How To Finish Needlepoint Ornament


Choosing the Right Needlepoint Ornament Design

When it comes to needlepoint ornaments, the design you choose plays a significant role in the overall finished product. Whether you’re making ornaments for yourself or as gifts, selecting the right design sets the tone for the entire project. Here are some essential factors to consider when choosing a needlepoint ornament design:

  • Theme: Think about the occasion or the recipient when selecting a design. Are you looking for a festive holiday-themed ornament or something more whimsical and playful? Consider the purpose and the message you wish to convey through the ornament.
  • Size: Consider the size of the finished ornament. Are you looking for something small and delicate or a larger statement piece? Remember that a larger ornament requires more time and effort to complete.
  • Complexity: Assess your skill level and the time you can commit to the project. Some designs feature intricate details and require advanced stitching techniques, while others are more straightforward and suitable for beginners.
  • Color Palette: Consider the colors you want to incorporate into your ornament. Do you prefer bright and vibrant hues or a more subdued and elegant color scheme? Choose a design that complements your preferred color palette.
  • Personalization: If you’re making the ornament as a gift, personalized designs can add a special touch. Look for designs that allow you to incorporate initials, names, or significant dates for a unique and meaningful ornament.

Take your time when selecting the right needlepoint ornament design. Look for inspiration in needlework magazines, online platforms, and even your own surroundings. Consider creating a collection of different designs that appeal to you, and narrow down your options based on the factors mentioned above. Remember, the design choice sets the foundation for a beautiful and cherished needlepoint ornament.

Gathering the Necessary Materials

Before diving into your needlepoint ornament project, it’s crucial to gather all the necessary materials. Having everything you need at hand ensures a smooth and uninterrupted stitching process. Here are the essential materials you’ll need:

  • Needlepoint Canvas: Choose a canvas that suits the size and complexity of your selected ornament design. Canvases are available in different mesh sizes, so consider the type of yarn or thread you plan to use.
  • Embroidery Thread or Yarn: Select high-quality embroidery thread or yarn in colors that match your chosen design. Depending on the pattern, you may need a variety of colors or different types of thread, such as metallic or silk.
  • Needles: Use sharp, tapestry needles designed specifically for needlepoint. The size of the needle should match the canvas and thread you are using. A needle threader can also be helpful, especially for those with vision difficulties.
  • Scissors: Invest in a pair of embroidery scissors with sharp and precise blades. These will come in handy for cutting thread and trimming any excess fabric.
  • Needlepoint Stand or Frame: Consider using a needlepoint stand or frame to keep your canvas taut and provide stability while stitching. This helps prevent distortion and creates a more comfortable working position.
  • Stitching Guide or Chart: If your selected design comes with a stitching guide or chart, make sure to have it on hand. This will help you follow the pattern correctly and ensure accurate placement of stitches.
  • Optional Embellishments: Depending on your design and personal preference, you may want to incorporate embellishments such as beads, sequins, or ribbons. Make sure to gather these additional materials if you plan to use them.

By ensuring that you have all the necessary materials before you begin stitching, you can avoid any unnecessary interruptions or delays. Take the time to gather everything you need and organize them in a way that is easily accessible while working on your needlepoint ornament project.

Preparing the Canvas for Stitching

Properly preparing the canvas before you start stitching is essential for a successful needlepoint ornament. Taking the time to prepare the canvas ensures it is clean, taut, and ready for your intricate needlework. Here are the steps to effectively prepare your canvas:

