"Tilted" Shadowbox Spacers?


WOW Framer
Jul 24, 2001
Buffalo, New York, USA/Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
Well I may have a doozey to frame. Here is what it looks like now:


It is a many layered silk tapestry with painted canvas in the center. There is also a design on the other side, another painting and more decorative stitching which is totally shattered and mostly missing. St. Florian on the front is in mint condition compared to the back!

The painting on the other side is of The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the canvas in in OK shape - they may have me remove this from the shattered silk surrounding and frame by itself (rather than be covered up forever). And, THANKFULLY, they do not want this displayed in a two-sided presentation!

The church folks found this rolled up in a cardboard box in the church basement. It had probably been stored for decades and hence the unremovable wrinkling.

So they want a shadowbox frame. And that is where you, dear Grumblers, must come to my aid!

Do you think a four inch deep shadowbox would be deep enough for a tilted spacer? I am thinking along the lines of a colored Artcare Rag as a backing and to line GatorBoard spacers. But I have never done one of the tilted jobs before. I want it to tilt to take some of the stress off the fabric, and it will be displayed on an easel so there will be additional stress-relief from that.

It will be hung on a lucite rod or perhaps a flat length of lucite, and stitched just here and there for additional support. And UV plexi of course (although it will be facing away from all windows and only lit during Mass.).

So tell me about the tilted spacers (I do not even know what to call them!). How does that work? Cut spacers as usual and just bisect them diagonally for the long sides?

Any input will be, as usual, greatly appreciated!
Hi Mar,

I'm not sure if I'm understanding the project. I see you've posted a picture, but all I'm getting is a red "x". Here's what understand from your description:

A central canvas that bears the image, with add-on silk margins.

What part would be hung over the acrylic rod? Would that mean some of the top silk border would be draped to the reverse so it wouldn't be seen, or is this a double sided affair with seperate back and front and you can slip the rod in between the back and front at the top seam?

One of the ways I've seen fragile textiles displayed is on "tilt boards". There is a rigid backboard (more than just matboard) covered with padding and fabric on which the textile is lain There are usually tack stitches, insect pins or whathaveyou holding in place at strategic intervals. The fabric backing helps hold things in place through friction.

Then it is put in a shadow box, with the top at the back of the box, and the bottom at the front. As far as I could tell, no spacers needed, though how the board is anchored in there I don't know.

I think the depth of the box would depend on the textile. I'd mount the thing first, and then play with angles, to see what gives the best support. And then build the shadow box accordingly.

I'll be interested to read other replys.

Hi Rebecca - I don't know why you are getting the dreaded red X - maybe my server was down for a few minutes (this happens a lot!).

There is a pocket across the top for the rod upon which it is already hanging - I'll just use that. The piece is made up of 5 layers - two layers of silk on each side and one layer of heavier cotton in the middle. The canvas may or may not be separate - I don't know yet.

I was thinking of using Gator board as my rigid backing with Artcare rag on top for the zeolites which I figure would be better for the piece than simply fabric (no offense, Baer!). Plus I'd have a larger selection of colors that were completely archival plus the Artcare!

There has to be some sort of spacer I'm thinking - or else perhaps the glazing is fastened in with wood strips like a cabinet door?

I've done the tilted spacers a couple times, mainly for demonstration of concept. I used strips of "acid-free" foam board or Bainbridge corrugated board, covered with matboard as spacers. I cut the angled strips just as you suggested in your first post. Just took a couple minute's worth of thinking to get the dimensions correct, but other than that it was pretty straight forward.

Email me for pics if you'd like.
So, uh, no one has done this sort of thing on a real job? Uh, 40 x 60 or so?


Any other approaches anyone would recommend?
I have done the tilted spacers thingy a few times. It's easy. I have only done it on a 22 x 28 at the largest, though. I used affc and wrapped some of the backing fabric around each strip. It looked VERY nice.

Yours is 40 x 60, really? If it is that large, I would not use FC- too flimsy. I would have a woodworking ship mill you some spacer strips out of poplar or something like that. The top strip would be the widest, the bottom the narrowest and the side pieces would have that angle to match the thicknesses. But you knew that already... Then all you would have to do is paint the strips to match the backing. I would, however, use fabric behind the piece. The extra friction of that fabric-on-fabric will lend lots of necessary support.

I am saying all this and I have yet to see more than a red x in your first post, Mar! Can you put it on your website?

edie the officiallycurious goddess
Hi Edie - I was told we had upgraded the website to a new server but now even I am seeing that red X. Hmmmmm.. And putting it on my website would do no good because that is where it sits now!

Hugh phoned me today (!) and we discussed this shadowbox and came to the conclusion that if the thing is indeed to be displayed on an easel (with at least a 70 degree tilt) that tilting the spacers would be unnecessary.

And I am out shopping tomorrow for unbleached muslin to wrap around the Artcare board on top of the strainer.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to price it! LOL!
I just thought I'd give that photo another try - seems when we switched servers it took a couple of days to transfer everything over and THAT is why some of you could see it and some couldn't.

I have no idea where the original photo is but for those of you who wanted to see this banner, here it is...


Stay tuned...I am working on a quote for them...