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How to make a mixed media embroidery hoop

August 9, 2018

I’m pretty scared of paint. When I wrote my post all about creativity, it was one of those examples of things which I always associate with proper ‘art’. And to be honest, I’ve never been skilled at using it.

But I’ve been seeing more and more on Instagram mixed media embroideries. I mean it sounds complicated but it basically means a hoop which has more than just thread within it. So it may be paint and thread, include some needle felting or any other kind of medium! It’s a nice way of getting more dimension into your hoops and it’s always good to mix things up.

So when Reeves sent me a big box full of crafty supplies, including some paint, I knew that this was my time to experiment! It coincided nicely with a request for a hoop which involved the sea. Now, I know that stitching the sea is a little ahead of my level currently, so decided that painting was a great avenue to go down.

Guide to making a mixed media painted hoop:

1 Pick your hoop and fabric. Once you’ve got your paints – and I highly recommend the gouache tubes of paint from Reeves which are a dream to work with, then it’s getting all your other resources. Embroidery hoops are super cheap and you can get a pack of 5 for under £10 from Amazon.

In terms of fabric, I think starting with white is a good start as then it’s easier for your colours to stand out. I usually buy my fabric from hobbycraft – they sell packs of fat quarters which is a good way of getting different fabric types all at once.

2 Decide if you’re going to stitch first or stitch later. Some people will do a black stitch first and then paint colours over it, or in my case I painted my entire hoop first and then stitched over the top. Decide which way round you’re going to start and either get stitching or painting!

3 Experiment with the paint on the different fabric types. Of course there are lots of different types of paints and lots of different types of fabric! So do some experimenting, I found with the fabric I used that if I mixed quite a strong watercolour and then stippled the brush it gave the best effect. I cut off another section of fabric and practiced blending and getting the colour looking right with the different blues.

4 Go wild! I’m still getting to grips with the whole blending colours but I had blue and I had white so even I could get that to work! I blended a few different colours and then just went mad and got painting. By keeping it all abstract and colour based it meant even though I’m rubbish at painting shapes, it turned out looking good! I blended the different blue to make the sea and then went lighter in the sky with some white to make some clouds too.

5 Wait for it to dry and top it up. Paint does look a wee bit different once it dries! So for this hoop I waited for it to try which showed that in some places it was thinner than others. Once it was dry, I went back in with the same colours and just made the colours a bit more vibrant.

6 Get stitching! Once it was dry it was then time to stitch! One of the hardest bits with a painted hoop is that you can’t then draw on top of it as you won’t be able to get the pen out, so it was time for some free hand! That was the main reason that I picked a more simple flower pattern but I was super happy with how it looked. Added the little ‘let it be’ phrase and it was complete!

I definitely am planning many more mixed media hoops in future, I think my next one will be where I stitch first and then paint over the top to see how that looks.

Do you fancy doing some sewing and trying mixed media?

*I was sent some bits from Reeves but all craftiness is my own! 


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