Mixed Media Embroidery For Beginners: 7 Days of Botanical Prompts | Floor Giebels | Skillshare

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Mixed Media Embroidery For Beginners: 7 Days of Botanical Prompts

teacher avatar Floor Giebels, Embroidery Artist

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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

15 Lessons (1h 58m)
    • 1. Intro

      2:27
    • 2. Class Project

      4:50
    • 3. Materials

      5:44
    • 4. Fabric Options

      8:49
    • 5. Transfer Pattern

      6:04
    • 6. Basic Stitches

      17:02
    • 7. Day 1: Monstera Needlepainting

      10:34
    • 8. Day 2: Cotton Plant Felting

      11:17
    • 9. Day 3: Ginkgo Leaf Fineliner Pen

      7:45
    • 10. Day 4: Potted Plant Using Paint

      12:09
    • 11. Day 5: Baby's Breath Using Paper

      8:51
    • 12. Day 6: Skeleton Leaf

      4:04
    • 13. Day 7: Olive Branch Spark

      11:01
    • 14. Finishing Your Hoop

      5:49
    • 15. Final Thoughts

      1:18
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About This Class

In this class, we’ll explore 7 days of mixed media embroidery by embarking on a journey to the Hortus Botanical Gardens in Leiden

This class is perfect for beginners or anybody looking to add a unique spin to their embroidery work. It was designed to give you the confidence to explore texture creatively by combining different mediums with embroidery

Throughout this class, you will learn:

  • What materials you need
  • What fabrics are best suited for each medium,
  • How to transfer your pattern
  • The basic stitches you need to complete your projects, and
  • How to needlepaint and layer your stitches.

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To make the process easier, I’ve prepared seven different patterns for you - these can be found in the Resources section. And we’ll be experimenting with the following materials: 

  • Felt: Using felt in your work and how to form it into a desired shape.
  • Pen: Using a fine liner pen to add detail to your work.
  • Paint: Combining paint with embroidery,
  • Paper: How to embroider on paper.
  • Real-Life Leaf: Include real leaves in your work, or how to work with delicate materials.
  • Sparkles! How to guild on fabric, using gold leaf and adding Swarovski crystals.

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The skills learned in this class can be applied to any mix media embroidery project. By the end of it, you’ll have 7 beautiful mix media embroidery pieces ready for display, and a solid sense of what textures each medium can create, and what designs work best with each texture. Or in other words, everything you need to know to continue experimenting! If there's one thing I hope you take from this class, it's that you feel empowered to take risks with your art and see materials in a different light. Learn to focus on the process, not the product! (:

So let's get mixing, see you in class!

Meet Your Teacher

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Floor Giebels

Embroidery Artist

Top Teacher

Hi, my name is Floor and I'm a Dutch embroidery artist living in The Netherlands.

Originally from a design background, I found my artistic freedom and expression through the more traditional art of embroidery. Entirely self-taught, I started my journey in 2016 and am continually learning new skills and applying them to my work. I also like to explore the boundaries of traditional hand embroidery by creating some pieces as mixed media, to contrast and compliment the thread itself. 

