Embroidery: Creating a Scene Using Paint and Thread | Jordan Harmon | Skillshare

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Embroidery: Creating a Scene Using Paint and Thread

teacher avatar Jordan Harmon, Illustration, Arts and Crafts

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project Overview

    • 3. Key Concepts

    • 4. Sketching

    • 5. Painting

    • 6. Sewing

    • 7. Finishing

    • 8. Closing

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About This Class

In this class, students will learn to use a photograph to create an original embroidery. Throughout the process, students will use observations regarding perspective and color value to make creative decisions regarding layout and design as well as thread placement and color selection.

People taking this class will be looking to widen their box of creativity, someone who loves to craft. Knowledge in painting, drawing, and embroidery is awesome but not necessary. The nature of thread and paint placement is not exact, the imperfections create a unique handmade object every time.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jordan Harmon

Illustration, Arts and Crafts


I am so sorry to everyone who has been taking my class, I have had SO MUCH trouble uploading any more classes and videos. I can't edit anything on here at all. I have wanted to make more classes but CAN'T for whatever reason. Whenever I go to upload more or edit things it doesn't save anything.

If you're looking for more videos on making my embroideries head over to my youtube channel where I post free videos about my embroideries.


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1. Introduction: My name is Jordan, and I'm an artist and art teacher. And as an art teacher, I believe that everybody has a unique view on in their art. And so what I want to try to encourage is students to trust their gut and their creative process. For this class, we're gonna be making an embroidery, utilizing paint and thread from a photograph, a personal photograph. My hope is that students taking this class gain a new perspective on the design process and a new way of thinking towards their creative designs. If you're looking for a new perspective on crafts and they're trying toe white in your creative toolbox and you'll like this plus. 2. Project Overview: the project we're doing today is going to be taking a photograph of your favorite place like a landscape or a skyline and translate it onto canvas using paint and threat. Photos with buildings and foliage work really great. Because there is a balance between structured lines and organic lines. It also makes it easier for the ice to settle on a focal point. To do this project, you will need canvas, fabric and embroidery hoop, something to trace, a circle with a pencil paper, acrylic paint in a paintbrush, needles and embroidery, thread fabric, scissors and a glue gun. Remember, her simplicity is key in these embroideries. 3. Key Concepts: some of the key concepts that students should know before starting this project are sketching, painting and sewing basics with sketching. Students should know how to identify simple shapes within a picture and place them into a drawing. Students should also understand death. If something is farther away in the photo, it's going to be smaller and a little blurry. So for painting, just a basic understanding of how to mix colors together is great. Placing the paint on the canvas is easier than were simple. The designers. Sometimes the photo that you're using will have undesired objects like the car or some trees that you don't want, in which case you can totally choose to take it out of the design. Other than these key basics, all guide you on how to translate your photo into onboard ary. 4. Sketching: the first step in creating your embroidery is sketch out your idea. When choosing the photo to embroider, I look for areas of negative space or a lot of sky. That way, the details and focus are more on the important parts. For instance, interesting shaped buildings, different colored trees or a mixture of both work. Really? Well, okay, so when we're trying, when we're looking to transfer this to a sketch, I look for these lines. So we have this horizon line that all merged to this tiny point, this vanishing point right here. Once you've selected your photo, you can start sketching. So one sketching out my design, I start with a circle to mark where my picture is gonna go on my embroidery, and then I start adding in be her rise in line and where the buildings were going to go. I start looking for the shapes of everything, and I keep it really simple. I'm not getting super detailed with it. Yeah, I haven't put the buildings in. I'm just going really So it on sweet, keeping it simple, marking off where the buildings go. Finding the simple shapes makes it easier because the more detailed and difficult. The lines are the more crazy. The design is gonna end up in the long run and it's gonna be very haphazard. And then, since it gets kind of blurry around here, I'm just gonna keep it simple and just mark off some lines because at that point, even thread can't get that detailed. It's just I'm marking where the lines are going to go in this picture. I've got this skyline where the sky is going to go from where the road will be. In this picture, I have cars and I'm choosing to leave them out of the design so that the focus is more on the buildings. If things are too tiny to make, uh, to find any shapes and you don't know where to go from there, I find it helpful just to draw really the most basic shape. So either a square or circle on. Since we were doing embroideries that have straight lines, I find it really helpful that keep square shapes. Once you're done with your sketch, you can go ahead and grab your canvas and embroidery, Hope then these little guys are awesome because all you dio is unscrew Come on now. And you set the bottom of it. The bottom part of the hoop underneath your canvas in place, the larger hope over. And then once you have your canvas in it, you can screw it back in and that will tighten it and secure the canvas. Doesn't no. As I tighten the hope I'm gonna pull my canvas so that you have a nice and taught platform to threat onto can, this is to lose. Um, it's harder to embroider. Here we go. And then I'm going to start transferring my sketch to the embroidery Hope and I use this smaller hope to mark off my edges a pencil. So now I'm gonna transfer it from my sketch onto my hope. And if I want to leave anything out from the sketch that I didn't like, I can totally do that. Remember to keep super simple lines instead of getting really detailed. At first, I'm not drawing each individual building. I'm drawing where there placed where the positioning is. So now that I have this section of where it goes, I'm going to go ahead the section the buildings off for the objects and doesn't have to be perfect because you're going to paint on this too. And that will help you identify where everything goes also. All right, so now that you've got your sketch transferred to your canvas, it's time to go ahead and start cleaning. 