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DIY Textile Art – Fabric Mats for Any Frame

DIY Textile Art – Fabric Mats for Any Frame

DIY Textile Art – Fabric Mats for Any Frame

Today’s DIY Project is taking an old frame you might have lying around – the one I’m using in this tutorial I sourced at a vintage market two years ago back in Ontario, Canada. It’s got this very bright gold finish to the frame and it POPs against neutral tones, so I’m pairing it with a black and white sketch and warm grey fabric to really bring a nice contrast to the gold frame with the artwork.

Note: If you want to see a tutorial on creating fabric lined mats for inserting artwork in a traditional way, head over here to watch the full VIDEO TUTORIAL.

For now, I’m going to take you through this alternative way to frame art that I’m really loving for a few reasons, first, the layers create a lot of depth and interest in the wall art and second, you can easily change and update the fabric or artwork to match different decor styles or seasonal changes and the result is gorgeous!

In terms of what you’ll need:

  • A picture frame (new or reused, any size!)
  • A backing board or cardboard that will act as the white or off-white background behind the fabric. More on this below in terms of options and where you can buy one
  • A particle board or cardboard to go behind the frame.
  • Another backing board or foam board that will go under your fabric. Any colour, as it won’t be visible.
  • Artwork of your choosing. More on this below as well.
  • Raw, neutral canvas or linen that you ideally has visible thread or woven together that you can easily pull on the edges – something like a gabardine, canvas, poplin or one with a weave.
  • Double sided tape, double sided sticker dots or adhesive.
  • Ruler
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Cutting Mat or Surface
  • Iron
DIY Textile Art – Fabric Mats for Any Frame

Choosing Your Mat Background

Choosing the best background mat (the white background you see in the photo above) will depend on the frame you use but in most cases, choosing a white or off-white background will work really well regardless of the frame you choose. To find one of these, you can take your frame to a framer and ask them to cut you a mat that will fit your frame or you can head to a craft store where you can choose from a thick cardstock with little to no texture and cut it down to size. I chose an off-white mat that has a delicate texture because I love how it looked against the bright gold frame.

DIY Textile Art – Paired with a Vintage Gold Frame

You can also order a mat online from a site like custommat.ca, but honestly it’ll be much faster to head to a local framing or hobby craft store and find a cardstock or museum mat to use.

Choosing Your Fabric

Here is where the fun comes in! I’ve collected fabrics for years and have close to 20 different types of linens and canvas fabrics in my studio. I love those because they go well with just about anything and are easy to cut, fold and glue down. The best fabric for this application is one that has a nice edge or trim when you cut it. Woven ideally, then you’ll have the ability to pull a few threads out to create a nice, loose edge that will look good once mounted.

Tip: You can also find really nice raw and natural fabrics at vintage markets as well as use old table runners, cloths or napkins because they tend to have the textile quality that will look nice cut and framed. Some of the fabrics I have are linen table cloths my mom has give to me because they either have a stain that won’t come out or a rip but the rest of the fabric can be repurposed for this!

Artwork Selection

No rules here really, but if you want to create something sophisticated and neutral in style and tone, I highly recommend using a black and white illlustration or sketch to add an element of contrast and pop to the wall art. Black and white art will give your project a really elegant look and pairs really well with any frame.

I have a few favourites that you can choose from below:

Step By Step Instructions

Let’s get right into it! Here’s how to create your own masterpiece!