  1. Clean the Canvas: Dust or any dirt particles can affect the quality of your stitches. Carefully examine the canvas and remove any loose threads or debris using a lint roller or a small brush.
  2. Secure the Edges: Prevent fraying by securing the edges of the canvas. Apply a clear adhesive tape or a zigzag stitch along the edges to keep the threads in place.
  3. Size the Canvas: To reduce distortion of the finished ornament, it’s essential to size the canvas. This can be done by dampening the canvas slightly and then applying a light coating of starch or sizing spray. Allow it to dry completely before starting your stitching.
  4. Mark the Center: Locate the center of your canvas by folding it in half both vertically and horizontally. Lightly mark the center point with a pencil or a dissolvable fabric marker. This will help you align your design and ensure symmetrical stitches.
  5. Tack the Corners: Secure the corners of the canvas to a stretcher or frame using thumbtacks or clips. This keeps the canvas taut, allowing for easier and more precise stitching.
  6. Create a Thread Organizer: Before you start stitching, set up a thread organizer to keep your threads organized and easily accessible. You can use a labeled plastic grid or a thread organizer card with separate compartments for each color.

By following these steps to prepare your canvas, you’ll create a solid foundation for your needlepoint ornament. Take the time to clean and secure the canvas, size it to prevent distortion, and mark the center for easy alignment. With a properly prepared canvas, you’ll have a smoother and more enjoyable stitching experience, resulting in a beautiful and flawless finished ornament.

Starting with a Basic Stitch Pattern

As you begin stitching your needlepoint ornament, it’s helpful to start with a basic stitch pattern to establish a solid foundation. A basic stitch pattern not only allows you to get comfortable with the process but also provides a framework for more intricate stitches and decorative elements. Here are the steps to start with a basic stitch pattern:

  1. Select a Simple Stitch: Choose a basic stitch that is easy to execute, such as the tent stitch or the continental stitch. These stitches are ideal for filling large areas and creating a smooth and uniform texture.
  2. Thread the Needle: Cut a length of embroidery thread or yarn and thread it through a tapestry needle. Make sure to leave a tail long enough to secure later.
  3. Begin at the Center Point: Referencing the center point you marked earlier on the canvas, start your stitch pattern from that spot. This helps ensure even distribution and symmetry in your design.
  4. Follow the Chart or Pattern: If your design includes a stitching guide or chart, carefully follow the instructions for the basic stitch pattern. Pay attention to the placement and direction of the stitches to achieve the desired effect.
  5. Consistency is Key: Maintain a consistent tension and stitch length throughout your work. This helps create a neat and uniform appearance. Be mindful of any knots or tangles in the thread that may affect the quality of your stitches.
  6. Work in Sections: Divide your design into manageable sections to make stitching easier. This prevents mistakes and allows you to focus on each area individually. Complete one section before moving on to the next.

Starting with a basic stitch pattern ensures a solid foundation and builds your confidence as you progress through your needlepoint ornament. Remember to work from the center point and follow the chart or pattern provided. Consistency in your stitches and dividing your design into sections will help you maintain control and achieve a polished and professional finish.

Adding Embellishments and Decorations

Once you’ve completed the basic stitch pattern of your needlepoint ornament, it’s time to add embellishments and decorations to enhance its visual appeal. Adding these extra touches can elevate the ornament and make it truly unique. Here are some ideas on how to add embellishments and decorations to your needlepoint ornament:

  • Beads and Sequins: Use small beads or sequins to add a touch of sparkle and dimension to your ornament. These can be stitched directly onto the canvas or attached with a thin thread or glue.
  • Ribbons and Bows: Incorporate ribbons or bows as decorative elements. They can be attached to the edges of the ornament or used to create loops for hanging.
  • Embroidery Stitches: Explore different embroidery stitches to add texture and depth to your ornament. Techniques like French knots, satin stitches, or chain stitches can create interesting effects.
  • Felt Cutouts: Cut out small shapes from colorful felt and stitch them onto the canvas. This adds a playful and whimsical touch to your ornament.
  • Personalized Details: Consider adding personalized details, such as initials, names, or significant dates. These can be stitched using different thread colors or added with fabric markers.
  • Additional Appliques: Incorporate additional fabric or felt appliques to create layers and dimension. This can be done by sewing or gluing the appliques onto the canvas.