6. Painting: in the second lesson, we're gonna go into how to apply the paint to the canvas. So starting the painting process, I'm just going to get a little bit of each color that I need. And I always do White and the three primary colors yellow, uh, and and depending on what I'm painting, sometimes I'll put in a different color. So for my sky, actually haven't really light blue, and I want to use this one to get a better color. Since the canvas is so small, we only need a little bit of paint just about the size of a size of a nickel, a dime. And then once you have your paint, we'll start mixing. And I'm gonna start with this guy. I can work my way down some of start grabbing colors, and I'm making a really bright white sky, so I just take a little bit of each mix. And if you put all the colors together, you get sort of a muted great, So it's not super bright, but if you like bright, you can do bright. I also have to keep referencing my picture to make sure I'm getting the right color and this one's actually a little bit more blue and add a little bit of pain at a time. A little bit of pain goes a long way. So once I have my color, I'm gonna go ahead and start applying it. And I like to start at the edges. The first thing I pay is the sky. I worked my way up, so I start with the background in the back. The farthest thing in the background is this guy. So I always work from back background foreground. And since I'm gonna work an ingredient what the sky. I'm gonna add some white directly on this without mixing it on my palette first. Sometimes it helps to put a nice big glob of paint and then just move it around, kind of push it around. And when you're painting, you can go ahead and go up as close as you can to the sketch. It can even overlap because it's going to get covered with red. So for these buildings, the buildings are going to be thread. So it's OK if the edge of the pain overlaps the edge of the thread. I'm just gonna feeling until this guy, Mr So when you're painting, make sure that the paint is pretty thick. You don't want toe water down your acrylic paint too much. This will make it like more cautious is and doing the edges. If you just push your brush against the edge, the bristle edges against the edge of the frame. Good, Nice clean line. And again it's okay to go over the buildings a little bit overlap. Now that I'm done with the sky I'm gonna dio the road which is a grey So I'm gonna take all three colors all three primary colors then mixed, um, with some white while simultaneously referencing my picture so the buildings aren't going to get painted because I decided that they're gonna be threat So everything that's going to be thready don't need to paint. And because I want the buildings to stand out, I chose them as my focal point I'm making. I'm making a decision to make this thread to keep the thread bright, So I want the pain to be more muted and not as vibrant to get into the smaller areas. I try to clean my brush off and then I'll just grab a tiny bit of paint on the tip of my brush, and that will help me get a flat edge in those tiny spots. It's okay not to blend the pain all the way, because if you have some inconsistencies in the texture, it makes for more interesting. Lay out and design. Always trust your gut. If something needs to be less smooth, you can absolutely do that. So the last thing you should end up painting is the bottom of your canvas. So once you have finished blending and painting, you can go ahead and let the paint dry for 5 to 15 minutes, and then we can move on to embroidery. 7. Sewing: in this lesson, I'm going to show you some techniques on how to do embroidery. So we're gonna start with choosing the colors to get a really good match. I just try to see if it's close to the reference on, then also, if they colors mesh well together, if it looks pleasing to my eyes, then that's good. And then if I set them on the painting and see what they look like together and I actually really like that. So I think I like some of these colors. And if I want to check each one to see what it looks like against the pain, that helps to because the embroidery is the bright part and the focus part. We want nice and bright, happy colors on for the trees. I like to stick with Burke muted greens and not too bright. If I had a picture that was more focused on trees and I would definitely dio, uh, brighter greens. But in this paint in this embroidery I only have one tree and a few bushes, so I'm gonna keep it nice and simple with the start green. So once I have my colors chosen, I'm gonna go ahead and start the threading. So I like to use about a yard of each color because if it's too long, it can get knotted really easy as you're threading but too short and you can't really get a lot of, um, a lot of stitches in there. So when I separate the thread, I find 11 little guy and I pulled him out and hold everything else in the same spot, and it should just pop right out the color that I'm going to start with. Since I have so many to choose from, I'm gonna do the color that is all the way in the back. And since this picture has that depth element where the buildings in the front or bigger and the buildings in the backers smaller, I'm going to start with the ones that are in the back and they're smaller and those ones are darker. So I'm just using a really simple brown to get a very generalized picture of those buildings. So I'm gonna start in the back and work my way forward and the direction that I'm threatening. I'm gonna go ahead and use vertical lines. Teoh contrast from the horizontal lines in the road that I'm just gonna dio shorts touches next to each other in the shape of a rectangle, keeping it simple. These stitches need to be right next to each other. This will make the color more, um