by John Wigham
For many stitchers, the most exciting step of creating a cross stitch project is the final one – that of framing. Now! At last, you can finally think about showing off the results of your time and creative effort. For the very best results, framing your project involves several steps and decisions. Here’s my set of top tips for making this look as good as it can possibly be.
1. Choose a frame.
Stitchers habitually like to take their completed project with them when selecting a frame. Having your project with you can make it easier for you to choose the style and the size. When choosing, take your time to select a style that compliments your design and a size that isn’t overwhelming.
Then, after deciding on the best style and size, consider the material of the frame. And do bear in mind that some wood and plastic frames can leak acid over long periods of time. You may want to consult your local craft store for advice on the best way to prevent this damage from happening.
2. Decide if you want to use glass.
If you use glass, use plain glass rather than non-reflective glass. And if you’re hanging your project up high or have young children you might wish to consider toughened or safety glass; be aware of the extra cost though. Also, make certain your frame is deep enough so the glass does not touch the stitching. To keep the glass away from the stitching, most stitchers use either multiple mats or spacers.
3. Select the mats.
Mats not only give your work a polished, professional look, they also keep the glass from touching the stitches by using multiple mats. Select acid-free mats to protect your project. Experts suggest the borders of the bottom mat should be the same width or a little wider than the frame. The borders of the top mat should be smaller so you can see the bottom mat.
Generally, the best appearance is obtained by ensuring the bottom mat is a color that either matches a main thread in your project, or a color that coordinates with both the project and the frame. The bottom mat should always be your predominate color. The top mat should be a neutral color or a variation of the predominate color.
4. Attach your project to a mounting board.
In order to prevent damage to your project, select a board that is acid-free. Cut the board so it is slightly smaller than the frame, add batting if you wish, and then center your pattern and make certain the fabric is taut.
One handy way to make certain your project is correctly centered before you permanently attach it is to pin the overlapping fabric to the mounting board. By using pins, you can make adjustments until you are satisfied with the fitting.
When you’ve got the fabric taut and in place, attach it permanently to the mounting board either by stitching it to the board or by using a fabric adhesive. In general, the experts agree that the best approach is to stitch the overlapping sides to the mounting board using heavy thread.
5. Insert your project into the frame.
If you intend using glass in the frame and are using spacers, put them in place before inserting your project. If you don’t have actual spacers and worry the stitches may touch the glass, you can use extra pieces from a mat. Simply place thin pieces of the mat along the edges so they are hidden by the frame. Then set your project on top of these pieces.
Next, secure your project in the frame. Glazier points work nicely, and most craft and hardware stores carry them. When you use glazier points, one end is secured into the back of the frame. The other end holds your project in place.
If your frame does not have a back cover, you should use acid-free paper, either brown or decorative, to protect your project.
6. Attach wire or a picture hanger to the frame.
Usually frames do not come with wire or a hanger. Picture hangers are easy to attach because you simply nail them in the center of the top side of the frame. Picture hangers work well with small frames. If your frame is large, consider using wire instead. Remember to add a little extra wire so it isn’t too tight, and an extra hook to hang it on too, if the frame is on the heavy side.
… and a bonus tip! Enjoy your completed project.
Now that you’ve framed your beautiful cross stitch project, the only remaining step is to sit back, admire your accomplishment, and bask in the praise of others.