The easiest way to complete a hand embroidery project is to finish it in a wooden embroidery hoop. For this tutorial I demonstrate two simple ways to finish your work in a hoop but there are many other options and variations you can try. I leave the backs of my hoops open, but if you’d like you can attach fabric (sewn or glued) or even some pretty card stock (glued) to the backs of your hoops to hide your stitches.
Before starting either method be sure the design is centered and that the fabric is pulled tight in the hoop. Once you finish in the hoop it will be challenging to go back and make adjustments.
The first method uses extra floss to cinch the back of the hoop. You will want to have enough extra fabric to stitch through, but to avoid extra bulk you may need to trim first. Then, simply use running stitch around the perimeter of your fabric and tie the ends of your floss together once you meet the tail of your thread. I use a double knot and trim the excess floss.
The second method uses glue to attach the fabric to the inner hoop. Trim the fabric, leaving a half inch excess around the edges. If you trim too much it can be hard to glue the fabric edge down. If you don’t trim enough, the fabric will double over on itself and can be seen from the front of the work. Next, use a fabric or craft glue (such as Aleene’s acid free or a glue gun) and apply to the fabric edge. Fold it over and use clamps to hold it in place while it dries. This method allows the hoop to be hung from the lip of the inner hoop by a nail on the wall.
Once your fabric is secured by either method you can loosen the outer hoop and remove it for decorating. If your hoop feels rough you may want to sand it before applying any stain or paint. Here I use a craft wood stain and varnish but you can use the same method to apply any craft paint or glitter. Foam brushes make for easy application but any paint brush will do. When applying a wood stain be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. After each coat wipe away excess stain using an old rag. Apply more coats for a darker stain, and follow up with a coat of varnish for extra protection and gloss. Once dry the outer hoop can be returned to your hoop art.
For my other project I decided to glue sequins to the outside edge of the hoop and baker’s twine to the front edge. A pretty ribbon would also look great on the edge and can be applied in the same manner.
To complete my projects I added some pretty ribbons to turn them into Christmas ornaments. I secured the gold ribbon with a few stitches using floss scraps and used glue for the thicker silver glitter ribbon.