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How to Easily Stain Embroidery Hoops

Embroidery | Sewing

Learn how to easily stain embroidery hoops to frame your embroidery projects with this simple tutorial. 

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Three embroidery hoops that have been stained walnut, maple and oak colors.

Hello Crafty Friends! Do you love the look of stained embroidery hoops as much as I do? I think the stain adds so much to a finished embroidery project. In the past I have painted my hoops and even wrapped them in ribbon and fabric, but this past week I tried staining them and I love how they turned out!

Five hoops stained various shades of wood are stacked together.

I was searching for an inexpensive, mess-free way to stain my hoops for a few projects I am working on, including a sweet sunflower appliqué hoop. I searched on Amazon and came across a DecoArt Gel Stain Kit. The kit came with three wood colors including Walnut, Maple and Oak. This is not a sponsored post, I’m just excited to have stumbled upon this product and found it worked perfectly for staining my hoops. Below is a tutorial for how to use these gel stains to stain your hoops! I hope you find it useful! 

Two bottles of Deco Art Gel Stain lay inside embroidery hoops.

How to Stain Embroidery Hoops Using DecoArt Gel Stains

Supplies Needed

Embroidery hoop with three bottles of gel stain laying in the center.

Staining the Hoops

Start by covering your work surface in parchment paper. After you stain your hoop you can set it on the parchment paper to dry without it sticking.

Separate the two parts of the unfinished wooden hoop. You only need to stain the outer hoop. I don’t stain the inner hoop since it is hidden by fabric. The lighter unfinished color of the wood is also less likely to show through the fabric, so it’s better to leave it unfinished.

*TIP: Keep track of which outer hoops go to which inner hoops if staining more than one hoop at a time. They will fit differently and you’ll want to pair them back up with the one they came with. Trust me, I learned this the hard way!

Use a paint brush or foam brush to apply stain to the hoop. You can use a smaller brush to go around the hardware at the top of the hoop. After applying the stain to the entire hoop, use a piece of paper towel or lint-free cloth to wipe off the stain. This will give your hoop a nice, distressed look.

A stained hoop lays next to a bottle of gel stain, a paint brush and a foam brush.

A hoop that is being stained lays next to stain, paper towel and a paint brush.

Layer the stain to get a deeper color on your hoop or do one coat and wipe it off to get a light coat. Below you can see two hoops I stained using the Walnut Gel Stain. On the bottom hoop, I did two coats of gel stain and wiped both of them off giving a deeper, distressed coloring to the wood. On the top hoop, I just did one coat and wiped it off. You can play around and experiment with how deep you want the stain to appear.

Two hoops that have been stained a walnut color.

Types of Wood Gel Finish

The Gel Stain kit I used came with three gel stains including walnut, maple and oak. Within each of those stain colors you can get a lighter and deeper stain. Walnut is the deepest and darkest brown shade, maple has a beautiful reddish-brown color and oak is the lightest. I found when I layered oak it became darker and looked close to maple with a little less red.

Three embroidery hoops that have been stained walnut, maple and oak colors.

Five hoops stained various shades of wood are stacked together.

Bottles of wood stain lay inside embroidery hoops.

Applying the Varnish

After staining the hoops and letting them dry, it is time to apply a varnish. I used DecoArt DuraClear Satin Varnish which I already had on hand and like to use. I applied a layer of varnish over the stained hoop and then let it dry on the parchment paper. 

As an alternative, according to DecoArt’s website, you can also mix the Gel Stain with Multi-Purpose Sealer (75%/25%) and seal and stain all at one time. 

A bottle of varnish lays inside a stained hoop on top of parchment paper.

Six stained embroidery hoops lined up.

Uncover the Hoop’s Hardware

The final step, after the hoops are done drying, is to remove the blue plastic film that cover the hoop’s hardware. I use the end of my seam ripper to pick at it and peel it away. Unscrewing the screw at the top of the hoop may make it easier to get the film off. 

Three embroidery hoops that have been stained walnut, maple and oak colors.

Time to Use the Stained Embroidery Hoops!

The hoops are finished! Pair them back up with the inner hoop they came with and the hoops are ready to frame your next embroidery, appliqué or iron-on project! If you are using light-colored fabric, you may want to work in a different non-stained hoop, and transfer the project to the stained hoop for framing. I have not had the stain come off on my projects yet, but it is something to keep in mind and most likely depends on the fabric and how you seal the stain.  

Staining these hoops was so easy and I think the finished hoops really look beautiful. I stained a bunch to use for Christmas presents I am starting to work on and used one to make my Sunflower Appliqué Hoop! 

Happy Crafting! -Kim


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