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Stretching Embroidery onto Foam Core: A Step-by-Step Guide


Embroidery is a beautiful and intricate art form that allows individuals to express their creativity through the use of threads, colors, and textures. Once you've completed an embroidery project, the next step is to display it in a way that highlights its intricate details. Stretching your finished embroidery onto foam core is an excellent way to achieve this, creating a taut and even display that accentuates the artistry of your work. And allows for framing. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process step by step.

Materials You'll Need

1. Finished embroidery project

2. Foam core board (approximately half an inch thick) in a color that closely matches your fabric cut to size of desired frame. As in, lighter fabrics should use white, darker fabrics should use black. I use foam board from Hobby Lobby.

3. Sewing pins with flat head

4. Ruler or measuring tape

5. Iron (optional, for smoothing fabric)

6. Fabric Scissors

7. Acid free tape (optional)

8. Frame (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

*Note: Take your time with each step to ensure a smooth and professional result.*

1. Prepare Your Workspace

Select a clean and flat surface to work on. Make sure it's large enough to accommodate your embroidery project and foam core board. This will provide you with the necessary space to stretch the fabric evenly.

2. Iron Your Embroidery (Optional)

If your finished embroidery has any wrinkles or creases, iron it gently on the reverse side using a low heat setting. This will ensure that your fabric is smooth and ready for stretching. Sometimes the act of stretching removes all wrinkles depending on your fabric.

3. Cut Foam Core to Size

If framing, make sure you allow enough space for the board and added width of the fabric. You can place the unpinned fabric and foam core in the back of the frame to ensure the correct size. If you are not framing to a specific size, ensure the fabric extends beyond the foam core so you can grab it for the stretching.

4. Center the Fabric

Lay your embroidery face down on the table. Position the foam core board on top of it, ensuring that the design is centered and aligned. This will help you achieve a balanced display. Measure the borders of your pattern to ensure the design is centered.

5. Pin the Center

Starting from the center of one side, gently fold the fabric over the foam core board and secure it in place using sewing pins. You will be placing the pin along the edge, straight into "foam" part of the foam core. Repeat this process on the opposite side, pulling the fabric taut as you go. This step will help you establish the tension needed for a smooth finish.

See the video below. Note- I didn't have a lot of fabric on the top and you can see the difference in the ease of stretching a side with excess fabric.

6. Pin the Sides

Continue folding the fabric over the foam core board on the remaining two sides. As you go, ensure that the fabric is stretched tightly but not overly so, as this can distort the design. Space the pins evenly, about a half inch apart or closer if necessary

7. Work the Corners

Move to the adjacent sides and fold the fabric over the foam core board at the corners. Create neat and even folds, and use sewing pins to secure them in place. This will prevent any bunching or unevenness at the corners.

8. Check and Adjust

Once all sides are pinned, step back and check the tension and alignment of the fabric. Make any necessary adjustments by gently repositioning the fabric and pins.

9. Secure the Fabric

Go around the entire perimeter of the foam core board, checking the tension of the fabric and adjusting as needed. As you work, add extra pins to ensure that the fabric remains evenly stretched and secure.

10. Trim Excess Fabric (Optional)

Once you're satisfied with the tension and appearance of your stretched embroidery, use scissors to trim any excess fabric that adds bulk to the back. You may also use acid free tape to adhere the fabric to the back.


Stretching a finished embroidery project onto foam core is a simple yet effective way to showcase your artistic accomplishment. With the right tools and a patient approach, you can create a beautifully displayed piece that highlights the intricate details of your embroidery work. Remember to take your time, adjust tension as needed, and enjoy the process of turning your embroidery into a stunning display for all to admire.

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