Turn old needlework into a kin-folk inspired arrangement using simple embroidery hoops. My nana passed me a variety of linens, from tablecloths and napkins to runners and pillows. The styles varied but one thing caught my eye.
These were art.
I didn’t know the makers but, I could feel their creative vibes. I knew I wanted to honor their work by turning them into a lovely display. Since my sister is expected a baby girl, I decided to create this gallery to decorate the space above her crib. I selected the red, coral and blue to coordinate with the room’s other design elements.
I was particularly enamored with the little sheep-girl. She reminded me of bo-peep or the Goose Girl fairy tale.
How to Turn Your Old Linens into Wall Art
Time Required: 45 Minutes
- Ironing Board
- Hot Glue Gun
- Embroidered or cross-stitched linens
- Embroidery Hoops
- Hot Glue
- 3M Hooks and Tape
DIY Cross Stitch and Embroidery Hoop Tutorial
Hopefully, you’ll find some treasures digging around in your attic, basement or linen closet. Perhaps, like me, you inherited some fun linens that you want to resurrect from a drawer. If not, thrift stores and yard sales regularly feature cross stitch or embroidery work.
I didn’t know the makers but, I could feel their creative vibes. I knew I wanted to honor their work by turning them into a lovely display.
I’ll admit that this project is slightly controversial. It technically damages the original product by only using part of the design. I talked myself into cutting them up for two reasons. First, many of them were already stained, faded or motheaten in places. So, I was really preserving them by selecting a good area to frame and adore. Second, they were made to be appreciated. That’s more likely to happen when displayed on a wall than sitting in a box.
So, I held my breath and turned them into a gallery display. Thankfully, the results were better than expected. The embroidery hoops really frame the handiwork and draw the eye to the maker’s careful stitching.
If you like the look, consider making your own wall art by following the steps below.
1. Gently Wash and Iron the Linens
Using a lukewarm bath, handwash the linens using a gentle detergent. You may need to work some of the stains with your fingers. Even if you can’t get out the deepest stains, this will help you remove accumulated dirt and assess damage.
Allow linens to air dry on a flat surface.
2. Iron on a Low Setting
For these linens, I didn’t need to use starch. I was ready with Magic Tape but, they actually straightened out beautifully. I ironed them on a low setting, on the side opposite the embroidery.
3. Stretch Over the Hoops and Cut Excess
Carefully stretch your linens over the hoops. I placed them in the hoops taut. Then, after tightening the hoop, I gently pulled on the edges to center the embroidery as I desired.
With the linens in place, I cut off the excess fabric. Make sure you’re happy with the placement before bringing out the scissors.
4. Hot Glue the Edges
To ensure the linen doesn’t slip over time, add a small ring of hot glue to the edges. I worked carefully in a clockwise rotation. Fold the linen over the glue as you go.
5. Arrange and Mount Using 3M Hooks and Tape
Because these hoops are so light, they hang easily with 3M hooks and tape. Before I placed the hooks, I created an arrangement on the floor. (It’s the same as making a gallery wall.) Then, I placed them on the wall, using 3M hooks.
Make Your Own Wall Art from Embroidery Hoops
If you have old linens sitting in storage, now is the time to bring them into the light. This tutorial is a great way to treasure the forgotten handiwork of the past.
Ideas to Customize
- If you don’t like the look of the hoop pins, you can add a bow or flower to the top. Just apply with hot glue.
- If you have old doilies, lace or crochet pieces, try stretching them over the hoops.
- If you don’t like the organic look, try making a perfect grid featuring identical hoops. The symmetry will draw attention to the detailed needlework.
If you make one of these, be sure to add a link in the comments or tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see how your bring your treasured linens to live.