I have found that embroidery has led me to explore the textures present in the world around me - living on the coast, the beautiful beaches, scenery and animals constantly offer me inspiration for new projects. One of my favorite topics to explore in my pieces is the interplay b... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Intro : I think as artists, it is always a good idea to take a little break and just take a step back and allow yourself to use other materials. Mixed Media really change how I view embroidery. It gives my work this unique spin and challenge me to think about textures more creatively. In this class, we will make seven different mixed media projects with embroidery. I'm going to take you with me in a world of botanicals inspired by one of my favorite places, The Hortus Botanical Gardens enlightened in Netherlands. It is the oldest botanical gardens in all of Holland, and they have been collecting, growing, and categorizing plants from all around the world for over 400 years. Throughout this class, I want to challenge you with seven days of mixed media embroidery prompts. We'll start by covering materials and what fabric options are best suited for each medium. I'll teach you all the basic stitches you need to know to get you started embroidering. I'll show you three ways to outline a stitch, how to approach curves, and introduce you to my method of needle painting. Other process of layering on thread to add contrast, texture and interest to your piece. This is the base for my whole embroidery process and our first botanical challenge, using needle painting to embroider a Monstera plant. Then we'll really start experimenting using materials like felt, fine liner pens, paints, paper, gold leaf, and even a real leaf. By the end of this class, you will not only have seven beautiful mixed media embroidery pieces ready for display, but also the confidence to explore texture creatively by using different mediums with embroidery. You'll know what texture each medium can create and also what designs will best suit each texture. To make the process easier, I've prepared seven different patterns for you. You can find them in the resource section of this class. If you are an artist looking for new ways to add texture to your work, then I hope I can show you some new techniques. Mixed media embroidery is a great way to take a medium you're already familiar with and give it a special twist. I hope you feel inspired and that you will join me. Let's get mixing. 2. Class Project : For the class project, I want you to follow the seven projects and share them in the project section. Don't feel like they need to be perfect. This is a class for you to explore and it's not about the outcome, but about you experiencing other materials and it does not have to be perfect. Let's have a look at our projects. For Day 1, I decided on the Monstera plant because this lesson is just after the basic stitches and it's a nice project to use what you learn from the basic stitches. This is also just a warming up for you to get into the embroidery mood. This is a project that you can make as big as you want. You can spend one hour on a Monstera or just keep adding stitches and make it an evening full of embroidery. This is really up to you. On Day 2, we are going to felt a cotton plant. We are slowly stepping away from layering the stitches, but still using some of the steps we learned in Day 1 with the Monstera. This is a small project that you can probably make in an hour, an hour and a half. Day 3 is all about making lines with the ginkgo leaf. For this project, we will use fineliner and see how we can make lines in between our threads. This project takes a bit more time because of the amount of lines we're going to make. But you can also choose to use more lines with a fineliner and less lines with embroidery thread. Day 4, we will make a potted plant using gouache and add embroidery for texture. I'm going to show you how you can have the paint as a main subjects and use embroidery as an add-on for adding texture to your work. This is really a quick project that you can make in less than an hour, but keep in mind that gouache needs to dry in between layers, so you need some breaks in between to let it dry. Day 5, we will use something else than fabric, we are going to use paper. For this project, you only need some paper, a needle, and thread. This project is also great if you already have existing artwork on paper. This is another very quick project that you can make in less than an hour time. On Day 6, we will be using a real leaf and this is just a simple way to show you how you can use a delicate leaf with some sheer fabric and make something very minimalistic. This is a small project where the focus is on attaching something on fabric. The difficulty is in the leaf that you need to be very careful with because it can break. You are really learning how to approach delicate materials, and depending on how careful you are and how steady your hands are, this will not take a lot of time, probably an hour. Our last day on Day 7, we are stepping away from minimalistic to going out all the way with sparkles and gold leaf with the olive branch. I'm going to show you how to add some intense texture to your work. I will not use real gold leaf, but I am going to use [inaudible] crystals. You don't need to use to crystals, there are many other options out there that are less expensive. That brings me to the following. For every project, I have a list with all extra materials you need and the color codes for the embroidery thread. Especially when talking about Amazon is for people based in