Fabric wrapped mat -- Baer Help!


Cliff Wilson

Actually, I suspect I'll be ok.

Sold my first fabric wrapped mat. Customer came in with a "family Tartan" and a printed crest. I have to use the tartan as the mat. The only trick is to make sure I have the entire pattern on each side. 4" top and sides 5" bottom. 5" x 9" opening. Looks like it shouldn't be any real trouble. Gonna have some fun!

P.S. The crest has an armour helmet in the center and we used the LJ575254 Hammered Iron moulding on it. It matched quite nicely. There were some other designs that we like a little better, but she said her husband wasn't worth that much!
I'm sure you'll have no problem, but you did give me an idea of what to do with the 1 yard of MacMillan tartan that has some moth holes and I was never gonna sew anything out of anyway!

In fact I have just the print...
The hardest part will probably be making sure you get the pattern straight. Also, you have to watch out the corners don't get pulled. It would look especially bad on a patterned fabric.
Take deep breaths Cliff, breathing is our friend.

With a Tartan, I tape or pin it out FACE DOWN so it is all VERY straight and square as a Masons handshake.

Then I figure out where the mat is going, and put masking tape tabs around the mat.. so it's all lined up.

Next roll the adhesive on the mat and place the mat face down on the fabric, and press out.

Un-pin or un tape, and turn over.

Work the window opening a bit then drop the drop-out in. If its Kilt weight, the dropout wont fit..just work the bevels and corners.

cut out the center, the relief 45s into the corners and turn over the insides and glue.

Work the corners and bevel with a corner tool, until your corners are nice and crisp and square.

You'll be fine.

Frank's number is 888.332.2749 9-5 M-F PST. And he can refer you to my phone if need be.
Hmm, now I'm glad I posted! The few times I have experimented (2 actually) I used Fusion and the heat press and they came out really quite nice. Solid color though. I used the tacking iron and strips of adhesive on the back side after I wrapped the fabric.

I was going to do the same here, but was a little concerned about the pattern. If I can use an adhesive I can see myself having a little more control before putting it under pressure in the press.

But, what adhesive? I have Spray 77 and a white Fabric Adhesive from United. One of those? Something else?

Cliff, if it's a heavierweight fabric, the PVA/fabricadhesive/miraclemuck will do nicely. If the fabric is lighterweight, use (my favorite) acrylic gloss medium. Cut the mat opening, brush it on, let it dry, reheat it to bond.

IMHO, in general, a liquid adhesive is MUCH easier to use and yields consistently better results than a tissue adhesive. And of the liquids, acrylic gloss medium is idiot-proof. There are lots of opportunities to screw up with goopier fabric adhesive and shifty tissues. Why court trouble?

Getting that plaid straight is going to be the real issue. First, though, you have to get it placed, THEN make sure it is dead-on straight. And the lighterweight the fabric, the trickier it will be to keep it from 'swerving.' What I have done with patterned fabrics is to brush the gloss medium on the mat, let it dry, 15 minutes oughta do it. Then I will lay a strip of 1/8" ATG all around the perimeter of the mat. You DON'T have to wait for that to dry... teehee... When I lay the fabric on top of the mat in the position I use the ATG edge to hold the plaid lines straight. I will actually tug and coax the edge a bit and use the atg to keep it where I want it. DO use the skinny ATG, though, you will want that to be completely covered by the frame rabbet. I used the wider stuff ONCE and had it show through. Now that I have told you this, you won't even have to do it that once...

If you don't get it the first time, you can usually reheat the board and noodle the fabric off and start over. Very finicky fabrics like sheer silk may show marks from being handled so much but yours should be okay.

You do know how to wrap the bevel, yes? I use atg to secure the wrapped flaps. I even wrap the outer edge so I don't have any potential fraying headaches later on when assembling. I also put the tiniest drop of PVA (Sobo glue) on the tip of an awl, and, from the back, really work in the corners of the bevels. That gives them a nice, crisp look.

The fabric wrapped bevel edge is one of the sexist thangs in framing!

Have fun!

edie the requestingpictures goddess
Gloss acrylic medium is great for such a challenge, since you can roll it onto the window
and allow it to dry, and then iron the fabric on
to the dry medium, keeping track of its straightness and orientation. If the plaid gets
out of line, you can pull it up and iron it, again.


Originally posted by Framing Goddess:
...If the fabric is lighterweight, use (my favorite) acrylic gloss medium...
I agree with you about the virtues of acrylic bonding, Edie. It's not only one of the most preservation-friendly adhesives, but it's easier to use, as well.

For heavy, coarse fabrics, which require a thicker layer of adhesive, you could use two or more coats of gloss medium, or you could use acrylic gel -- the same stuff we use for texturizing canvas transfers. Having more body, it makes a thicker adhesive and soaks farther into the weave.

I prefer to roll it on with a fluffy-nap or short-nap roller, depending on the thickness of adhesive layer needed.

