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How to Decorate Embroidery Hoops

Showing off your embroidery art doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are lots of ways to fancy up a plain wooden embroidery hoop to frame and display your work.

vintage Halloween Owl punched in DMC pearl cotton with black and white polka dot washi tape with text overlay How to decorate Embroidery Hoops to show off your work

Punch needle isn’t typically done in a wooden embroidery hoop, we use locking hoops or a gripper frame to hold the fabric drum tight. But those wooden hoops can come in handy when it comes time to show off what you’ve been up to.

Permanent or Temporary?

Before you get to the fun part of making your embroidery hoops all pretty you need to decide how permanent you want your work to be.

There are two ways to secure your work in the hoop, one is forever and one can be undone. They end up looking the same in the end so it comes down to personal preference.

Temporary – The Thread Method

This is my go-to method, I like to switch things up and I do a lot of punch needle. I keep my finished pieces in storage boxes and it’s a lot easier to do if they aren’t all attached to hoops.

back of embroidery hoop showing the stitching used to keep the fabric from showing on the front

It’s also a lot cheaper to have one hoop that keeps getting switched out instead of buying a new one every time I finish a design.

And I usually have no idea where my hot glue gun is…

For the temporary method you will need:

  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Embroidery Piece
  • Scissors
  • Needle & Thread

Hoop up your piece, again making sure it’s nice and centered and the fabric is flat and not puckered or tucked in oddly. Flip it to the back and trim around leaving a generous 1/2 inch of excess fabric.

Thread a needle with a long piece of thread, at least long enough to go around the hoop twice. Knot both ends together so you have a double thickness of thread.

Make long running stitched around the hoop, when you get back to the beginning pull them tight and tie off.

When you’re ready to change up your hoop just clip the threads and un-hoop you work. I can actually finish off a piece this way before my glue gun even has a chance to heat up!

Permanent – The Hot Glue Method

If you’re in it for the long haul and your love of playing with thread and needles ends with punch needle this is the method for you. This is also a great way to finish a piece you’re giving as a gift.

You will need:

  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Embroidery Piece
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors

Tightly hoop your work, making sure it’s perfectly centered and the fabric isn’t tucked or puckered. One the glue goes on it’s game over for moving it.

Flip the hoop so it’s face down and use the scissors to trim the fabric leaving between a 1/4 and 1/2 inch. Working in sections apply hot glue to the inside of the hoop and press the fabric into it.

I like to use my scissors for this, I’ve gotten more than enough hot glue burns in my life! Work your way around the entire hoop, adding more glue if you have a stubborn piece.

At this point your can remove the outer hoop if you want to decorate it or you can hang it up without using it.

autumn maple leaf puinch needle emboidery hung up without the outer hoop

This Autumn Leaf looks pretty all on it’s own without the outer hoop.

Cover the Back with Felt

If you want a clean back on the hoop you’ll need a few more supplies:

  • Inner hoop with fabric glued to it
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Pen
  • Felt

Trace the hoop onto the piece of felt using a pen and cut it out just inside the line. Add a line of hot glue to the back of the hoop and press to the felt. You can trip off any uneven bits.

Add the outer hoop and voila, you have a fully finished embroidery hoop art piece ready to display in your home or gift to a friend!

Decorating Embroidery Hoops

We’ve got our work all hooped up, ready go and now we get to the fun part! Decorating the outer hoop.

Not that there is nothing wrong with the plain wood, I like it with some of my more neutral design but sometimes you just want more right?

Stain Wooden Embroidery Hoops

If you’re looking to keep that wood look you should check out stains. They’re transparent and allow the wood to look like wood.

You don’t have to hit up the hardware store for a can of stain either. There are lots of options in the craft store targeted at crafters these days.

DecoArt has a line of Color Stain available at Joann’s. I’ve used it in a few of my DIY projects like the box for my Halloween Tic Tac Toe game.


If your goal is something a bit more intense go for paint. You can get glitter, metallic, shiny or matte paint in any color under the sun.

multicolored punch needle autumn leaf with HEllow fall embroidered in the center

You can paint the entire hoop but only the front and outside will show when you hang it up. Here you can see how different the leaf looks when you add a hoop.

You can also paint the metal piece that tightens the hoop if the bright shiny silver isn’t your thing but if you loosen and tighten the hoop a lot you’ll need to touch it up as the paint wears off.

Washi Tape

Washi tape is an easy way to get a fun pattern on your hoop. It’s available in a million patterns, you can even get washi tape with metallic stripes or glitter on it.

punch needle owl in an embroidery hoop covered in polka dot Washi tape

You can wrap the entire hoop or just stick it to the outside. I had this Vintage Halloween Owl in a black painted hoop forever but I wanted to get a little fancy and when I found this polka dot washi tape I knew exactly what had to happen.

I smoothed it around the hoop and carefully smoothed it over the edge, it will wrinkle a bit. If you have thick washi tape, like the ones with the glitter, bending it over the edge might not work.


Adding a fun trim to your hoop is the best way to take it from basic to amazing. The sky is the limit, you can use lace, burlap, ribbon, pom-poms, leather, or tinsel. If you can glue it down you can add it to an embroidery hoop.

blue pumpkin embroidery decorated with metallic copper paint and braided leather trim

One of my favorite hoops is painted with metallic copper paint and finished with a piece of leather trim. It’s a nice contrast between the rough punch needle fabric, the shiny hoop, and the braided leather.

It’s currently holding my Blue Pumpkin but that could change at any moment.

Do you display your finished embroidery in hoops or with another method?

I would love to see picturs of your fancied up embroidery hoops, tag me on Instagram or join the facebook group

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