Easy Needlepoint Finishing Ideas for Beginners

Welcome back to NeedlePoints of View, a monthly column brought to you by me, Shannan of Bobbin and Fred, and Emma of The Maker’s Marks, where we’ll be sharing our love of all things needlepoint. Whether you’re new to the craft and want to learn what it’s all about or you’ve already fallen under needlepoint’s spell, we hope to inspire you to pick up a needle and get stitching.

Selection of needlepoint projects - expert needlepoint finishing by Un Chiffon Fon Fon
Selection of needlepoint projects, expertly finished by Un Chiffon Fon Fon

Needlepoint finishing may seem a bit of a mystery when you’re starting out. Essentially, finishing turns a completed canvas into a beautiful object.

There are so many needlepoint finishing ideas out there! You could turn your canvases into ornaments, pillows, framed art, jewellery boxes, garments, Christmas stockings, eye masks, trays, napkin rings, wallets, clutches, totes, zip pouches, and more!

This quick guide will give you everything you need to know to get started, including needlepoint finishing ideas, a list of trusted needlepoint finishers, and where you can find tutorials showing how to finish your completed canvases all by yourself.

Take the easy route: find a professional needlepoint finishing expert

Want to know the easiest way to finish your canvases to a high standard? 

Find an expert needlepoint finisher to do it for you! 

This option won’t suit all budgets, but if you can afford to, there are a lot of benefits to sending your canvases to a professional finisher.

Passionate needlepoint finisher Maryse Robbins of Un Chiffon Fon Fon believes professional finishing can ‘bring the canvas to life’, and that it’s a way of honoring the ‘tremendous amount of hours [and expense]’ that you’ve already put into the project.

Although finishing is as ‘pricy as the other steps of the process’, says Maryse, there’s nothing worse than ruining all your hard work with a clumsy finish. The completed canvas is ‘a piece of love; the love our [needlepointers] put into each stitch’, and professional finishing ensures that you won’t ‘see any distraction to all that love.’

Working with a finisher can be an intimate process. To get the best possible results, Maryse loves to have close contact with her customers and hear the stories behind the canvas. 

She then finds out what they do and don’t like in terms of colors and embellishments, and ‘after that [she] likes to get carte blanche’ to allow her knowledge, imagination, sensibility, and expertise to ‘enhance and compliment’ the stitching.

Selection of holiday ornaments - needlepoint finishing by Un Chiffon Fon Fon
Selection of holiday ornaments finished by Un Chiffon Fon Fon

Expert needlepoint finishers in the USA

There are many finishers in the USA. Here’s a small handful to get you started, but for a comprehensive list, check out Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure’s list of finishers, or contact your LNS.

Expert needlepoint finishers in the UK

Needlepoint finishers are harder to come by in the UK, and some will only finish canvases they’ve designed, but there are a few to choose from:

Things to keep in mind when working with a needlepoint finisher

Unless you live close enough to drop your canvas off, you’ll have to send it to your chosen finisher. Make sure to mail it tracked and insured in protective packaging.

Finishing your needlepoint projects to a high standard takes time, so you’ll need to plan ahead and ensure you get your canvas to them before any cut-off dates during busy times such as the holidays.

Some finishers prefer your canvas to be blocked, and others are happy to do this for you. Some like you to work a few extra rows around the finished design; others don’t. Research your chosen finisher and prepare your canvas as requested before sending it off to avoid any delays.

Can you finish your own needlepoint?

Yes, you can! Many designers and companies are making it easier than ever to complete your own needlepoint projects from start to finish.

For some, sending canvases off to a professional finisher isn’t an option, whether it be budget constrictions, location, or just because they want to be the sole maker of the piece. 

However, some finishes can be very challenging and if the canvas is an unusual shape or a complicated project, proceed with caution.

But it’s also a fun challenge! And if you keep it simple, you’re bound to do a great job.

Unwind Studio has a brilliant step-by-step tutorial with plenty of photos showing you how to finish a needlepoint ornament on their blog.

Planet Earth Fiber has a collection of self-finishing products, including jewellery boxes, key fobs, luggage tags, wallets, and shoulder bags. They’re all leather and come in various colours to compliment your needlepoint. What’s more, they’re super easy to use!

Morgan Julia Designs made this great video showing how to self-finish your needlepoint canvas with a Planet Earth Fiber Jewellery Case:

Other self-finishing options include purchasing kits that include full stitching and finishing instructions, and Stitch and Zip Kits. Stitch and Zip are preassembled pouches and ornaments that don’t require any sewing or expensive finishing. They come as designed kits or blanks for you to stitch a charted needlepoint design onto.

It’s Time to Turn Your Completed Canvases into Finishes!

Needlepoint finishing doesn’t have to be scary, nor does it have to break the bank. Before you start stitching, it’s a good idea to consider what you want your canvas to become. 

Knowing your desired end result will help when selecting threads for durability or decoration, and finding the right finisher for the job, whether that be a professional or yourself. It’ll also help you make embellishment and fabric choices for your finished project.

Whatever you decide, above all else, have fun and enjoy the process!

If you’d like to try a self-finishing project right away sign up for my newsletter and get a free PDF for the Turkish Jewel Needlebook delivered to your inbox today!

Next time Emma will be introducing you to decorative stitches and her new book Needlepoint: A Modern Stitch Directory!