Hugh makes a good point about the ease of getting the pattern straight with heat-activated acrylic medium. Just iron a bit at a time and pull the pattern straight as you go. This is much better than the all-or-nothing dry mounting or contact-adhesive procedures.
ummm, looked in the catalogs I have and don't see Acrylic Gloss Medium or Acrylic Gel Medium. Do I go to the paint store? An artists supply house like Dick Blick?

I ordered a quart of each. That should get me through my first one! ;)
Acrylic Medium is readily available but Frank's Fabric has a adhesive that is not only designed specifically for fabric, but he also has one that is pH neutral.
Is Frank's adhesive a PVA glue, Baer?
One thing for those of us in the frigid states is that that stuff (pva) does not like to freeze and thaw. And ordering a jug of that this time of year guarantees that it will sit in a frosty cold fedex warehouse overnight in Montana before it gets to Ohio.

I don't know how well the acrylic medium ships, but I can get it at the art supply store around the corner from me.

Cliff, a little of the medium goes a long way. I have rarely had to use more than one thin coat. Let us know how it goes.

edie the frostycold goddess
Well, I practiced on a couple of mats that were plain colored fabric. no problem. The Tartan -- ****!

But, here it is. I think she'll be happy even though I am feel it's just barely acceptable. About the fifth try to get it straight and I realized each time I was just making some other part worse each time, I called it "good enough."

Nice job, Cliff.
That was a hard one. Not only did you have to keep the plaid relatively straight, but you had the orientation of the pattern to bear in mind. It looks good and it was not easy at all.

Tell us how you did it, what worked best, what was frustrating?

Now I wanna do a plaid mat... thanksalot! :rolleyes:

edie the stillfrostycold goddess
I used the Acrylic gloss medium. Painted it on and let it dry. Then I used the tacking iron and tacked the corners outside and at the window opening. I put the fallout back in and threw it in the press at 180 for about 5 minutes. (I used less time with a thinner fabric, but this was pretty heavy.)

Then I used the tacking iron to release, reposition. over and over.

After giving up on repositioning any more, I cut the window opening, painted the back around the inside and outside edges with the medium, let it dry, then used the tacking iron to "seal" the wrap around. (used release paper whenever I used the rion, to protect the surface.)

That's about it. pretty easy except for the getting it straight part!

oh yeah, it's on B8653 8-ply Rag. Total size is 15 x 18 opeing 6 1/2 x 8 1/2. Size was chosen to enable the "complete" pattern on either side of the opening with the opening as "centered" in the pattern as possible.
Cliff, you knocked it out of the ball park with that one. Good show.

Edie, I have know idea why a gallon of glue would sit in Montana overnight on it's way from Los Angeles to Ohio.

Is there some kind of new Homeland Ohio Security Protical? :D

A gallon of V-60 PVA may get a little frosty, but wouldn't freeze in a warehouse that by OSHA standards is not allowed to drop under 40 degrees. But also, even going ground, the product (and UPS) must keep moving.. 3 days to Ohio. And if it goes 2nd day air, it would route through KC I would think.
Well, just got off the phone and this should clear it up.

Frank's will freeze going ground, so during the winter months, they ship next day air.

So order in the warmer months. OZ and NZ don't count.. they are in the South Pacific anyway.
Can you fabric wrap mats with gloss medium by just using an iron for ironing clothes? Or do you need a heat press? I think I'm going to experiment.
Jana, I always have two irons.

One is a steam Iron... the other is one of those expesive 12.95 irons from Target.

The first thing I do with it, is drill a very LARGE
hole [about 1"] through the plastic into the resevour where someone else might in a flash of non-thinking, put water.....


So then you can iron down mats and such with the DRY iron, or steam fabric that need, and can tollerate steam with the WET iron.... total cost of equipment....for really good irons.... $50.

Anymore than that and you are wasting money.

For years I used one that I got at Goodwill for about $.25.
The best steam iron I have is a GE from the 60s. I only use distilled water in it. I have another similar one that I found at a garage sale. They don't make irons like they used to.

Thanks for the tips. I needed an alternative way to make fabric mats. I don't like the goopy glue. Working with it makes me nervous, and sometimes the glue comes throught the weave of the fabric. Maybe I just need more practice. It's easier to order them already made from Falconeast.
It has an aqua blue cord.
So does the one I got at the garage sale. It steamed out a powdery mineral residue for a while, but now that I just use distilled water, it's a lot better.

Rick, you've been framing since 1977? Wow! :cool:
Actually, Jan, I've been framing since December of 1972 when I started working in a gallery during college.
:cool: Rick ...wow, 33 years
Looks great Cliff, very natural. Thanks for letting us know whats under that kilt too. PS, Acrylic medium, like PVA, shouldn't be allowed to freeze.
Update: Customer was so thrilled she gave me a signed copy of her recently published children's book "What Is Heaven, Babci?" and informed me she would be bringing in the originals from the illustrations one at a time starting after the holidays.

Pretty good return I'd say!

Again, thanks all!