Maybe you can help with a customer's question


True Grumbler
Oct 15, 2002
I had a question from a customer that wanted to frame a stitched piece. She said she saw one like hers that had a soft foam rubber feel to it. She wanted to kind of duplicate it but she didn't have an example. She also said it had a 3d kind of look to it also. I'm wondering if a form wasn't cut out behind it to make it stick out a little from the material it was on. If any of this sounds familiar I'd love the help. Jay
Did she mean the whole piece looked to be padded behind? Or just certain elements poofed out a bit?

If the whole piece was a bit padded looking, it could be a piece of batting mounted behind the fabric on the mounting board. I use a thin layer sometimes especially on needlework pieces with lots of extra thread tangles and even knots on the back. Don't use foam behind. It gets crumbly and yellow in no time.

If it were just key elements that looked puffed, it may have been done during the stitching of the piece. There are patterns that call for another layer of fabric on back and then small areas are puffed between the two layers and held in place by the needlework on the front.

Make any sense? Good, now you can explain it to me...

edie the huhwha goddess
Probably some batting (sp?). You can get it made of different material. But, be careful. Some of the more "foam" types will discolor and dryout, potentially damaging the item. I prefer cotton batting if I am using it. (Usually to help with a less than stellar job that has too many knots on the back.)
oops, Edie, you must have been typing at the same time

I guess I'm slow!
As noted, avoid foam rubber padding -- it will, indeed, dry out and crumble over time. And it might also discolor whatever it is touching.

The padding to use is polyester quilt batting, available from any good fabric store that sells quilting materials. I generally buy it by the yard, 1/2" thick, and use multiple layers if needed.
What they said.

But I will add to it. If you use the batting under the stitchery, don't mat it. The batting will push the corners of the mat apart, and it will look like crap. Also, if there is to be glass in front, be sure you add extra spacers. You don't want the glass to touch the stitchery.
If just parts of the needlework are poofy it is a technique needleworkers used that is called Trapunto(sp?) - certain areas are padded and stitched around to give a pillowy effect.

And NO to foam- even if they do sell it in craft stores for mounting needleworks! YUCKY mess will result - especially since this foam is self adhesive! UGH!
Foam was popular behind stitcheries in the late forties and early fifties. "Foam rubber" was a new, high-tech thing at the time, easier to use than cotton batting. Some of them have held up surprisingly well, considering that they were mounted on sulphurated latex. Later foams are synthetic rubber, and break down into yellow crumbs rapidly when exposed to light, or temperature changes.

Modern polyester batting is easier to use than the old cotton, and archival.