Mounting a baseball


Grumbler in Training
Jan 26, 2002
Powder Springs, GA
Being young in the framing business, Does anyone have a good tip on mounting a baseball, in a picture frame that is. The baseball is autographed and I do not want to damage the ball...also special tips on the bat as well...Anyone...
Before they moved to Colorado, Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies and his wife did many shadowboxes with us. One was with scorecard and batting glove from one of his major games.

We used a very deep larson reflections frame. We stitched the ball into a Moorman fabric mat using curved needles bought from a sewing store and using cotton thread. Carefully pick thru the baseball stitching. I gave my employee a sailor's palm--this is a leather pad put on the palm of your hand with leather fingers and is/was used to repair sails on a boat--and using thishe was able to stitch the ball into the Moorman. Use this or a thimble because it's hard to sew.

OK--yu got the ball stitched. Now the fun part. We did multilayers on the box, sunk the ball into the bottom depth and cut a circular opening with the Wizard and built up with A/F foamboard to about halfway to the top of the ball. On this top layer went the baseball score cards and the player gloves. The result was a multidimensional box which looked way cool.

I suppose you could do the same by just sewing the ball with the remaining items in one layer of mat, but we like things to look different.

We also did a bat for him with a baseball glove. Same deal: stitched the bat, though, with rawhide strips since we thought that picked up the essence or "flavor" of the stitching on the baseball glove. This as I recall was only one layer. We laid the bat into the palm of the glove, and put "x"s of rawhide near the top of the bat.

Cost, if you're interested, was about $800 per box. sounds high, I know, but these things took most of a day each. Materials weren't the expense, it was the labor.
Sewing through the ball's stitching places more stress on the stitches than they were intended to have, and heavy-enough thread may tend to cut through them in time. If you're a little squeamish about sewing through the ball's stitching -- as I am -- here's an alternative that is less invasive:

Cut a nest hole in the mount board, smaller than the ball; maybe 1-1/2" or so.

Wrap the ball in fine mesh fabric like a lollipop. Pass the twisted end of the wrap through the nest hole, spread it out evenly around the nest hole's perimeter, pulling out any visible gathers as you go, and hotmelt glue it to the back of the mount board. No glue on the ball, of course.

The ball is supported evenly and completely by the wrap of fabric. It's easier on the hands, and I think faster than sewing through the stitches.

There are three fine mesh fabrics I know of, in order of preference: Stabilitex, 100% polyester, best and most costly (museums use it); Crepeline, imported French silk, good for most preservation mounts and costs less; nylon tulle, cheap and easily available from any good fabric store (wedding veil material), but not good for maximum preservation.

Stabilitex and Crepeline are available only from Talas (NYC), as far as I know. If anyone knows of another source, please share it.

Hope that helps.
Another way to mount the baseball would be to mount it on the bottom rail of the deep shadowbox frame. I would use a suede board for the backing and build matching suede frame "spacers" for each of the sides of the shadowbox using foamcore and suede matboard to hold the glass in and provide a spacing for the backing board to stay in the rear of the shadowbox.

Mount the bat anglewise across the shadowbox business end at the lower left corner and handle at the upper right corner. The big end of the bat could also rest on the bottom rail. Place the baseball somewhere on the lower rail of the shadowbox where it will balance the setting. I think that, without something else in that shadowbox, ie., scorecard, glove, photos, etc., things will look a little sparse though.

FGII, aka Goober vonGirdlePants, Esq.

Golf ball, tennis ball, softball, hockey name it.

I had never heard of tulle until a few years ago, when Ellen from Howard's mentioned it on HH. Since then, I've covered my world in fine mesh fabric. Thanks, Ellen.
Another way to avoid ALL of this work is to use the holders designed and manufactured by Superior Picture Frame Products. They are so simple and good looking, and make your life as a framer easier, If I do say so myself. Give me a call, I'm sure I can help.
Superior Picture Frame Products
(800) 231-6229
Does Superior Picture Frame Products have a website or a paper catalog?

Was asking because I didn't see a site on your profile.
YES, Superior has a website. In the next few weeks it will also have many pictures of the special projects we help framers with, including the holders. In the meantime please call, we can give you a good description of the holder.
(800) 231-6229
The website NOW has a couple of pictures in the catalog area one of a baseball and bat. Take a look and if you need a close up send me an e-mail directly and I will send close ups to you.

Superior Picture Frame Products