Finish on cloth

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Forum topic by Marpel posted 09-16-2020 02:55 AM 156 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 1137 days

09-16-2020 02:55 AM

Not a real woodworking question, but more related to a finish type.

I have a (cotton?) T-Shirt which has two hand prints (they have lasted through a number of laundry cycles so are likely acrylic or similar) of my grand-daughters from a few years back, on the chest area. It has been worn over the years and is getting quite old. However, because I keep everything my grand-daughter has ever made (she lives in Denver, Co and I, in Vancouver, BC so the distance between makes me hang on to everything), I do not wish to throw it out.

I am considering cutting the front in a rectangle (just large enough to surround the prints) and affixing it to a backing board, to hang in my study. I would like to apply a finish to the board and the material. I have the remains of a can of General Finishes High Performance top coat from another project. I would also like to stretch out the material so it lays flat on the board.

Any thoughts/advice on how to lay the material flat and affix it to the board and, would this finish be appropriate? Or is there potential for crackling (even if I use multiple coatings)? Or should I consider a thicker substance? I presume the finish will soak into the material, rather than lay on top.

Any other suggestions for turning this into a reasonably decent presentation would also be appreciated.

I don’t want to throw caution to the wind and just go for it cause I don’t want to ruin the item.


4 replies so far

View SMP's profile


2444 posts in 753 days

#1 posted 09-16-2020 05:46 AM

I worked several years installing custom car audio systems. Building custom subwoofer enclosures, speaker pods for doors etc. A lot of times for mockups and the base for certain hard to shape pieces we would make a frame of wood and stretch t-shirt material, and epoxy the shirt to get the basic shape formed to then start layering the fiberglass. So I can say that an epoxied t-shirt is very long lasting. Once wet with epoxy you can then spread the shirt tightly and evenly over a flat surface like a board or piece of plywood etc and even kind of stretch it out with a bondo spreader. A few coats of epoxy or “spar 40” and it will last a lifetime. I would just test a bit on an inconspicuous area that it doesn’t mess up the old paint.

View Eeyore's profile


47 posts in 64 days

#2 posted 09-16-2020 11:15 AM

Maybe just frame it under glass instead? That way it is still removable and wearable in case you need some comforting. “In case of emergency…”

-- Elliott C. "Eeyore" Evans

View MPython's profile


298 posts in 660 days

#3 posted 09-16-2020 12:29 PM

This may be more than you wanted to know, but here’s a how-to link to mounting a preservation of historical fabrics:

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2651 posts in 1010 days

#4 posted 09-16-2020 01:33 PM

I would build (or buy) a picture frame for the whole shirt. (don’t cut it up).
just fold it around a piece of cardboard so the handprints will
be the focal point.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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