The DIY Guide for Mounting your own Medals (miniatures)

Discussion in 'Medals' started by TheresaMay, Feb 15, 2012.

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  1. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    I thought I would post this as the same questions are raised every time a new medal is issued or we approach November. On top of that, I noticed that the guide in the Military Medals forum is very gash to say the least. I've just finished a couple of 8-racks, so whilst doing another set of 4, I thought I'd take snaps along the way to post on here.

    So here in pictures, is a guide for mounting your own (using the proper materials) Full size medal mounting guide (including overlapping) to follow:


    First off, you'll need to order a few materials - namely the ribbon, brooch bar and miniatures themselves. The Mess Dress Ltd (Bournemouth) seem to work out cheaper than everywhere else - next day delivery too. So order your bits when you know you're getting another gong. Additionally, you'll need buckram (stiff hessian), fabric glue, double-sided fabric tape, coloured thread, needles, scissors, black felt, and rule. Not shown here is some thin, dark, sheet fabric for wrapping around the buckram.

    You wil need around 8" of miniature ribbon for each medal - I suggest ordering fresh, or offering your tailor some hobnobs in exchange for ribbon - seeing as the stuff that comes with the mini is usually only good for doing a gash job. Make sure you get the correct brooch bar too - i.e. if you have 8 gongs, get an 8-space.

    Also *remember* which order your medals need to go (and avoid getting the Iraq medal the wrong way around!). If in doubt - a quick tip... read the sticky in this forum or the JSP...!

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  2. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    1. First you'll need to measure the buckram. In order to get a proper perpendicular edge, use a square object such as my coaster in (Picture 1) and draw your guidelines. You'll need 45mm height, and for the correct width it should be the same as your brooch (Picture 2).

    2. Once you have measured your buckram (for a set of 4 this should be 65mm x 45 mm), cut it out using sharp fabric scissors, and now use it to measure your black cloth (Picture 3). You need enough fabric to wrap right around the WIDTH of the buckram (as these are the sides you will be able to see at the edge of the rack.

    Medals (2).jpg Medals (3).jpg Medals (4).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  3. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    3. Now you need to use your fabric glue to hold the dark sheet fabric in place around the buckram as shown in Pictures 1 and 2. **I would emphasise that you should stitch your ribbons and materials wherever possible, but most of you won't have access to a heavy duty sewing machine, hence this guide uses a little glue and a little tape to ease the process for you**. The thickness of the buckram should ensure that once you wrap the fabric around, it will need to be stretched slightly, leaving a very slight gap (Picture 3). Allow to dry before going any further. This is important because wet glue can seep through your medal ribbons and discolour over time.

    Medals (5).jpg Medals (6).jpg Medals (7).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  4. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    4. Once dry, use the scissors to remove any excess at the top and bottom of your rack-to-be. Apply a thin strip of double-sided fabric tape to the bottom of the board as shown in Picture 1. It is important that this is applied to the side WITHOUT the join.

    5. Starting in the centre, place the ribbons over the tape as shown in Picture 2 - bearing in mind they are going to be folded back and presented on the other side of the board; you must ensure that the ribbons are in reverse order (as you're currently working on the back), and ribbons such as the Iraq medal as shown here, are correctly orientated.

    6. Once secured, you need to mark out a guideline for sewing the ribbons about 7mm from the bottom of the board as shown in Picture 3.

    7. If you have a heavy-duty sewing machine to hand at this point it would be very useful. Failing that, stitch along the line using black cotton, and once at the other end of the board, come back on your own stitching, this time ensuring the stitches are evenly apart from the ones already in place to ensure a more even grip on each of the ribbons. See Picture 4.

    Medals (8).jpg Medals (9).jpg Medals (10).jpg Medals (11).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  5. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    8. Now you can turn the board over and prepare to fold the ribbon up. You now have two choices - either secure the ribbon using more stitching at the top, or like shown in Picture 1, use fabric tape at the top and bottom. If you have time, and want to make a professional job of it - use a sewing machine (keeping it steady whilst hand stitching is VERY difficult).

    9. One at a time, pull each ribbon tight from underneath as shown in Picture 2, and secure against the fabric tape avoiding distortion of the natural rib of the ribbon. Align each ribbon side by side and maintain as straight as possible. Once finished, the underneath should now look like Picture 3.

    Medals (12).jpg Medals (13).jpg Medals (14).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  6. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    10. Now comes the medals. Starting with the one on the right (LSGC in most cases) feed the ribbon through the loop / slot and pull tight and square until the bottom edge of the board is halfway over the top half of the medal as shown in Picture 1.