the United States. But look at your own Amazon because it's also there. Familiarize with each of these materials, so then you can mix and match different mediums together at the end of your prompts. You can see here an example where I combine different mediums together to create this banana. On average, take an hour for each project. If you don't have this much time, try a project a week or a project every three days. Figure out a system that works for you and keep yourself on track. I also want to point out that in this class I will also use terminology that is used for leaves. So you know, for instance, that we are going to embroider the leaf stalk and the veins, or that we are going from the margin towards is the midrib. We now know what our class project is and the basic terminology for leaves. Now we are ready to look at the materials and everything else you need to start your projects. 3. Materials: What I like to do when it comes to embroidery materials is that sometimes I like to splurge. Sometimes I see things in the store or I see things online that look really special and I will buy it because in my head I'm like, I need this, and I never really do, but that's how it goes. But for the basic stuff like embroidery thread, I like to have a lot. I like to choose all the colors that I want. I want to be able to just have everything all the time. Some of the time, people use DMC, that is the go-to brand that everybody uses for embroidery thread. But I like to use the one from Amazon because you get all the colors and it's $30. I just like to buy the whole pack. Then I have all the colors and they have the same color codes as the DMC ones. Here you see that the color codes are exactly the same. The colors are slightly different. For all our embroidery projects, except for one because we're also going to use paper, before all the other ones, I'm using a 10-centimeter hoop. This is just a great size. It's nice and small, but it's not too small. It's big enough to have all the details, but small enough that we're not going to make huge projects. This is the size we're using. For the painting, because we are going to do a lot of painting, I recommend getting one of these plastic hoops. It is very sturdy and very good for painting. Because if you're going to use this for painting. We all know the wood will move, the wood will expand, and it will put pressure on it. Then these two things will not collide as nice as it should be. I would also recommend having a hoop that is slightly bigger for your painting like I have here. Because you're going to paint, it's nice to have a little bit of moving area so that it's not just going to cut off right here. I can place it in this without, it has to be precise that it will go over this area. Should have a bit of movement around that. That is something I advise. I always use this one for painting, and it's plastic, so it's nice to have that. Next, we're going to talk about needles. This is super cute. This is a little box that you can find in eBay, on everywhere. These are little boxes for record needles, what they used to put on the records to have it moving so that it would play. You have so many of these little tiny things that they used to put those needles in. It's great to put your own needles in. Definitely have a look on eBay or somewhere where you can look at that because they're so cute. What I usually have for my embroidery is two noodles that I use. One is a John James size 6 needle. As you can see with this needle, it has a really small eyelet and a very sharp point. Needles is a very personal choice, I must say, because you have so many different needles. But this is an embroidery needle size 6. My recommendation is to try out different needles, they're not that expensive. It's a good way to see what you like. This is a needle that I use when I have three or more strands because they will not fit in the other tiny eyelet. In this, they will fit because here you have a bigger eyelet. But what is important is that the top is still sharp because you also have embroidery needles that have a blunt end and it's very difficult to go through fabric. Make sure that you have a sharp tip. This is called quality batiste, and it's white. This is just a really sturdy cotton. I think this is the most important thing in my opinion: when you're looking at a fabric, make sure it has absolutely no stretch. Now you know the basic embroidery materials. But I want to go a bit deeper on the fabrics in the next lesson because they can react very different with paint. I just want to go into a deeper dive to that. 4. Fabric Options: The most confusing thing for me when I started with embroidery was fabrics, because I trust Google. Not always, but with embroidery I do, and when I googled embroidery fabric, I only got cross-stitch fabric; the ones with the holes in it, and it's very stiff, and it's made for cross stitches, literally made in little squares, so you can make little crosses. A lot of time when you look at for instance Instagram, you see a lot of people use linen or cotton. I like to use cotton, but there are so many different fabrics you can use for embroidery. The main part is that it shouldn't have a stretch, and that's basically it. But because we're doing this mixed media, I really show you how fabric reacts to paint. As I showed you in a previous lesson, I'm going to use my plastic hoop for the painting. I'm using a plastic tray that you can buy in any hobbies stores with my paint on, and I'm also using a cup for my water. For the brushes, I'm using a round brush with a pointed tip and a smaller round brush for the details. It all