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Framed Handkerchiefs

That box of folded handkerchiefs at a vintage-clothing store might not look promising, but, unfolded, each one can be a piece of art. Many handkerchiefs from 1900 through the 1960s were printed with lively designs. Framed simply, they're great decorations for a wall. Here's how to do it!




  • Handkerchiefs
  • 1.8-inch-thick glass
  • >1/16-inch-thick poster board
  • Swiss clip
  • Foil tape
  • Scissors


  1. Step 1

    Wash and iron handkerchiefs; measure each of the four sides, adding 1/2 inch to each measurement.

Martha Stewart Living, June 1999



Reviews (26)

  • tiger51 11 Jun, 2012

    I want to frame 6 handkerchiefs as you show in your magazine. However, Swiss clips are very expensive - are there other ways to anchor the glass that is less expensive? Thanks for your help.

  • jamies123 15 Aug, 2011

    Wow ! Really beautiful

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  • antiquewoman 1 Aug, 2011

    I could see displaying some feminine hankies but these masculine ones are not appealing. What happened to all the great MS ideas??? I used to subscribe to MS magazine for years but I would not anymore because most of the ideas and crafts don't make sense and the ones that do are old.

  • JudyGBM 1 Aug, 2011

    5 years ago I found a box of fancy hankies that had been crochet trimmed by my grandmother and greatgrandmother along with special hankies they always included in my birthday cards when I was young. I laundered, ironed them, folded them in different shapes so the pretty designs showed, layed them out on a very large picture frame back, put the glass back on and hung it over our bed. Having 10 ft ceilings in our FL home really set it off. Also used my wedding and mother's day hankies.

  • yankeehandy 6 Feb, 2009

    if you have a small doily you could place it over a hankie and use that as the background, 2 for one!

  • amy1963 27 Nov, 2008

    what a great idea. i didnt know what to do with my gradmothers hankies, now i do. thanks martha

  • mamina51 18 Nov, 2008

    i sent u one but never appeared

  • mamina51 18 Nov, 2008

    this is alovely idea. i did my grandmothers honkies and hung them .ths martha for all your wonderfull ideas. and site.

  • nana2oneboy 9 Nov, 2008

    I have a crocheted chair set (with doilies to go over the chair arms and back of the head) made by my great grandmother that I had framed like a piece of art at a frame store with a brass plate giving her name and dates and her relationship to me, so future generations will know where it came from. The backing is dark blue with the white chair set. Very pretty. Thanks for the idea of putting the hankies in the powder room. Enjoy old handwork!

  • LaPearl 8 Nov, 2008

    I have done many crocheted doilies and put them onto a dark colored velvet which they will adhere to and with the glass and frame they are held on place beautifully. I have done some that are 14 inches across and that even worked.

  • kathydig 8 Nov, 2008

    I think more femine hanky's or pretty small doilies that had a sentimenal value would look better. The thought of them being owned by your Grandma or Mom would make them have more meaning. I don't necessarily like the color or style of the ones displayed here.

  • scruffty 8 Nov, 2008

    I wouldn't use poster board unless it is acid free. If the backing isn't acid free, the threads will break down and the time and money spent saving these precious items was wasted.

  • PaatriciaCH 8 Nov, 2008

    This is for c_handler. I have many doilies from Grandmother and Aunt. I got a shadowbox, with a velvet black background. I didn't even have to pin out the doily. I just stretched it on the velvet and it held. It's beautiful.

  • nanz5cats 8 Nov, 2008

    if you want to do doilies, i'd use 2 pieces of glass. that way if the doilies are white, the wall would show through the back, instead of the stark white of posterboard. i wouldn't use coloured posterboard, as i really don't know if the colour would bleed through the handiwork. hope this idea helps! BTW, michael's sells clear lucite frames with black edging that holds them together, and they come in all sizes!!!!

  • mizwidget 8 Nov, 2008

    My Grandmother crocheted edges on her handkerchiefs, and this it a wonderful way for me to preserve them. I think I'll also put her name on the back or front somewhere to identify who did the work for later collectors?

  • c_hadler 8 Nov, 2008

    What a great idea! I have numerous textile pieces from my great-grandmother that I would love to display. However, like a previous person, I am wondering how I could hang doilies as I have more of those than hankies.

  • ladyhenry 8 Nov, 2008

    I love this. What a lovely way to honor my family. I have many old Handkerchief sthat belonged to my grandmother and great aunt. I hate just have them in a drawer. Now to hunt for the materials.

  • EdytheMiller 8 Nov, 2008

    How would I do this for a lovely circular hand crocheted doily?

  • Susiekate 8 Nov, 2008

    I too like this idea for lacy hankeys or doilies. I would use 2 peel-n-stick grometed hanger tads and a fine wire to hang the finished project.

    I would also recomend using acid free paper and not hanging in direct sunlight to protect the fibers from deteriating. .

  • pelican66 8 Nov, 2008

    my mother used hankies all the time and i have alot of hers and thought about doing this years ago with them pressed between two pieces of plexiglass and then suspended. it's a lovely way to preserve antique craftwork and mementos.

  • nancystitches 8 Nov, 2008

    I like this idea, but I'm wondering how you hang them. What do you put on the back so that you can hang them?

  • Cheryllion 8 Nov, 2008

    Yeah, I don't like it n n n my first thought was "oh, lovely, a display of snot rags". I'm glad that new, unused handkerchiefs are called for in the article above... in my email it read "a sweet memento" -- of what... grandpa's smoker's cough? Igh.

  • jnapier 8 Nov, 2008

    I did these is a multiple opening frame with my great-grandmother's embroidered hankies from the late 1800's. She had obviously worked hard on them and they now protected, and look very nice in the powder room.

  • Jenelle628 8 Nov, 2008

    I like the idea, but would have looked better with pretty feminine hankies.

  • orensnanna 8 Nov, 2008

    What a great idea and a lovely way to display my grandmothers' hankerchiefs. Thank you!

  • bonniebluedenim 8 Nov, 2008

    what a great shabby chic idea! I'm thinking I may try this, I have a large collection that needs to come out of the box!