  1. Purchase or pick a frame you have at home. This can be any type of frame, any size or thickness. I recommend to start smaller and work your way up to bigger frames, just so you get the hang of cutting fabric in smaller pieces first. If you pick a larger frame you’ll have to cut a larger piece of fabric and need a bit of assistance with that if you lack space.
  2. Once you have your frame chosen, pick a backing board to go with it. Michaels or Hobby Lobby have an assortment of heavy cardstock that you can choose from, or you can go to a framing shop and ask for a mat board or museum board that won’t have the window cutout, but just fit into your frame.
  3. Gather your supplies. Make sure your knife is sharp (using a new blade), and have a surface you can cut fabric on without damaging any tables! I use a rubber cutting mat that gets used for everything – cutting, trimming, painting, taping… these things are literally indestructible. Here’s the one I use.
  4. If you’ve purchased a museum or cardboard from a craft store, using your knife and cutting mat, cut it down to fit into your frame. Set it aside for now.
  5. Measure your backing board and your artwork size. You want to create a border that is equal in width for the fabric and the white backing board. In the case of this tutorial, I subtracted 1 1/2″ (about 4cm) FROM EACH SIDE. This will be the dimension you cut your fabric at. For example, if your backing board is 12×16″, than your fabric will be 10×14″ if you want 1 inch on each side of white mat behind the fabric. From this 10×14″, you’ll also subtract another 1 inch for the distance between the fabric and the artwork, which means your artwork should be 8×12″ or a little less. This can be a little confusing, so start with the dimension of your frame to artwork, and measure the distance between the two. If you split that distance in half, you should have the size of the fabric you’ll need to cut. Try this with a sample or smaller pieces of paper before you start cutting your fabric if you have a limited quantity!
  6. Once you’ve cut your fabric, cut the second backing board or foamcore a little smaller than the fabric. If your fabric is a little wrinkled take the time to iron it out. It will make all the difference in the world! Then glue or tape (using the double sided tape) the fabric to the second backing board. This will give you a bit of depth and shadow between the mat and the fabric, which I think makes a big difference! You can also use bubble stickers or elevated tape or strips that have some thickness to them, just make sure they’re strong enough to keep the fabric in place. You’ll also likely need to use some kind of cardstock to keep the fabric stiff, which is why it’s probably faster to just use the foam core or backing board in the first place. I actually just used the backside of an old watercolour paper pad that is thick enough.
  7. Attach the fabric and board to the first board, making sure you’re perfectly centered. Use double sided tape for this part as well, it’s super fast and easy to use!
  8. Now you should have your fabric attached to your backing board, with a bit of a shadow space between, you’re ready to tape down your artwork on top of your fabric. Do that with a little bit of double sided tape, so that you can always remove it if you want to change the artwork without damaging the print or piece.
  9. That’s it! If your frame came with glass, give that a nice clean (TIP: I use equal parts water and vinegar and some newspaper or soft paper to clean the glass and NOT paper tower because it leaves fibers on the glass). Place your artwork inside, covering with a hardboard if it came with your frame and fasten with clips on the back of your frame. If you’re using a vintage frame you might have to add your own as the old frames used clips that once fell out couldn’t be placed back in. A framer can also do this for you if you can’t find picture frame hardware in your local craft store.

Gifting Art

One of the best ways I like to personalize and gift art is by adding velvet bows to the art. I get my velvet bows from Fringe and Rose, and I like to tie them to the back of the hanging hardware so that they can be used to hang the art as well, but also as a nice gifted bow! To see a video on how to do this, head to my instagram and watch this reel!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you’ll give it a try! If you do, share the results with me on Instagram @donatdelanoart.com and I’ll reshare them on my stories.

If you’re new here, I’m Donata Delano. I am the creative owner and artist behind Donata Delano Art. I started the good Canvas in an effort to build an art community focused on art, creativity and business. Aside from art related tutorials, tips and information occasionally, I also post recipes, crafts and out adventures living abroad in Mexico.

As for my business, as some of you know, I run my art studio out of our home. I have a dedicated room where I paint, package and ship all my artwork to you. If you’re curious about my daily life and how I run my business, I post often about my process, my studio and my work on my instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/donatadelanoart/

You can also follow along on Pinterest, where I pin all things design, decor, crafts style and holiday goodies: https://www.pinterest.ca/donatadelanoart/

Also, if you’d like to follow along and subscribe to the mailing list to receive more post notifications like this, including special promotions for artwork, collections and freebies, head here and join the list below!

Happy Painting!




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