Remnant Rehab: Cheaply frame fabric art

A fabric art painting is affixed to a piece of muslin and stretched on a frame.

I love going to estate sales. Not only are there interesting finds and great deals, but often you get a glimpse of the person’s personality and interests by what they’ve accumulated.

At an estate sale in Topeka, I found some paintings on fabric that I thought were interesting enough to take home with me. The more delicate ones are on silk; the one I mounted for this column is on a synthetic fabric.

When I bought the art, I wasn’t thinking about the cost of framing — that occurred to me when I got home.

I decided to stretch them on frames like canvas; I chose the wooden frame pieces that you assemble yourself, which are cheap, and you can customize the frame size. You can find the frame pieces in art supply stores.

Because the paintings are translucent, the frame would show through. I affixed the painting to white muslin with Stitch Witchery, a fusible fabric tape, and then stretched it.

If you don’t have any fabric paintings lying around, you can use these instructions to mount just fabric. If it’s a translucent fabric, such as organza, the instructions would be the same; if it’s opaque fabric, do step 1, then skip to step 6.


  • fabric art
  • white muslin
  • ruler
  • unfinished wood frame pieces
  • wood glue (optional)
  • scissors
  • Stitch Witchery fusible fabric tape
  • iron
  • pressing cloth
  • staple gun and staples
  • picture-hanging hardware


  1. Measure the artwork to determine how much muslin and what size frame will be needed. Assemble the frame and remove price stickers so they don’t show through. My pieces fit tightly enough that I didn’t use any wood glue, but you can add it while assembling for security.

  2. Cut the muslin slightly larger than the artwork, adding about 2 inches on each side.

  3. Cut the fusible fabric tape to the match the lengths of each side of the artwork.

  4. Lay the artwork right-side down, then lay the fusible tape along the edges. Carefully lay the muslin, centered, over the artwork.

  5. Carefully move the whole thing to an ironing board. Following the instructions for the fusible tape, press the layers together through a damp pressing cloth — which can just be another piece of muslin or other plain fabric. I only pressed on the muslin side so I wouldn’t hurt the artwork.

  6. Take the fused layers to a flat surface and lay right-side down. Center the frame on the muslin side. Stretch the fabric over the frame and secure with staples. Start on one side and staple the center; then staple the center on the opposite side. Staple the centers on the other two sides. Continue stapling, matching the staples on each side so it stretches evenly.

  7. Affix your choice of mounting hardware and then hang up your artwork.