Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

September 12, 2011

How to Frame Hungarian Embroidery or Doily for a Modern Look

Waaaay back in February we received a special (belated) wedding gift: a hand embroidered Hungarian table cloth (doily?) made by a Hungarian relative who is dear to me.  I gleefully mentioned the embroidery here and pondered where to display it.  After a few months of keeping it displayed on the dining room table, my nerves were shot.  I was petrified of someone spilling something on it, the sun bleaching it, or a cat burglar dropping the television in favor of it. 

To resume a normal life I opted to have it framed so it can be safe(r) from sticky fingers but not relegated to some forgotten drawer.  You might have noted in the updated Home Tour that the newly framed embroidery piece now lives in the hallway (a distance from sunlight and kitchen/fireplace smells):

Hungarian embroidery framed

I brought the embroidery to a local framing store in my hometown (yes, I hauled in 1500kms), because the man who owns that particular framing store is extremely talented and has a modern aesthetic.  I highly recommend avoiding the big boxes (I always pay more there and they always seem to want to steer me toward the really 80s styles) and bring your framing to a locally owned business.  The staff will get to know your style, can make appropriate recommendations and will dedicate the time required to produce a quality product, often for a lower price.  

I submit my newly framed embroidery as an example:

All White Kalocsa Embroidery

Gorgeous, right?  I can take little credit for the final product.  My mom provided the grey slub silk which was stretched taught at the framing store before the embroidery was attached with the tiniest pins.  A mat was laid over the stretched silk to neatly finish off the corners and then a second mat was installed closer to the glass for an interesting, shallow shadow box effect.  I originally brought in a photo for inspiration but the finished product was much more modern and visually interesting.  I couldn't have imagined it would look this good and I am so pleased with the creative liberties taken.

You know I love a good DIY project, but sometimes it really makes sense to pay a professional to help you create a quality piece that will be enjoyed forever.  However, a framed doily (for lack of a better work) like this has DIY potential.   

The hallways is getting brighter and airier.  Here it is today . . .

. . . and January, 2011.  I swapped the black frames awhile ago and now the large black frame housing our beach photo is re-located too.

January 2011 - subtle changes have a HUGE effect!
How to frame embroidered doily


  1. this really is a beautiful piece of art.
    It turned out so perfect for your home.
    I love your description of the cat burglar going for it instead of the tv. lol
    I am getting ready to get something custom framed.
    Maybe I will search for someone local too.
    Although we only have boxes around here, no good ol'fashioned mom and pop shops :(

  2. It's such a beautiful piece, and so much effort and love went into it. I'm happy that you found a framer who could do it justice. It looks wonderful in the hall. Mounting it on the gray slub silk was perfect!

  3. Its gorgeous....looks beautiful in hallway....lovely blog you have Tanya:)

  4. Wow, what a stunning and truly meaningful piece. It looks fantastic framed on top of the grey silk. A treasure for life!

  5. What an incredible gift!!! I cannot imagine how that is created. The framing really does set it off beautifully. I also love picking a mat up and giving a shadow effect when framing a textured piece of art. You're right, sometimes things warrant a professional and this piece of art did!! Great job!

  6. Thanks everyone! I will be sure to pass on your kind words to my Hungarian relative and "my framing guy". Its fun to say - like I'm a pro or something.

  7. Oh my gosh Tanya, you have been busy, aren't you! Are you originally from Hungary? The embroidery piece looks amazing, great job in transforming it into a beautiful, modern, piece of art.

    And I can feel how airy and light your hallway is just by your picture. LOVE LOVE!

  8. Hi Starlet! Thanks for your kind words. I am not from Hungary, but my maternal grandparents are and my Mom was born in Sweden. I was born in Canada. But I speak Hungarian and my PhD research concerns Hungarian politics and gender studies, so I do embrace my heritage.

  9. That's gorgeous! I love the framing job. I have some doilies from my Grandmother, and after seeing this, I'm definitely going to get them framed.


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