Frames for Needlepoint

June 8, 2016Finishing Standard

Japanese cat needlepoint

These cats were finished in a dollar store frame

When I go into a store I find myself wondering what kinds of frames for needlepoint I should buy. I have so much needlepoint stitched but not finished, that getting a nice frame and finishing it makes for a good gift.

But not all frames are created equal. There are some things you should look for when buying frames.


Needlepoint is thick, thick enough that many ready-made frames won’t hold needlepoint. Look for frames that are a least 1/2” high, not including any indentation on the back.

If the frame has metal tabs that fit into slots on the back to hold the backing in place, they will not fit into the slots if the frame isn’t deep enough.


Frames come in two types, ready-made and made-to-measure. Made-to-measure frames are expensive. If you make your needlepoint to fit ready-made frames or use a mat cut to a ready-made size on the outside, you will save lots of money on framing.

Mats are significantly less expensive than frames. I do this all the time with my needlepoint. I have lovely finished items and they didn’t break the bank to do.

Often the framer can do this in about half an hour.


The opinion on covering needlepoint with glass is an open one. Glass protects the needlepoint from dirt and dust, but it can also trap in moisture and degrade the threads.

If you use glass it should always be separated from the front of the needlepoint by a mat or by spacers. If possible you should get UV coated glass to reduce glare.

Make your own Frame

At many craft and art stores you can buy frame sides so you can make your own frame. This has the advantage of giving you custom sizes, but at a lower price. The downside is that, unless you go to framing supply shops for artists (including on the Web) the selection of colors and styles is small.

Some areas might have shops where you can assemble the frame from components they cut.

And if you really want to do it yourself, framing isn’t hard to learn and many adult or community ed centers teach it.

So go out, search for some interesting frames for needlepoint and let your work see the light of day!