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How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas

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Learn how to machine embroider on stretched canvas to make reverse canvas wall art. Reverse canvas is a great way to display your machine embroidery designs.

I told you a few weeks ago that I’m really enjoying actually getting to use and play around with my embroidery machine. I’ve been embroidering on different materials and just really having fun experimenting with different fabrics.

A few years ago I shared a tutorial on how to create a reverse canvas sign. This technique is great for creating custom signs and wall art using your Cricut and either permanent or heat transfer vinyl. But, what about machine embroidery? I’m glad you asked!

Stretched canvas just may be the perfect material to use with machine embroidery. You can literally embroider any type of design on stretched canvas. Before I get to the tutorial, let’s take a look at some of the questions you may have.

FAQs

Is stretched canvas a good material for machine embroidery?

Yes! Stretched canvas is a really good material to machine embroider on. It has a smooth, tight surface, and the fabric has already been stretched.

What type if stabilizer should I use with stretched canvas?

Use a medium weight cut away stabilizer to machine embroider on stretched canvas.

What size needle should I use to embroider on stretched canvas?

Use a 75/11 sharp needle or embroidery machine needle recommended by your machine manufacturer. I do recommend that you change your needle often. A sharp needle works best! Just like with your sewing machine, you’ll want to change your needle with each sewing project or after about 8 hours of embroidering. (Read more about needles on Hooked on Sewing.)

How do I hoop the stretched canvas?

Assuming your stretched canvas is large enough to be hooped, you will hoop the canvas with the stabilizer. You may even want to lightly spray the stabilizer with fabric adhesive first. Then center the canvas on top of the stabilizer and smooth it out. Now you’re ready to hoop the stretched canvas.

What types of designs can I machine embroider on stretched canvas?

Since canvas is such a great material to embroider on, you can literally embroider any type of design. You can use designs that are heavy on satin stitching, multiple colors, and even redwork designs. The possibilities truly are limitless. Have a favorite embroidery design? Yep! You can machine embroider any design and display it using this reverse canvas technique!

What is reverse canvas?

Reverse canvas is when you take a stretched canvas, remove the canvas from the frame by removing the staples, then trim and re-attach the canvas to the back (reverse) of the frame.

Do I have to use stain on the frame?

No, you do not have to stain the frame. You can use it natural, stain it your favorite color, or even paint the frame.

More questions?

If you have more questions, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll be glad to answer them!

How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas

Now that I’ve shared answers to some of the questions you might have about using stretched canvas with your embroidery machine, let’s look at the supplies and tools needed.

Supplies Needed:

*A note about the stretched canvas. If you want a nicer or thicker frame for your machine embroidery project, I recommend you purchase a more expensive stretched canvas from your favorite craft supply store or Amazon. I used frames purchased from Dollar Tree. I have found the Dollar Tree wood frames are thinner and not always straight pieces of wood. So, just keep this in mind.

Tools Needed:

I used my regular office stapler to attach the canvas to the back of the frame. I also use hot glue gun and glue sticks to attach cardstock to the back of the embroidery design. You can also omit the cardstock or attache it using your stapler or thumbtacks.

Video Tutorial

If you learn best by watching, simply click on the video image below to go to my YouTube channel to watch the video tutorial on How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas.

How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas

Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Learn how to machine embroider on stretched canvas to create reverse art to feature your beautiful embroidery designs.

Materials

  • stretched canvas
  • cut away stabilizer
  • embroidery threads
  • spray adhesive
  • fabric protector spray
  • wood stain or paint
  • cardstock
  • gluesticks
  • sawtooth picture hook

Tools

  • embroidery machine
  • embroidery scissors
  • needle nose pliers
  • slotted screwdriver
  • cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter
  • scissors
  • paint brush or rags
  • glue gun
  • stapler
  • small hammer

Instructions

  1. First you will need to take the stretched canvas apart. Using a slotted screw driver or needle nose pliers, remove the staples from the back of the canvas. How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas
  2. If you want to stain or paint the wood frame, you can do so now. I applied dark walnut stain and allowed the stain to dry for 24 hours before attaching the embroidery design. How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas
  3. Cut a piece of cut away stabilizer to fit your embroider hoop. How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas
  4. Center the stretched canvas over the stabilizer and hoop together.
  5. Attach the hoop to your embroidery machine, load your embroidery design, and follow the prompts on your embroidery machine to stitch your embroidery design.
    OPTIONAL: You can also use spray adhesive by applying the adhesive to the stabilizer, then placing the canvas on top of the stabilizer, and smooth the canvas over the stabilizer. Then you will hoop the two together.
  6. Once your design has finished stitching, unhoop the design.
  7. Trim the cut away stabilizer close to the design.
  8. Optional: Use fabric protector spray on the front of the embroidery design.
  9. Center the frame over top of the design. Then use a pencil to trace around the frame. Use scissors or rotary cutter and ruler to cut inside the traced lines. You want the canvas to be slightly smaller than the frame.
  10. Lay the frame face down on your table and center the embroidery design over the frame. Use a stapler to attach the canvas to the back of the frame. How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas
  11. Cut a piece of cardstock to fit the back of the frame. Use your hot glue gun to make a bead of glue around the perimeter of the back of the canvas. Place the cardstock on top and smooth in place. How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas
  12. Attach a sawtooth hanger to the back of the frame. How to Machine Embroider on Stretched Canvas

More Embroidery Ideas

If you like machine embroidery, you may also like these embroidery ideas from The Birch Cottage:

Again, if you have questions about how to machine embroider on canvas or machine embroidery in general, feel free to leave a comment below.

Til next time…

Pam Baker from The Birch Cottage

Be sure to pin the below image to your favorite Pinterest board to save it for later or to share with family and friends!

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