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How I Framed a Vintage Silk Scarf

Jun 18

Do you have a vintage silk scarf that’s just too pretty to wear in your everyday life? When I was studying abroad in Paris, I bought a vintage Lanvin scarf that I had no intention of wearing. It was that beautiful! But the problem was I didn’t know what to do with it! I knew I wanted to display it somehow, but I wasn’t sure the best way to go about it. After five long years of storing the scarf, I finally came across the perfect solution: framing it! Displaying a scarf in a frame is the best way to show it off while also protecting the delicate material. In this post, I’ll show you how to frame a vintage silk scarf, share inspiration photos, and offer up a few tips on framing a scarf of your own.

How to frame a vintage silk scarf

My Lanvin Silk Scarf

During my sophomore year of college at Rhode Island School of Design, I studied abroad in Paris for six weeks. I took a black and white film photography course, and our small class size allowed for plenty sight-seeing and photographing. My friends and I spent many an afternoon eating macarons, speaking in broken French, and riding the Métro all over the city. One of our favorite adventures was to the Marché aux Puces de St.-Ouen (here is a great New York Times article about the market). This flea market is absolutely huge; you could easily spend an entire day roaming the shops.

During our first trip to the flea market, I stopped into a shop with vintage Chanel and Louis Vuitton in the window. A vintage Lanvin scarf folded on a shelf quickly caught my eye. It had a delicate floral pattern but the colors were so vibrant. I toyed with the idea of buying the scarf, but it was over my souvenir budget. My nervousness about bargaining in French probably kept me from buying, too!

I left the store without purchasing, but it didn’t leave my mind (a sign you should definitely buy something, right!?). A week or so later, my friends and I returned to the flea market. Luckily, the scarf was still on the shop’s shelf. I left so happy I’d made the purchase. It’s by far my favorite souvenir I brought back from my time in Paris.

My scarf is one of those items that feeds my soul. Not only do I love the pattern and color scheme, the scarf brings back memories from my study abroad trip to Paris. I’m of the belief that filling your home with pieces you truly cherish gives you energy and inspiration. Every time I see my scarf hanging above my record player, I am so happy.

Shop Silk Scarves

Since you might not be able to make it to the Marché aux Puces de St.-Ouen anytime soon, I rounded up some similar silk scarves for you! Etsy has an incredible selection of vintage scarves from Lanvin, Gucci, Chanel, and more. There are also a few retailers like Rifle Paper Co. and Kate Spade keeping the silk scarf alive! Any of these would be perfect to turn into art.

Framing Inspiration

Several of my photography clients gave me inspiration for framing vintage silk scarves. The first time I saw someone else frame a scarf was on an interior shoot at artist Sam Sidney’s home. I gushed over the retro Florida scarf hung above her bar cabinet. I loved how she floated the scarf between two panes of glass.

My client interior designer Jill Howard also has a scarf she sourced in Romania hanging above her couch. I couldn’t resist using it as a backdrop in her branding photos.   

Framed silk scarf above a bar cabinet
A lifestyle headshot of an interior designer sitting on a couch

Tips on Framing Your Own Vintage Silk Scarf

Need some helpful tips on how to frame a vintage silk scarf of your own? As I began the project of framing my Lanvin scarf, I learned a few essential tips for framing delicate scarves.

DIY vs. Professional Framer: Personally, I didn’t consider DIY-ing this project because of the delicate nature of the scarf. My local Charleston framer, Artizom, has a textile specialist on staff. I knew it would be in the best of hands! Furthermore, Artizom offers museum-quality glass that protects against UV light. If you want to go the DIY route, there are plenty of tutorials online that can walk you through mounting and framing your scarf. Before you decide which way to go, consider the delicacy of your scarf and how much time you want to spend framing a scarf yourself.

Prepping Your Scarf: Before you take your scarf to the framer or start your DIY project, you’ll want to clean and steam it. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, take it to a professional dry cleaner. Your scarf will look its best once it’s framed if you’ve cleaned and pressed it.  

Matting vs. Floating: I originally planned to frame my scarf between two panes of glass like Sam’s. Ultimately, I decided against it because I knew the color of the wall would always affect how the scarf looked. If I ever wanted to paint a darker wall color, I might not love how it looks behind the scarf. My framer also warned me that it’s harder to keep dust out and get the scarf perfectly straight in the glass. They suggested a textured matte to mount the scarf like Jill’s and I love how it turned out. If you’re not as much of a perfectionist as me, floating your scarf in glass might be the way to go.

Detail of a Framed Vintage Lanvin Silk Scarf

Now It’s Your Turn!

Framing a vintage silk scarf is such a rewarding project. Deciding on the safest and most beautiful way to display my scarf took a few years for me, but it was worth the wait! My Lanvin scarf is my absolute favorite piece of art hanging on our walls. Now you have my helpful tips and inspiration for how to frame a vintage silk scarf. Need some ideas on where to hang it in your home? Read my post Ways to Display Framed Art in Every Room of the House!

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