I have seen many methods for mounting art quilts onto a stretched canvas, cradle board or other substrates. But most of the ones I found used a permanent adhesive. I needed to mount my thirty art quilts for my solo show with some method that was easily reversible and involved no adhesive. Fast, easy and inexpensive were also considerations.
I began by ordering stretched canvasses in bulk from Dick Blick. I was able to get just the sizes I needed for a great price, delivered right to my doorstep.
My second bulk buy was yardage of black fabric for wrapping the canvasses. I pre-cut it into approximate sizes, since it was much easier to press and lint roll after being cut into smaller pieces. I determined the cutting size by leaving several inches to each dimension of the canvas, so it could be wrapped around the outer edge of the canvas. You can always cut it smaller later in the process, but you can’t make it bigger!
The last purchase I made for this project was an ergonomic staple gun and staples. It was a great investment as stapling thirty canvasses can be tough on your hands!
I set up an assembly line when I was ready to begin. I did all ten of each size at one time, then moved onto the next size until all thirty were done.
The first step in my assembly process was to pin each art quilt in the approximate center of a piece of black background fabric. When it was pinned securely, I used invisible thread to stitch the art quilt onto the black background fabric using my sewing machine.
So I had a big stack of art quilts stitched to black fabric. What’s next?
The next step is probably the most complicated. If you have ever stretched a canvas for painting, you will be familiar with the process.
You begin by laying your art quilt face down on a clean, sturdy surface. I used my carpeted bedroom floor, and did some lint rolling afterwards. Place your stretched canvas on top, centering it using the stitch lines on the black fabric.
Begin stapling by folding the raw edge of the black fabric under and stapling in the center of the top. Pulling the fabric taught across the front of the canvas, repeat this process at the bottom edge, then the center right and center left sides.
Work from the centers out toward the edges, pulling the fabric taut and stapling as you go. I just used my fingers but there are canvas pliers for making this job easier.
When you reach the corners, you make a nice neat fold, rolling the fabric under with your fingers. When it looks neat, staple through all those layers. I found cutting diagonally across the corners helped get rid of a lot of bulk.
My next step was to measure, mark and screw in small stainless steel screw eyes and stretch across a bit of hanging wire. My best tip with this process is to mark all quilts of the same size at the same height, as this will make hanging the canvasses as a group much easier. For example, I placed all the screw eyes on the 18″x24″ quilts at 4″ from the top edge.
And lastly, I labelled each canvas on the back. I printed out all the labels on Avery printable mailing labels, but found they did not stick permanently to the wooden supports nor the canvas itself. A few dots of good old Elmer’s glue solved the problem for me. You may want to use an archival quality glue if that is a concern for you. I considered making fabric labels for each quilt before mounting them onto the canvas, but I skipped this step due to time constraints. I will add it to my timeline in the future. I do think it’s an important step in case I do remove the art quilt from the canvas sometime in the future.
My quilts hang beautifully, and buyers love that they are ready to hang upon purchase. Better yet, they are easily removeable if I decide to store them off canvas to save space, or for easy shipping.
I hope you find my method useful, and if you use it I would love to know how you like it. I would love any suggestions to improve the process.