, 2017 at 7:58 am #

    What type of double sided tape do you use? Have you noticed any change in the way the tape adheres with temperature changes? Thanks!

    • Ellen Lindner April 24, 2017 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Sarah,

      I use Scotch brand, readily available everywhere. I haven’t noticed temperature affecting it. It does take several strips to hold fabric well. And it’s still EASILY removable.

  3. Mary Frances Ballard April 24, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    Love this article and the examples! Good information.

    • Ellen Lindner April 24, 2017 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks, Mary Frances!

  4. marthaginn April 24, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    I love your examples of making sure our art doesn’t become a pot holder or placemat! My favorite way is attached to a gallery wrapped canvas, either same size or with some canvas showing.

    • Ellen Lindner April 24, 2017 at 11:30 am #

      Yes, I like that too, Martha. I’ve never used mounting which perfectly matched the size of the artwork. However, I’ve seen it done and I like the effect. (Of course, this requires MAKING the art to a predetermined size. Not always my strong suit.)

  5. Candace Hackett Shively (Candy) April 24, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    This is very useful info. Your point about unifying a display is a very good one, both for shows and for people purchasing pieces to hang. Do you have any recommendations on a brand/type of double sided tape? I am simply wondering if any have more stick and/or longevity than others.

  6. Ellen Lindner April 24, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    The only DS tape I’ve tried, Candy, is Scotch. It doesn’t bond super well with fabric, so quite a few strips are needed.

  7. MaryAnn April 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    Just terrific and a great way to display small pieces! Thank you for sharing your very useful techniques…the sign of a true artist!

    • Ellen Lindner April 24, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

      Thanks, MaryAnn. I’m glad you found my suggestions useful.

  8. Maeve April 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    Really great idea! And the results are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Ellen Lindner April 24, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

    Thanks, Maeve. (No potholders here!)

    • Sheilana Massey May 2, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

      Reminds me of a gift I gave a friend ten years ago… a potholder, designed and stitched to be a potholder. The next time I visited her it was framed and hanging in a dominate place! She has since died; wonder what her heirs did with it?

      • Ellen Lindner May 2, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

        Sheilana, she recognized the artistic value of that pot holder!

  10. Linda Oliver April 24, 2017 at 11:40 pm #

    Ellen,when you mount quilts on canvas can they be entered into quilt shows or fiber shows, love to do mine this way too ,they look great when the canvas is painted

    • Ellen Lindner April 26, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

      Good question, Linda. In most cases, framed and mounted pieces are not accepted into QUILT shows. However, they’re VERY accepted into art shows, in the mixed media category. As a matter of fact, in these cases, the work probably NEEDS to be framed or mounted, because traditional painting venues don’t know what to do with a quilt otherwise.

      • Linda Oliver April 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

        Thanks, that helps me alot

  11. Judith Berlo-Tucker May 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    Ellen, where can I buy the glass frames with black edges? I love the look! Thanks in advance.

    • Ellen Lindner May 3, 2017 at 11:01 pm #

      Hi Judith,

      I really love those too. I found them at Michael’s. They’re called floating frames. I’ve also found a few other floating frames at Jo-Ann’s. Those had wood frames.

    • Ellen Lindner May 3, 2017 at 11:04 pm #

      P.S. Judith, you may enjoy seeing the full effect of framing with floating frames. If so, check out Note for a Friend #10.

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