No single piece of sport memorabilia better defines collecting passion and team dedication than the jersey. A jersey's colors connect the fan to their team. It also connects the team to its fanbase. Jerseys don't do any good tucked away in a closet. There they go unseen and unappreciated. Jerseys should be preserved and displayed proudly. Also, a coat hanger isn't the best way preserve a jersey's value. Using jersey frames is a complicated process. They require properly folding, safely affixing the jersey to a secure surface, custom-cutting mat-board and framing in a solid wood frame that has protective UV glass or acrylic.
Undertaking this process by yourself is not advised.
So what criteria should a collector look for when selecting a professional jersey framer? First, steer clear of all traditional art framers and art supply stores. Most lack the expertise needed to protect the value of the jersey. They may damage it during the framing process.
Jersey framing should be only be done by professionals experienced in working with collectibles and archiving. Additionally, the framer should be experienced specifically with framing collectible jerseys.
Below is a list of questions you should ask and things to look for in someone's gallery of jersey frames.
Layout and Folding
How are the jerseys folded? Is an iron used? Are the sleeves of the jersey and their patches visible?
What type of jersey frames are used? Is it flat or a shadow box? While either will work, a shadow box allows for more customization where items like balls, photos and other items can be used to create a three-dimensional display.
Look for a vendor that only uses high-quality wood, matting and moldings, and acid-free archival backing. Available options for jersey frames should include special UV-protective glass, suede, outline matting, and Plexiglass.
It is possible to mount a jersey to a backing so that the jersey material does not come into contact with any pins, staples, tape or adhesives. This can be done by fitting the jersey around a foam core, which will preserve its shape. The foam core is attached to the frame backing and not the jersey material itself. Ask the vendor you are considering what method they use.
DIY Jersey Frames
The above guidelines apply in particular to collectible jerseys that are either autographed or game-used. For information on do-it-yourself jersey framing of less expensive, store-bought jerseys or if you simply insist on doing it yourself, here are some step-by-step instructions and resources.
- Measure your jersey to pick the right sized frame. Most jerseys will fit in either a 30" x 36" or 32" x 40" frame.
- Lay the jersey out in the desired position (and orientation to the frame) on the matte backing board inside the shadow box frame or foam board if using a standard frame.
- Fold and iron the uniform so that the player name, number and sleeve patch logos are visible.
- Iron the jersey on the folds.
- Temporarily pin the uniform to backing using stainless steel framing pins. Stainless steel pins are ideal as they will not rust or discolor. They will also not damage the jersey fabric.
- Stitch the jersey to the mat board with needle and thread. Stitching areas include; below the neckline, at the start of each sleeve, and at the bottom hem. Be sure the thread goes through the back of the jersey so it doesn't show. Knot the ends of the thread behind the backboard and tape them down to the back of the matte to hold them securely.
- Close the shadow box and hang proudly. If you are using a traditional frame follow these additional steps before hanging:
- Remove the protective film from one side of the Plexiglass. Lay that side down firmly on top of the jersey. Once it is aligned straight, peel the film from the other side of the Plexiglass.
- Attach the sides of the frame. Many frames will simply click together, you may have to use special mounting brackets and clips to properly secure the frame.
Here's a handy video showing the process:
Related Topics: How To: Supplies