How to Mount Hand Embroidery on Canvas Board

My latest design has thrown me a whole host of different challenges, not only in the way I stitch the piece but also in the way it is displayed.

Traditionally, the easiest way to display hand embroidery is in a hoop – it’s quick, simple and inexpensive so why would you choose anything else! I suppose the reason I wanted to move away from this is because you can be restricted in the design and size with a hoop, whereas mounting on a board has no limitations either in size or shape which I find opens up a whole host of new possibilities.

My newest design is an 8 inch square and my intention from the very start was to get this mounted on to a canvas board to show off the piece to its full effect.

I will take you through the steps for mounting this 8 inch square embroidery design on to canvas board but these principles can be applied to whatever you choose to frame in this way.

The first step is to remove your work from the frame you stitched it in and then iron it on the reverse ready for mounting on to the Canvas Board.

Flat Canvas board is ideal for embroidery as it is sturdy and pre prepared. You can get it in many sizes from most craft stores as well as online. Make sure you choose a good quality one.

Tip: I like to use a second calico fabric as a stabilser on my embroidery as I stitch which means when I come to mount it on the board I already have 2 layers of fabric as a base. If you don’t use a stabiliser, you may want to attach a layer of Calico to the Canvas Board before you attach the actual embroidery for a better and smoother result.

Choosing the size of the Board: How do you know what size to choose? This basically depends on the embroidery and if you want it to have space around its edge or not. With my 8 inch square design I wanted a 1 inch border around it so chose a 10 inch square canvas board. You don’t have to have any border and can choose one that is the same size as your finished piece.

As you can see, the 10 inch markers show what the design will look like with a 1 inch border around its edges when it is on the 10 inch square canvas board.

Mark the corners of where the canvas board will be with pins on the front of the fabric (see black arrows above).

Next, turn your fabric over to the reverse side and place your canvas board over the design, matching up the corners to the pins you just placed. With a pencil mark each corner of the the canvas board so you know where it needs to go. (black arrows below).

Next mark a 1.5 inch border from the edges of the canvas board ( this is the fabric you will fold to the back). Cut around this border to remove any excess fabric.

Once you have the corners marked as well as an additional 1.5 inch fabric allowance out from these – place your Canvas Board face down over the back of the design (matching up the corners with the corner marks!) ready to mount.

The following photos show a much smaller board being wrapped just for the purpose of showing you the process more easily.

Step 1… Pull the fabric allowance over to the back on one side and starting from the centre place a pin in to the edge to secure it in place. Keep pulling the fabric over and pinning the rest of that side from the centre out to the edge as in the above photos.

With your first side pinned, you need to repeat this on the opposite side – this time making sure you pull it across and wrap the fabric around to the back nice and tight to keep it smooth on the front.

As you can see from the front, the fabric is nice and tight over the board. Next you need to do the other 2 sides in the same way. Keeping tension as you go.

Here is the Garden Glory Design pinned on all 4 sides and a nice tension achieved so the design is smooth throughout. It is nicely centred on the board.

If you are not happy with anything at this point it is best to sort it out now by readjusting, or making it tighter as you won’t be able to do this after this point.

The next step is to fold the corners over at the back neatly and stitch to hold them in place.

Using the following photos as a guide, firstly bring the point of the fabric over the corner of the board squarely.

Keeping the fabric tucked in to the edge, Fold one side up – make sure you keep the corner nice and neat by keeping the fold of the fabric tucked under in the right place.

Lastly, do the same with the other side, folding it up whilst keeping it tucked under.

Don’t be disheartened with this step as it can take a few attempts to get it right by fiddling and re doing (it’s not as easy as it looks!). Many people say to pin this in place at this point but I found it didn’t keep the corner nice and crisp so opted to stitch the 2 sides together which also helped to pull the corner tighter in the process.

Here’s a close up of the corner stitched to secure the 2 sides in place. It isn’t pretty but I kept checking it looked perfect from the front (which is the main thing!). Plus I can hide the back which you will see in a bit!

Now you need to use some STRONG thread (!) for the next part. ( I used a size 8 perle thread and doubled it to give it the strength I needed to stop it from breaking. ) You are basically going to pull the 2 opposite sides together nice and tight with the thread.

To secure the top and bottom sides to one another, bring your thread up in the centre at ‘1’ approx. half an inch from the fabric edge and secure with a knot. Take the thread directly down to the bottom edge fabric and come up at ‘2’ (half inch in from edge).

You will need a really long piece of thread to continue along – going up at ‘3’ then down and through at ‘4’, back up at ‘5’, back down at ‘6’ etc etc. Finish at the bottom edge to secure. You need to maintain a nice tight and even tension from number ‘1’ all the way to the point at which it will be secured so that the embroidery continues to stay tight on the front.

When you have done the first half of vertical stitches, return to the centre and do the other half in the same way and secure. Providing it is all nice and secure and you are happy with the tension you can remove the pins on the top and bottom edges.

Now you just need to do the exact same process to pull each of the remaining 2 sides together. Once it is all secure, remove the pins and your embroidery is now mounted.

As you do all of the steps above, keep checking back to the front to make sure it is looking as you want it to. The tighter it is the smoother it will look.

As a final step to cover the back, cut a piece of felt half an inch smaller than the finished size. (Mine was 9.5 inches.)

Whip stitch this in place around the outer edge to complete your work.

Attach a picture hook for hanging.

So there you have an easy and simple way to give your embroidery a contemporary edge. There is no right and wrong way of doing this so long as you achieve the result you are after.

If you would like to purchase the Garden Glory Pattern which is featured in this post you can get it here

If you have any questions you can email me or post a comment. Thanks for reading!

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