When adding embellishments and decorations, it’s important to consider the overall balance and composition of your ornament. Avoid overcrowding or overwhelming the design with too many elements. Focusing on a few key embellishments will create a visually pleasing and harmonious result.

Experiment with different ideas and techniques to find what works best for your specific ornament design. Adding embellishments and decorations allows you to put a personal touch on your needlepoint creation, making it a truly special and memorable piece.

Securing Loose Threads and Finishing the Back

As you near the completion of your needlepoint ornament, it’s important to take the time to secure any loose threads and ensure a clean and finished back. Not only does this add a professional touch to your work, but it also helps to protect the stitches from snagging or unraveling over time. Here are the steps to secure loose threads and finish the back of your needlepoint ornament:

  1. Inspect for Loose Threads: Carefully examine the front and back of your ornament for any loose or dangling threads. Use a needle or a pair of small scissors to trim these threads close to the fabric.
  2. Knot the Back: To secure the loose threads, create small knots on the back of the canvas. Thread the loose end of the thread through a few stitches on the back, creating a secure knot. Repeat this process for each loose thread.
  3. Hide Threads Under Stitches: For an even cleaner look, you can weave the loose threads under existing stitches on the back of the canvas. Thread the loose end through the back of nearby stitches, making sure it is hidden from view.
  4. Trim Excess Thread: Once the loose threads are secured, trim any excess thread close to the canvas. Be careful not to cut any surrounding stitches or fabric in the process.
  5. Create a Backing: Cut a piece of felt or fabric slightly smaller than the size of your canvas. Using a fabric adhesive or needle and thread, attach the backing to the back of the canvas, covering up the knots and loose threads.
  6. Optional Personalization: Consider adding a small fabric label with your name or initials to the back of the ornament. This adds a personal touch and serves as a reminder of your craftsmanship.

By taking the time to secure loose threads and finish the back of your needlepoint ornament, you ensure its longevity and prevent any potential damage. A neat and tidy back not only adds to the overall professional appearance but also provides a sense of satisfaction in completing the project with care and attention to detail.

Blocking and Pressing the Needlepoint Ornament

Once you have finished stitching and securing all the threads of your needlepoint ornament, it’s time to block and press it. Blocking helps to reshape the ornament and ensure that it retains its desired shape, while pressing gives it a polished and finished appearance. Here’s how to block and press your needlepoint ornament:

  1. Prepare a Blocking Board: Start by creating a blocking board using a piece of foam or cork board covered with a clean towel or cloth. This provides a soft surface for pinning the ornament.
  2. Mist with Water: Lightly mist the front of the ornament with water using a spray bottle. This helps to relax the fibers and make them more pliable for shaping.
  3. Pin the Ornament: Place the misted ornament on the prepared blocking board and gently stretch it into the desired shape. Use rustproof pins to secure the edges and corners of the ornament to the board.
  4. Allow to Dry: Leave the ornament pinned to the blocking board until it is completely dry, typically overnight. This allows the fibers to set in the desired shape.
  5. Remove the Pins: Once the ornament is dry, carefully remove the pins from the blocking board. Be cautious not to pull or distort the shape of the ornament while doing so.
  6. Pressing the Ornament: On a clean and padded surface, place a damp cloth over the ornament. Gently press the ornament with a warm iron, using a low heat setting. Be cautious not to iron directly on the stitches to avoid flattening them.
  7. Detail Pressing: Pay attention to any specific areas that require additional pressing, such as corners or creases. Use the tip of the iron or a pressing cloth to target those areas for enhanced definition.

Blocking and pressing bring your needlepoint ornament to its full potential, ensuring that it maintains its shape and presents a refined finish. By allowing the ornament to dry on the blocking board and following up with careful pressing, you’ll achieve a professional and polished appearance.

Remember to always follow the specific yarn or thread manufacturer’s instructions for blocking and pressing, as different materials may have slightly different requirements. With proper blocking and pressing, your needlepoint ornament will be ready for display or gifting, showcasing your meticulous attention to detail and artistic talent.

