I’ve noticed recently that many people are talking about the amount of money that they’re spending on framing cross stitch pieces. I’ve always done my own framing – I learned how to do it in art school years ago – so I thought it would be a good idea to film a demonstration about how to do your own framing. In this video, I’m not focusing on the frame itself, as there are usually many frames on sale or available through second-hand stores and things like that, so the video is about how to cut the mat board that you would use inside the frame. This is usually the trickiest part for people, and the part that they are the most unfamiliar with. However, if you have a mat cutter, it’s a skill that just takes a little bit of practice and anyone can do it. If you’re creative enough to make your own or cross stitch, artwork, or photography, then you can definitely learn how to do your own matting.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission (such as from Amazon). Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality, and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. I would never recommend something I wouldn’t use myself. 🙂
I’m going to be showing a simple one-layer mat, but you can use the same techniques to create a multi-layer mat which can be very beautiful and look very expensive and professional. Never again will you have to spend hundreds of dollars getting something framed – you can do it yourself, and you can make it exactly how you want it. Learning how to use a mat cutter properly isn’t difficult, but it can save you so much money and time by being able to do it yourself. I’m going to show you how to make a simple self-contained matted project so you don’t even need a frame. I’ll be demonstrating a small double photo frame, but the same techniques apply to framing cross stitch or anything else. Instructions and ideas for framing cross stitch specifically are below the video. Here’s the blog article about how I decorated the finished photo frame. In the video I show using just my mat cutter and a separate metal ruler, but if you’re a beginner I’d recommend getting the mat cutter set (it clips onto the special ruler).
Instructions how to frame cross stitch and embroidery pieces:
- If your piece is already stretched or doesn’t need stretching (if it was done on a hoop or scrollbar frame):
- You can simply use masking tape (preferably acid-free or archival to prevent your fabric from yellowing) to seal the edges of your fabric, then tape that taped edge to the inside of your mat window. Make sure the taped edges aren’t visible from the front.
- If your piece isn’t stretched, there are several different methods:
- One way is shown in this great article from Instructables. You can follow the instructions as written and the backing card will be the exact size for the frame. If your needlework fabric is particularly thick, you may need to trim a few millimetres from the edge of the card before stretching so the finished stretched piece will fit inside the frame. You can do a quick test of this before stitching around the card, just lay the needlework over the card and see if it will fit into the frame as is.
- Or, if you want to make a self-contained frame like I do in this tutorial (without the use of an actual frame or glass), you can do that too with a needlework. In that case, you can follow the same instructions from the Instructables article above, but the card size will be different. You should make the card size bigger than the window you will cut out (so the piece doesn’t fall through), but smaller than the finished outer size of the mat board. Leave enough space between the edge of your backing card (that your needlework is stitched around) and the outer edge of the mat board so that you can lay down a strip of double-sided tape to secure your outer layer of paper or card. Once your cross stitch is all sewn around the backing card and ready for mounting, you can tape the sewn card to the reverse side of the mat board. You can either tape all around the edges of your piece which will be the most secure, or just do the photo-corner style like I do in the video demo for smaller pieces. Then you can attach your backing paper or card like I do in the video along with the stand.
Just so you know, I haven’t actually tried the stretching process as described in the Instructables article, as none of my pieces need to be stretched. But the instructions seemed very clear and have great illustrations, so I hope they’re helpful! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. 🙂
Want to see more recommendations of stitching materials and tools (including the mat cutter I use) as well as stitchy books? Head to the Peacock & Fig Amazon page! 😀
Hi. Just wanted to thank you for this tutorial (using a mat cutter) and your other video on the MacStitch Software. I am a needleworker and the next piece I do I am going to try out your method instead of framing. Really appreciate that you have shared this. Thanks!
You’re welcome Nina! I figured it’s not that hard to do and yet so many people don’t know that. I wanted to post the tutorial to help people use their creativity from the start to the finish of their projects (and save a lot of money in the process). Good luck, let me know how it goes for your next piece! 🙂