    11. Once the correct length is obtained, apply a small patch of fabric tape to the ribbon as close to the loop / slot as possible as shown in Picture 2. Fold the top layer of ribbon over and press down, ensuring that both layers of ribbon are now neatly aligned as shown in Picture 3. The next medal along will overlap slightly as shown in this picture.

    12. Where you have a clasp (Picture 4) - you have to see how they align first, before deciding on sticking the ribbon together. If need be, the clasp can be raised slightly higher to avoid awkward overlapping of the medal next to it (this is quite common with the OSM Afghan / Iraq medal combo)

    Medals (15).jpg Medals (16).jpg Medals (17).jpg Medals (18).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  7. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    13. With a clasp, sometimes they are big enough to accommodate two layers of ribbon. If this is the case then the ribbon should be fed through the clasp prior to the medal loop as well as after it. This will stop the clasp from looking loose and untidy. It will also prevent it sliding about the ribbon too much.

    14. In order to ensure your medals hang at the same length, you should do each one in turn, moving the others aside (as opposed to comparing it to the next one along) as shown in Picture 1. This will help keep half the medal showing at the bottom when viewed from the rear.

    Medals (19).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  8. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    15. Now comes the tricky part. Offer your brooch up to the medal ribbons and feed each through as shown in Picture 1. They should be fed in such a way that the medal is allowed to hang halfway over the bottom of the board when the brooch is folded back flush over the top of the back of the board.

    16. Once you are satisfied that you have each ribbon at the correct length through the brooch, apply one thin layer of fabric tape across the back of the ribbons as shown in Picture 2 - i.e. the section of ribbons that will be 'clamped' by the brooch when it is secured with thread.

    17. Remove the backing off the double sided tape and push the brooch against the ribbons and back of the board where it will be secured (allowing it to stick). Now using sharp scissors, trim the excess ribbon so that it is now flush with the brooch (Picture 3) - this is the point where you cannot afford to make any errors!

    Medals (20).jpg Medals (21).jpg Medals (22).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  9. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    18. If you have measured it correctly, the brooch should now be positioned as shown in Picture 1. Once you are happy with the position, select a length of thread of similar colour to the edge of the ribbon and use double thread to secure the first edge as shown in Picture 2.

    19. Repeat this procedure for the other edge of the brooch - again, using a similar coloured thread to the ribbon. Once this has been completed, depending on the number of medals you may need to secure the other sections of brooch too. For a set of 4 - this will include the centre section as shown in Picture 3. Use a neutral coloured thread - although it is unlikely this will be seen as the overlapping medal ribbon should hide it.

    Medals (23).jpg Medals (24).jpg Medals (25).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  10. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    20. Now you are finally ready to secure the medals down. Use a silver / light thread for the silver medals, gold / orange thread for the QGJM, and grey for the EU medals (you get the picture) - see Picture 1. A bit of trial and error here as you need to feed the thread through from the rear to avoid tying the knot on the medal side. Again, use double-thread and wrap each medal four times, tying it at the back of the board.

    21. When it comes to the next medal along, it will overlap slightly. It is important to secure the medal with your thumb as you secure it (to avoid 'pulling' the medal up as you secure it) - see Picture 2. Follow this procedure for each medal along, and underneath you should have something that looks like Picture 3.

    Medals (26).jpg Medals (27).jpg Medals (28).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  11. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    22. This next part is totally optional, but for that professional finish cut a length of felt to size, and then take the corners off it (to avoid catching, fraying and coming loose). Apply fabric tape to the back of the board and again, trim the corners as shown in Picture 1.

    23. Apply the felt as shown in Picture 2.

    24. Picture 3 - You're done!

    Medals (29).jpg Medals (30).jpg Medals (31).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
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  12. A great guide, call me Dave. I'm sure it'll save some ARRSErs a few squid. I'm too much of a cack-handed f***er and would probably end up sewing my face to the curtains whilst attempting to mount my single QDJM in all honesty.
  13. Interesting ! On the 7th Feb you stated in another thread that you didn't use glue or double sided tape but stitched them all the way.

    It seems you have now edited that bit out of that thread before posting these pics.

    I call sewing walt!

    tidy finish all the same.
  14. I'll be giving this a go once I get everything together
  15. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    Sorry I should have been more specific - I was referring to the fact that I've stripped people's medals down before, only to find them caked in the stuff - I also mention that the method I'd shown here (as quoted) was using tape instead of sewing - as they're someone elses :) and I have a load of them to do.

    Now and again, I have to use a little tape to stick bits and pieces down - but not so much as I render the ribbon unusable should I need to add another gong somewhere down the line...