Learning to embroider on photos to make custom works of art

January 4, 2024

*This post contains some affiliate links

As a photographer, I have always wanted to make one of a kind pieces of art with my work and learn photo embroidery. I have played with embroidery on fabric, but never on paper, so I was really excited when I found this photo embroidery class by Ofelia & Antelmo on Domestika.  She uses embroidery and colors in a beautiful way to make the images stand out- without overpowering them. After playing around, I absolutely love the way it looks with my photographs. I truly think it would look really beautiful with any snapshots that you have that you want to make more special or highlight a certain area. I am going to show you my results, what supplies I used and give you a breakdown of the class.

Note that the class was originally taught in Spanish, but they have English CC and a voiceover in English as well.

Embroidery floss and color pallete book on top of embroidered photograph


Before starting- definitely grab the class– it is super affordable and the Artist teaches stitches, color theory, proper supplies for the project and so much more. It helped me start this project from scratch! Here are the supplies I used:

  1. Printed my photos at The Stackhouse (Giclée on cotton rag paper) or the cardstock prints from Shutterfly I also made a post about my favorite home printing options for instant printersThe Ultimate Comparison of Instant Printers: Instax Wide vs. Polaroid Lab vs. HP Sprocket 3×4 vs. Canon Ivy 2. Some of those are fun for embroidery too!
  2. Used this book Pallete Perfect to determine my color scheme. It is so good for everything I need for picking colors!
  3. I love DMC six strand embroidery floss for the colors and quality.
  4. Tracing paper– any paper that is thin enough to see through is fine
  5. Needles– I like these DMC embroidery needles
  6. Scissors – embroidery scissors worked best
  7. Awl for punching holes in paper– this one created really good sized holes for me.
  8. Foamcore or cardboard for protecting your surface when punching holes.
  9. Washi or painters tape
  10. Pencil


embroidery supplies on a print on a family at the beach

  1. First I assembled my supplies: tracing paper, thread, an awl, foamcore and my needle. Then I taped my photograph and my tracing paper down to the foamcore to keep them from moving. Cardboard can substitute for the foamcore as you will use it to punch holes and protect your surface.

2) Next I lightly sketched my design on the tracing paper. I just used a plate to make an even circle and it helped me keep everything even and from marking up my photograph. It also helps when you punch the holes to protect the photograph. If you are a free form kind of person, you don’t HAVE to use the tracing paper.

3) I used my awl to punch holes in the photograph. I liked to put just the tip (haha) of my awl in the paper to make a hole so I didn’t make the holes too big. Then when I sewed, the needle would make the hole a bit bigger if necessary.

4) I used a simple seed stitch that the workshop taught me. There are other stitches obviously, but I was keeping it simple here 🙂 I used one color pink for the sky and one color for the water- both close shades but different enough to see.

Here it is in progress. You want to use a paper that is matte and is thick enough to sew through without bending. I highly recommend the printers listed above as my print ended up nice and flat at the end.

5) Admire your work! I love the way this turned out and I cannot wait to give it to the family I photographed and work on some of my own family.  Below are a few images of other projects I worked on. Each one I used the same process of tracing, punching and sewing. I hope this helped you on your quest to learn photo embroidery!

image of three photographs with embroidery thread, needles, scissors and other supplies around it.collage of images of photos being embroidered. images are colorful class on photo embroidery with images of photographs and supplies needed to embroider them