How to Frame Needlepoint

Did you know you can frame a small needlepoint canvas using a store-bought frame in around 20 minutes?
Here's a step-by-step guide for how to do it.
Watch the 1 minute video for an overview, and then follow the more detailed instructions in the written steps below.

We took this stitched Ikat needlepoint design and framed it in a contemporary gallery style in under twenty minutes.

how to frame needlepoint

 how to frame needlepoint

First, if your stitched canvas looks more like a parallelogram than a square, you'll need to block it back to its original shape. Click through for how to block needlepoint instructions.

While your damp and blocked canvas is drying, visit an art or craft store and purchase a frame that will fit your needlepoint. You'll need to decide if you're going to include a mat board around the needlepoint and allow for this in the size. In the example above, we bought a frame with a mat board. The needlepoint design is 5" x 5" and the frame opening is 8" x 8" as we wanted lots of white space to make the overall size bigger. The white space also gives it a more contemporary look.

Here's another example of A Gardener's Bottom design by Jennifer Pudney that we framed with a mat board and lots of white space. This time we found a deep frame so the stitched tapestry is set further back from the glass.

how to frame needlepoint

Once you have your frame and blocked canvas, you're ready to get started. Here are the supplies you'll need:

  • A glue gun (or other glue that will bind the cotton canvas against card stock)
  • Scissors
  • 5mm thick (approx) card stock
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • Silicon finger shields are handy for handling hot glue, but they're not essential
1. Trim around the canvas so there's about 1/2" - 1 inch of spare canvas on all sides. Then, trim across the corners, being careful not to clip the stitches. Your canvas will look like this...

how to frame needlepoint

2. You're now going to wrap the canvas around a piece of card stock which you will cut to be slightly smaller than the dimensions of the stitched canvas. For example, our stitched canvas is 5" x 5", so we cut a piece of card stock to be around 4.75" x 4.75" or so. We then centered this piece of card in the middle of the WRONG side of the stitching, like you see here...

how to frame needlepoint
3. Heat up your glue gun because you're now going to adhere the 'flaps' to the card stock. Secure one side, then the flap on the opposite side. Repeat with the last two flaps. You need to pull the canvas as taut as you can around the card without bending it. It will look like this...

how to frame needlepoint
See how there are little loose pieces of cotton canvas in the corners? Use a dab of glue from the glue gun to get these secured and lying flat. The right side of the canvas should look like this...

how to frame needlepoint
4. You're now going to mount this canvas inside the backing mat of the frame. You want it centered so use the ruler to make sure there's even white space on each side.

how to frame needlepoint
Now is also the time to write the name of the piece, or whatever you like, under the canvas. Or not. This is optional, but it's easier to do it while you can move the canvas away, before it's glued down.

Once you have the canvas centered how you want it, use a couple of light pencil marks to mark the corners (very lightly indeed!). These are just guides so you know where to come back and place the tapestry once you've applied glue to the back. Which leads us to...

Flip the canvas and apply glue to the back (best to move it away from the backing mat while you do this so that glue drips don't drop onto the mat). Then glue the canvas onto the mat board using the light pencil marks to guide you.

how to frame needlepoint

5. You're almost there! Now, all you need to do is place the mat board with the canvas attached inside the mat frame. A good way of testing to make sure everything is lined up and straight is to place the mat board onto the mat frame and then hold it up to a mirror. If everything looks straight and even you can go ahead and secure the mat backing to the mat frame. Then you put everything together inside the wooden frame, secure it down and you're done!

Find a great spot to hang it and enjoy.

how to frame needlepoint
See our Collection of needlepoint designs that are easy to frame and fun to stitch.
small needlepoint projects for framing