Finishing Your Embroidery

Finishing Your Embroidery

I’ve been loving embroidery for awhile. I’ve previously posted my attempt at an embroidered quiet book page for Zoey and my quick patching job on Ada’s cape. In the last couple years I’ve worked on three different kits including two store bought cross stitch and a really cool TARDIS kit. As I finished each kit I had to come up with someway to finish and hang it. I wanted to share with you how I completed them in case you were also working on a kit and debating what should or could happen once you’re done.

Pinterest image showing the three embroidery backs and two fronts.

The first two kits I’m showing I found on vacation a year or two ago in a little shop I stumbled across in Solvang, California. The smaller one, showing a penguin in an inner tube, came with an embroidery hoop along with the other supplies making it a simple choice to start on while we finished our vacation. I had seen on Instagram, before then, an embroidery artist (whose name escapes me) that used pencil crayons to highlight the fabric around or in her images so once I got home I removed the penguin from the hoop, took some pencil crayons of my own, and added a background for the sky and water. I felt like something was still missing so I used some extra blue embroidery floss to add definition to the water the penguin is floating in.

The second kit was larger than the first and didn’t come with it’s own embroidery hoop so I waited,  awhile, after I was home to start it. Like before, once I was done, I wanted to color in the background so I popped it out of the hoop and started shading the background in with blues. Here’s where I had my issue. The embroidery hoop had left an indent, creating a circle around the dolphin, which become apparent once I colored over the crease. I ended up shading more and hoping it would come off as an “I meant to do that” extra large bubble encircling the image.

The two finished and mounted embroidery kits. The smaller circled one (penguin floating in an inner tub) above the dolphin in an inner tube with quote: "When Life give you troubles... ... Blow bubbles!"
The two finished embroidery kits after I finalized them.

Once I liked how the penguin looked I figured it would be adorable to hang within the embroidery hoop it came with so I made sure it was taunt within the hoop and trimmed off the excess edges. Once I went to hang it I realized the horizontal pin was too far to the front of the hoop to hold it to the wall so I used a glue gun to extend the lip inward so the hoop could easily hang on a push pin.

The back of the finished penguin showing the knots and movement through the piece.
The back of the finished penguin.

Since I kindof liked the ‘bubble’ that formed around the dolphin I decided to instead use one of my blank canvas to hang the dolphin on instead of an embroidery hoop. After I was happy with how it looked I used my glue gun to fold each edge over of the fabric and attach it to the back of the canvas. Once I glued all four sides down I folded in the corners, turning them into diamond shapes, and glued them down. To hang the canvas up I used a picture hanging wire, tied a knot in either end, and then glue gunned either end of the wire to the canvas so it could hang on a thin nail. Next time I could see painting the back of the frame or gluing a piece of paper to it beforehand so the back is less descriptive.

The back of the dolphin isn't as pretty since the back of the canvas came with text and the fabric is unraveling where the glue isn't holding it down.
The edges of the dolphin cross stitch piece were folded over the edges of a canvas and hot glue gunned into place. Finally I used picture hanging wire so I could hang it on the wall.

I love how I chose two distinct cross stitch kits that work together and are perfect to hang in the bathroom… splish splash.

The most recent kit I made blew them both away. I absolutely love it and had to share with you. I bought the kit through Nerds and Needles on Etsy. Everything she posts on Instagram (@nerdsandneedles) is so gorgeous if you want to follow her. I’m also linking her main website in case you’re interested (I have no affiliation with her). Anyway I bought her kit which came with some gorgeous feeling fabric and some amazing colors of embroidery floss. It was gorgeous enough that the entire time I was making it I was also deliberating over how I should finish it and was worried I would ‘wreck it’ when finishing it.

Once done I took the TARDIS out of the embroidery hoop and, since I didn’t want a bubble around it like the dolphin before, I carefully pressed the fabric. I didn’t want to flatten the stitches I made so I laid out a towel on the table, laid the TARDIS down on top of it, and then pressed the back of the embroidery art. After I smoothed as much as I could I then flipped it over (design on top) and carefully pressed around the edges being careful not to get too close to the stitches. Here’s a link to Spruce Crafts telling you how they iron finished hand embroidery art… although I wasn’t as careful as theirs. Once I had all the wrinkles out of the fabric I was ready to color in the background.

