My first finished project is The Buzz from Mill Hill. Unlike bigger projects that are a little more frame-able, smaller projects give you the latitude to be a little more creative with how you present your finished product. I’m partial to making the small projects into ornaments. (You can see the Christmas ornaments I gave as gifts last year here.)
Using this method is an easy and no-sew option for cross stitch projects that are stitched onto plastic or cardboard canvases. You could try doing this with cloth projects, but I haven’t tried it. (And I think it might be very difficult to keep everything nice, neat, and wrinkle-free as it dries. But hey– you can totally try it and see how it turns out! Experimenting is fun and you never know what you’ll discover as you do so.)
Over the past ten years, I’ve used this particular method to create Christmas ornaments out of my cross stitching for each member of my immediate family. Believe it or not, the tradition began during John’s deployment, when I set some deployment bucket list goals for myself– one of them was to pick up cross stitching again and to make gifts for the people I love.
The best thing about this method is that it’s easy and you can do it yourself. You just need a few low-cost items (you might even have them around the house already!) and a little bit of time (especially time to let it dry!).
Here’s an easy, safe way to secure your cross stitch and finish it as an ornament to be enjoyed for years to come.
Small, sharp scissors. You’ll want these to have a sharp, precise tip and be different from the scissors you use to cut fabric and threads. You’ll use this pair for cutting cardboard canvas and plastic canvas, which can dull the blades pretty quickly. (I use a pair of embroidery scissors that are only for cutting plastic canvas and cardboard canvas so that they’re the only pair that dulls.) Don’t skip out on using a pair of scissors that have sharp, precise tips because you’ll be doing some very fine cutting work.
Project. The project that you’re finishing should be on cardboard or plastic canvas. If it’s on cloth, there are other more effective ways of backing and finishing your cross stitch ornament. Make sure that your project is completely done. You won’t be able to add embellishments or fix mistakes on the cross stitch after.
Fabric glue. Make sure that you’re using a bonified fabric glue; this will help the cross stitch and canvas bond to the felt backing. Using a glue like Elmer’s or a rubber cement is not ideal and will warp your cardboard canvas or simply not adhere as well as it could be. I have been using Aleene’s Fabric Fusion for years. My finished ornaments from nearly a decade ago are still secure after time and use.
Felt. You’ll need at least as much felt as will comfortably cover the entirety of your project. I use a wool felt that is just a tiny bit more expensive, but it is thicker and helps to make the ornament more sturdy. You’ll also want your felt to match your project– either a dominant color in your cross stitch or one that matches the color of your canvas.
Ribbon or cord. You’ll need a few inches of ribbon or cord that coordinates with your project in both color and size. I always gravitate towards ribbons that are sturdier– sometimes with wire or sometimes a stronger fiber. Cording is also another option that, depending on the design and your personal tastes, can look really charming.
2. Cut four to five inches of ribbon to serve as the hanger. Use the fabric glue and thinly coat the back of your cross stitch. Some glue may come through, so be careful in using too much fabric glue. Press the ribbon into the glue so that it is even and centered.
3. Flip the project over and press it evenly onto the felt. Let dry for at least an hour or until the cross stitch project and the felt are dry to the touch. (During this time, keep the project out of the reach of pets. I found that out the hard way!)
3. Cut the project out. To ensure that the felt can’t be seen around the edges of the project from the front, cut on an angle.
And there you go! An easy way to back and hang your small cross stitch projects! What project are you turning into an ornament?