Stretcher Frames

Hello everyone

Hope this finds you well?  This week I want to chat to you about stretcher frames versus hoops.

While stitching the projects for the new book I have become increasingly frustrated with trying to remove hoop marks.  It is fine if one is using DMC stranded cotton and the piece of embroidery can be washed,  but in some pieces I have used silk threads which cannot be washed.  Despite binding the inner and outer hoop and using a hoop cover to keep it clean there is always a faint line left by the hoop which I cant seem to remove and it just spoils the overall appearance of the stitching.

Many years ago I would often use stretcher frames but found the use of thumb tacks not only tedious but very sore on my fingers, so reverted to using hoops only.  I knew stretcher frames to be the answer to preventing those pesky hoop marks so racked my brains to think of an easier way to use them and it came to me!  In the middle of the night, as is so often the case, I got this brilliant idea to use two sided tape.  I have tried it out a few times and it works – so much easier then hammering in thumb tacks, far kinder to your fingers, less noisy and much quicker to assemble.  If like me you are fed up with hoop marks and want to try stretcher frames, here is my method below:

You will need

  • Siesta bar frames – these are as light as a feather and come in different lengths. They can be purchased here from Siesta or from any good online needlework store.  You will need to google them and find a store nearest you. They are made in the UK so you might find it difficult to source in the USA but you can always order online and they will ship to you.  I suggest you purchase a pair of 8, 9 & 10 inch frames these will do for most projects.

frame 6

  • If you cannot source Siesta bar frames you can try using an artist’s stretcher frame from an art shop- the kind that you buy with canvas on – you will need to remove the canvas.  They are slightly heavier so make sure it is as slim and lightweight as possible.



  • Two sided tape – the acid free kind is good but any narrow tape with a medium – strong adhesive, about 2cm (0.7 inches) wide will do.



  • Thumb tacks – you will need a couple of these to fasten the corners.



  1.  Assemble the frame by interlocking the bars.

frame 52.   One one side of the frame only apply pieces of two sided tape to each bar as shown.  You can tuck the excess onto the inside of the bar.

frame 43.  Remove the tape to reveal the adhesive.

4.  Place the non sticky side of the frame onto the back of your fabric.  Make sure that your design is centered in the frame.

5.  Pull one side of the fabric on to the bar and stick down on to the tape.  Repeat on the other side.  Make sure you stretch the fabric as far as it will go so it is drum tight.

frame 36.   Now pull the fabric on the other two sides of the frame and stick in place.  Check to see that there are no weak areas – the fabric should be pulled taut.  If necessary you can remove the fabric from the tape and adjust to make it tighter.

7.   Fold the corners in and apply a thumb tack to hold the fabric on each corner where there is no tape.

frame 28.  Turn your frame over – your fabric is beautifully stretched over the frame and ready to stitch.  Make sure you keep it clean in a cotton project bag whilst stitching.

frame 19.   To remove after stitching, just peel the fabric off the two sided tape.  If the tape is intact you can use it for another project, if not peel off the tape and re-apply new pieces for the next project.

And there it is, we learn something new every day isn’t it wonderful!

Till next time, wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.




27 thoughts on “Stretcher Frames

  1. Hello everyone, If you want the perfect tack for you wood frames, go to . They carry a three prong tack. 100 ct. Box that comes with a little lever to remove them. No breaking a nail or damage to your fabric. As for the hoop marks. I just spray a little water, on the mark only, and iron. It might take 2-3 tries but the mark will go away without getting your stitching wet.
    Happy Stitching, Mary


  2. Hi Everyone,
    Perfect timing. Last night, I received an order I had made from your embroidery shop. Your new framing idea is my mission for the day with my new project.
    Keep sharing all these delightful ideas and suggestions.


    1. Hi Bonnie was not aware of these mini stretcher bars in the USA, thanks for bringing them to my attention. I have looked them up and they look exactly the same so there you are readers in USA!

      Sent from my iPad



    1. Hi in my experience there is no residue whatsoever, the fabric comes off clean. The sticky stuff remains on the wood. However if some did stick to the fabric you should be able to peel it off. The double sided tape is removable. I use the same tape for mounting my embroidery onto acid free foam board and it is easy to remove and launder if required.

      Sent from my iPad



  3. I’ve been using stretcher bars for years and the thumbtacks really are horrible on my fingers. Thanks for the great tip using double sided tape, I love it!


    1. My pleasure Susan and yes I agree it is not only hard to get the tacks/staples into the frame but a nightmare to remove them afterwards. This is so easy as you can just peel the fabric off the hoop and it does not leave a residue😊


  4. I am not familiar with the double sided tape except for the Scotch double sided tape. This ,I know, would not hold the cloth to wood. What brands may be available other than the above mentioned?


    1. Hi Deana. You can buy double sided tape from any art shop, stationary shop or hardware. It is not the thick one that you use for hanging pictures but a thin tape. It is sometimes called removable double sided tape and is used for scrap booking and crafts. Any brand will do here is some on Amazon: &pd_rd_i=B07BNF8JCQ&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=a54d13fc-b8a1-4ce8-b285-d77489a09cf6&pf_rd_r=37CDKX6QNKP6E0J7SWXJ&pd_rd_wg=9DrRe&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&pd_rd_w=216sU&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pd_rd_r=9fdca4d5-b518-11e8-97de-971d4c54e3db


    1. Hi April I never use a stand it is just awkward and gets in the way of my sitting comfortably in my armchair! I simply hold the frame in my hand as you would a hoop – that is why it is important to make sure it is lightweight. Trish


  5. I used to have this problem with tacks, but tried a lightweight staple gun and find that does the job just as well, if not better. They come complete with a staple remover, or you can get the little ones from any stationery supplier


  6. I have used Evertite frames for needlepoint which can be tightened to make the fabric taut, and periodically while stitching too. I use a Corjac tack kit for attaching the tacks. It includes tacks and has a tool to push the tacks into the wooden frame and also a tool to pull them out to remove the fabric. Both are wonderful to use!


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