Sports jerseys have become some of the most collectible examples of sports memorabilia. Professional jerseys, college team uniforms, even high school and little league jerseys are regularly displayed as wall art, and incorporated into interior decor schemes for kid’s bedrooms, basements, game rooms, offices, garages and even business offices.
Sports enthusiasts who enjoy games such as baseball, football, basketball, or hockey may be inspired to collect sports jerseys for both their sentimental and financial value. Certain sports jerseys and uniforms worn by famous athletes during historic games or events have fetched thousands — and even millions — of dollars at high end auctions and fund raising events.
There is no telling which sports jerseys might skyrocket in value over time!
The key question raised by collectors who wish to properly display meaningful uniforms is how to frame a sports jersey. Clearly, framing a sports jersey is much different from framing a flat or one-dimensional piece of artwork; and the task requires unique hardware and frame varieties.
Fortunately, there are many companies that specialize in providing functional, elegant hardware and framing systems unique to sports jerseys. Are you wondering how to frame a sports jersey? Here are some practical tips, instructions, and common framing systems.
Shadow box frames are the most common type of frames used for displaying sports jerseys. Shadow box frames are three-dimensional cases designed to let light pass through from only one angle, thus preventing sun damage and fading of any clothing or materials that may be light sensitive.
Many framing retailers offer special UV-protective glass, or museum quality glass, ideal for preserving valuable jerseys. Ask the frame shop about shadow box frames, or look online for instructions on how to build your own shadow box frame.
The most important steps for displaying a sports jersey in a shadow box frame include careful and precise ironing of the uniform, then folding the jersey to best display team emblem, player number, or other important characteristics.
First, the jersey should be laid out in the preferred position upon the matte backing board inside the shadow box frame. (Typically, matte backing boards are made of suede or black velvet.) Next, the jersey should be carefully pinned, using stainless steel framing pins, to the matte backing board. Ideally, these framing pins should secure the jersey to the matte, without damaging the jersey in any way. Stainless steel pins are ideal as they will not rust, discolor or damage the fabric of the jersey.
Some framing professionals do recommend using a needle and thread to carefully stitch the jersey to the backing board. If you do wish to stitch your jersey to the backboard, be sure to use a thread color that matches the jersey, and do your sewing very carefully by hand, to ensure that the jersey is not torn or damaged.
Another helpful tip for stitching a jersey to a shadowbox frame backboard is to stitch along the seams of the shirt: below the neckline, at the start of each sleeve, and at the bottom hem. This will help to hide your needlework. Then, make 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 backboard in order to hold them securely.
Since sports jerseys are typically lightweight, pinning or stitching them should not cause and stress or pull on the fabric. Once your jersey is properly mounted inside the picture frame, attach a wire or hanging hardware to the back of the box and find a suitable wall where the shadow box frame may be hung and displayed. You may wish to use a level and/or measuring tape to situate the frame correctly.
In addition to shadow box framing, one other more recent display system specifically designed for sports jerseys has grown in popularity.
This system, known as an ultra mount jersey display system a simple, affordable aluminum bar that can be mounted on any type of wall or ceiling. The bar slips through the sleeves of a jersey so that the shirt may hang freely. This ultra mount display system does not offer any framing protection or enclosure, but may be ideal for hanging less valuable jerseys, such as displaying little league jerseys in a child’s bedroom, or for hanging jerseys inside a larger display case.