If you find yourself falling short at the end of an embroidery project because framing sounds intimidating… I am here to help! Learning how to frame embroidery is not as intimidating as it sounds. A few basic materials and about 20 minutes of your time are all you need to turn that embroidery piece you spent hours stitching into a finished masterpiece.
You Will Need…
- Your Finished Embroidery Piece – washed & pressed. The fabric must be big enough to fill the frame with 2 or 3-inches of extra fabric for wrapping around the back. If you’re like me and trim your fabric while it’s in the hoop to keep it out of the way, be sure to leave extra if you plan to frame the finished piece.
- A Picture Frame large enough to fit your embroidery. This tutorial does not use the glass front of the frame. For aesthetic reasons, I prefer the stitching without glass in front of it, and for practical reasons, it can harm the thread over time. However, if you choose to have glass on the front, you will need to use a deep, shadowbox type frame and spacers so the embroidery does not touch the glass.
- A Foam Board* cut to fit the inside dimensions of your frame. Cut the board about a 1/8-inch smaller than the inside measurements to account for the fabric that will be wrapped around the edges. *If you don’t want to buy a large posterboard size piece of foam board, ask at your local framing shop if they have any small remnants.
- Sturdy Cotton Thread
- Push Pins
How to Frame Embroidery
Once you have gathered and prepared all your materials, begin the framing process by positioning the foam board in the center of your embroidery piece. Make sure it’s straight! Carefully flip it over so the fabric is on the bottom. Starting with the long sides, fold the extra fabric into the center. If necessary, trim the fabric to leave a roughly 1-4-inch space in between. Pull the fabric tight and secure by pushing the pins into the foam board.
Repeat this procedure on the short sides. Depending on the shape of your frame, you might need to fold the corners on a diagonal and trim the fabric to prevent it from bunching. The finished fabric-wrapped foam board will need to fit snuggly inside the frame so try your best to avoid bulky corners.
Once the fabric is secured onto the board, flip it over and do a final check to make sure it is straight.
The final step is stitching the fabric together on the back using a simple lacing technique. Start by flipping the extra fabric from the short sides out of the way. Insert a needle with a long strand of thread about a 1/4-inch from the edge of the fabric and weave back and forth while pulling the fabric tight. Tie off the thread at the end and start a new piece. Finish the lacing by folding the fabric from the short sides back over into the middle and lacing it together.
Remove the pins and the fit the embroidery board inside the frame.
Replace the frame backing, flip it over, and admire your handiwork!
Wait, There’s More!
Want to learn how to frame embroidery inside the hoop? That trusty wooden hoop you used for stitching can also serve as a fantastic frame. Learn how by visiting my post: How to Finish an Embroidery Hoop.
Stitch Life Frames
Finally, if all of the folding, stretching and lacing sounds like too much work…how about something easier? These solid wooden frames made by Stitch Life Studio are by far the simplist, most visually appealing embroidery framing option I have come across.
Available in a range of styles, shapes, sizes and finishes, these hand crafted frames allow you to simply slip your finished embroidery piece – hoop and all – behind the frame where it is secured in place with elastic bands.
Flip it over, adjust the placement, and viola, you have a perfectly framed piece of embroidery art! You can view all of the frame options by visiting Stitch Life Studio on Esty.