How to turn a photo into an embroidery design…

August 31, 2009 48 Comments by Kirsty

(for non-drawer types)

Step 1:
Take a photo of what it is you want to embroider.

Runners

Step 2:
Use either photoshop or picnik to turn your image into a pencil sketch. You could stop here if you want your embroidery project to be “photographic”.
If you don’t have access to either of these applications you could just photocopy or turn your image black & white.

Runners

Step 3:
Print your pencil sketch image.
Muck around with your coloured pencils to work out which elements you want coloured.

Colouring

Step 4:
Using a light box or window trace your design with a fine liner.

Tracing

Step 5:
Scan & size your image according to your project requirements.

Stage 3

Step 6:
Then trace onto your fabric using a water soluable marker.

Creative Stitching

Begin stitching.

48 Comments

  1. maya
    5 years ago

    ahaa!

    Reply

  2. h&b
    5 years ago

    *fabulous*

    just.so.fabulous.

    Reply

  3. One Flew Over
    5 years ago

    You, my dear are a wealth of information! Thank's so much for sharing your 'how-to'…I for one will find it very useful!

    Reply

  4. Jan
    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your technique! I have been thinking about doing a photos, and I think this might just get me started on it!

    Reply

  5. Yana
    5 years ago

    i've just done exactly that with a photo of my wedding flowers.. will upload the images on the quilt project flickr pool soon :)

    Reply

  6. Cookie Cutter
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the simple and informative tutorial!

    Reply

  7. Ulla
    5 years ago

    This was very clever! I saw the embroidery on your blog and wondered where you got such a modern pattern. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  8. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    cogs turning?

    Reply

  9. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Thank you h&b.

    Reply

  10. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Thanks so much. I'll look forward to seeing your photo conversions.

    Reply

  11. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Oh hooray.

    Reply

  12. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Fabulous Yana…frutejuce has done something similar too (but with machine stitching). Have a look at the pool.

    Reply

  13. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    My pleasure.

    Reply

  14. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Pleasure Ulla. Hope you have a go.

    Reply

  15. Cas Shaw
    5 years ago

    Amazing – have finally decided what I'm doing and was just contemplating how to transfer the photo into an embroiderable thing!

    Thanks and thanks

    Cas

    Reply

  16. Claire
    5 years ago

    How good! I was just thinking about your design and wondering how you drew it up. Had no idea it started as a photograph.

    Reply

  17. Claire
    5 years ago

    How good! I was just thinking about your design and wondering how you drew it up. Had no idea it started as a photograph.

    Reply

  18. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Perfect timing. Looking forward to seeing yours.

    Reply

  19. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Wondering because of my obvious drawing ability? xxx

    Reply

  20. ClaireBee
    5 years ago

    thanks for this, that is very simple and useful to know!

    Reply

  21. Martta
    5 years ago

    Excellent! I've been looking for a solution high and low for my embroidery problem. Here it was. Thanks heaps!

    Reply

  22. suesue
    5 years ago

    wow!!!!

    Reply

  23. Sarah - Magnolia Surprise
    5 years ago

    Brilliant, just brilliant – I don't think I would have thought of using photos in a million years! And I had no idea it was a SHOE!!! (I guess my brain is just isn't going in the embroidery direction…but now it is!) Oh, so many photos, so little time…

    Thanks for the tutorial; I'm definitely going to do this!

    Reply

  24. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Have fun!

    Reply

  25. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Thanks so much.

    Reply

  26. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Excellent…glad to have helped.

    Reply

  27. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    My pleasure Martta.

    Reply

  28. Leah DiStefano
    5 years ago

    Thanks for that Kirsty, I was wondering…Ta love

    Reply

  29. Amanda
    5 years ago

    I love this! Do you use something like a crayola water soluble marker or do they make special markers for this?

    Reply

  30. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    No problem.

    Reply

  31. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    It's a proper "clover" water soluable marker…especially for this sort of thing. You can buy them at Spotty & at Lincraft or your local quilt shop. x

    Reply

  32. Gina Denholm
    5 years ago

    You're a goodie. One day I'll get me a scanner and those programmes. Meanwhile I'll do the photocopy thing! Now, what to embroider… hmmm…

    Reply

  33. Jess
    5 years ago

    Kirst you continue to amaze me with your wonderful ideas, creativity and cleverness!! What a great idea and what great instructions. xxoo

    Reply

  34. jennifer
    5 years ago

    have you tried the transferrable pencil for this? you trace the shape directly on the original and then iron over your fabric. pencil washes out later.

    Reply

  35. Guest
    5 years ago

    Great tute! I just put a link to this post on my blog. I hope it brings you a few extra clicks.

    Denise
    http://needlework.craftgossip.com

    Reply

  36. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Thanks Denise, I really appreciate the thumbs up.

    Reply

  37. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    I do own a pencil but haven't actually used it (???). I'm pretty happy with the markers – do you think the pencil is better?

    Reply

  38. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    Thanks Jess. xx

    Reply

  39. Kirsty
    5 years ago

    That'll work fine. You might just need to muck around with the light/dark until you get the line thing going on. x

    Reply

  40. becclebee
    5 years ago

    that is utterly brilliant. i love it when people like yourself share such great how-tos… it makes me keen to give it a go!

    Reply

  41. becclebee
    5 years ago

    that is utterly brilliant. i love it when people like yourself share such great how-tos… it makes me keen to give it a go!

    Reply

  42. Rachel
    5 years ago

    Wow, that's fantastic! Thanks so much, I'll be linking to this. Now to find the perfect picture of my cat.

    Reply

  43. GUGAW
    5 years ago

    awesome instructions!

    Reply

  44. Tracey
    5 years ago

    oh WOW! I'm going to try this.. an excellent tutorial. thanks!

    Reply

  45. Melissa
    5 years ago

    I love this tutorial! I havent seen this explained this way before. Thank you!

    Reply

  46. Lisaskywood
    4 years ago

    hi, i was confused about the step 6, how to "trace onto fabric using a water soluable marker"? hope you can help me out, thx!!!!!

    Reply

  47. Lisaskywood
    4 years ago

    hi, i was confused about the step 6, how to "trace onto fabric using a water soluable marker"? hope you can help me out, thx!!!!!

    Reply

  48. Cinderella Patch
    4 years ago

    I LOVE this "how-to" Now to find the image I'd like to embroider!! It's next on my list!

    Reply

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