depends on what you want to make when it comes to brushes, but these are the brushes I'm using for now. For this class, I picked up four different fabrics. The first one is the one we already went over, and that is the quality batiste cotton. This basic cotton will absorb all the water very quick, because it's very tightly woven and because of that, it absorbs a lot of water. For our next one, we have silk cotton. This is a blend of both fibers and it works really nice with painting. Because this fabric is so sheer, I'm going to use two pieces of fabrics together, and the last fabric I'm going to show you, is this Belgian linen. I bought it because I know that this is very popular in the US and I wanted to show you how it reacts to paint. We're going to start with the quality batiste cotton. I'm just going to snap it in this hoop. I'm using a watercolor that I got from Amazon. It's called Royal & Langnickel. These are nine euros for 24 tubes, so I thought that's such a good prize I couldn't let it go. I'm going to put a bit on my palette and use a tiny bit of water. I'm using a smaller brush, I'm just going to dip it in the water only a little bit and put it in the paint. I'm only using a little bit of paint. You see how much it bleeds, even though I use a small amount of water? Now, I'm using just only watercolor, no water at all to show you how it blends in. Now, I'm going to do wet on wet. So I'm going to wet the fabric first, and completely fill in with water and then I'm going to take my brush, wet my brush, and dip it in the watercolor and make a straight line and see how that will bleed. This is a really cool way to make a landscape, because this is like a green bluish vibe, you can make a lake. In the meantime it will also dry, so you get different layers of bleeding. Again, you don't have much control. My advice is to also try out more pieces of fabric because the result will always be different. Now, I'm going to take it out the hoop and I'm going to let it dry and afterwards I'm going to compare all the fabrics and we can see what the results are after it's dried. For the next fabric I'm going to use to Belgium linen. Belgium linen also has a rough texture, but not as rough as the natural cotton. What's within it? We're going to do exactly the same thing as we did before. I'm going to wet my brush, I'm going to dip it in the water color and we're going to place it on there. Now with linen, the fiber are not a that tightly woven. What will happen, is that the paint will bleed not as much as the batiste cotton, but it will definitely bleed. See how it drags my brush? It drags really nicely. You can see that the bleeding goes very, very slowly, much slower than with the batiste cotton, but you can be very precise with this. It's just a little bit like the batiste cotton but then a bit rougher. Now, I'm going to wet the fabric, and do a wet on wet, make a stroke, see that it absorbs the water, so I need a little bit more paint than I normally need, very nice effects it gives. It's very close to batiste cotton but then slightly different. For our last one, we are going to use a silk cotton. Silk cotton is a great fabric for painting. It is a little bit like paper; you have a good amount of control over the fabric. If you're really good at watercolor, then this is a great fabric for you. If you're looking for more effect, then this one is not the fabric for you, because it doesn't bleed much, it is really for precise painting. But if that is what you're going for then this is a great fabric. You can see here that I really have a good amount of control over the paint, I can drag it across and it doesn't bleed, so I'm really dragging the paint down without much bleeding. Also, I want to show you what you can do with this fabric if you make it wet and you just put a dip in it of paint. We can see that the paint moves around within that circle. I'm just going to leave that there and see what will happen to that paint, so you can see how that looks. I'm going to wet the fabric underneath just as we did before, I'm going to take my paint, and make a streak along the fabric. You can see that the dots that I put in a circle, they don't really move around, and there's not that much bleeding going on underneath. This is really what you're dealing with. Now, I want to show you the fabrics that are dried, that we painted before. Here we see the cotton, and you see how nicely all that bleeding is going. We can see different levels of drying within the fabric, which gives a really nice effect. Next up we have to Belgium linen. You can see that it has a bit of a same effects as the quality batiste cotton, but it's still very different. You can see that its bleeding is a bit different, the time it bleeds is different, so you get a much different effect. Here, I'm putting them next to each other. You can see that it's a bit rougher with the linen, it's interesting to see. At this point, I hope you have a clear view of what kind of fabric you would like to use for your project, and now it's time to go over to the next step, and that is tracing your pattern. 