First off you need to cut your foam board down to a suitable size for the inside of your frame. My frame was 6 x 4 inches, so I cut it to a few millimetres shy of that. You’ll want it to fit inside the frame but still have a little bit of wiggle room at the edges for when the cross stitch fabric is eventually folded around it. Check you’ve got that gap by trying the foam board in the frame, it shouldn’t be too snug or be wedged in there.
Now that you have your expertly measured foam board at the ready, it’s time to pick up that lovely cross stitch of yours. Position it over the foam board, making sure that the design is central and level, and begin by folding the top side down. Find the middle of your design and push a pin into the foam centre of the board right on the top edge. Repeat at the bottom.
Repeat Step Two, this time at the centre of the left and right sides. As you do this try to make sure that the fabric is as flat as it can be, and pulled fairly evenly across the board.
Start working your way out from the centre, placing pins diagonally opposite each other, a couple at a time on each side. As you do this check that your design is still central, and that the fabric is laying flat and taut. Continue all the way round.
Now that you’ve finished pinning flip the whole thing over. This is where my shambolic tutorial skills once again show themselves. For reasons unknown I’m holding the whole thing the wrong way round in the photo below. S0 what looks like top to bottom is actually side to side. * Sighs* What you need to do is fold your sides inwards, and lace them together. I found doing the sides first is best for a flatter overall finish. For the lacing you’re going to need a really long length of your thread, as you can see I underestimated and had to do a shoddy retying job in the middle. For my lacing I started at about 1cm from the edge (you can go in closer to the edge than that if you want), and stitched backwards and forwards between the two sides. Pull it tight as you go, but make sure you’re not warping the board.
If you’re still with me here then not only are you some kind of modern hero, but the end is also in sight! At this stage fold over the top and bottom edges and lace those too. As you can see my back isn’t the tidiest, but I left far more than two inches of excess around the piece and didn’t pull very tight with my stitches, so it’s all a bit bulkier than usual. There are neater ways to finish a piece (there’s a snazzy method of folding your corners down and sewing them, which gives the whole thing a lovely finish), which I’d be happy to point you in the direction of if you’ d like to try them! After you’ve done all of that you should find that the surface of your cross stitch is pulled nice and taut across the board, and that the edges are smooth.
Rejoice and remove those pins!
Because you left that little bit of wiggle room at the start you should find that your cross stitch fits into the frame nice and snugly now.