Mounting fabric on a firm substrate opens the door to all sorts of creative possibilities. I've developed two methods for mounting fabric, a wet-mount method, which I will describe in another post, and a dry-mount method featured here. Neither method requires any special tools. Each method lends itself to particular uses and I will offer suggestions for which method would be preferred for a particular project. The dry mount process is also suitable for mounting art paper or watercolor paper to hard surfaces.
Supplies needed for the Dry-Mount Process
- Surface This demonstration shows a masonite panel.
- Fabric Iron and cut slightly larger than the surface to which it will be applied.
- RB Gilded Stenciling & Stamping Adhesive PH Neutral (better than acid-free)
- Small (2") dense foam roller* You can use a larger roller but it will absorb more adhesive. Available at any hardware store.
- Rubber Brayer optional
- Sharp Craft Knife or Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat
Make sure the surface is clean and dry. Use the 2" roller* to coat the surface with RB Gilded Stenciling & Stamping Adhesive. Make sure the coverage is complete and extends to all edges. Place the roller in plastic wrap to hold it. Allow the adhesive to dry. It will turn clear and be tacky to touch. Apply a second coat of adhesive to the surface and allow it to dry. You can either clean the roller or discard it or make the most of it and find other things that you want to prepare for fabric (or decorative paper) and coat those while you have an adhesive-filled roller at hand.
*The foam roller produces tiny bubbles that will dry on the surface resulting in a slightly grainy texture. If you are using printed fabric then this will not be noticeable. If you are using plain fabric then you may want to brush the adhesive on so that you produce a smooth application. If you find you need to thin the adhesive slightly to avoid ridges then apply three coats rather than two.
When the surface is dry lay the fabric over the exposed adhesive. Begin in the center and smooth the fabric toward the edges. I use a rubber brayer because I already have those among my art supplies. If you do not have one you can use a gift card to smooth the fabric toward the edges. If using the brayer, apply firm pressure to make sure the fabric bonds. If using a card apply moderate pressure so that you do not damage the fibers by scraping.
Once the fabric is adhered place the surface face down on a cutting mat. Run the cutter along the edge of the surface so that the fabric is trimmed flush with the edge.
I selected a tonal fabric design from my Sunflower Farm collection to use as a background for a painted work shown below, right. I mounted the art on foamcore cut slightly smaller that the painting so that it appears to float in front of the fabric. The painting, on 140lb. watercolor paper, is mounted on the foamcore board using the dry-mount method shown here. Proctect the surface of the painting with tracing paper or parchment when rolling with the brayer. Using a card for this is not recommended as it may damage the painting. Do not trim the painting after mounting so the foamcore remains invisible.
- The dry-mount method lends itself to projects that will not get wet since the fabric is not sealed or offered any protection.
- Surfaces that may be harmed by moisture such as cardboard, matboard or paper work well.
- Decorative mats can be created by dry-mounting fabric to the front before cutting the mat.
- Repurpose a sturdy box with nice form but marred by a logo or product text. Don't you hate to throw those cute boxes away?
- Cover books so they can be repurposed or use as a decorating element in your home.
- Disguise an ugly corkboard and make it harmonize with your decor.
- Create wall art using a single panel or a combination of patterns.
- Give your lamps a facelift with fabric-covered lamp shades.
- This mounting method is ideal for adhering paper to surfaces as well.