How to make a panel to present your finished needlepoint tapestry

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So, you have created a masterpiece! I have already posted some ways you may want to display it. Here is a cool way to present it for a contemporary look.

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Measure your design, then cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than the design (about 0.3-0.5 mm smaller on each axis should be perfect).

You may wish to use a piece of mountboard rather than the cardboard box I have used. You can purchase acid free mountboard from many places, here for example. I have used a bit of cardboard box. Not archival quality admittedly, but it did once contain some very expensive wine, so not too shabby 😉

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You are aiming for the card to be slightly smaller than the sewn area of your canvas, but it is better to cut it slightly bigger than necessary then trim it down to size, rather than cutting it too small in the first place. You will find it much harder to trim mountboard, which must be cut with a stanley knife rather than scissors, so measure carefully!

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Turn your canvas face down and place the card on top. It will stay here now for good! Here you can see that there is a small border of the stitched area still visible. This is what you are aiming for.

Fold the corners in towards the centre as shown. Press the canvas with your fingers to encourage the folds to stay put.

Now you are going to mitre each corner. Call me old fashioned, but I think it gives a nicer finish 🙂 Fold one side in towards the centre, press it into place with your fingers, then fold the second side in as well. If you have done this correctly, the two sides will meet as shown.

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Your next job is to stitch the corner in place. There are lots of threads that could be considered suitable for this, as long as you use something that isn’t stretchy and doesn’t have any give in it. I have used some left over wool from my Alice Makes from Nipper and Tyke tapestry kit (other kits may be available 😉 )

Tie a knot in the end like this, trying to leave a very short tail.

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Start sewing as shown, making sure you introduce the needle far enough away from the edges so that the tail doesn’t hang over, ensuring your wool cannot be seen from the front.

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Lace the corner in place with five or six long stitches, then tie it off with a knot. Hardly a thing of beauty, but no one will be looking at the back will they?

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Repeat these steps until all four corners are laced. You will be able to see a row or two of stitches overlapping at the back. This is ideal, meaning none of the bare canvass will be visible of the front.

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The next step is to lace the back to hold the canvas taut over the cardboard. Take a fairly long length of wool, tie another knot and start sewing far enough away from the edge that the short tail will not overhang the edge as before.20150402_155034_resized

Take the wool back and forth right across the back of the canvas as shown here, pulling it quite firmly so the tapestry hugs the card insert. You will probably require more than one length, so when you need to start another, tie it off like this:
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Continue lacing so you have stretched the canvas in both directions, trying to keep the tension firm but even. It should look something like this:

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Turn it over… A thing of beauty 🙂

20150402_160019_resized_1Now you may want to put your panel into a ready made frame. If your frame has a mount, when you open up your frame, you will find a back board and mountboard inside. 

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Remove the mountboard with its pre-cut aperture. We are going to use this as a template to cut a new mount. Place it on your sheet of mountboard at one of the corners and draw around it with a nice sharp pencil. Cut around your line using a stanley knife and ruler.

I cannot stress enough the importance of good practice when it comes to cutting.

  • Ensure you are cutting onto a suitable surface such as a cutting mat
  • Use a non slip metal ruler if you can (I find my dad usually has most types of useful stuff. Failing that, I ask someone else’s dad)
  • Make sure the blade is sharp – you are far more likely to cut yourself using a blunt blade
  • Make several gentle strokes to cut through thick card, rather than using a lot of force to cut through in one stroke
  • Pull the blade toward you, taking care to keep all relevant body parts out of the way

If you would like to read more on using blades safely, have a look here. Health and Safety might not be that interesting, but I have become quite fond of all of my fingers in their own way, and I’m sure you have too.

Nearly there!

To attach the panel to the mountboard, I used self adhesive Velcro. Don’t bother buying the cheap stuff.

20150413_102939_resizedCut two strips of each side – one for the top and one for the bottom. You need to stick them onto the cardboard underneath the lacing – the adhesive will be a lot more effective when attached to the lint-free card rather than on top of the fluffy wool. I found it much easier to slip the furry side under the lacing, as the hooky side just wants to attach itself to the wool – tricksy.

Attach the hooky strips onto them as shown – this will help you line them up properly on the mountboard. 20150413_103120_resized

Peel the backing off and lay the panel gently onto the middle of the mount. Check it is central using your ruler. When you are happy with the placement, press firmly to stick the Velcro onto the board. As a guide, if your panel is rectangular, I was always told to leave a larger space underneath than above, so this is what I have done here. By contrast, when mounting something square, I tend to place it centrally.

Put your new mountboard into the frame and replace the back board.

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Time to admire your hard work. You’ve done it!

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For the record, I have used one of these for the Ringmaster, and one of these for Twinkle Twinkle, but you can find lots of affordable ready made frames in a variety of retailers as well as online. Lots of people prefer to frame tapestry without glass, whereas others find it more practical behind glass. If you would prefer it to be behind glass, you will need to use a box frame to accommodate your panel.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. I know it seems like a lot of steps, but it is quite achievable really – I just wanted to be thorough 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions or problems and I would love to see your finished panels – share a picture on my Facebook page if you like…

http://www.facebook.com/alicemakesthings

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