A Guide to Framing Cross Stitch

Having completed your piece of cross stitch and after it has been washed and ironed, it is now time to frame your cross stitch.

When choosing a frame for your work, it is a good idea to try to match the frame to the cross stitch, that is, if you have stitched a traditional pattern it would not particularly suit a very modern frame, likewise, cross stitching a really up to date pattern and framing it in an antique looking frame would not be very suitable either. Another idea is to take a good look at your pattern and if there is a colour in the piece which really stands out it may be possible to obtain a frame in a matching colour or possibly a lighter shade. The room in which the completed cross stitch picture will be hung should also be taken into consideration. The frame adds the finishing touch to any picture so if you are buying a frame, or having one made by a professional frame maker, do remember to take the piece of cross stitching with you when you are choosing your frame.

Once you have chosen the frame, you also need to decide how to mount the work before it is framed. Do you need a border around the edge of the piece? The choice is entirely yours but a guide to this is that the finished cross stitch will stand out more when framed if it has a border around the edge of the material rather than the edges of the finished work going straight into a frame.

You can now commence mounting your cross stitch onto the backing card - foam backed card is available from most good craft stores. Never use cardboard for framing cross stitch as it is made of unrefined paper which might contain acid which in turn is harmful to the cross stitch. Centre the work onto the backing card and secure with stainless steel pins. As soon as you are satisfied with the position of the cross stitch, place the work face down on a clean towel and using double sided acid free tape, carefully stretch the material over the backing card and secure the raw edges of your work to it. Remember to remove the stainless steel pins once the material has been safely secured to the card. Some people prefer to "lace" their work into position. "Lacing" is sewing the material into position but this process is rather lengthy as well as tedious and double sided acid free tape will suffice, but, again, it is purely a matter of choice.

Centre your work onto your chosen mounting and join both things together with the second side of your double sided tape. Most people choose to put glass into their frame, however, if you do not want to use glass you do not have to. However, glass will keep the completed picture clean and dust free, especially if there are smokers around. Do ensure it is plain glass only that is used as some of the other sorts of glass may contain minute traces of acid. The glass should be thoroughly cleaned on both sides with a non-ammonia glass cleaner and be completely dust free before it is placed in the frame. Insert your mounted cross stitched piece into the frame and secure with acid free masking tape. If your completed picture is quite large attach two eyelet hooks in the centre of each side through which wire should be threaded to enable the picture to be hung. Smaller frames will probably just need a sawtooth hanger. Finally, polish the outside of the glass and hang the picture.

There are several professional framers who will not only make a frame for you but will also carry out the complete framing and mounting process if you do not wish to do it yourself, but if you choose to use a professional service, it is advisable to get a quotation first and, if possible, use a tradesman who has been recommended to you.

Some cross stitchers are lucky enough to have partners who are very good at do-it-yourself, in which case, once you have completed your project and washed it, you just need to hand it to them to complete!

Whichever way you choose to frame your cross stitch, you have created a family heirloom and a beautiful piece of work, now hang your picture and enjoy it.