June 26, 2008

How to turn a photo into an embroidery pattern

Leave it to the fabulous Calamity Kim to bless us with a fun technique. She's the queen of fun! She starts with a photograph and ends up with an adorable embroidery pattern.

1. Print photo
2. Trace over the outlines with a small tip sharpie on acetate (i.e., transparency sheets or any stiff-ish clear plastic sheet)
3. Scan and then print
4. Adjust size by increasing or decreasing in size with either Photoshop, Corel, Flickr or your scanner settings. Print out smaller size.
5. Use light source to trace on to fabric. I used a mechanical pencil to get a small, fine line.
6. Embroider and applique fabric.

For more tips visit Calamity Kim.


  1. Okay this has to be one of my favorite things EVER! Do you mind if I feature it on my blog soon (linking here of course). SO COOL!


  2. There is another way also that is really easy. If you have the program called Easy Share from Kodak (I got free on internet and then update when I bought a Kodak camera) OR the free program called Irfanview (irfanview.com I think). Both have an option of making an outline from a photo. Kodak's is called coloring book and Irfanview's is edge detection. After applying to your scanned, online or computer resident photo, you can print it out and darken the lines you wish to use. It works great for people's portraits and many other things.

  3. Louanne, I have both of those programs. I've not tried Easy Share for this type of thing, but I've used Irfanview and it does work pretty well. Maybe I will write about it tomorrow.


  4. Wow, great idea!

  5. This and Irfanview both sound great - just the idea is enlightening for me!

  6. oh my goodness! thank you for the comment you left on my blog! so kind of you. :-)

  7. ingenious! i'm totally going to do that.

  8. that's a great idea! i used the same technique a few years ago to make a colouring book for my partner of pictures of our life, but i think i've been spoiled by my photoshop since then! i usually end up unhappy with the photoshop results though, i should just go back to the good old fashioned way.

    a tip for anyone who might want to do this on a tight budget - transparency sheets can be pricey, especially if you're doing a lot, but a roll of clear cellophane wrapping paper from the dollar store is cheap, goes really far, and as a bonus, it's thinner and more staticy, so it doesn't move around while you're trying to trace the picture!

  9. That is so cute. I have a photo of my mom when she was little over 50 years ago that would be cute done this way, maybe a great Christmas gift.