Sunday, March 28, 2010

Art quilts mounted on foam core

I have been mounting some of my art work on foam core for sometime now.

This is the after and before of a piece that is now in the collection of Vivika DeNegre: We traded...a great subject for another post. Trading: It's a good thing.

I sent the process into an art quilt mag once but no bites. But maybe there is a reader here for whom it would be interesting.

First: I interview bordering background fabrics for the covering for the foam core. After deciding just how big the exposure should be, I cut a piece of archival foam core.

Note: Choose the more expensive archival. This process is best for pieces that are less than 36" (or so) in either direction because over time (and I suspect humidity) the larger foam core bows. Now, this can be overcome by framing the whole thing with a traditional frame that will keep the foam core in position.

Second: I cut the background fabric with plenty of room for the exposure and an overlap on the back. I carefully measure the centers and hand baste the art work to the background fabric.

Third: I (carefully measuring again) pin the art work to the foam core. This is the tricky bit. Measure. Measure. Measure. Then pin. If you slant the pins you will be able to flip the whole over to see how the overlap is going.

Fourth: Once you are happy with the centering, flip the whole over and pin the overlaps. When you are happy with this you may remove the front pins to help in the stability of the next steps.

Fifth: Using acid free glues and beginning with the center glueing the background fabric to the foam core. (just like stretching a fact...sometimes it's easier to use
stretcher bars here. Then you just staple instead of glue/tape) I pin/glue the corners, mitering the fabric. When all is stable, I tape the raw edges. It looks better and will keep a smooth backing.

Note: Even though I will have already labeled the art work before I mounted it, I ink a label on the back of the foam core too.

Pictured below is me gluing, having already pinned, the background

fabric to the back of the foam that embarrassing, and yet comforting, wealth of stash.

After this you will affix eyelets to run the picture hanging wire through. Again, there's the measuring. A few inches down, equidistance from the side edges they are affixed so that wire can be strung between. I buy Adhesive Hangers and Eyelet Sets (if I'm unable to find just the plain Eyelets). You must use an adhesive AND packing tape on these if they are to handle the weight of the art work over time. Another tricky bit.

This foam core option is good for me for some installations. The pieces pack well back to back or face to face (no wire touching the front of the art work). They are very light for shipping (as opposed to stretcher bars) and anyone can hang them. Have you ever noticed how some people can be so flummoxed by fiber that they are paralyzed with indecision? How do I hang it? Oh, my!

Pictured are another after and before: Koi Pond


  1. I recognize those quilts... and love mine!

  2. Thanks for such a thorough tutorial -- I'll have to try this!


  3. I love the sense of dimension in your work. Your quilts are beautiful!


  4. What a helpful post! Would love to have you show the technique at a SAQA meeting.