Beautiful cross stitch by my mum

So you love cross stitching but now you’re wondering how to finish cross stitch designs, other than popping them into a frame?

It’s a dilemma we’ve all faced because it’s addictive. Good addiction though – so no need to stop stitching! Just find different ways to use your beauties.

When we started to write this article we had 5 ideas. That grew to 10, then 12, then 20!

So we’ve broken this up into a series – you’re reading part 1. We’ll add the other parts as we go – if you’re reading this sentence, we’re not finished writing the series yet. Otherwise you’ll see a link to the next set of ideas at the end of the page.

It’s Okay to Never Display Your Cross Stitch

First of all, think about why you cross stitch. For me, it’s because I just enjoy it.

I love the focus and peace that comes with it. I literally get lost in it – closely following the pattern, checking that my stitches are laying how I want them to, counting to make sure my next stitch is in the right place (frogging when it’s not!), deciding whether to finish and cut this thread or carry it across the back (will it make a lump?), choosing the next colour. Next thing it’s 11pm (on a school night!) and my audio book is finished!

So yes, I cross stitch because I love to do it.

I so also love to finish things of course – that’s why I love stitch-alongs and why all of our patterns are smallish, that you can literally finish in a single session or inside a couple of weeks. There’s such satisfaction from finishing things. 😊

If your walls are covered with lovelies, you feel like you can’t gift anything else, or you simply don’t want to do any of that – you don’t have to!

There’s no law that says you must  display anything! It’s perfectly fine to put your finishes into a drawer and pull them out to admire any time you like. We have some ideas for other ways to store the finishes you’d like to keep private – in part 5!

Gifting Your Cross Stitch

When it comes to gifting cross stitch pieces, the possibilities are as endless as the threads themselves. Creating a cross stitch piece for a loved one is a labor of love and a personalized token of affection that can be cherished for years to come.

Or, it can be quietly put into a drawer and ignored.

As the stitcher, you have to be okay with either of those possibilities. Even the possibility that it might end up in a charity shop (where hopefully someone else who will love it, will find it).

In brief, adding personal touches to cross stitch gifts – like initials, special dates, favorite colors, or designing around significant events – can make the gift more meaningful.

Using a Traditional Frame to Finish Your Cross Stitch

When it comes to finishing your cross stitch masterpiece, using a traditional frame is probably the most common. We couldn’t ignore it but we do cover some ideas for framing that you might not have thought of

Framing can add a timeless and elegant touch to your artwork. The photo at the top of this post is one example – it’s been hanging in my mum’s house since she finished it 2005 – that’s nearly 20 years as I write this in 2024.

It’s something that will be in our family for years, because it has that classic appeal of framing. The mat enhances the piece and turns it into a beautiful piece of art that can be proudly showcased in your home or given as thoughtful gifts.

Choosing the Right Frame

Selecting the right frame is crucial in ensuring that your cross stitch design shines. Consider things like size, color, and material when choosing a frame that complements your artwork.

A frame should enhance the colors and details of your cross stitch rather than overshadow them.

Opt for a frame that seamlessly blends with the style of your design to create a cohesive look, or that highlights a particular feature. The mat colour in the feature image above calls attention to the flowers in the archway, which is what mum wanted to highlight.

DIY Framing Techniques

Custom framing can be very spendy though! DIY framing techniques offer a more affordable and often more creative way to frame your cross stitch yourself.

And of course you don’t have to use a square-ish frame – read on for some other ideas.

Other Types of Frames for Finishing Cross Stitch

Alternative framing options can add a unique touch to your pieces. Beyond traditional frames, there are various creative methods you can use to display your cross stitch projects in a stylish and personalized way. Let’s delve into some unconventional framing ideas that can truly make your cross stitch pieces stand out.

Floating Frame Display

Floating frames offer a modern and sophisticated way to present your cross stitch pieces.

Floating frame cross stitch
image credit: lrhee18 on reddit

These frames give the illusion that your artwork is floating within the frame, without any visible borders. The sleek, borderless effect of floating frames can enhance the overall aesthetic of your cross stitch projects, adding a touch of elegance to your display.

Wrapping Pre-Framed Canvases

An economical and modern approach to framing your cross stitch pieces is by wrapping pre-framed canvases.

This method involves securing your cross stitch project around a pre-made canvas frame, giving it a contemporary and gallery-style look.You can often pick up these canvases on sale, or in large packs for a reasonable price.

This is a cost-effective and straightforward option, but it’s important to note that your cross stitch will be exposed to dust and other environmental elements.

Embroidery Hoops

This hoop-framed design was a gift to mum from our friend cheryl
this hoop-framed design was a gift to mum from our friend cheryl

Embroidery hoops can serve as charming – and cost effective – frames for your cross stitch creations.

You can experiment with different ways to use embroidery hoops, such as wrapping the fabric around the hoop for a snug fit or painting the hoop to match your decor.

Gallery Wall Inspiration

Create a visually stunning gallery wall to showcase a collection of your cross stitch pieces.

Mix and match various frame styles, sizes, and colors to curate a captivating gallery display. Imagine floss-wrapped hoops in the collection? Stunning!

Explore these alternative framing options to elevate the presentation of your cross stitch projects and infuse your space with a touch of creativity and individuality. Experiment with different frames to find the perfect fit that complements the style and aesthetic of your cross stitch pieces.

More to Come

This is the first post in the series about how to finish cross stitch in ways you might not have thought of. In part 2, we ‘ll look at wearables!

Image credit

That stunning piece is by my mum, Anne Ross, photographed (badly) by me, in her hallway, in 2024. She finished stitching it in 2005.


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