Attaching a Hanging Loop or Ornament Hook

After the needlepoint ornament is blocked, pressed, and looking fantastic, the final step is to attach a hanging loop or ornament hook. This will allow you to easily display your ornament on a tree, wreath, or any desired location. Here’s how to attach a hanging loop or ornament hook to your needlepoint ornament:

  1. Choose the Hanging Method: Decide whether you prefer a hanging loop or an ornament hook for your ornament. A hanging loop can be made with ribbon or embroidery thread, while an ornament hook is a pre-made metal hook specifically designed for this purpose.
  2. Making a Hanging Loop: If you choose to make a hanging loop, cut a piece of ribbon or embroidery thread to your desired length, typically around 6-8 inches. Fold it in half and tie a knot at the folded end to create a loop.
  3. Positioning the Loop or Hook: Determine the placement of the hanging loop or hook on your ornament. This is usually at the top center or near an edge, depending on your design and personal preference.
  4. Attaching the Loop: Thread the loose ends of the hanging loop through a tapestry needle. Insert the needle from the back of the canvas to the front, then bring it back to the back through a nearby stitch. This secures the loop in place.
  5. Securing the Loop: On the back of the canvas, tie a secure knot with the loose ends of the hanging loop, and trim any excess thread. Make sure the knot is tight enough to hold the loop in place.
  6. Attaching the Hook: If you choose to use an ornament hook, simply insert the hook into the desired position on the ornament. The hook should hold securely and allow the ornament to hang freely.

Whether you opt for a hanging loop or an ornament hook, attaching it to your needlepoint ornament is a simple yet important step. This allows you to proudly display your creation during the holiday season or throughout the year.

Remember to consider the weight and size of your ornament when choosing the hanging method. For larger or heavier ornaments, it’s advisable to use a more durable hanging loop or a sturdy ornament hook. With the hanging loop or hook securely in place, your needlepoint ornament is ready to be showcased and admired.

Displaying and Caring for Finished Needlepoint Ornaments

Once you have completed your needlepoint ornament and attached a hanging loop or ornament hook, it’s time to find the perfect spot to display your creation. Properly displaying and caring for your finished needlepoint ornaments will ensure their longevity and keep them looking beautiful year after year. Here are some tips for displaying and caring for your finished needlepoint ornaments:

  • Select a Suitable Location: Choose a location that showcases your ornament while keeping it safe from potential damage. Consider placing it on a Christmas tree, a wreath, or a special display stand.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the colors in your needlepoint ornament to fade over time. Choose a display location away from direct sunlight or use UV-resistant glass if necessary.
  • Avoid High Humidity and Moisture: Moisture can damage your needlepoint ornament and promote the growth of mold or mildew. Avoid displaying your ornament in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms or near water sources.
  • Gently Dust and Clean: Regularly dust your ornament using a soft, dry cloth or a gentle brush. Avoid using water or harsh cleaning solutions, as they can damage the fabric or threads.
  • Store Properly: When not in use, store your needlepoint ornaments in a clean, dry, and acid-free environment. Wrap them in acid-free tissue paper or store them in individual protective cases to prevent any potential damage or tangling.
  • Avoid Tugging or Pulling: Handle your needlepoint ornament with care to avoid tugging or pulling on the threads. Excessive force or tension can distort the stitches or even cause them to unravel.
  • Rotate and Reuse: To prevent any damage caused by prolonged display, consider rotating your needlepoint ornaments every few years. This ensures equal enjoyment of all your creations and helps prevent stress on a single ornament.

By following these tips for displaying and caring for your finished needlepoint ornaments, you can preserve their beauty and craftsmanship. Proper storage, gentle cleaning, and thoughtful display choices will ensure that your needlepoint ornaments become family heirlooms to be cherished for generations to come.