Monday, July 18, 2016

DIY Try: Geometric Animal Embroidery

I've really been a big fan of the resurgence of embroidery, especially as wall art. My roommates and I decided that we're going to do a gallery wall for our dorm room next year, so I'm in need of decorative things for that. The perfect solution to help fill our gallery wall and keep me occupied as I waste away the long days of summer was to start an embroidery project.

I had only done one embroidery project prior to this and it was fairly simple, so this project is definitely an elementary level one. Basically I used straight stitches in varying lengths to create the entire project. One of the best things about embroidery is that all the materials are pretty cheap and that's helpful on my extremely limited budget.

This craft was inspired by an Etsy item I saw on Pinterest. The original was from the Etsy shop Hide The Good Scissors and the item was titled "Doe A Dear Embroidery" but was already sold. Below I've included the photo from the Etsy listing that I was inspired to create my own project from.

Materials I Used:

  • Embroidery Scissors
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Beading Needle
  • Pencil For Marking
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Cloth
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • 6-8 Skeins of Thread in One Color Scheme
  • 6-8 Skeins of Thread in Contrasting Color Scheme
  • Seed Beads That Match The First Color Scheme
  • 1 Skein of Thread Matching the Beads
So I began by picking the silhouette I wanted to use. For those of you who know me, I'm a bit of a dachshund fanatic. I free-handed this silhouette onto the cloth with a pencil which I had already stretched into my embroidery hoop.
Next, I used my pencil to divide the silhouette into roughly the same size triangles. I used my cool colored embroidery floss to fill in the triangles with a straight stitch. Some of the triangles weren't complete because they got cut off by the edge of the silhouette, these triangles will later be completed with my contrast colors. Draw lightly with the pencil when marking off your triangles so that once the project is complete, you won't be able to see the pencil markings in between the triangles.

When I did this, I gradually drew in the triangles as I went, but to get a more even look, I suggest dividing your fabric into triangles once you get it stretched into the embroidery hoop. You want to keep making sure that the fabric is tight in the embroidery hoop. I had issues with the fabric beginning to sag slightly in the middle of the hoop because of all the pressure I was putting on it with drawing and then sewing. For filling in the triangles, I am using 3 stands of the floss instead of the total 6 strands that it comes in.

It took me a good hour and a half to finish the filled in silhouette because I kept stopping to take photos. The second one of these I made went a lot quicker because I had gotten the hang of it. I also kept stopping to make sure that the colors weren't touching triangles of their same shade; the more assorted skeins of thread you have to fill in the silhouette, the less you have to worry about the colors being too close to other triangles of the same color.

This is when it gets to the point where the Etsy embroidery hoops were at. Since I was going for something a little more bold, I decided to create a background in a contrasting color scheme. At this point, I begin to draw triangles surrounding the now completed dachshund. The triangles that got cut off by the silhouette are now sketched in fully so that they can be completed by the contrast colors.

I lightly used my pencil to draw a circle around the edge of the hoop so I could visualize where the design would stop. Since the inner part of the hoop prevents you from stitching all the way to the edge without moving the fabric, there will be about half a centimeter of white fabric around the edge in the final project. 

You can see in this close up that it's pretty hard to distinguish where my dachshund ends and the background begins, I'll clear that up in a little bit.

This is once all the embroidery is done. I really like the colors I chose for this but if I did it again, I would make slight variations to my color schemes so that the colors were more similar within either scheme.

Using these green seed beads in varying sizes and shades of green, I thread my beading needle with one strand of the matching embroidery floss. Threading the beading needles may have been the biggest challenge I faced with this project; I needed to borrow my mom's reading glasses to get the thread through the eye of the needle...

I bead along the outline of my dachshund silhouette. Even after a couple of beads, it becomes more noticeable what the silhouette is supposed to be. I really liked this because not only does it add another texture to the project, but it also helps differentiate the dachshund from its background.

Here's the finished dachshund with the beaded outline. For the tail, which was too thin to bead both sides of without looking weird, I only beaded along the outside of it of it.

To finish up my edges, I take a hot glue gun and glue the left over fabric to the inside of the hoop. Dots of hot glue are also useful to lock in knots on the back that may have come loose as the project progressed.

Here it is, ready to hang! I'm still deciding what the best way to hang them is. They could be hung by a nail at the top of the hoop right under the screw for tension or I might attach some kind of surface to the back so that a command strip will hang them. (I am in a dorm room after all...)

I started making another one soon after and intend to make a few more because they're just so darn cute! Pictures of my future embroidery projects are soon to come. Hope you guys enjoyed this, I definitely had a fun time making it. Any questions can be asked in the comments below and I'll answer them to the best of my abilities.


  1. This is absolutely adorable! How long did the entire project take you?

    Aleah | Midwestern Mess

    1. Aleah,

      Thanks for your comment! The entire project took about 4 hours to complete.



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