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!

Garden Glory – New Hand Embroidery Design released in time for Spring!

Garden Glory – the latest StitchDoodles Design has been many months in the making and is now all stitched up and ready to go…

The Sampler style pattern features a variety of beautiful flowers including Tulips, Daisies and Pansies…

Lots of lovely greenery is intermingled between the blooms with the addition of pots and snails to add to the charm.

Garden Glory is a sampler pattern so there are lots of interesting stitches making up the individual elements including some basic stitches like Chain, Stem and Satin as well as some slightly more challenging (but still very achievable) such as Buttonhole, Trellis and Fishbone.

The Pattern is a 10 page PDF with full colour photos and lots of easy to follow instructions. This will be a fabulous project to get you in the mood for spring and give you the perfect excuse to try out some gorgeous colours.

You can Purchase the pattern from my shop here. You can use all sorts of colours in your stash for this one as it will look great in any colourway!


Doodle Cloth Tuesday – Pearl Stitch

This week I decided to try a line stitch that I haven’t done before and came across the Knotted Pearl Stitch. This turned out to be a really nice stitch once you get in to a rythym and I can definately say I will use it in future designs.

Draw a line and come up on the edge. (1) Take a stitch along and slightly above the line and take your needle down (2). Next come up directly below where you came out at ‘2’, this time on the other side of the line a little distance from it (3).

Form the knot by slipping the needle through the stitch you made (4) and keeping the thread taut (as in the photos), releasing it gradually as you pull the thread through the stitch to form the knot. The rest of the stitches are made in the same way along the line forming knots as you go.

Playing around with different thickness of thread as well as varying the distance between the knots means this is quite a versatile stitch. The orange Pearl stitch was worked with 3 strands of DMC thread. The Green is 2 strands of perle thread no. 12, and then the yellow is a thick pearl cotton.

The Knotted Pearl Stitch would make a fabulous decorative edging on lots of different designs.

Doodle Cloth Tuesday – Woven Picot

Woven Picot are traditionally used in Lace work and I have shied away from this one in my work – no idea why! Let’s give it a go..

There are several different types of woven picot so let’s start with a version that is stitched to the cloth rather than detached as you very often see.

Stitch a triangle as above. Start at A and go down at B, Come back at C and go back in at D. Then stitch a central line up the middle coming out at E and back in at F.

Woven Picot Stitch

After you have pulled your thread though at F, come back out where the arrow indicates and then start weaving your thread in and out, completing each row in this way to fill the Picot.

Once you have weaved all the way to the bottom, take the thread through to the back in the centre and secure at the back.

Now you are able to do a simple Woven Picot, experiment with different threads to see the difference it makes.

You can also try a detached Woven Picot Stitch…

Use a Pin to act as an anchor for your weaving. Pop the pin in your fabric and then come up at A and take the thread around the pin and then back in the fabric at B. Come back up at C, and again take the thread around the back of the pin – this time do not take the thread to the back, instead you are going to start weaving it back and too as you did before to fill in the shape.

Once you have filled in, take the thread to the back of the work and secure off.

Remove the pin and you have a lovely detached Woven Picot!

I did a few of these over my doodle cloth to try and perfect them and they got better each time! If you google woven Picot there are some gorgeous flowers you can create with this stitch, definately one to use for something special.

There are lots of stitch ‘doodles’ on the cloth now, can’t wait to have a look through my books and pick another one for next week!

How to Hand Embroider with a Stretcher Bar Frame – Easy and so worth it!

Whilst working on my latest design I decided it would look really nice worked in a square shape and then mounted on a canvas board when finished. My plan was to just stitch the design in a hoop and move it around as I went but I soon realised I would need to think again.

Constantly removing the fabric and rearranging it in the hoop was not only annoying (!) but it made the whole piece look more ragged and the stitches that were getting squashed (even though I was as careful as I could be) didn’t look as good as they could have.

I was looking around for alternative frames for stitching the whole piece that would be inexpensive, easy to do, and provide a nice stitching experience whilst seeing the whole design! I also wanted it to fit in the Seat frame I already had so it had a lot to live up to.

Stretcher bar frames seemed to be the thing that ticked all the boxes so I decided to start the design again and I am so glad I did. For a little bit more effort than popping in a hoop, the bar frame for me has been a game changer.

A Stretcher Bar Frame is basically wooden bars which fit together to form a frame that you attach your embroidery to for stitching.

You can get the bars in all sorts of sizes to make lots of different frame sizes – each set is sold as a pair so you need 2 sets to make a frame! These Siesta bars are fitted together by the interlocking edges.

I also wanted to try the ‘Elbesee Universal Craft Frame’ – which has plastic corner connectors to fit them together rather than interlocking edges. (again sold in a pair so you need to get 2 pairs to make a frame!)

So, which one to choose. Purely as I liked the rigidity of the Elbesee Bars, I decided to go with this – as you can see in the photo – the Siesta ones do move so its personal choice. Once your fabric is tacked on I doubt it makes much difference.

Once you have got your frame, all you need is your fabric and some pins to tack it on to the frame with.

Make sure the fabric extends outside of the frame by at least 2 inches on each side.

Trace your chosen design on to your fabric prior to putting on the frame.

To prevent fraying, you can edge the fabric with masking tape or cut with pinking shears.

Place your design face down on a clean flat surface and place the bar frame on the back- make sure the design is central in the frame as best you can.

Pull the top edge of fabric over the frame bar (making sure your design stays central) and put your first pin in the middle of the bar. Pull the fabric over and continue to pin along the bar from the centre outwards on both sides.

Once all the pins are along the top bar you can pull the fabric nice and tight on the bottom edge and pin in the same way from the centre out – keep the tension nice and tight and even. You should have all your pins on the top and bottom bars as in the photo above.

Next, you need to pin the 2 side bars. I found it easier to pin each side in the middle first to provide some tension and then put the remainder of the pins in one side and then the other.

As you can see from the photo above, I have kept the tension really nice and tight and the fabric is lovely and taut.

Here’s how it looks from the front…

Now you are all set to get stitching.

Here’s how it looks part way through stitching – it’s clean, taut, I can see it all for colour choices and best of all I am not messing around taking it in and out of a hoop – yay!

This pattern will be coming soon…