Turn Photos into Embroidered Portraits

comments (9) October 29th, 2008     

Pin It

erika_kern Erika Kern, contributor
Love it! 21 users recommend
My Grandma Jeanette is as pretty in embroidery as she was in real life.
The finished portraits of my grandparents all stitched and painted.
My Grandpa Ray. After my grandma passed, I found a wallet-sized print of the original portrait. On the back my grandma wrote, Rays graduation photo. Is it any wonder I fell in love with him?  No, Grandma, it isnt. . .
My Grandma Jeanette is as pretty in embroidery as she was in real life.

My Grandma Jeanette is as pretty in embroidery as she was in real life.

Photo: Erika Kern
1 | 2 | 3 > View all

I love finding new ways to put my own stamp on my embroidered portraits. While trying to figure out how to stitch up the portraits for this post, I started thinking of this gift I made for my friend Jen a few years back. Then I only used one color and did all the painting after I stitched the pattern and stretched the fabric, but this time I wanted to use the painting as the base for the embroidery. I used the paint to add an extra layer of texture and to fill the finished piece, and boy, am I happy with the results!

The finished portraits of my grandparents are all stitched and painted.



Here's what you'll need to do what I did:

For the painting:

  • Your pattern transferred onto a natural fabric (natural fibers take the paint color better)
  • Large embroidery hoop, bigger than your pattern
  • Fabric paints (I like Jacquard Textile Paints)
  • Fine-tipped paintbrushes
  • Small lidded containers (I found some 6 for $1 at the Dollar Tree)
  • Water
  • Piece of scrap fabric to test colors
  • Small hoop for test fabric

For the stitching:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery floss
  • Needle

For the mounting:

  • Acid-free bristol board or other thick mounting or mat board
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glue (I used a quick-drying fabric glue)
  • Frame

embroidery Get more embroidery information:

• How to Embroider a Greeting Card
• Embroidery Term of the Week: Topping
The Last Stitch: How to Finish Your Hand-Embroidery
How To: Five Handy Embroidery Stitches

Stretch your fabric in the large embroidery hoop. I knew I wanted to frame my finished work in oval frames, so I drew an oval around the transferred images using a pencil before I put it in the hoop. Use the small hoop to stretch your test fabric.

Put a small amount of your paint into a small lidded container.

I found these containers at a dollar store. They are perfect for mixing the very thin paint used in this project.



1 | 2 | 3 > View all
Did you make this?
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
posted in: vintage, embroidery, family, portraits

Comments (9)

Asia_Tatiana writes: Whoa! Mindblowingly beautiful!
Posted: 2:57 am on October 31st
erika_kern writes: That does sound gorge' kiliki! Me, I go all crosseyed with the beads. . . but I'd love to see your work.
Posted: 4:26 pm on October 30th
dany4bec writes: hi Kiliki, thats sounds gorgeous! I'd love to see it in a post:)
Posted: 1:57 pm on October 30th
Jen_W writes: Totally gorgeous. I definitely want to try this sometime.
Posted: 11:34 pm on October 29th
Kiliki writes: This is really beautiful! I did something similar once a few years ago. Only I took a portrait and printed it on grid paper where each grid square was the size of one seed bead. Then I took hours and hours and a toothpick (to rub in a little glue, then pick up a bead and put on grid) to match a bead with the color that was in that one square. When it was all done it was amazing. i can't really hand stich anything, I'm a machine sewer so this is just beyond me but if you have the time try it with seed beads it is so pretty and most people think it's a painting until they get up close and see that it's actually beads!!
Posted: 7:20 pm on October 29th
pinsandneedles writes: Nice work...way beyond my skill level!
Posted: 6:51 pm on October 29th
erika_kern writes: thanks so much!
Posted: 3:16 pm on October 29th
MichaelaMurphy writes: Holy Smokes Erika, these are amazing works of art-- I am simply blown away.
Posted: 2:58 pm on October 29th
dany4bec writes: Wow these are really beautiful...I need to try this one, thanks
Posted: 12:08 pm on October 29th
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.