diy embroidery hoop art

Squares and right angles. It seemed like the only shapes I could find for wall art involved squares and right angles. And, while I love a good frame collage as much as the next girl, you can only make things so interesting when everything on the wall is shaped basically the same. I had seen some ideas floating around Pinterest for using vintage circular frames, but after a few months of searching (aka casually browsing my local thrift stores on the weekend) I still hadn't found anything but squares and rectangles. What I did find though were lots and lots of embroidery hoops.

I was originally looking for a big embroidery hoop, about 12-15" across, to make a hamper for our kitchen towels/dishcloths based on this tutorial (which is super useful, btw. I love the one I made.) Well, there were loads of little dinky hoops in the 6-8" range, but nothing big. About my third weekend at the thrift store, sifting through the piles of cast off hoops, I did score a nice big one that was perfect for my hamper project. I took it home, but before it was transformed into the wonderfully functional piece that graces my laundry room today, I noticed something: it had no corners. Not a right angle in sight! Thank you, Captain Obvious for telling us that a circle is, in fact, a circle, but that was pretty much my thought process. Back I went to the thrift store and about $3.50 later, I was the proud owner of seven embroidery hoops of various sizes.

Now if you've ever seen a wooden embroidery hoop, they're a sort of yellowish wood. This project was for one of the living room walls and yellow-toned wood is not allowed in the living room (it makes the paint read really orange). So, the first order of business was to stain the hoops a nice deep walnut. We had leftover Minwax walnut stain from our frame ledges that hang over the couch, so I just used a 1" foam brush and followed the instructions on the can. As you can see from the picture above, I didn't bother with cleaning up before starting this project. I have to get things done when the mood strikes, or else I never will. Needless to say, the mood to be tidy rarely strikes me.

Once the hoops had dried, I put them back together and started laying them out on the floor to find an arrangement that I liked. Joe actually came in at this point, took one look at my floor arrangement, moved two hoops around and made it perfect. Then he nailed them to the wall for me. He has latent decorating talent that only comes out when I'm planning to block the tv for an hour scooting things "a little to the left..."

I really like the way it turned out, which only proves that Joe should help me decorate more often (ha. unlikely). My favorite part is that the art is interesting, but not distracting, which was important since it sits directly behind our tv (God forbid, embroidery hoops should try to compete with NFL playoffs). I think I will probably add a few more hoops to the top to create more height since the ceilings are vaulted, but other than that I'm really enjoying the returns on this $3.50 investment.