How To Display Your Embroidery Projects
From tapestries to samplers to wedding dresses, embroidery is everywhere. And this is a craft that is intended to be enjoyed over time. If you are one of those people who love to embroider but have come to a point where you just don’t know what else you can do with all those projects, then here’s a great place to start.
Here is one tip for you as you consider how to exhibit your work. Suppose you are planning to display an embroidery project that has been done on lightweight or even some medium-weight fabrics. In that case, you will find that the piece will better stand the test of time if backed with a stabilizer or a layer of dependable supporting material. This is especially true for pieces permanently mounted to an embroidery hoop.
However you decide to display your handiwork, make sure that no raveling or stretching will shorten the life of the project or your enjoyment of it. Prewash natural fibers before embroidering them and provide any needed support for heavier crewelwork.
15 Creative Ways to Display Embroidery
Embroidery can be readily displayed in the most natural of settings, an embroidery hoop. But you don’t have to give up your favorite hoop to do this. Different sizes and shapes are specially made to hang on a wall or otherwise exhibit your work.
Display hoops generally look more frame-like than the hoop used for actual embroidery, though not always. Display hoops are available in natural or faux wood or colored plastic. These specialty hoops may also be round, oval, or octagonal. Mounting embroidery in this way is fairly simple. Tutorials are available on YouTube if you need them. Instructions also often come with the frame.
Embroidery work can be displayed in almost any type of frame. Crossstitch can be framed in a flat frame, but a shadowbox is better for crewelwork because it leaves room for the depth and texture of different stitches to shine through. You can also simply frame crewelwork without the glass. If you do, I recommend using a mat for extra stability.
If you think frames are too expensive, let me suggest that local thrift stores often have a wide assortment of framed pictures. The pictures themselves may be faded or outdated, but some of the frames are wonderful. Some can be used as-is, others could be painted to compliment displayed work.
Your project will need to be mounted on either foam or sticky board before it’s going in the frame. YouTube and other websites can help you decide the best frame or technique for your style of crochet.
3. Towel Rack or Ladder
A fancy, decorative towel rack can be mounted just about anywhere to display embroidered art. Home decor ladders will also work for this. These types of settings offer a way to vary what you display with the season or a holiday. You may need to add or mount the embroidery on a larger piece of material to hang on a rack.
A guest bathroom or bedroom is a great place for a decorative towel rack. Check out your local bed and bath store or online for some surprisingly creative choices. Rack-style displays also offer easy access to embroidered scarves or other clothing items. Then you can enjoy their beauty even when you’re not wearing them.
4. Knob Hangings
Dangling things from a doorknob can have its hang-ups, literally. However, some doors are not closed or opened that often. So creative minds will find a way to, well, decorate them.
If you’re going to hang embroidery work from an actual doorknob, I recommend placing it on the side away from the door frame if the door is frequently used. This lessens the possibility of your decoration getting caught in the door, and it makes it a little surprise for family or guests when the door is shut.
In the same way, you can use the knobs on some cabinets for display purposes without the embroidery work getting in the way. And decorative knobs can be placed by themselves in some interesting places just to display embroidered or other craftsy artwork.
Creating simple embroidered ornaments can be one way to introduce this life-long hobby to kids or grandkids. They also make lovely gifts. Any small embroidery pattern can be used to make ornaments for display throughout the home.
Although Christmas ornaments may be the most popular, don’t limit yourself. Transform any small embroidery work into an ornament by simply leaving it in the hoop, trimming the edge, and adding a hanger of some sort. Or mount the design on a stiff medium and back with cloth or paper. If nothing else, you could always hang it on a doorknob.
Banners can be almost any size, from long and narrow to the more traditional square or rectangular shape. Embroidery work on tighter-weave cotton or linen makes the best banner, in my opinion. But I don’t like to limit anyone’s creativity.
Banners can be hung both indoors or outdoors. Finding a banner on an exterior door is not unusual. But choose durable fabric and thread for such a project, and place where the banner will not be overexposed to the sun.
Indoors, banners can be anywhere. They can be hung permanently or rotated seasonally. It’s a good idea to back your embroidery work with a stiff backing. There are examples of embroidered banners online to give you an idea of how to proceed with your own banner display.
7. Quilt Squares
If you’re a craftsy person, one way to display your embroidery skills is to incorporate a piece or two into a quilted project. Embroidered pieces add a unique touch to quilted table runners, bed toppers, or lap blankets.
