How to finish your embroidery hoop for display

29 October 2020
finishing your embroidery hoop for display Image credits: Ilke Cochrane (left), Sila Gur (top right) and Dani Ives (bottom right).
Once the stitching is done, why not display your work proudly? Learn how to finish your embroidery hoop for display with these top tips.

An embroidery hoop serves a dual purpose. It doesn’t just hold your fabric taut as you stitch, it can also become the perfect frame. All it takes is a little work on the reverse. 

There are a few different ways you can do this. There’s no right or wrong way – just what suits you best. Even professional embroiderers adopt different methods!

Finishing your embroidery hoop

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1. The hot glue gun

Dani Ives paints with wool to create life-like animal portraits. Her working surface is wool felt, so she favours the hot glue gun approach.

You will need

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Scissors
  • A hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks


  1. Remove the completed needle felted image from the foam working surface. 
  2. Add the portrait to an appropriately sized embroidery hoop.
  3. Trim the excess felt, leaving about 1-2cm to fold over the hoop edge.
  4. Carefully use your hot glue gun to stick the fabric to the hoop.

Dani Ives' Highland Cow embroidery hoop

Top tip! If you use this approach on fabric that frays, then you can carefully brush a layer of PVA glue on the inner rim only. Remember to take care to avoid the front fabric that will be seen! Smooth out any rough ends or loose fabric and leave to dry.

Dani Ives' Highland Cow in progress

Dani created the fantastic hairy texture of her Scottish Highland Cow using just nine shades of wool. Fully detailed project in Stitch issue 126.

Dani Ives' Highland Cow finished embroidery hoop for display

2. The cardboard cut out

Ilke Cochrane likes to experiment with needlework techniques and designs. One of the approaches she uses to finish the back employs a display hoop and a cardboard circle to keep everything neat.

You will need

  • Display embroidery hoop
  • Fabric & paper scissors
  • Felt
  • Cardboard


  1. Take the embroidery out of the hoop used for stitching. If there are creases running through the embroidery, iron on the reverse on to a thick towel. Don't worry about any circular mark made by the hoop. The hoop used for framing is smaller, so this mark will not be visible.
  2. Using the inside of the inner ring of your framing hoop, trace circles onto the felt and the stiff card, then cut out.
  3. Stretch the embroidery in the hoop, making sure the outer hoop frames the picture to your liking.
  4. Trim the fabric to 3cm all around and place the hoop upside down on the table. Place the felt circle inside the hoop and press it down so it's nice and flat. 
  5. Tuck the fabric into the back of the hoop and gently press in the circle of card – don't push it right down onto the felt, but let it sit about halfway down the inner ring. If some of the fabric has not been pushed down evenly use a blunt needle to ease it down until it folds snugly around the inner ring and is held down by the card.

Top tip! Experiment with the placing. Generally embroideries sit centrally, but sometimes slightly off-set looks better!

Ilke Cochrane embroidery hoop in progress

Ilke showcased this method along with simple yet precise stitching with Life In Miniature, a project in Stitch issue 125

Embroidery bonsai by Ilke Cochrane

Looking for more embroidery advice? Don’t miss our guide on how to transfer embroidery designs to fabric.

3. A fitting felt finish

Sila Gur, better known as @Jolly_Hoops on Instagram, delights her followers with her contemporary needle painted portraits. She also pays particular attention to the back of her work.

You will need

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Sewing thread
  • Felt

Top tip! To cut an accurate felt circle, remove the outer hoop from your embroidery. Don't worry about it moving – it'll be held in place by the stitches you've just made. Draw around the inside of the outer hoop onto a piece of felt and cut this out. Replace the outer hoop.


  1. Trim around the edge leaving at least 2cm of fabric. Sew around this edge of excess fabric with large running stitches, ensuring the ends of your thread come out of the fabric on the same side. 
  2. When you reach the beginning of the stitches, pull the thread to gather the edges gently and evenly. Then tie a secure knot. 
  3. Place the felt circle on the back of the embroidery and stitch around the edges using blanket stitch. Hang on your wall and soak up those autumn colours. 

Top tip! Before you attach the felt backing, personalise with your name or a message and the date.

Sila Gur embroidery hoop in progress

You can take An Autumn Picnic with Sila Gur in Stitch issue 127 where she captures the best of the season in needle and thread.

An Autumn Picnic by Sila Gur - finished embroidery hoop for display

Delve further into beautiful embroidery techniques with our focus on silk shading and needle felting. Plus, learn how to create your own needle felted hillside scene!

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