When you get into embroidery, you start to see designs and patterns everywhere you look. For me, that happened when I started browsing the collection at Stencil Revolution. How can you use a stencil as an easy embroidery pattern, in full color? Let me show you!
To make this you’ll need:
permanent, fabric-friendly black fine tip marker
white or cream cotton fabric (at least 2” larger than canvas on all sides)
black embroidery thread, size 8
small artist canvas
cord or small rope
For this project, I went with a mermaid and a pirate ship, but it was a tough decision. I also considered making three with the pineapple, cherry, and lemon. There’s also a pretty one that has antlers with roses. I spent a LOT of time browsing, but that cute mermaid just kept bringing me back.
Most of the stencils are available in several sizes, ranging from 6” all the way up to 35” square. Some are meant for cookies, and come in the size appropriate for that, which was the case with the mermaid. That made her a little small for what I had in mind, but it was an easy fix. With a thumbs up from Stencil Revolution, I just scanned and enlarged it to better fit my canvas.
Even if you don’t need to enlarge it, trace the stencil onto paper using a dark pen. You could trace the stencil directly onto the fabric, but tracing a stencil with a pen is tricky, and this way if your pen happens to shift and you have an errant line you haven’t ruined your fabric.
Lay the fabric on top of the paper and trace the design onto the fabric using the black fine tip marker. Adding a few pins or clips to the outer edge will keep the two from shifting.
A sketching motion will pull on your fabric less than drawing long lines. Use a light source underneath if possible, like a light table or window.
Fuse the interfacing to the back of the fabric. Now comes the fun part - coloring! Using the crayons, color in the design. Again, a light, sketching motion works the best here. You can keep layering until you’re happy with the amount of color. The next step will remove some of that color, so bolder is better.
Lay the design face up on your ironing board and cover with a piece of blank paper. Press with a dry iron for a few seconds. You’ll see some wax on the paper when you lift it up.
Repeat with a clean piece of paper until no more wax comes off. You can repeat this coloring and ironing process until you’re happy with the color. For mine, I colored it in, ironed it twice, colored it again in the darker areas, and ironing it twice more.
You’ll notice, especially on the mermaid, the lines are disconnected, as they are on the stencil. I could have connected those myself after tracing, but I wanted to keep the stencil look.
Stitch along all the black lines with the embroidery thread using a backstitch.
I like the coloring book effect of the black, but you could certainly use thread to match your crayon colors.
Center your design over the artist’s canvas.
Flip it over and wrap the fabric to the back. Staple in place.
If you want the back to look a little nicer, you can cut a piece of felt slightly smaller than the canvas and staple that onto the back.
Cut your cord or small rope so it’s long enough to hang the canvas without being seen from the front. Tie a knot in each end and staple just above each on the sides as shown.
I love how these turned out! They’re perfect for my slightly nautical bathroom.
The cherry on top is that the stencils are reusable, so I can use these again for another project. And you know I’ll be heading back to Stencil Revolution to try this with more of their fun designs!