Finished TARDIS laid out with an open container of pencil crayons beside it.
Finished and pressed TARDIS all ready to be colored.

I knew I wanted to mount the TARDIS back within the embroidery hoop so I used the faint impression left from the embroidery hoop to show how far out I needed to color to. I started out with green creating a faint base for the TARDIS to rest on. I then decided to color a pinky purpleish sky since technically this could be an alien sky and I wanted the TARDIS to pop instead of blending into a blue background. I originally wanted to make the light appear to be on so I made sure to add yellow rays coming from the top or the TARDIS. After getting a good base colored on I then went over it again shading some areas and adding grass highlights to the ground.

TARDIS with a mostly flatly colored background and some grass lines in the ground.
After shading the first round and adding some grass to the ground. I made sure the coloring went beyond the imprint from the embroidery hoop but there was no point adding grass beyond the inner point.
Finished colored background.
After going over the background a couple different times with different shades of the same hue.

This is the perfect time to add something to hang your embroidery up. I forgot to add it until after I put the embroidery back into it’s hoop and had to take it apart once more before I was done.

Closeup of the top of the embroidery hoop showing the top of the TARDIS, the yellow rays extending outward, and the top closure of the hoop.
I tightened the top and made sure the fabric was centered and taunt before realizing I needed to add a method to hang the hoop up with.

Before creating the loop to hang the embroidery with I first took some of the extra white embroidery floss from the kit to highlight the rays coming out from the TARDIS’s light. I then worked on the loop by taking three strands of embroidery floss (two of the color changing threads and one of the solid blue threads) and finger crocheted a more decorative and stronger string together. I then knotted it in a loop, took apart the embroidery hoop, and strung the loop on the post before doing the hoop back up.

Crocheted string matching the TARDIS' main colors tied off on either end.
Used three strands of embroidery floss to crochet a matching string.
Closeup of the crocheted and looped embroidery floss.
I knotted the two ends together to get a loop.
Closeup of the top of my embroidery hoop with the fabric centered and pulled taunt and the matching loop of fabric at the top to hang it up with.
After taking apart the embroidery hoop once more I strung the looped fabric on the post and then screwed it back on… making sure the fabric was pulled taunt.

Now all that was left to do was finish of the back. I wanted to show the butt of the embroidery so I didn’t want to fully cover up the back. Instead I took my pinking shears to trim the excess fabric around the outside before taking my glue gun to glue the fabric into place. The first time I went around the back of the hoop I folded the fabric over the edge and glued it down before moving over, and leaving a space, and gluing the next bit. The second time around the hoop I folded over the extra fabric in each of those missed spaces and glued the fabric down. Next time I’m going to be more careful keeping the glue away from the front of the piece as some of the glue dried to the back of the fabric and caused bumps and ripples to appear on the front.

Flipped over embroidery hoop showing the TARDIS butt and the trimmed fabric sticking out the sides.
The embroidery butt after trimming the excess fabric with pinking shears.
Gluing down the fabric to the hoop so it doesn't unravel and stays hidden when hung up.
I went around the embroidery hoop twice gluing down the excess fabric. The first time I glued down the fabric keeping it spaced out. The second time around I folded the excess points and glued those down.
The front of the finished embroidery.
The front the hoop after the back was all glued down. Love how it looks!

If you want to hide your embroidery butt I saw someone who had glued down a cut piece of cardstock. While looking up embroidery butt to confirm that it was in fact called embroidery butt like I remembered I came across Sew Marie Embroidery and More who showed how she finished hers by sewing on felt circles to the back.

Finished hoop brightens the wall up.
Finished hoop hanging on the wall.

I loved making my kits and wanted to share with you in case you were also interested in stitching up your own. I’ve seen many embroidery kits and digital patterns on Etsy if you’re looking to get started on something specific. Just a heads up that there are home embroidery machines (haven’t tried one) so if you’re buying a digital pattern you’d want to make sure it’s for hand embroidery and not made for an embroidery machine.

If you’re looking for embroidery inspiration I follow many artists on Instagram but the ones that have popped out the most recently are:

I really enjoyed making these kits and I hope this helped whether you’re new to embroidery or looking for ways other people finished their hoops. If you’ve already stitched up some in the past I’d love to hear from you as I’d love tips and tricks for the next time I stitch up a piece. Feel free to leave your advice in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or through Instagram. Hope you’re having a fantastic day.

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