Picture Framing and Art Preservation/Mounting a flag for framing


Hello David,

I am in the process of mounting a WWII US Naval ensign to a cloth-covered foam core board. I am stitching the flag directly to the board - so far it looks great.

My question pertains mainly to the fly end of the flag... the ends are very tattered from flying in the wind. I bought this flag specifically for this reason. What would be the best way to go about securing the loose tattered weft to the board so that it presents nicely?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Hi Adam,

Obviously you're not afraid of sewing, which is good. Believe me, I know it can be tedious and hard on the fingers. I imagine the body of the flag itself is pretty easy, since you have good fabric to sew through and can hide the stitches in the seams. That's the easy part. The tattered ends will probably take more sewing and more time; it's a matter of using very fine cotton thread and basically stitching down each tattered portion individually.

Another option would be to cover the end of the flag under a strip of Crepeline or Stabilitex fabric, which you can get from Talas (www.talasonline.com). Both are very sheer fabrics which, when the correct color is chosen, will blend in and be virtually invisible. Start with a long narrow strip of the fabric wide enough to cover the tattered ends. Cut a slit in the matboard wide enough for the fabric to fit into at the top and bottom of the flag along the fly end of the flag. Pass each end of the fabric through the slits, allowing the fabric to lay on top of the flag's end, pull taut, and secure to the back.

The biggest hassle with this method will be getting the fabric into the slits. To make it easier, cut a piece of Mylar the same width as the fabric and about 4 to 6 inches long. Fold in half. Place the fabric inside the folded Mylar, then pass the Mylar and fabric through the slit. It's like a big needle threader.

There's one more option. Since you've already starting sewing it would involve undoing everything you have done so far but in the long run it might be worth it. Also given the size of a flag I assume you're using acrylic, which is good because this method won't work with glass.  It's a pressure mount. With this method the flag is placed on a padded, fabric-covered board. Then acrylic glazing (NOT glass) is placed on top and everything is fit into the frame. This holds it in place with very gentle overall pressure with no sewing.

Start with a sturdy mounting board covered with a thin layer of polyester quilt batting. Cover that with a layer of fabric, preferably natural cotton muslin, washed multiple times in water only to remove starch and sizing. Wrap extra fabric around to the back of the board and secure it with acrylic gel medium used as an adhesive. You'll have a cushioned board. Then position the flag, place the acrylic on top and fit into the frame as usual.

One of these methods will take care of the flag, and whichever ones you don't use you should file away for future reference. This should look great once it's done.  

Picture Framing and Art Preservation

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David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF


I can answer questions about all aspects of framing, with special emphasis on preservation framing. Categories of artwork include works of art on paper, needlework, textiles, paintings on canvas and three-dimensional objects. Components of framing includes frames, glass/glazing, mats, mounting, their features and how to select them.


I have been a professional picture framer and educator in the field since 1994, including framing education for a major franchisor encompassing three brands and the Professional Picture Framers Association, and writing and teaching for DECOR Magazine.

Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) > Board member, PPFA > Member, Certification Board > Member, Chapter relations Committee National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR)

DECOR Magazine, 2005 - 2010 PPFA For Members Only newsletter Member of the PPFA Guidelines task force, assisted in writing PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas, and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Textiles and Needlework. Picture Framing Magazine, 2012

Georgia State University, many classes as a student and educator through the Professional Picture Framers Association and DECOR Magazine. Current member of the PPFA guidelines task force and certification board.

Awards and Honors
Earned Certified Picture Framer (CPF) designation in 1996, Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designation in 2004 and Guild Commended Framer (GCF) status in 2008.

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