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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sticky Board FAIL and stitch update

About 9 years ago my daughter started a cross stitch of a unicorn out of a teaching book. She got about half-way through it and gave up so I finished it. I used one of those sticky boards and put it in a frame and hung it in the hallway bathroom since the walls in there are blue. Then I pretty much forgot about it. On the 17th I had to use that bathroom (I usually use the one connected to my bedroom) and noticed the cross stitch on my way out. I realized it was very dirty so I took it down.

Those sticky boards say that the stitching is easily removable so it can be repositioned, even years later. They LIE. When I started gently pulling on the fabric, I realized quickly that the sticky board was coming apart and half of it was stuck to the fabric. When you look at the edge of a sticky board you see a couple layers. The top layer is white (this has the glue on it) and sometimes the bottom layer is also white but without glue, the middle layer is brown like cardboard. The top layer and half the middle were peeling away from the bottom layer and was completely stuck to the back of the fabric.

Luckily this piece was done on Aida with DMC floss, so I didn't have to worry about fading, bleeding or anything and could scrub the fabric itself a bit harder than I would dare do on an evenweave or linen.

I spent 45 minutes or so peeling off as much as I could and took pictures of what was left after that: (I didn't think to take pictures when I started, was too focused on getting it off)

This is what the right side looked like after I peeled as much off as I could.

This is almost the whole piece. That bit of brown on the left side of the picture continues in a straight line for the entire length of the side.

This is a close up of the cardboard fused to the stitching.

Upon seeing this I panicked, remembering that I had placed my niece's birth sampler on a sticky board because a book I had read from a well known stitching author said sticky boards are okay.

She was WRONG.

I thought maybe this only happened because it was hung in the bathroom in an unsealed frame. To be sure I went and got the birth announcement and took it out of the frame. Sure enough the board did the same thing, only not the entire board. Just a small line down either side of the piece and luckily it came off fairly easily. My guess is that it wasn't worse because it hadn't been framed for as long. I was able to get it off fairly easily and the piece now lays flat in my completed drawer until I can afford to have it professionally framed. I would have been devastated if that piece had been ruined. It is a mirabilia done on hand-dyed fabric with beads and crystal treasures.

The unicorn has been soaking in water ever since. I managed to get almost all of it off, but there are a few spots of white that just will not come off and does show through when I hold the fabric up. These spots are mostly not on the areas that are stitched.

I will not use sticky boards again because they fuse to the fabric fairly quickly.

In better news, a stitching update!

Here is an update of where I was on Quaker Welcome as of Feb 9, 2011.


  1. Whoa! Thanks for the warning I have a few mounted on sticky boards!

  2. Thank you for sharing. I haven't used sticky boards but it is always useful to know. Lovely progress on your stitching.

  3. Great progress on Quaker welcome.
    I'm glad you managed to rescue the Mirabilia. Maybe you could experiment with a little solvent (alcohol or nail varnish remover) on the edge of your unicorn and see if that would remove the last of the sticky.

  4. Ouch, Missy, what a shame! Glad you got it looking better. Your Quaker piece is beautiful, I love the colour.

  5. What a shame! I hope you can get the pieces sorted out.

  6. My LNS owner usually frames my pieces for me, and finds it absolutely ludicrous that any stitcher would ever use sticky boards for their stitching. I have to say I agree with her. I may never have mounted anything on one but I never will either--way too much risk of my pieces getting ruined!

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience over the sticky board.
    Your Quaker is coming along great!

  8. Thanks for sharing your (awful) experience. I have often wondered about using this - definately won't be doing that now.

  9. Sad! I mean the stitching. The Welcome project is nice.

  10. I hope that the unicorn can still be saved.
    Nice progress on Quaker Welcome.

  11. Wow, that's shitty!

    Quaker Welcome is pretty!


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Missy (aka Raven)