• Welcome to the largest and friendlest resource for picture framers! Please LOG IN or REGISTER a free account.
    If you can't remember your password, CLICK HERE to reset it. Trouble? Click the CONTACT US link.
  • Congratulations to our 9500th member, FramerLancashire!
    You win 2 complimentary months of Donor Level status on the G.

Framing Shattered Silk

FrameReady Special Offer - Call 888-281-2202

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
Hi there!

I have a very delicate silk to frame. It is is a square scarf, however the edges are all torn (shattered) and I discussed with the client that it was to be displayed just like this between glass no mount, however I am concerned about airflow/ prevent mould.
Would float mounting on a mount board give it enough air circulation ? Any advice would be wonderful! Thank you
 

cvm

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
8,732
Location
Boulogne, FL
Keep in mind that silk is broken down in light so older silk may already be weak. It will lose 50% of its strength in 200+ hours of sunlight.
 
Register for the picture framer's grumble

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
Thank you.That's fine. My client would like it displayed. It has been displayed in a clip frame in her home for many many years. Just looking for the safest way to display it now. :) I can always advise them not to display in a sunny room or use uv glass?
 

Lafontsee

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
460
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Register for the picture framer's grumble
This sounds like a good time to use a Direct Contact Overlay (DCO). You'll want to use acrylic to prevent dew-point conditions. Glass is a worse thermal insulator and can cause condensation inside the framing package.

Do some searches on The Grumble for Direct Contact Overlay and check out Jim Miller's book on the subject.

James
 

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
That's funny, I just read a thread somewhere else about acrylic and am thinking that might be a good way to proceed! Thank You! I'll check that out...
 
Direct Contact Overlays DCO Book by James Miller

Nikodeumus

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Messages
1,340
Location
Comox, BC, Canada
That's funny, I just read a thread somewhere else about acrylic and am thinking that might be a good way to proceed! Thank You! I'll check that out...
jbear, welcome to the Grumble!

Here is a thread regarding different methods of mounting silk.
With lots of advice about the risks, and the benefits of each mounting method.

Also, keep in mind that a customer's idea of what they want to see is not always the wisest method for safe display.
With an extremely delicate and irreplaceable item like what you have, I would be very cautious of this double-sided glazing approach.
Quite often customers assume that they have come up with a "simple" solution that "shouldn't cost much", but that is not usually the case in my experience.

Here's a thread about customer expectations:
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Featured Vendor Forum Sponsor
Joined
May 19, 2000
Messages
18,520
Location
Suburban Central Ohio
Welcome, jbear.

James Lafontsee is right - this seems like an application for acrylic DCO framing. In order to do it right, be sure to look up the previous threads about DCO mounting, or just buy the book. You can buy a printed copy in the UK from Lion Framing Suppliers, or an economical PDF version is available on the website below.

ALL light is damaging to silk. Using 99% UV filtering acrylic would help, but visible light can be equally harmful over time. I suggest advising your customer to keep this scarf displayed in a dark place as much as possible.
 

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
jbear, welcome to the Grumble!

Here is a thread regarding different methods of mounting silk.
With lots of advice about the risks, and the benefits of each mounting method.

Also, keep in mind that a customer's idea of what they want to see is not always the wisest method for safe display.
With an extremely delicate and irreplaceable item like what you have, I would be very cautious of this double-sided glazing approach.
Quite often customers assume that they have come up with a "simple" solution that "shouldn't cost much", but that is not usually the case in my experience.

Here's a thread about customer expectations:
Thank you! I will have a look. It's fine. I'm really exploring different options at the moment and am quite sure my client wasn't married to that particular idea but had just seen it. That's why I was kind of interested in if anyone also had any idea whether something like a material mount behind the silk and glass would provide a safe option? only I really don't want to risk stitching or gluing this fabric.
Anyway I'll have a read on. Thank you again!
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
17,210
Location
Gloucester, MA
Whatever you do, do not stitch and NEVER glue

Buy Jim's book, it is worth every penny. PDF is easiest and fastest for you probably.

Just make sure your customer does not have extremely high expectations. Silk will not get any better. With the right method, she might be able to enjoy it a bit longer.
Use conservation acrylic.
 

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
Welcome, jbear.