5. Transfer Pattern: There are so many ways of tracing your pattern on fabric. But in this lesson I'm going to show you my favorite ones. I'm going to show you different ways on how to trace your image, how to get your image from your PDF file onto your fabric. The first method I want to show you is to trace directly from your iPad or your computer. This is an image that I made for one of the lessons where we're going to make a monsteria. You have your hoop with your fabric. What you want to do is you want to pull a little bit on the back. You want to press it forward so that the hoop from the back is a little bit more on the front. First, you want to make sure that your control, the display and the brightness is as bright as you can make it. For this, I'm using a friction pen, this is a very handy tool because you can draw with it, it's just like a normal pen. But if you apply heat to it, if you use your hairdryer over it, it remove all the lines. What you can also do is print it out, put it on your window. There's also another method of printing your fabrics, and that is with a printer. Now, first one I'm going to show you is these labels. You can buy labels for shaping stuff and then they have four labels on them, eight labels that you can print, but you also have ones that you can print out one label. That means that is just one A4, that is a sticker and they are super handy. What you want to do is you have a printer, you need an inkjet printer not a laser printer, need a printer that prints with ink. I bought this, I think it was 35 euros. Inkjet printers are very cheap nowadays because people preferably use laser printers. What I'm going to do is you're going to peel this off. We have no use for this, the sticky part we are going to use. I'm going to place my fabric on the sticky part. I'm going to make sure that it is nice. Make sure your hands are clean, mine are relatively clean. You're just going to make sure that this is nice and smooth. You're going to take your scissors, turn it around, and then you can just cut away the excess fabric. Now that is done, you're going to place it in to your printer, the part with the fabric has just go down. I'm going to put that in my tray, close it and here you see that it is done. I put two images on there, as you see the worksheet all the patterns have two patterns on each page. If you want to do this method so that you don't waste any fabric and see. I really think it's amazing because if you look at it, that is a really crisp image. For such a cheap printer, it's fine. Now I'm going to peel the back off. This has no use for us. This you're going to throw away. Here we have the fabric printed. After tracing your pattern, it is finally time to go over the stitches and do some embroidery. 6. Basic Stitches: I want to show you the stitches that we're going to use for the project. All the basic stitches. You really have that confidence to start with your projects. Here I have my embroidery, my needle, and my thread. From skin, a floss, this is one thread. The first thing that I want to go over is how do you start and how do you finish your thread? What I like to do, this is the method that I use, is I go in, and I put my finger on the thread like this, and then I just keep going with my embroidery. Just doing some random stitches here. Then you knot right here, but after around three stitches, now making a knot, after around three stitches, you can see that it is secured in there. Now, the same goes for when I want to finish my stitches. If I'm not completing this project, so I'm still going to add more threads, then I will cut this, and I will go over it with my threads again, and effectively it's the same thing if we just hide the other thread. But if I wanted to finish this thread, then I can also weave it in the other threads to make sure that it stays where I want it to be. I'm going to show you three different stitches that you can use to outline a line. The stitch I'm first going to show you is the stitch that I really like to do. This is called the back stitch, and this is my favorite stitch. It's a stitch that I use to outline everything. We go up. You start a little bit on the side. Here's the beginning of a line, I'm going to go just a little bit to side side and place my stitch there. I'm going to go up and place it at the beginning. What I'm going to do now is I'm going to move a little bit up. Ideally, what we want is we want to go the same amount of space every time for the stitch. That's how you get the nicest back stitch. I'm going up and then I'm going back in that same stitch I created in the beginning. I'm going to need to look carefully and I'm going in it, and I'm bringing you a bit closer and show you what I'm doing. I'm going in a little bit further, going up, I'm going back in that same stitch. We're going up, same stitch. Now, if I wanted to make a curve, I'm just going to go into here, and I'm just going to make a little curve. When we have a curve, we want to make very small stitches. Making really small stitches, you see that you can really handle that curve. Always make sure that your fabric is tight. Small stitches is really the key here. The next stitch that we're going to make is called the outline stitch. Basically, what I'm going to do, I'm going to make a stitch. Starting just like the back stitch, we're going to start from here till here. But with this thread, we're going to touch it with our fingers, and we're going to go back with our needle in the middle of this stitch. Go up and go back the same size, hold the thread on the top again, and now you go back into that other stitch from the top to the bottom. You're holding your thread, the last thread that is attached to your needle, it never touches the fabric. Going into the stitch that we did before, and I'll let go. I must admit, this stitch does look really nice. It's a nice stitch, it looks really nice. The thing is that it's just a little bit more effort than the back stitch. I want to show you how we're going to make curve. I'm going to start here. Very small, I'm going to make it very small, start there, hold it with my thumb, go into that other stitch, and then