Again, tight-weave fabric works better for quilt use, but adding a stabilizing backing can make just about anything doable. Cross stitch, crewelwork, or a straight-stitched saying or name all bring added detail and personalization to quilted projects.
8. Pillow Sham or Case
My first-ever embroidery project was a set of pillowcases when I was around ten years old. Embroidering the edge of a pillowcase can be another great project for any aged beginner. A hand-embroidered pillowcase will complement any bed linen set with a personal touch.
Embroidered pillowcases also make excellent gifts. Add a lace edge to up the wow factor.
9. Table Toppers
Table cloths, runners, and placemats have a long history when coupled with embroidery. They express the personality of the decorator and bring a bit of class to the room. Whether you choose an understated white-on-white pattern or colorful floral motifs, your dining or side table display will add to whatever tone you’re trying to set.
Combine embroidery with quilting or crochet to create the ultimate table topper. Or sew a border on a simple pattern to produce basic placemats for everyday use. An embroidered edge on a simple table topper adds pop to a simple lamp, framed picture, or flower arrangement.
10. Jar Lids
Hand- or machine-embroidered lids are a popular way to label or decorate jars for either home use or as gifts. Instructions and pattern suggestions are abundant, or make up your own set of lid decor.
Use jars with two-piece ring/lid sets or use elastic or ribbon to add creative, colorful accents to any sized jar. It’s a colorful way to present homemade jellies, jams, or treats as a gift. Embroider reusable labels for home-grown herbs. Or design creative embroidered lids for containers storing items such as buttons or paper clips.
11. Basket Cover
Basket-lovers find all kinds of uses for these woven wonders in every room of the house. For a round basket containing items that may need to be protected from dust, I’ve found a slightly larger embroidery hoop filled with some simple embroidered design or saying makes a great lid.
Depending on how much of the basket you want to show, you can sew the edges under or leave them loose. Finish exposed edges if the fabric is prone to raveling.
Bamboo embroidery hoops complement natural wicker baskets. They look like they belong together. In the bathroom, they’re an excellent way to hide personal items in plain sight. Or use them to hide your latest sewing, yarn, or embroidery project beside your comfy chair.
12. Throw Pillows or Furniture Accents
I’ve seen embroidered pillows in all sizes, from sachet to living room throw pillows. I’ve seen them in doll beds and rocking chairs, window seats and recliners. Use a pillow form to make larger pillows easier, stuff smaller pillows, or make a sham-style pillow cover to fit any size you like and update the look of an overused pillow.
The sky’s the limit for stitches, styles, and colors. Anything can fit on a pillow. A pillow pattern book will help you decide the best way to present you’re stuffed embroidery display. Bold patterns and colors are favorites, but there are plenty of classic patterns for a more formal look as well.
Besides pillows, you can incorporate embroidery into panels to lay over the back of an armrest or headrest. I’ve even seen embroidered lampshades. Any furniture or decor that uses fabric becomes a muse for the dedicated embroidery crafter.
14. Tote bag
Display your embroidery prowess everywhere you go by making it part of a tote bag or purse. Large patterns can be incorporated into a tote for carrying business papers or for shopping with friends. Embroidered totes also made useful gifts. You can even make an embroidered tote to carry your embroidery projects in while traveling or waiting for an appointment.
A plain canvas tote bag is easy on the budget and is a blank pallet for the embroidery artist. Or, if you like to sew as well, you can create a unique tote around your chosen embroidery project. Use heavyweight fabrics for your tote and a substantial backing for embroidery work to ensure your project will endure regular use.
15. Window dressing
Window dressings, such as curtains and shades, are an essential part of your home decor. Embroidered accents can be a part of making your style statement.
For instance, an embroidered valance can add a classic touch to a small bathroom or kitchen window. Or hang embroidery work banner-style so that it can catch both the light and the eye.
Embroider the bottom of a simple shade or down the edge of a full-length curtain to transform plain into classy. You can also appliqué embroidered panels onto existing curtains.
With a bit of imagination and research online or at your local library, you’ll be surprised at the ways embroidery work can be displayed with a positive impact in almost any space. Windows, shelves, doors, tables, and furniture are all calling out for embellishment.
From simple to garish stitching alternately whispers and sings the essence of the one who created it. So go ahead. Create your own heirlooms and display your talents for all to enjoy.