How to Display Embroidery on a Stretched Canvas

Display Your Embroidery as Art

How to Display Embroidery on Stretched Canvas
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Want to show off your embroidery as the beautiful art that it is? Try wrapping it around a stretched canvas instead of placing it in a frame or displaying it in an embroidery hoop.

Although the result isn't archive quality, it does give your embroidery a professional look. It's also a great way to finish a piece of embroidery as a gift.

When using this finishing technique, it's best to plan ahead before you start your embroidery. This method requires plenty of extra fabric around the embroidery so you can wrap and stretch the fabric. 

Materials and Tools

  • Finished embroidery
  • Blank stretched canvas
  • Scissors
  • Strong thread
  • Needle
  • Wool-blend felt
  • Pen or pencil
  • Fabric glue
  • Sawtooth picture hanger (optional)
  • Hammer (if adding a sawtooth picture hanger)

Cut the Embroidered Fabric to Fit

Cut the Fabric With a Large Border
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Place the stretched canvas on the backside of the carefully pressed embroidered fabric. Trim the fabric evenly on all four sides so the excess fabric can wrap all the way around to the back. 

For standard canvases, a 2-inch border of fabric is usually good. Thicker canvases require a much larger border of fabric.

Start Lacing the Back of the Canvas

Lace Two Sides to Hold it Tightly
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Cut 2 to 3 yards of strong thread. This is much longer than you should normally work with, but it's helpful for this use. Thread the needle and double the thread, tying a large knot at the end.

Starting in the middle of the sides of the canvas, bring the thread through the fabric. Secure the starting point with an extra stitch.

Begin lacing the back by stitching through the wrapped fabric on the two opposite sides, working from the middle out toward the edge.

Pull the fabric taut with each stitch. Each stitch should go through the fabric at least 1/4" from the edge, but 1/2" is better. 

Secure the Thread Ends With an Extra Stitch

Secure Thread Ends With an Extra Stitch
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

When you reach the end of your thread, hold the lacing tight. Take a small, extra stitch to help hold the lacing. Next, tie a large knot close to the fabric and trim the end.

Start a new thread just like in the previous step.

Finish Lacing the Back of the Canvas

Lace the Back Going the Opposite Direction
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

When you reach the ends of the long sides, stitch across from top to bottom to pull the two short sides taut.

Keep the lacing within the framed open area on the back of the canvas. There should be loose fabric at the corners.

Tuck One Side of a Corner

Tuck One Side of the Canvas Corner
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Thread the needle with a doubled thread and knot the end. Keep it handy for when the corner folding is done.

Tuck the corner fabric on one of the sides under the folded flap at the top. Push the fabric as close to the top edge as you can, using a wooden skewer or similar tool if needed.

The goal is to wrap the corners as tightly as possible.

Fold the Corner Under

Fold the Embroidered Fabric Under
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Fold the top flap of fabric under at about a 30-degree angle. Pull the corner fabric tight so there are a few folds on the corner of the canvas as possible.

Fold this piece down again so it lays flat and so the fold is not right on the edge of the canvas.

Stitch the Folded Corner

Stitch the Folded Corner to Secure the Fabric
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

With the corner pulled tight and the fabric folded as neatly as you can, stitch the fold down onto the previously tucked corner. You don't need many stitches to hold this, but you should stitch along almost the entire fold. 

Secure the end with a large knot close to the fabric.

Finish Folding and Stitching the Corners

Finish all Four Canvas Corners
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Repeat the folding and stitching process at each of the four corners. 

If you have excess fabric, like the small triangles poking out in the photo above, you can trim them off to remove a bit of bulk.

Trace the Canvas on Felt

Trace the Canvas on Felt
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

You can leave the back of the canvas open and attach a sawtooth picture hanger to the wooden frame or add a covering to conceal the lacing.

To make the covering, place the canvas on a piece of wool-blend felt, positioning the canvas about 1/4 inch over the corner of the felt. Trace around the remaining two sides.

Cut the rectangle of felt.

Glue the Felt on the Canvas Back

Glue the Felt and Make a Hanger
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Use fabric glue to attach the felt to the back of the canvas. 

For an easy hanger, cut a thin rectangle of felt and glue the ends at the top of the backed canvas as a hanger. You can also use a traditional picture hanger, hammering or screwing through the material and into the wooden frame.

Show off Your Embroidered Canvas

Display Your Finished Stretched Canvas Embroidery
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Another way to display your finished embroidery on canvas is to place it on a shelf and lean it up against a wall. Or add it to a gallery wall!

The finished work looks professional and is a nice change from framing in an embroidery hoop or even within a standard frame. Not to mention, it really elevates your stitching—​even if you're a beginner.

Canvases come in so many sizes, so you can show off anything you choose to stitch!