Padded Frames Make Good Displays

by Mechelle J. Fox.
(Chesapeake, VA, US)

The overall view

I was able to get a full panel of space at a local sci-fi convention art show earlier this month. I wanted to highlight the wearable art aspect of my necklaces (and two convertible brooches) so that they fit in with the show.

Captain Wingwright in his frame

I hit upon the idea of using picture frames to “frame” each piece. About half came from thrift stores and the other half came from the dollar store. I disassembled each one and spray painted them with a hammered copper finish paint. To make them into display units I cut a piece of 1/2″ foam to the size of the frame opening and covered that with stretch crushed velvet wrapped around and taped behind the backing cardboard. Or at least that was the plan. I actually had to use another layer of fabric under the velvet because the foam I purchased was light green and the color showed through.

Enysi in her frame

To fasten the necklaces onto the padded frames I actually sewed them in place using 28 gauge wire threaded in an embroidery needle. Twisting the wire ends behind the frame secured each retaining stitch.

Fom the Depths framed

I don’t like the overall presentation of the collection on the panel, but for the next show I figure that a little better pre-planning with a piece or two of my own pegboard will help out tremendously.

The show went very well for me. The only real drawback to using the frames like this is that most of them went with the jewelry pieces when the new owners picked them up. I could not figure any way of politely informing people that the frame was not included. The art show folks asked each person if they wanted the frame or not as that was the best we could come up with.

Mechelle J. Fox


re: padded frames make good displays
by: Dawnmarie Kruchoski

It looks beautiful! I love the idea. One question, how long did it take to do the project. That is, after you purchased everything. It sounds like I need another “christmas present” from my husband. I am not the crafty kind of person but this looks absolutely wonderful, and creative and most of all – your jewelry is the focus – my eyes went straight into the frames to the jewelry which is what you want. Great Idea – keep em comin…

spectacular dispaly
by: pat barden

ilove the display–and i do soooooooo admire the patience you must have

Padded frame
by: Dita

I really love your display. It has a nice cohesive look- very nice.

It definitely shows your passion and seriousness, and the customers will notice that.

May be next time you may mention the deal if they want the frame too and consider that expense in your packaging.

I may steal this idea, Michele, but before that I have to see how much time and labor it may need to make what you did.

Congratulations on our hard work and my best wishes for you. Dita

Luv this idea
by: Anonymous

Maybe I missed something, but how easy did the necklaces come off the foam for someone to try on? Thanks for sharing.

Fantastic Idea!
by: Anonymous

I love these and what a fantastic idea. Well done! You could attach little printed cards in the bottom corners of each frame to let people know that the frames are not part of the purchase.

Fantastic Idea!
by: Anonymous

What a fantastic idea! Good on you and well done!
Attaching a little printed card into the bottom corner of each frame stating “Frame not Included” may solve the problem of you giving the frame along with your work. Hope this helps!

display padding and jewelry attachment
by: Kate

I’ve managed to end up with a bunch of old frames from yard and estate sales. We do a lot of outdoor display and this is much more practical for us than the premade necklace busts. Will definitely be trying this!

A few suggestions: Try quilt batting instead of foam to pad your frame. It’s fairly cheap, most crafters already have scraps lying around anyway, and you’ll still get the nice puffy effect. Since batting’s normally white or cream, you won’t have the issues with color from your padding bleeding through your cover fabric.

Instead of wiring or stitching jewelry directly to the frame pads, I’m planning to use 1/8″ or 1/4″ ribbon in the same color as the cover fabric. Just stitch the ribbons in place where you want to hang your items & tie them on with a simple bow. Presto — reusable frame. Jewelry should pop right off for the customer, and no problems with tearing your fabric or having to sew new pieces in position. You could add ribbon loops to hang an elaborate set of earrings, or do a row of ribbons to hang a line of unfastened bracelets, even.

If you have smaller frames and don’t have much wall space, try using the little cardboard easel in the back to prop them up on a tabletop to display chokers and bracelets. Which reminds me — I have a bunch of those little dollar store mini-frames somewhere. They’d work great for earrings.

Padded frame jewelry displays
by: Rena

Mechelle, this is a really cool way to show your jewelry as Art! Very nice setup – I’d definitely be attracted to it.

And Kate, thanks so much for your extra tips about quilt batting and hanging the necklaces! Great ideas.

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  1. Andrea says:

    With pieces as beautiful as yours, the frames really enhance one’s focus. I love Captain Wainright!

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