May 7, 2015

Thimblenest Thursdays: How to Display Small Embroidery Designs on Canvas

I've always wanted to try mounting a finished embroidery piece on artist's canvas. However, when I went to display a set of three finished designs on canvases, I discovered that on two of the designs I hadn't left enough surrounding fabric to attach them to the frames. So this week you get two tutorials in one: one for extending the size of small finished pieces and one for mounting the entire piece to a prepared canvas. Let's get started!


(dimensions given are for my specific project; this tutorial can easily be adapted for projects of any size)

  • 8" x 10" (20 cm x 25.5 cm) artist's canvas (thrifted or new)
  • 12" x "15" (30.5 cm x 38 cm) piece of quilting cotton or other fabric (base)
  • 7" x 8" (18 cm x 20 cm) piece of quilting cotton (backing/"frame" for embroidered piece)
  • 6" x 7" (15 cm x 18 cm) finished embroidery design
  • Staple gun
  • Painters tape
  • ruler/measuring tape


If you are using thrifted canvases and your fabric is light colored, double-check to see if the paint on the canvas shows through. In my case it did, so I painted the canvas white. When I ran out of paint for my three canvases, I ended up affixing a white piece of paper to the canvas instead.

Serge the edges of the large base rectangle (12" x 15") or finish with pinking shears. I will not use the cotton muslin I chose again--it was almost impossible to get the wrinkles out and my iron left marks on the fabric.


(if your finished embroidery piece is large enough to fit on the canvas by itself, you can skip to the "Mount to Canvas" instructions below)

Turn the edges of the embroidered piece (6" x 7") under 1/2"; turn the edges of the backing piece (7" x 8") under 1/4".

Center the embroidered fabric on top of the backing rectangle. You can eyeball this or check it with your ruler. Pin and edgestitch together.

Now center your piece from the previous step in the middle of your 12" x 15" base cloth. It's best to check this carefully with a ruler or measuring tape since you want everything to center nicely on the canvas.

Pin and edgestitch the quilted/patchwork embroidery piece to the base cloth.


Lay the canvas face down on the wrong side of the fabric. Use painter's tape to hold your fabric in place while you check for centering/evenness. Once you're sure your fabric is positioned where you want it, use the staple gun to secure your fabric on the long sides of the frame.


Bring the corners of the fabric on the short ends up against the canvas much like you would if you were wrapping a gift. Take your time here--this part can be frustrating and a little fussy. The more you can smooth the fabric and get it to "hug" the canvas, the better the final result will be.

Once again, use painter's tape to hold the corners in place until you're ready to staple. Always check how things look from the front of the canvas. Getting misplaced staples out of the fabric without ripping anything is challenging (ask me how I know!).

Nicely finished corners should look something like this!

When you like how everything looks, staple with wild abandon!

Now you have some tailored embroidery pieces to find a spot for!

What is your favorite way to display finished embroidery pieces?

Hi, I'm Wendy - I've been embroidering since age 9 when my grandma gave me some blank tea towels and a set of Aunt Martha’s transfers. I blog at ThimbleNest.

You can also find me on Pinterest.

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