How to Frame Antique Textiles

Valuable textiles or precious family heirlooms should be professionally mounted and framed to ensure their preservation — but mounting decorative linens picked up at yard sales and antique markets is an easy DIY project. This is an inexpensive way to create one-of-a-kind, upcycled artwork for your home.

Materials Needed

  • frame
  • foam core board (the size of the frame or larger)
  • yard stick or measuring tape
  • baby dress or other antique textile
  • fabric for backing
  • iron and ironing board
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks (or spray adhesive)
  • scissors
  • rust-proof straight pins
  • wooden hanger (optional)

Select a Textile + Proper Frame

Select a baby dress (or other textile) and properly sized frame. The frame also needs to have a slight gap between the backing and the glass, so the glass doesn’t press against the fabric. A traditional shadow box frame can be used or built, or a picture frame can be modified to create that small gap.

Prep Frame + Backing

Disassemble the frame, setting aside the frame and glass. Using the existing piece of backing as a template, cut a piece of foam core to size. Also, cut a piece of fabric that's slightly larger than the foam core which will be glued to the board to create a textured backing.

Create Fabric Backing

If necessary, iron the fabric to remove wrinkles. Using a hot glue gun or spray adhesive, affix fabric to foam core backing (Image 1). Smooth fabric to remove any wrinkles (Image 2). Use scissors to trim off excess fabric so the edges are flush with the foam core board (Image 3).

Mount Textile

Iron dress, if necessary, to remove wrinkles. Position dress in desired location on fabric-lined foam core backing (Image 1). Pin dress in place using straight pins (Image 2). If desired, 'hang' the dress from a vintage hanger and pin hanger in place as well. Hold board upright to make sure dress and hanger are securely mounted.

Reassemble Frame and Hang

Clean glass and reassemble frame, ensuring that the linen hangs straight. Tap a nail into the wall and proudly hang your completed artwork.

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