Embroidery hoops, usually made of wood, metal or plastic, are handy for keeping fabric taut while applying fancy stitchery, whether it's by hand or machine. Commercial embroidery hoops are relatively inexpensive. However, if you don't have one, need it for a project and can't or don't want to make a trip to the store to get one, you can make one from everyday items that you probably have on hand.
Making the hoop
Embroidery hoops come in all sizes to accommodate various fabric weights and design sizes. Before you begin planning a way to make your hoop, access your needs. Would a small hoop do, or do you need a large one? If you're stitching a delicate, small pattern on fine, lightweight cotton lawn, you can use a small frame, and it doesn't have to be very stiff or sturdy. However, for a bold, large pattern using heavy floss stitches on burlap or thick muslin, you will need a sturdy frame that will grip the fabric firmly.
The easiest, fastest homemade embroidery hoop is one fashioned from a canning jar lid rim, the kind with an open top, and a wide rubber band that will fit tightly around it. You can substitute a tied or sewn loop of elastic for the rubber band. Drape the fabric over the canning jar rim, then hold it in place with the rubber band or elastic. This quick and easy hoop also makes an ideal embroidery hoop for small children, as it's easy to hold.
Rubber bands or lengths of elastic can double as the top hoop for most homemade embroidery hoops, as long as the length is correct. Look for sturdy, circular shapes in the correct size, then secure the fabric with the elastic or rubber band. Picture frames, sections of PVC pipe, a section of a fabric or carpeting bolt tube, or even a section cut from a plastic bottle or plastic food tub converts quickly to a usable embroidery hoop. Sand or trim off any rough edges, then secure the fabric to the frame with the elastic loop or rubber band.