we're making this stitch very small. Yeah, it really needs to be small to make those curves. For instance, this happens. I'm all caught up in a moment, and there's a curve, and something happened, you just go bring your needle, pick it up where you left and go back there and stitch. We see that here, I made a bit of a mistake, but overall, this is really nice outline stitch. The last stitch for the outline is something that I also use a lot. This looks a bit like the backstage but what we're going to do here, instead of going back in that same hole, we're going in the middle and in the middle, we're going right in the middle of that other stitch. Up and right in the middle of that other stitch. Now let's make a curve. Here I already, going back. This is also a really nice stitch to make curves because it is very easy. In the beginning, it is a bit looking like, how do I go in the middle of the outer stitch? You will very soon get the hang of getting in the middle of the outer stitch. Just make sure that when there's a corner hoop coming up, that you make the stitches small, and those are the three stitches that are really good for making a line, outlining a line drawing that you made letters, these are perfect. In one of our lessons, we are going to make French knot and a French knot is basically a knot. What you're going to do is you're going to go up at your needle. In this case, it is good to make a knot because here, I cannot hold it on the back and also make the French knot. Here, I do make a knot on the back. I'm taking my needle, pushing it against the thread and I'm going to wrap it three times around it. Then I'm going to put it right next to that other stitch. It's important that at this point you are having pressure with this, so hold tight on this thread and you're not going to let go of that pressure. Now you can. Now, you have this very tiny knot. Now I want to show you how you fill up an area and we're going to use two strands because a lot of projects that we're doing, we're going to fill it up with two strands, also at one strand, but the technique is the same. Starting down and also, you might see like, oh, you're not putting your finger up, but that's also because I've done this many times. I embroidery almost every day so I know how much tension there should be on that strand. That's just something I know. I know how much I can pull my needle and how much tension I need to have on the back. When I want to fill something in, I'm making long and short stitches, and here we have a curve. We want to make sure that the sides really nice and neat. I'm doing long and short stitches because then you don't see where it ends or where it stops. If I would make stitches going here and then here and then here, you would definitely see the cut-off, even if it's one color. Also, I want to go in with a different color after, and then, you want it to blend in, in those other colors, and when it blends in into all straight stitches, it doesn't look good. On the size, I make sure that it is nice and tidy and I work my way up. Here, when I make the side stitches, you can see that I'm going in a bit further, so I know that is in the other stitch. For this part, it has to be long short, long short exactly, no. I'm just really filling it up, see where there is still white and if I see white, I'm just going to fill it up and I'm also going to make my stitches longer. One to fill this up. Here, I have an edge again. I'm going to make that round, go into my other stitch. Here here the top, I'm not going to use a stitch, I'm just going to make sure that all the stitches go towards that line. I'm done, I'm just going to look if I can find anything that is still wide that needs to be filled in, and now let's say I want to have my red and add details to it. Right now, I'm using one strand, just so you can see how it looks, and let's say I just want to have that contrast underneath. Just come really in the middle of that space. Now, I can really see how it looks with the other thread in it and this is also a personal thing. I really like to see everything as a whole and I like the layer and this way, you can really see the contrast building and this is really how I like to build up my color, go as high as you want. This is what I do, I make a base and after that, I just make something over it and I build it up. It's also why I love embroidery because I don't have to count, even when you're a beginner, you don't have to count, you don't have to look at a pattern, it's so free. Now you know all the basic embroidery stitches and some fancy ones, but if you want to go explore more, there are endlessly more embroidery stitches for you to explore and try out. 7. Day 1: Monstera Needlepainting: For our first embroidery piece, I didn't want to go straight right away into a mixed media piece. I want you to dip your toes first in and slide in it a bit. We're going to start with embroidery. We're going to start with needle painting, layering our stitches. I think that's also a good way that you can practice what we just learned, and that you can really have a feel of how embroidery is and how it works. I absolutely love the variegated Monstera, but oh, boy, they're really expensive. I'm too scared to buy an expensive plant because I might destroy it and I would feel really bad about myself and feel like I really failed. If you have a really fancy variegated Monstera, then more power to you. I'm really jealous. Let's start. For contrast, I'm also using a pink fabric. Otherwise, you will not see the white that we are going to add to our piece. For this piece, we are going to make layers with our stitches