How to turn children’s drawings into embroidery

If you have children in your life, you’ll know just how exquisite and endearing their drawings can be. And if you love to sew, you may want to consider using your skills to capture these lovely moments from their childhood to make wall art that lasts a lifetime. This step by step tutorial will show you everything you need to know to embroider your children’s drawings (without spoiling the original!), and create wonderful hoop art for your home or family.

But before you do! If you are reading this, you are probably another sewing enthusiast who, like me, is always looking for fresh ways to get creative with this wonderful hobby we share. So you might be interested in joining my Creative Sewing Challenge. You get a creative prompt each month to inspire your sewing, and I share ideas tied to the theme along the way. Our community is growing daily, and the creative ways people respond to the challenge never ceases to amaze me! Find out more here or sign up below.

So, a while back, my daughter drew this lovely little fella (he’s a spider by the way), and I have been wanting to embroider him for quite some time.

Step one is to scan and print out a copy of the drawing – never use the original just in case it gets damaged. You can find a hoop to fit the drawing, or resize the drawing to fit a particular size hoop. This is helpful if drawings are especially small or intricate as making them bigger can be easier to sew (and vice versa). Using a programme like canva is helpful; I used it to draw an 18cm circle and uploaded the scanned picture inside to get it to the right size to fit an 18cm hoop.

Next, use your preferred method of embroidery design transfer to recreate this image on your fabric (read all about your options here if that’s helpful). I opted to use trace and tear – it prevents any need to draw directly onto the fabric and is one of my favourite methods to use.

So for me, the next step was to trace my daughter’s picture onto the trace and tear, trying to keep as true to the original as possible. If you have trouble seeing the lines through the trace and tear, you can always go over them with a pen (another reason to make a copy of the original first).

Next I tacked the trace and tear to my fabric. Then its time to load up your hoop! (You’ll notice my hoop has already been lovingly decorated too – you can read how I did this here).

Now embroider the design using whatever stitches lend themselves to the picture. In this instance, I chose a small back stitch for the intricate little spirally lines (his legs I think!) I used a small satin stitch for that lovely big smile, and french knots for eyes. And for that beautiful bit of colouring my daughter had added for his tummy, I went for a larger satin stitch.

And once I’d completed the sewing, I removed my trace and tear. If you are using this method, just a warning that removing the paper can get fiddly! Having tweezers to hand (and a lot of patience) helps – but rest assured you’ll get there in the end, just take your time so your don’t pull any stitches by mistake.

Once my paper was removed, I also added a title in back stitch – a lovely little insight into my daughter’s creativity back when she was two!

As mentioned, I’d already decorated my actual hoop in preparation for this project. I also went on to finish my hoop by gathering up the excess fabric, and added a felt backing embroidered with the date she drew the original picture (you can read all about how to do this here).

And this wonderful work of art was complete! I’ll hang it with pride in our home (and what a special memory it will be to look upon 20 years from now!) But I also think these hoops would make wonderful keepsake gifts for family and friends.

Don’t forget, you can join the Creative Sewing Challenge for free today. And here’s a handy pin for later!