Endless Mirrors

Rebecca Kemp Brent

We featured steps to create kaleidoscope embroidery in the July/August 2008 issue of Creative Machine Embroidery (See “Endless Mirrors”). Here we explain step-by-step how to create the frame project. Visit quiltandsewshop.com to order this issue.


• Fabric and stabilizer as desired
• Inkjet printable cotton fabric
• Embroidery and bobbin threads
• 8" x 10" picture frame
• Self-adhesive mounting board to fit picture frame
• Mat board, illustration board or heavy cardboard to fit picture frame
• Quilt batting
• High-tack craft glue
• Craft knife
• Embroidery design of your choice, 5" x 7" or smaller, with an overall oval shape

• Choose an embroidery design for framing. Select the threads for embroidery. Include a few alternate choices, such as light and dark values of the design colors, and threads on different spools and spindles.
• Arrange and photograph or scan the spools as detailed earlier in the article. Create a kaleidoscope frame in the software. Print a full-size template of the kaleidoscope on plain paper, setting the printer for draft quality to conserve ink.

TIP: To turn a square kaleidoscope into a rectangle, open the kaleidoscope file in image editing software such as Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro or Paint. Crop the image to fit the rectangular picture frame and save under a new name. Remember that cropping will delete part of the image along the sides.

• Hoop the stabilizer and fabric; embroider the design.
• Cut the central opening from the paper kaleidoscope template. Lay it on the embroidered fabric to check the opening size against the embroidered motif.
• When everything is checked and ready, print the kaleidoscope on the inkjet printable fabric. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's directions, as brands differ.
• Peel the protective paper from the mounting board. Smooth the embroidered fabric onto the board, right side up, keeping the design centered. Work from the center out to remove any wrinkles.
• Turn the mounting board over and trim the excess fabric around the edges.
• Use the paper kaleidoscope template as a pattern to cut a matching frame from the mat board. Trace the opening at the template center (A); cut the board 1/8" outside the pencil line to allow the printed fabric to wrap around the opening edge.

A) Use paper kaleidoscope template as pattern to cut matching frame from mat board. Trace opening at template center.

• Cover one surface of the cardboard with craft glue and adhere the quilt batting. Trim the excess batting from the center opening and outer edges. Leave a small margin of batting around the central opening to pad and smooth the edge when the printed fabric is applied (B).

B) Leave small margin of batting around central opening to pad and smooth edge when printed fabric is applied.

• Cut the center opening from the printed fabric kaleidoscope, leaving 1/2" allowance for wrapping around the cardboard mat. Clip the allowance every 1/2". Lay the kaleidoscope right side down and position the mat, batting side down, on the fabric.
• Run a line of glue around the central opening. Pull the fabric allowance through the opening to the board wrong side and glue in place (C). Be sure no unprinted fabric is visible from the right side.

C) Run line of glue around central opening. Pull fabric allowance through opening to board wrong side and glue in place.

TIP: Work with one quarter of the opening at a time, and use pins to hold the fabric in place until the glue dries.

• Wrap and glue the outer fabric edges in the same way. The unprinted allowance is less than 1/2" along the sides, but by working carefully and pinning the fabric edges to the cardboard it's possible to work with as little as 1/4" allowance. It's OK if some unprinted fabric is visible at the outer edges where it will be covered by the frame.
• When the glue is dry, place the kaleidoscopic mat on the embroidered fabric and frame the two together. Remove the glass from the frame to allow more room and to expose the mat's dimensionality.

Embroidered Frame: My Fair Lady Designs, Heirloom Cutwork, design Mfl-Hc- Centerpiece8-4x4

Kaleidoscope Collections provided the Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 software and additional template packs.
Jacquard Products provided the Inkjet Printing Cotton fabric.

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