How to: frame a finished embroidery (the easy way)

Today I am going to show you how to neatly frame a finished piece of embroidered artwork. This is my 'easy enough to do at home in under ten minutes' version of framing; remember, you can always choose to take your piece to a professional frame shop. I am comfortable doing most of my framing at home, if only because it is so much less painful than taking three children with me to a frame shop... 

To start out, you'll need:
- your finished piece, pressed as neatly as possible; 
-a frame with mat that will accommodate your image;
-a piece of foam core at least as large as your frame;
-a ruler and a craft/xacto knife;
-painter's tape; 
-a household stapler;
-kraft paper, a hammer, a sawtooth hanger, and finishing nails (optional)

For this tutorial, I'm framing one of my bicycle embroidery patterns, which fits nicely into a 10 x 13" frame with a mat. The mat is important; it will keep your framing tricks from showing! 

To start with, remove the backing and the glass from your frame. Grab your foam core or and cut it to fit the inside dimensions of your frame. Foam core is often marked with a grid on one side, and is easily scored with a craft knife. Use your ruler; you want this to fit nice and snug:


Now that your foamcore is the right size, pop it back out and lay your embroidery on it. Centre it (lay your frame and mat overtop and eyeball it to get the best idea of where it needs to be) and use painter's tape to anchor the edges. 

You can adjust the sides by lifting up the tape, re-stretching, and sticking it back down again; when you're happy, smooth the tape down firmly. Add tape as needed to secure all the edges. (Note: if your three-year-old makes off with your roll of tape halfway through this process, you will have to use two different colours of tape. Just keeping it real.)


After taping, use your stapler to secure the fabric/tape combination. Lay it flat and staple right through the tape and fabric into the foam core. This will help to secure the piece for good. I like to staple around the perimeter about every 1"-2" depending on the piece. The staples should go on the front side of the piece, close to the edge, and it's a good idea to lay your mat overtop to make sure you're stapling in a zone that will be covered by the mat. 

Now for the fun part: putting it all together! Replace the mat and pop the foam core back in... if all has gone according to plan, your image should be nicely centred and snug in the frame, like so: 


 Now, there is only the back to finish. If you are planning to hang this on your own wall and don't want to bother about the back, that's perfectly fine, of course. But in case you wanted to gift the finished project, or in case you will not be able to sleep knowing that there is unprotected foamcore on the back side of your frame - here is a quick and easy way to make the back look great. 

Take your kraft paper and cut it to the same size as the outside measurements of your frame. Then, use double-sided tape - or staples - or even a glue stick - to adhere it to the back of the frame. I didn't take a picture of this step, but it's fairly straightforward.  


There - doesn't that look tidy? Now, you can take your finishing nails and hammer - and pliers, if you are clumsy like me and don't want to flatten your fingers - and attach your sawtooth hanger to the back. 

As a final touch, I think it is sweet to write a message on the back - being a handmade thing and all. 

So there you go - your finished work, complete and ready to admire! Questions? Comments? If any of that does not make sense, please say so and I will try to clarify! Otherwise, enjoy your beautiful embroidery! 

Framed bicycle embroidery -



Gorgeously done! I’m going to finish my bicycle piece I did this way for my Mother’s Day gift. She’ll like it!

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