Updated April 15, 2021.
If you want to add sparkle to your canvas when you have used open stitches, but still want an even more subtle look, you can back your needlepoint with something sparkly (fabric or paper). This will give you some glitz, but it’s behind the needlepoint, so it will enhance what’s there without being obvious. It also keeps the stuffing or backing from showing through the needlepoint. I love the subtle look this can give your projects.
The most important thing to decide is how you will be finishing the needlepoint. If you don’t know, use fabric. If it will be finished as a picture, boxtop, or something hard, you can use paper.
Look for fabric or paper that has is either the same color as the canvas the main color in the open stitching or color from the design. Because the backing is behind the canvas, the color will be muted. If you want a stronger color to show, be sure to pick a backing brighter than the result you want. Papers will be in the scrapbook section of most craft stores. You will want either sheer fabrics, such as organza. Buy enough to cover the entire back of the canvas.
Although you can add the fabric or paper behind the needlepoint when finishing, the fabric can also be put on the back before stitching. Doing this not only adds color but effectively hides traveling threads.
Adding Fabric before Stitching
You are probably wondering why I specified sheer fabrics. The easiest way to keep this kind of fabric smooth behind your needlepoint is to stitch through it. By using a lightweight, sheer fabric you will be able to needlepoint through it just as you normally do.
Run a line of Fray Chek on your fabric about 1″ beyond the size of the needlepoint and let dry. Cut this out and baste the fabric securely to the back of the needlepoint in the unworked margins of the canvas before you begin to stitch the canvas.
Your needlepoint will hold the fabric in place so when the basting is cut to finish the needlepoint the fabric will stay in place.
Addiing Backing after Finishing
If you are using paper, use the template you have to cut out the paper. Put it behind the needlepoint to check that you like the look. When finishing, put the paper directly behind the needlepoint before finishing your object.
If you are using fabric, the fabric must be sewn to the needlepoint before finishing. Sew the backing onto the needlepoint just at the edge of the stitched area.