James Lafontsee is right - this seems like an application for acrylic DCO framing. In order to do it right, be sure to look up the previous threads about DCO mounting, or just buy the book. You can buy a printed copy in the UK from Lion Framing Suppliers, or an economical PDF version is available on the website below.

ALL light is damaging to silk. Using 99% UV filtering acrylic would help, but visible light can be equally harmful over time. I suggest advising your customer to keep this scarf displayed in a dark place as much as possible.
That's super! Thank you for this!
 
W.D Quinn Saw Co. - US Made Picture Frame Blades

Shayla

WOW Framer
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
32,493
Location
Washington State
Hi, J. :)

Here's one we did a few years ago. Sheer hankie from 1904 World's Fair. Batting and muslin behind it, with museum acrylic pressed against the front of the hankie.
Over that, a mat, then spacers and museum glass. What size is your silk? shayla framing worlds fair july 2017 edit.jpg shayla detail framing worlds fair close up 2.jpg
 

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
Thank you that's really useful! The silk is 390 x 400 mm approx. Would you use foam board or anything behind the batting?
And how did you maintain the pressure on the silk when putting it all togther?
 

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
This gives a good idea of the condition also how thin it is....
 

Attachments

  • 20210610_213043.jpg
    20210610_213043.jpg
    1.4 MB · Views: 13

Shayla

WOW Framer
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
32,493
Location
Washington State
Thank you that's really useful! The silk is 390 x 400 mm approx. Would you use foam board or anything behind the batting?
And how did you maintain the pressure on the silk when putting it all togther?
True confession: I had to use a conversion chart. So, around 15".

For ours, there was so much going into a little frame that I likely just backed the batting with foam core. Then the batting, with the muslin wrapped around the back of the foam core. For anything bigger, you might try a more rigid substrate (And if you don't have them already, now is a great time to buy every book by Jim Miller, including 'The Complete Guide To Direct Contact Overlays.. He's a framing guru, so listen to what he says like you just climbed a mountain to hear it. There are also others around here. I'm more like a nice lady you met back at the gift shop.)

Let's see....where were we. Oh, the pressure. It was pretty easy. I put all the fluffies on the backing and then laid the mat loosely in place. Laid the hankie in the right spot and took the mat off. Then, super slowly, I laid the Optium acrylic straight down onto it. (And not sure how I attached the mat. Maybe I stuck it to the top of the acrylic first? With either ATG on the hidden spots, or tape on the sides? Can't remember.) But, I ended up with the hankie pressed into place by the acrylic, which had the mat attached to it. Then, some plastic spacers and a piece of museum glass. It all fit very snugly in the frame.

And as a random last note. If you ever do a DCO in a large frame, it works well to use metal offset clips (AKA step-ups) to fasten the package into the frame. I did one with just framers points and flexpoints several years ago, before the wonderworkers here said to try these. :)
 
Last edited:

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Featured Vendor Forum Sponsor
Joined
May 19, 2000
Messages
18,520
Location
Suburban Central Ohio
...Would you use foam board or anything behind the batting?
And how did you maintain the pressure on the silk when putting it all togther?
My usual assembly for something like that scarf would be to start with a rigid substrate, cover it with a few layers of polyester batting (not cotton); then stretch a fabric over that (in your case, perhaps a light color, if a dark color would probably show through the thin silk); then position the silk item; then lay on the acrylic glazing. Place the stacked assembly into the frame's rabbet and press down to compress the batting, which is what creates a sort of "spring tension" to maintain pressure of the acrylic on the silk. A rigid backing board is needed to withstand the pressure of tight fitting. This instruction should get you started, but there's more information and assembly ideas in the book.
 
Refresh Frames with GILDERS paste wax finishes! Picture Frames • Faux Finishing • Furniture • Wrought Iron • Plaster • Polymer Clay • Canvas

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Resource Provider
Joined
Apr 8, 2003
Messages
9,194
Location
Wilkes-Barre, PA
In my ignorance, I giggled every time I read the title of this thread. "Shattered" silk?? WTH is that? And I went to dasGoogle who educated my ignorance. There is such a thing. You know nothing, Larry Peterson. Anyone else as ignorant as me on this subject?

