March ~ For Little Christy (orange & yellow, colors of childhood)
April ~ Serenity
May ~ Blooming
You may recall seeing her first eight BJP pieces. They're posted on the BJP website here... Finally I've gotten around to photgraphing Christy's remaining four pieces (above).
We thought you might also like to see what she did with her 12 finished pieces, which so vibrantly chronicle her life from June, 2007 to May, 2008. She wanted to display them, framed together. Since I have some experience with framing bead embroidery pieces, she asked me to help her.
We decided to mount them on a piece of fabric that would look good as a background for all of the pieces. Being a quilter, she has quite a fabric stash. After auditioning several fabrics, we chose a dark, muted red, striped fabric. We then bought a large piece of archival, 3/16" foam core board (get it here or at your local frame shop). Laying the fabric over the board, we arranged the pieces on top until the spacing looked pleasing. Then we measured the size we'd need and cut the board.
This is how her pieces look framed! Below is a tutorial to follow for sucessful, no-glue mounting...
A. In a similar manner to stretching a canvas for painting, stretch the fabric around the board and pin it in place:
- Cut 3/16" acid-free foam core board to size, being sure to include an adequate margin for overlap of the frame.
- Cut the fabric 3 inches larger than the board on all four sides.
- Turn under a 1/4 inch hem on the fabric and machine stitch using zig-zag stitch.
- Center the foam core board on the wrong side of the fabric.
- Starting in the center of the longer side, stretch the fabric around the board and pin in place.
- Work your way to the corners on one end, stretching and pinning.
- Start again at the center point and work your way to the other end of the board.
- Follow steps 5-6 to stretch the fabric around the shorter side of the board.
- Now the fabric should be stretched and pinned all around the board.
B. Lace the fabric onto the board:
- Use a strong, nylon thread, such as Nymo D. Pre-stretch your thread.
- Starting at the center of the longer side, sew from side to side, zig-zagging your way to the corner. (See drawing below.)
- Start again at the center of the longer side, and lace in the opposite direction to the other end of the board.
- Lace the shorter side in the same way.
- Be sure to pull the thread really tight with each stitch. Adjust the pins if necessary. The laced thread should be quite taught, so that you can hear it "snap" when you lift it slightly and let it go.
C. Sew your pieces to the board:
- For this mounting method, each piece must have a finished edge. Christy turned under the fabric and finished the edges with a picot edge stitch. (See picture in this post showing back side of finished piece.)
- Arrange the pieces on the fabric-covered board.
- Pin the pieces in place using a pin in each corner.
- Attach the centermost pieces first and work your way to the edges, adjusting placement if necessary.
- Select the centermost piece and push the corner pins all the way through the foam core board so that you can see them on the back side.
- Mark these four points on the back side of the board. Also mark the approximate center of these four points.
- Use a strong, nylon or synthetic thread, such as Nymo D, in a color that blends with the piece you are attaching. Make a large knot at the end of the doubled thread.
- Sew through the board from the back side at the marked center point to the surface of the piece, adjusting as necessary so that your needle pierces a place between two beads.
- Stitch betwen beads for a short distance and back down through the board to the back side. This is called tacking your piece to the board.
- Remove one of the corner pins and tack it in place in the same way as steps 8 & 9 above.
- Tack the other three corners of the piece.
- Is this enough tacking to hold your piece? How large is it? How heavy? Maybe you need to tack it in more places. Christy's pieces are about 4 inches square. She tacked each of them in about 10 places.
- Continue to tack each of the pieces in place the same way.
- Take your piece to a professional framer and select an appropriate frame.
- Use risers in the frame to insure that the glass does not touch textural elements on your beadwork.
- Hint: Be sure to cut your foam core board large enough to allow for the frame to overlap the board. The amount will depend on the frame you choose. Most frames will overlap the board by at least 1/2 inch.
This is an excellent way to frame a single piece as well. Because you don't use any glue, you will always have the option to take it apart and do something else with your bead embroidery!