How Do I Frame and Mat a Jersey?

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Add a touch of class to your favorite sport jersey and blend it with surrounding wall decor by displaying it in a matted frame. Use a shadowbox instead of a standard picture frame to prevent deep creases and allow for air circulation, keeping the jersey in mint condition.

Skip potentially damaging adhesives and bypass the need for making a complicated cutout by creating a layered mounting board with foam and mat board. Once you add a few stitches to keep the jersey in place on the mounting board, the surrounding exposed mat creates the same clean, crisp look as a traditional cutout without additional measuring or strategic cutting.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft measuring tape
  • Foam board
  • Mat board
  • Shadow box frame with glass or acrylic 
  • Pencil
  • Metal safety craft ruler or straight edge
  • Craft cutting board
  • Craft knife 
  • Box cutter (optional)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Long needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors

Gather the Supplies

Step 1

Measure the jersey from the highest point to the lowest, and from the farthest left to the farthest right when it's folded for display. How you fold the jersey is up to you, but the goal is to show off as many of its distinguishing features as possible. For example, place the back of the jersey face up so the name and number are visible and then fold the sleeves toward the center of the back or so they run parallel to the sides of the jersey to showcase arm patches. If the jersey seems too long, fold the bottom hem under to even everything out.

Step 2

Choose a width for the visible portion of the mounting board around the jersey, which will create the illusion of traditional art matting. Average width is 2 to 5 inches; stick to the thinner end for larger jerseys and the wider end for bigger jerseys.

Step 3

Double the width measurement from Step 2 and add this to the height and the width of the folded jersey to determine the final height and width of the shadow box. You may have to make a few adjustments to get everything perfect for a standard-size box, either knocking a quarter inch off of the border all the way around or folding the jersey a bit tighter or looser than originally planned.

Step 4

Purchase foam and mat boards at least as big as the frame for which you measured.

Tip

  • The mat color should coordinate with the jersey as well as the rest of your home. For example, if you already have a gallery wall of family photos with white matting, use the same for the jersey. Just keep rival teams’ colors in mind so you don’t accidentally pay homage to the enemy.

Cut to Size

Step 1

Measure the interior of the shadow box or the glass panel depending on the design of the box. Outline its size on the foam board with a metal safety craft ruler and pencil; you'll need a metal ruler longer than the foam board is tall. Place the foam board on a craft cutting mat and hold the straight edge against the outside of the first pencil line so the ends of it go off both edges of the board. Using a craft knife or box cutter, cut from the top of the board down to the bottom, directly along the ruler as you hold it firmly in place.

Step 2

Repeat this process with the three remaining sides. Do not try to make a cut-out in the center of the board; trimming the entire piece to size gives you sharp corners and minimizes peeling or chunks. You’ll be left with four narrow scrap strips and the to-size piece needed when you’re done.

Step 3

Check that the foam board fits snugly in the shadow box. Trim as necessary.

Step 4

Place the mat board face down on the cutting board. Put the foam board on top and outline the size on the back of the mat board with a pencil. Remove the foam board and cut the mat to size using the same method as you did for the foam board.

Warning

  • Keep your fingers on the opposite side of the ruler's safety ridge when cutting, and don’t use extreme pressure – it’s better to go over the foam and mat twice to cut through them than to use so much pressure you lose control of the blade.

Mounting and Framing the Jersey

Step 1

Place a piece of double-sided tape on each corner of the foam board. Press the mat board, face side up, on the foam board, sandwiching the two together. Pairing foam board with matting in a shadow box helps to fill out the box and makes it easier to sew the jersey in place.

Step 2

Fold the jersey and place it on top of the foam and mat base. Position the jersey and pin it in place with stainless-steel sewing pins. The surrounding, exposed portion of the mounting board becomes the matting.

Step 3

Thread the needle and cut the thread. Add two to three stitches at the neckline, left and right corner of the bottom hem, and each sleeve to hold the jersey in place. Use a thread color that matches the jersey, and tie the thread off on the back of the mounting board.

Step 4

Remove the pins, flip the mounted jersey face down and tape the tied off threads in place. Flip the mounted jersey over and slide it into the shadow box. Attach the acrylic or glass before hanging the display on the wall.

Warning

  • Foam boards split easily – slide the needle through gently to prevent damage.

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