How to Block Needlepoint

When you block needlepoint you stretch it back into the shape it was in before you started stitching it. (Wouldn't it be nice if we could spray a bit of water on and stretch ourselves back into the shape we were in before we hit 40...or 30?) But, we digress...

You will need to block your needlepoint canvas before you can finish your masterpiece properly. If you intend to make your needlepoint into a pillow, then you need a square and not a parallelogram, so let's learn how to quickly and easily block needlepoint.

NB: If you plan to send your needlepoint canvas away for finishing by a professional needlepoint finisher you will not need to block the needlepoint canvas as the finisher will do this for you.

Instructions For How To Block Needlepoint

If you stitched your needlepoint on a frame (and we won't tell if you didn't), remove the needlepoint canvas from the frame.

Find a board that you can push pins or tacks into that is large enough to accommodate the needlepoint canvas. The larger your canvas and the more distorted it is, the sturdier the board and the more tacks/nails you will need.

how to block needlepoint

For small projects we use heavy thumb tacks and cork boards to block needlepoint, but for larger projects you might need a wood board and nail-in tacks. 

Check that the threads you stitched with are colorfast. Most widely-distributed threads are colorfast but you still need to check. Dampen each different type of fiber you used with water and then blot it with a paper towel. You can use your leftover thread stash for this test. If dye bleeds onto the towel then the threads are not colorfast and you will need to dry-block your needlepoint by following the instructions below and leaving out the part about wetting the canvas


If the threads are colorfast, dampen your needlepoint by spraying it with clean water from a spray bottle. Notice we said dampen, not saturate!

Lay the dampened needlepoint on the board. and start stretching it back into shape...

Start at the center of each side and pull directly opposite, hammering or pressing in tacks or nails all the way around as you stretch the canvas out from the center. The tacks will need to be no more than 1 inch apart, and closer in places where more tugging is required. You are aiming to stretch the canvas "square" again. This might take a few "goes".

Allow to dry flat. In other words, leave it for several hours.

When dry, your canvas should have retained its svelte original shape and be ready for needlepoint finishing. If it's still a little distorted, simply repeat the needlepoint blocking process. Some canvases require multiple blockings to get them back into shape.

Frame Your Needlepoint

Framing your stitched needlepoint - and creating a gallery wall - is a very popular way of finishing and displaying needlepoint right now. Small needlepoint projects are great for this and we have a bunch of them...

small needlepoint projects

Small needlepoint project ideas for framing

Also, here are instructions for how to frame your own needlepoint canvas.

framed needlepoint

Mail in services like Framebridge are also fast, efficient and well-priced for professional framing. Make sure you block your needlepoint canvas before mailing it in.