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Needlepoint Blocking Board Recommendations

needlepoint blocking board recommendations blog post

You've stitched it. Now you need to block it. What should you use for a needlepoint blocking board?

1. Homemade needlepoint blocking board option

If you have a smooth piece of wood at home you can make a needlepoint blocking board. All you really need is a board that will hold pins or tacks securely.

needlepoint blocking board

The board will also need to be clean and smooth, so as not to soil or abrade your needlepoint canvas and threads. Cover it with a cloth if it is neither of those things.

2. Inexpensive commercial needlepoint blocking board option.

We use these blocking mats to block our stitched needlepoint canvases.

NB: We may earn a commission on sales of products made through links in this post. Learn more here.

 
Here's why we like these...
1. The blocking boards are grid-marked so you know when you have turned your needlepoint canvas parallelogram back into a rectangle or square.
2. The pack contains four interlocking pieces, each measuring 12" x 12", so the board can scale up or down depending upon the size of your project. When you're done, the pieces just slide into a cupboard or drawer.
3. Each needlepoint blocking board mat is 3/8" thick, which is thick enough to securely grasp the small needlepoint designs we stitch here at Poppy Monk Needlepoint Kits. But, we use brass tacks, and not the T-pins that knitters and crocheters use. 

 

Brass tacks grip close to the canvas and provide more leverage. We find this does a better job at holding the "block" and seems to prevent the need for re-blocking.
These mats will gather pinholes and loosen with time, but remember you have four of them and if you're blocking small projects it will take a while to pinhole all the available real estate.

 Pro Tip: When blocking a needlepoint canvas start by placing the tacks in the middle of each side, rather than the corners. For example, place the first tack in the top middle, second tack in the bottom middle, then left middle, right middle, and work toward the corners as you move around the canvas, stretching it to right angles as you go. If you start in the corners you will apply too much angular tension and the canvas will buckle and likely pull the tacks out.

If you need to block larger projects on a regular basis, we would consider trying these thicker, sturdier mats.

 

4. The commercial blocking mats will take water whereas a board you've made at home could stain your needlepoint.
 

NB: Although you can dampen your needlepoint on these needlepoint blocking boards, please test your yarn for color-fastness first. Even if the label says the thread is color-fast, some colors have a habit of bleeding - we're looking at you, "red". All you need to do to test the fibers is dampen some leftover pieces and blot them firmly with a paper towel. If you're not seeing any color on the towel then you're good to go. If the color comes off on the towel you should consider dry-blocking.

 

Whichever option you choose to block your needlepoint canvas it's important to know when you should block a canvas.

If you are sending your stitched needlepoint canvas to a professional finisher they will block it for you.

If you are self-finishing a project, always block it first, even if it looks straight. This is especially important if you are framing your needlepoint design. Once an even slightly skewed piece of needlework is placed into a perfectly square frame, the irregularity becomes obvious.

We use the framing services of Framebridge a lot—and we love them— but we always block the pieces before sending them off. Your local framer may block for you but it would pay to ask.

If you are shopping on Amazon, the other thing we always pick up when we're there is 3/4" artist tape to edge the needlepoint canvases that don't come taped, or that need re-taping. Artist tape sticks better than masking tape and doesn't leave that sticky yellowish residue. 

 
We hope this blog post about finding the right needlepoint blocking board was useful.
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