Silk is the strongest natural fiber when it is produced, but it disintegrates more quickly than other natural fibers. ... These chemicals (usually metallic salts) cause the silk to disintegrate regardless of storage quality, resulting in a “shattered” effect with a pattern similar to pieces of broken glass.

I guess I should have Googled before I giggled.

Youknownothing.jpg
 
Last edited:

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
My usual assembly for something like that scarf would be to start with a rigid substrate, cover it with a few layers of polyester batting (not cotton); then stretch a fabric over that (in your case, perhaps a light color, if a dark color would probably show through the thin silk); then position the silk item; then lay on the acrylic glazing. Place the stacked assembly into the frame's rabbet and press down to compress the batting, which is what creates a sort of "spring tension" to maintain pressure of the acrylic on the silk. A rigid backing board is needed to withstand the pressure of tight fitting. This instruction should get you started, but there's more information and assembly ideas in the book.
This is great thank you for explaining this! That makes a lot of sense. I'm definitely going to take a look at the book too though.
 

Framar

WOW Framer
Joined
Jul 24, 2001
Messages
26,012
Location
Buffalo, New York, USA/Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
Funny, I just bought a book about clothes tending and mending, and somewhere in this book was a great description of the kind of silk that shatters. Of course, since the book has no index (how can anyone publish an instructional book with no index?) I cannot locate the description at present. But before I read this several days ago I always thought "silk is silk" and blamed shattering on how the item had been cared for over the years. So right now I am really glad that that little pink chemise that I am about to shadowbox is NOT the kind of silk that shatters.
 
Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Featured Vendor Forum Sponsor
Joined
May 19, 2000
Messages
18,520
Location
Suburban Central Ohio
Funny, I just bought a book about clothes tending and mending, and somewhere in this book was a great description of the kind of silk that shatters. ... So right now I am really glad that that little pink chemise that I am about to shadowbox is NOT the kind of silk that shatters.
I have not heard of silk that could not shatter, but maybe that depends on how it's woven. In any case, my guess is that all kinds of silk would be similarly harmed - that is, significantly weakened - by exposure to the radiation of visible light and invisible UV.
 

Framar

WOW Framer
Joined
Jul 24, 2001
Messages
26,012
Location
Buffalo, New York, USA/Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
Found the quote about the silk:

"Adding metallic salts to counteract sericin loss in silk processing was common ca. 1870-1918, resulting in shattering--complete loss of integrity. Can't be repaired."

"Weighted silk inevitably, eventually shatters--it looks like broken glass, shredding, or honeycomb made by insane bees.The process was used to give the illusion of more expensive material. Museums often deaccession these silks, because conservation (usually holding the shards in place with a net overlay is so expensive."

Kate Sekules, Mend, Penguin Books, 2020
 

jbear

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
uk
Business
framer and gilder
My usual assembly for something like that scarf would be to start with a rigid substrate, cover it with a few layers of polyester batting (not cotton); then stretch a fabric over that (in your case, perhaps a light color, if a dark color would probably show through the thin silk); then position the silk item; then lay on the acrylic glazing. Place the stacked assembly into the frame's rabbet and press down to compress the batting, which is what creates a sort of "spring tension" to maintain pressure of the acrylic on the silk. A rigid backing board is needed to withstand the pressure of tight fitting. This instruction should get you started, but there's more information and assembly ideas in the book.
Thank you for this. This is really useful. It will be a while until I get it done, however I will try and share an image of the finished piece! I really appreciate all of your feedback!
 

Echobelly

Grumbler
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Messages
48
Location
34289
I have not heard of silk that could not shatter, but maybe that depends on how it's woven. In any case, my guess is that all kinds of silk would be similarly harmed - that is, significantly weakened - by exposure to the radiation of visible light and invisible UV.
My wife used to make silk quilts our of remnants and old neckties. Within a few years they looked like antiques due to the fragility of the silk. I mentioned this to a friend who was a jeweler. She said silk is the strongest material, that's why they use it to string pearls. I couldn't convince her otherwise. Are they different silks or maybe pearls protect the silk thread from light? I know it's off-topic, but it's always confused me.
 
Vermont Hardwoods solid wood picture frame molding
FrameReady Special Offer - Call 888-281-2202
Top