Linen backed frame input?


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jun 11, 2004
Edwardsburg, MI
Framing 400 year old bible page where back side needs to be presentable. Two very small mulberry paper hinges holding between back to back rag mats. Museum glass front, UV back...

Need to finish the back to make it presentable. Holding the package in with bass wood quarter rounds.

Thought to cover the 2" flat back of the frame with unprimed raw linen canvas instead of painting it. I'd adhere with acid free fabric paste. The frame is an LJ moulding with red gessoed back.

Does anyone forsee any problems or have any suggestions???

As always...thanks!

Dave Makielski
The back glazing should be acrylic, to avoid
possibilities of breakage. Fabric covering of the
back of the frame should pose no problem, as long
as it is done before the art goes in.

playing the devil's advocate...
How are you going to deal with the edges of the fabric?
Creating a hem of some kind to avoid fraying? This will create added thickness and certain challenges in the corners.
How will you protect the fabric from fingerprints (the idea is to remove this from the wall to handle and observe)? Finger oils will discolor the raw canvas over time.

I think it's a good idea, but I would be inclined to use a dyed fabric (not to be too concerned with it's archival nature being outside the package) probably black to hide any discoloration from handling. I might even wrap it over a thin mat cut to fit the back of the frame rather than try to attach it directly to the frame. Is a real good quality felt (dense stuff, like on a pool table) a possibility? No hemming or wrapping necessary.
Hey Wally! I was just thinking exactly the same thing. Were you a seamstress in a former life?

I only differed on the choice of fabric: dark red suede knit. No fraying, thin and flexable, easy to find.

I like dark red on religious stuff - don't know why - probably an atavistic response to gold leaf.

You folks all came up with good questions and concerns. I like the fabric wrapped mat, but want to stick with the natural unstained linen material. This will be hanging in the living room of the home of the prez of a large college such that it shouldn't be handled too regularly. I'm not too concerned with the discoloration issue.

I like the idea of the acrylic on the back also primarily because of the weight issue...but then, if it's relatively heavy, it won't be taken off the wall as much and the linen backing won't get discolored...!?!

Will the acrylic (Acrylite OP3-UV) be as transparent as UV clear Tru-Vu glass? I've used regular plexi before and always felt it wasn't as flat or clear as good quality glass.

I've been pondering the possibility of taking the linen (if it's thin enough) and starting it under the bass wood quarter round, drilling and nailing brads through the quarter round and bringing the linen over a 2 ply rag brd and underneath the outside edge of the mat which I would then glue and weight to the flat 2" back of the frame. Sounds good, but I'm not sure how well I could do the corners unless I were to completely cover the entire mat without any corners to match up. If I did this procedure, I would need to glue the quarter rounds instead of nail them. I'm not sure that would hold the package together well enough...and this is for Christmas along with everything else!

Don't you love it when someone thinks out loud?

I'm a little slap happy with all the late night Christmas rush work.

Thanks again.

Dave Makielski
If I am understanding what you want to do, the fabric is being glued to the reverse of the frame?

I'd glue it to the frame back, using whatever adhesive you'd planned on - PVA or acrylic emuslion probably - and let it dry under weight. Then, using as many blades as necessary so that the cutting edge remains very sharp, slice the excess fabric away, pressing the flat of the blade against the frame, as a cutting guide to keep the blade steady.

Then take some thick wheat starch paste and tap just a bit of paste along the cut edges, using the flat of the brush. Not too much, just enough to thinly coat the cut edge only. This will protect against fraying.

A Japanese scroll making trick.

Could you consider a flat gimp as a decorative edge on the fabric after you've glued it down, placing it just up to the edge of the frame? There sure are some neat ones out there.

There are also linen-look tapes available which would be less obtrusive. A large fabric store has tons of stuff.

Instead of the quarter round, consider using an appropriate fillet to hold the back of the package. Cut a slot in the frame rabbet to hold the unfinished part of the fillet the correct distance back from the frame lip. Assemble the bottom 3 legs of the frame as a U. Glue in the fillet and slide the package in from the top. Then add the fourth leg, fastened with screws from the top. You will then have a reversible assembly if access is ever needed to the Bible page and will have added a little extra pizazz to the design on the back.

Pat :D :D
Great ideas all. I like Rebecca's suggestion for its simplicity.

I also like Pat's suggestion, but I will have to experiment with my Dremel router attachment to see if I'm able to do it. getting down to the nitty gritty time wise.

Forgive my ignorance, but I don't know what a "flat gimp" it a crippled man who's been hit by a Mack truck? Sorry, my attempt at bad humor... I think you may mean a thin decorative rigid piece of wood, but am unsure. Please educate me as I can't keep an eye on the highway I'm located on if my first guess was correct.

I'm glad Christmas comes but once a year because I'm really getting wacky... :eek:


Dave Makielski
Sorry, Dave.
Gimp is used a lot in upholstery. It's of a family of flat braids originally used to cover upholstery tacks. You see it a lot on Louis the Whatever Era chairs. But I like your definition as well.
Thanks all for the imput...I can tackle it now. I'll take a photo and put it up after Christmas.

Hope your season's the best both in business and personally.

Dave Makielski