pronounced and makes it pop up outside of the paint. As I'm threatening, I continue to look at my reference to make sure that I'm putting everything where it needs to be that way. I know when to stop and want to, um, want to stop and want to start a new color. Each section takes maybe 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how big it iss. I actually painted too much, and that's okay because I'm going to go over it. You can always thread over too much pain. Then you should always try to check the back to make sure that everything is nice and tight . If you get a knot on your, um in the front I have to do is pull the threat out a little bit. Open it up and then it should come right through. And then when I finished section, I'm going to go ahead and put my embroidery over and then I'm gonna not it from behind. No, we're gonna cut off the thread. And since we're switching colors, I'm gonna take out my brown and I'm gonna move on to the next color. So the one that is right next to the one that I just did I'm going to keep moving forward. And the next one is this blue. So I'm gonna go ahead and continue moving forward, and this looks like it might actually be too bright, so I might even switch it. So this guy, which is totally okay, it's totally okay to improvise. Improvisation is welcomed and embroidery more unique. You make it, the more awesome it'll turn out to be. So right here I marked this circle for a tree or tree is gonna go. Instance this building goes behind the tree. I'm gonna finish this building first, and then I'm gonna go ahead and do the tree over top. And I'm still using the same vertical vertical, um, stitching and actually underneath this building and gone finished thes critical, such as with the horizontal. And I'll finish it the edges of the breath of the still building. I have that I'm gonna ab with diagonal stitch. It's I'm gonna keep going over until the threat is as close as it is because it can be. And there's no canvas coming through. That's what was done. So I'm gonna go ahead and finish it by nodding. So if you get thread that is kind of sticky. Just make sure you continue checking because I I even have a little loop right here where it's not nodding and tightly, so just pull it out, pull the string again. Little to go in when you're threatening to. It helps sometimes to put the shape in first. And what I mean, where that is, I'll make this building with, uh, this thread. So I make the shape I'll make the square time consuming part. We'll make the square first. That way I can see where I'm going, and now you know where I can stay. So it all helps the design now that I have my base for the houses on my embroidery. Unless a base I mean that first color first color of the house, the main focus color, I'm gonna go ahead and start doing it. The details, like the window and the roof and I'm just gonna go right over on top. Because if I waas painting it to show a contrast, if I had a vertical thread that was a different color going the same direction as my mean bread, I wouldn't be able to see the contrast as well. So when you're going into the detail for the houses to create contrast, do you wanna try toe overlap these coat these threads with, um, opposite using an opposite direction, then what you previously put down. So I have this vertical threading and I'm overlapping it with horizontal threating to create contrast. And I'm actually gonna outline this house on the bottom, also high. So for the foliage or the trees in the embroidery, you don't have to stick with the same horizontal and vertical lines. You can be more haphazard with it and make more organic stitches. The Salala Jim, we're freedom to be, uh, creative and the shapes that you make sometimes I find it helpful when you're making, um, leaves or the green the greenery on the trees. Teoh such a few stitches right next to each other. So you have kind of a clump in one area and then leave some little guys hand that are kind of positioned a little differently. Okay, at this point, you're going to continue threading until the entire sketches covered, and then we'll move on to finishing the embroidery. 8. Finishing: in this lesson. We're gonna go ahead and learn how to finish arm Bordry. Now I've gone ahead and taking an embroider that's already been finished, bread wise, and I'm gonna go ahead and put the back on this. And first thing I did was cut out this piece of fabric. It's a place behind the embroidery and you can use any kind of fabric as long as it's nice and thin, because if a fabric is too thick and bulky, the embroidery hoop will be tougher to put on. So I'm just gonna loosen up my hope, take the embroidery out. I'm gonna flatten it and place this fabric over top. Then then reconstruct the embroidery hoop, trying to keep it centered. As I'm tightening the fabric I like to leave. This grew a little bit loose as I'm pulling the fabric because if it's too tight, sometimes the fabric won't open. Tighten the way that you want to. No, I'm gonna start with this first layer the fabric, and I'm going to cut as close to the hoop of I can by cutting a one layer at a time. This insures that you don't accidentally cut too much on one of the fabric because you want this one to be slightly longer, then this fabric and reason for that is because your overlapping and you're gluing it down so that it stays secure. And if this is too short, the if the embroidery canvas is too short, it won't adhere properly to the hoop one down. I'm gonna start cutting this one, and I like to leave almost double the amount that I left with the previous fabric. I'm leaving about a centimeters worth of fabric so that I can fold it over into the who, which will secure the fabric on Teoh. Keep honey, please. Slowly, already. Now that that's done, I'm going to go ahead and glue. It was a hot glue gun. So I'm gonna do small short bursts of glue about 78 hours worth of blue. And I'm just gonna fold over the edge of the fabric on to the hoop. One in shot of time 9. Closing : thank you for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed learning how to translate your photographs into an embroidery. Utilizing the three skills sketching, painting and sewing, you can now create your own unique art piece. I'd love to see your work in the project gallery. And if you enjoyed this course, be sure to share it with your friends. Remember, art is unique. Everybody has their own perspective. So trust your gut when you're making your art.