Mounting Beans


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Feb 17, 2006
Any thoughts on mounting a piece of Australian aboriginal art - a square of beans sewn together as a series of ever bigger squares with alternating squares of different colored beans. This is old and the sewing threads are not strong. The beans are on end so it's about 1 inch thick. The item is about 14 inches square and weights about 2 pounds. It's very flexible.

Kind of looks like something you would put a hot pot on.
If there is spae in between the items you could use monofilament. Or that wedding stuff that Jim likes...forget the name of that. He uses it on baseballs and things like that, almost invisble but like a small fishing net?

i am no help, next

Is there any chance of re-sewing the beans? I wouldn't remove the old thread but could you run new cotton thread alongside the old? Then you could sew mount the piece to the backing.

If you can't trust the old thread, a sink mat would give the piece the most support, maybe with tulle (that wedding stuff) over the top to hold the beans in place if the thread should fail?

might think about mounting it on a slant---creating a different "slant" on things--and 'maybe' help reducing the effects of gravity on those old threads?? 'course it will call for a much deeper SB too...sort of a paymenow OR paymelater problem
Originally posted by Bandsaw:
...This is old and the sewing threads are not strong...
I've never seen anything like that, so I'm guessing here. It seems that weak threads could be a big problem. Is this thing strong enough to support its own weight? More important, will it continue to weaken and eventually fall apart?

If the threads are strong enough to assure safe support, I might try lacing over the threads between the beans. Would perhaps a few dozen stitches would hold it securely?

If it is too weak to mount by its threads, then the wedding veil fabric Patrick was trying to mention is nylon tulle.

That might show more than you wouldf like so maybe Stabiltex (polyester) or Crepeline (silk organdy) fine mesh fabrics would do better.

Or, brainstorming a bit here, maybe you could have an acrylic fabricator cut a square to fit the item's shape from a frame-sized piece of clear acrylic. That could be used as a transparent sink mount, spaced off the backing board by about 1/2". A piece of Optium Acrylic or Melinex 516 could be used as a cap to keep it from falling out of its acrylic sink, with shadowbox sides to create at least 1/4" air gap between that and the final glazing.

One more thought: How about having an acrylic box made to precisely fit the whole thing, with an appropriate backing board? Strips of black acrylic, perhaps 1/4" w x 3/8" h, bonded to the outside of the open edges, could hold the acrylic box in the frame. That assembly could be mounted inside a larger frame, if other items or decorative features are involved.

This kind of project is always fun. Go for The Gold, Bandsaw.
"From the central desert of Australia comes the brightly coloured ininti bean.

These beans are the seeds of the bat-winged coral tree, and can range in colour from yellow and orange to brilliant red.

Collected by women and children, they are found in large quantities in the sand under the trees, or still in their pods on the tree.

While edible, they were traditionally used as bright body ornamentation. Today they are used widely in the craft centres by women who turn them into beautiful jewelry."

This item is quite fluid - it won't self support in a sink mat or behind tulle, and even in a close fitting plexi box it would slip to the bottom like sand.

I think we'll have to sew it with about 10 rows of 10 stitches so each stitch only carries a little weight.

Or a lot of glue! Oops, I can hear the groans all ready.
By the way,

It will be mounted on dark brown suede with 3 suede mats - reverse bevels, don't want to see those darn white lines - the 3 have colors very similar to the beans - and no glass. This client has a large collection of this type of art and never wants glass. Wants to see and touch the art.