June 30, 2012

Vintage-Style Embroidered Wall Art - Tutorial

I admit - much to my hubby's displeasure, I have a slight addiction to hoarding craft supplies.  And, well, not just actual supplies (like fabric, canvases, paint, etc.), but random little pieces of this and that, that may one day be good for something... like small pieces of ribbon, string, wire, pieces of broken pottery, etc, - I literally have jars bursting with these little goodies, just waiting for their day to be brainstormed into something pretty, cute, or useful.

A while back my mother-in-law picked up something similar to this at a gift shop that I thought was pretty cute.  One day I was standing in a daze, looking at all my odds and ends, and realized I could make something similar!

All you need are:

Frame of your choice
Assorted buttons
Fabric for background
Fabric scraps for foliage
Small piece of quilt batting
Embroidery Thread /Sock Wool /Baker's Twine
Sewing & Embroidery Needles
Sewing Thread
Glue Gun!

First, choose a quote or phrase that you'd like - I chose to keep mine short and simple so I didn't have to do hours of stitching!

Take your frame, and cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller (about 1/8") than the opening at the back.  {You need it slightly smaller so that when you wrap your fabric around at the very end, it will still have enough room to slide in the frame.}

Trace your cardboard onto a scrap piece of paper, and do a quick sketch of what you'd like your final image to look like.  I played around with the colours and placement of the buttons, then took a pic for reference later.  (I also tried a layout with buttons in all the same tone - all purples - but decided later that I liked the mix of colours better.)

Now cut out a piece of your background fabric slightly larger than the size of your cardboard piece - mine was about 1.5" bigger on each side.

Center your fabric over your sketch, and lightly trace with a pencil.  Depending on the fabric you chose, you may need to hold this over a light source to make it easier to trace - my fabric was sheer enough that I didn't need to. 

Place your fabric in your embroidery hoop, stretching it nice and tightly.

 Using a running stitch, stitch your lettering with your embroidery thread (or twine, or sock yarn) and embroidery needle.  I didn't worry about getting it perfect - I think the slight 'wonkiness' adds to the charm.

Cut some little strips from your scrap fabric - mine were about 1/4" thick, and varied in length.

Stitch the scraps along your 'stem' and 'leaves' marks, twisting and scrunching the fabric as you go, to add some texture. 

Tack your buttons down, using matching threads, and using your reference pic as a guide.  You may decide to rearrange things abit, like I did.  I also went back and added some more detail stitching with the embroidery thread to add some more interest and contrast!

Now this looks like it's just about done right.... well... in my case, NO!!

Right after I took this pic, my kiddo knocked my cup of tea over, splashing all over the table and embroidery hoop.  My fault for leaving both unattended, d'oh!

So, in order to preserve the whole thing, I decided just to do a tea-stain on the whole thing, giving it a more 'vintage' look. 

Here she is, drying off in the sun...

{To do a tea-stain, simply brew a really strong cup of tea, and dunk your fabric in, submerging it completely.  Let steep until it's slightly darker than you want your final result to be, as it will lighten up abit when it dries.}

11.  While you're waiting for your fabric to dry, measure a piece of quilt batting the same size as your cardboard backing piece.  Tack down the corners with a dab of hot glue.

12.  Place your finished fabric piece over the cardboard, sandwiching the batting in between.  Centre it, and then flip it over.  Use hot glue to tack it to your cardboard - start in the middle of your flaps, pulling nice and firmly, and then work your way to the corners. 

This is what your front view will look like. 

Now pop that baby into your frame and secure it.

Place in a corner of your home that needs some sweet, vintage-style goodness.


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  1. What a pretty idea! I will have to try that!

  2. So cute - I love how you used the buttons!

  3. What a happy accident - I love how the tea stain looks :)

  4. Hey there! I am giving you an award on my blog...post will be up soon!


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