How to frame and display your embroidery work

An embroiderer is an artist who re-creates beautiful pictures with embroidery thread. The resultant work is as worthy as any other artwork and a source of great admiration. When you have invested a lot of your time and creativity and made a work worthy of your passion and time, you have to have it displayed properly for others to enjoy the beauty of your work, right?. How ? By framing and displaying it like the artwork that it is.

Method 1 Professionally Frame your embroidery work

You can make a frame for your embroidery work yourself or get it framed by professional framers. If you are thinking of framing it yourself you need to buy frame, mat, glass, tape, glue, nails, hangers, bumpers etc.

Board – The board should be big enough to account for the mat width and for the frame. If the embroidery is to be framed without a mat then allow 1 to 1 1/2 inches around the design to determine the board size.

Frames – If you are adventurous you can make your own wooden frame . Buy molding that is found on hardware stores and get it cut at angles 45 degree, so that it fits the mount you have. It helps if you have wood cutting tools

The options for frames are wooden or metal. You can buy real wood frames or laminate ones;  the laminate ones are cheaper ofourse . The choices of colour include wood colour ( suits most embroidery), gold, silver white etc; other colours may clash or become outdated after sometime

Mats – If you are using mats to frame the embroidery you may want to use acid free mat/lignin free mat so that the embroidery would not be damaged after some time but totally acid free mats are very expensive.  Anyways the acid deterioration takes place in say decades so you maynot want to worry about that aspect, unless you are making a heirloom. Even when you get a mat that says it is acid free, it may happen that it is not actually acid free. High-end frame shops will carry Conservation quality mat boards, so you may want to ask after that to make sure your hard work lasts for years.

White, cream, taupe etc are the colours popularly used for the mats . The width of the mat should be in prorportion to the work you have. You can make rectangular, oval or circle shaped mat inside frames and create a unique look

If the frame you have is not the size suitable for your embroidery design, add or subtract the amount of fabric showing around the design first. Then change the mat sizes to suit. If you have a small design which looks very small for the frame you have you can add a mat which will make the area bigger.

Ensure that the mat edges are proportional. The top and bottom mat edge widths must be the same and the side edge widths must be the same but the top/bottom and the sides need not be the same but should be no more than 1 inch different.

Fabric –  If you are thinking of framing your work think about it before you start designing your work . The fabric has to be big enough to be frameable. The fabric you have should be cut bigger by about 4 to 5 inches all around. Measure your embroidery and add 5″ to width and length. Eg : If your design is 10 inch wide you should cut the fabric 15 inches wide; same for the length

Glass – Some prefer their work behind glasses, and some say that glasses hide the texture and beauty of their work. One advantage of using glass is that it will protect the work from dust. Use non-reflective glass, otherwise all you would be seeing will be your own reflection

Wash the work before framing if you notice it has got dirty while working. Sweat, oil stains all look horrible after it is framed so take care of it before giving it to frame.

Assembling the frame

If you are using a readymade frame or you are assembling it yourself, remember that you need to pin the work to the core. Center the work on the core/board, pin about 1/2 inch apart. You can also use your sewing needle and thread and lace through the cut edges and tighten the fabric.

Another alternative is to pin first and then make a machine stitching line all along the outer edge, catching the board and the work – this way the work is attached firmly to the core.

The embroidery work shouldnot be glued on the core, however convenient you think it is. You can glue the fabric edges at the back.

Method 2 Make a simple frame with cardboard

You will need a circle or rectangular shaped cardboard piece for this – you can use the cake circles on which you rest the cake, for framing your work. Do the embroidery on the fabric which is cut in the shape of the circle but some 3 inches bigger all around.

After the work is done, hem the edges. Keep the fabric face down in front of you

Lay the cardboard shape inside centered. You can add a foam layer for a cushioning effect – it will look more professional this way.

Using a sewing needle and thread make gathering stitches all around the fabric edge – loose stitches. You can use a strong thread ( buttonhole thread, leather sewing thread) to prevent it snapping under pressure

Gather the edge by pulling the thread together, till it is tightened towards the center of the circle. Tie it off . You can also use upholstery staplers or short pins to keep the fabric in place

You can add double sided tape on the back of this cardboard to attach it to wall 

Method 3 Embroidery hoop frame

Keep the work on your embroidery hoop and display it. You can buy cute plastic flexi hoops to display embroidery work

To frame your embroidery work with the hoop you need to cut atleat 2 inches more than the area of the hoop all around your work. First mark the area of the hoop on the fabric and then the 2 inches around this. Cut the fabric with this dimension. Turn under the cut edge to the inside and make a running stitch around the fabric, in effect hemming the fabric. Leave the tail of the thread freely. ( ie donot cut off the tail) Now mount the fabric with the design finished on the hoop. You can gather the fabric back side by pulling the thread you had left – the running stitches you made will act as gathering stitches. Tie a knot to secure the gather

Method 4 Use ready-made frame

Insert it into a ready-made photo frame. You already may have all types of frames at home. You can mount it as described earlier, but the process is understandably quite easier.

Method  5 Practical use of embroidery

Use it in things you use –  like a garment, a pillow, a jewellery, a blanket, a wall hanging, a coaster, brooch, or even as a Christmas ornament.

Checkout this related post – How to embroider on clothes – 10 steps to perfection for more details on embroidering


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *