Introduction: Pet Embroidery

About: I'm self taught. I like to make things. (I'm also very thrifty and I don't care much for shopping, so I make a lot of my gifts.) I'm pretty much a do-it-yourselfer.

You can embroider your own pet! With the help of a computer, it's not as hard as you think, because you don't have to transfer the pattern by hand! I think some people call this thread painting?

Depending on the size you make it, it can be used for different things. If it's small like 3" or 4" you can keep it in the embroidery hoop and use it as a frame. Or make into a Christmas tree ornament. Or make it into a patch for a jacket, or jeans or put on a tote bag or purse. If it's larger you can frame it on the wall, or make it into a pillow, make it into tote bag, squares on a quilt...




Fabric Printer Sheets

Pet photo

Embroidery Hoop

Embroidery Needle

Needle Threader

Embroidery Thread


Step 1: Pet Picture and Fabric Printer Sheets

Have a nice clear close up picture of your pet's face. (On some of them I erased the background from the picture so just the face showed.)

Buy some fabric printer sheets. These are thin fabric sheets stuck to a stiff plastic backing that you can put in your ink jet printer and print your photo on, then peel off backing. You can buy a pack (of 5 or 10) online for around $10 - $20, they are usually 8 1/2 " x 11".

(The fabric sheet I had I had was sized 8 1/2" x 14". I had a large picture of my cat, then realized there was still a 4 inch strip at the bottom that would be wasted. So I decided to put a couple smaller pictures at the bottom, so that the fabric sheet would be fully used. If you are doing small ones, (2 1/2" x 2 1/2") be sure to space them out about 3 inches all around and print as many on one sheet as you can. (I printed off a large one, but I haven't embroidered it yet.) I decided to start off embroidering a smaller one first.)

Step 2: Get Your Embroidery Hoop

My hoop is 4 1/2", (though there are smaller hoops, I just don't have one.) I sized my pictures to about 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"; I realized if I cut them out ahead of time they would not fit in my hoop, so I kept them uncut and just embroidered them one at a time (while the other was just hanging there. lol)

Decide what size you want it to be. (What size is your embroidery hoop?)

Step 3: Print Fabric

Follow the instructions for the fabric sheet. Print out your picture and let it dry.

I also print out a large picture of it on regular paper so I can follow along and determine colors as I sew.

Step 4: Put Fabric in the Hoop

Take apart your embroidery hoop, and lay your fabric over the inner hoop, then fit the outer hoop back on top. Make sure your fabric is taut, with your picture in the center. Tighten the top hoop.

Step 5: Choose Your Embroidery Threads

See what colors your pet has. You may need different shades of the same color so you can show shadows and highlights. Choose your embroidery thread, (floss), you can buy packages of assorted colors, or you can buy colors separately.

Embroidery floss has 6 strands of thread in it's skein. Decide how many strands of thread you would like to use. I like to use 2. (I read (afterward) that for thread painting it is better to use single strands so your picture isn't so chunky! But I didn't know that at the time I started this!)

Measure out your thread, (not so long that it gets tangled, maybe 12" to 18" ) and cut it off. Then seperate your threads by pulling them apart.

Step 6: Thread Your Needle

Get your embroidery needle and thread it. (I have terrible eyesight; I just discovered this nifty doodad, it's a needle threader! It makes threading a needle so much easier!)

Tie a knot on one end, but leave the other end loose, make sure your needle is about 5" from the end so that when you pull it through, you don't accidently pull the thread right out of the needle.

Step 7: Start With the Eye

I usually start with the eyes. See where the highlight is (the white dot) and try to remember it. I usually sew the black pupils first.

I used a split stitch. A split stitch starts by poking your needle up from the back and make a single stitch along the line you are working on. Come up again, bringing the needle up through the first stitch, splitting the thread, then go down again, completing the stitch. Repeat. I usually do this in black around the circle of the pupil. My kitty has black "eye liner", so I also used the split stitch and circled around each eye.

Step 8: French Knot

I used white for the highlights in the eyes after I did the pupils. I knotted the end of the white thread and came up from behind and did a french knot. To do a french knot, poke the needle up through the fabric. Pull the thread taut. Use 2 hands, wrap the thread around the end of your needle twice and pull it tight. While continuing to pull the looped thread tight around the needle, poke the end of the needle back down into the fabric, pretty close to the hole you came up. Slowly pull the needle through while keeping the thread taut. Once the needle has been pulled all the way through, let go of the thread and pull the rest of the loop of thread down through the knot, pulling the thread so it forms a nice knot, and you are done. I then knot the underside too, so it won't come out.

Step 9: Sewing Fur

I started with the fur on the bottom after I did the eyes. I chose her fur color, and did a kind of a satin stitch (which are small stiches right next to each other,) but in this case, I try to follow the direction of the fur, so they aren't exactly straight.

After I do the bottom line of stitches, I go above it and put another row of stitches, though this time I insert the needle partway down in between the middle previous stitches, to try and give it layer of fur look.

Step 10: Sew the Rest

When I got to the chin I decided to use 3 strands of whitish thread (she has a white muzzel), because I wanted it to be a kind of a 3 dimensional picture and of course her chin sticks out farther than her neck.

When I got to her muzzle (or cheeks?) I used 4 threads as this part sticks out the most and I wanted it thicker.

After I did that part I put her black whisker dots, which I did with french knots in black thread.

I chose kind of a salmon color for her nose and sewed using 3 threads again. I outlined her nose with a single black thread, and also outlined her black lips. For her whiskers I decided I didn't want them to be stiff and standing out straight, so I loosened the threads and let them droop a bit.

Step 11: You Are Done!

You can leave it in the hoop like a frame, or you can take it out, you'll probably need to iron it. :-)

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