to recreate this look. For this project, I'm using the quality [inaudible]. I'm going to start off with using greens on the upper right side just like the reference picture. This color, we're going to use a lot in this project and it is the base of the leaf. Starting from the back. I'm just going to make long and short stitches. Here at the top you can see that there is a curve. When you see that a curve is coming, make the stitches small, so you can really make that nice curve with your stitching. You can make those stitches pretty long. If you're heading into a curve, then you can make them pretty long because the leaf itself is not that big. We are going to continue with this color right underneath that second line that you see. Right under that first hole, we are going to fill this in with the dark green. We are making stitches next to each other and make sure you are making them long and short. After I made the long and short stitches, you can see that the next line of stitches is in-between those other stitches. At some point, you will have a hole from the plant that we don't want to embroider. The technical term for plants making holes in their leave is called leaf fenestration, but in this lesson, I will use the term hole instead of leaf fenestration just for easiness. From this point on, I make my stitches go from the margin of the leaf towards the hole. The space between a margin of the leaf and the hole is small enough for me to go back and forth. Now let's head back to our reference picture. You can see that underneath that dark green, there is some light green going on, and that's what I also want to do. Again, also for this part, I'm using two strands. Now I want to go in with white and fill that whole section on the right with white. What we're going to do on the left side is we're going to take our dark thread, our dark green, and just how we did it on the right side, just filling it in with long and short stitches, we're going to do that for the entire left side. We're just going to continue with that same technique and fill that entire left side. After we did that, we're going to use our white and really make those variegated spots. We're also going to add something on the right. Because I want to change it up a little bit, I'm starting at the bottom. Here it is all done. I must say that I also really love this effect, just the clean color blocking. I do also like it. I think that this project can go both ways. You want to do the variegated look that's very color block or you want to now proceed and do more details. But to be honest, I also really like this, but I am me and I love to add as many details as I can. I actually thought it would be interesting to show one of the mistakes I'm now going to make. The mistake that I'm now going to make is that I'm choosing a green bluish hue. I'm taking one strand and I'm going to place it between those other colors in the white. At this point, I'm looking at it and I'm realizing that it looks odd, this color. I'm not happy with it. It is too much off. I decide to choose the lighter green that we already used. But I thought it was interesting to see this because I don't like unpicking. I don't like it. It takes time. What I do, instead of unpicking and going over it again, I'm not unpicking, I'm leaving this thread and I'm just going to go over it. It's much easier, it's much quicker. I'm going to show you how to do that. Taking one strand again. Now I'm using the same color we used before the lighter green. What I'm doing is I'm going exactly the same position as I did with the color I didn't like, but I'm moving my needle slightly more down. I know that it will be covered up. This technique is also really fun if you have a color and you want to mix those colors so that you see the other color a little bit in-between. Then you don't really cover it up completely, but you are covering it up a little bit. But in this case, I want to have it completely covered up. As you can see, there's no more blue. Now I'm taking the same color and I'm just placing a little bit of green underneath. I'm going to take our reference picture, and as you can see here, it's also underneath green and I felt that was a nice contrast. I can imagine that you would think, okay, why didn't you just leave that part open because you know that you're going to use this thread, so why not leave it open and continue with the green instead of going over the thread? But this is really how I like to work. I do take my reference picture, but I like to see my embroidery as a whole. I know like, okay, where do I want to add something? If I already didn't add the white completely, I couldn't really envision it for myself. I think this is also something personal and we'll continue with a green, making long and short stitches going from the margin to the midrib of the leaf, just to create more base and to see where we're at if I add that, because with the Monstera you do have those color difference in the leaf, the inside and the outside always have more contrast. I'm making long and short stitches. Doesn't have to be exactly long and short, it could be long, long, short, long just so it's not the same length. We're going to continue doing this on the inside and also of the outside of the left leaf. Now, again, I have to say that this looks also really pretty. I won't blame you if you are at this point and you're like, well, I like it. This is how I want it to look like. But I am going to show you the reference picture again, and when we look at the variegated left upper side, white spotting is going on. I do want to recreate that. Taking my white again, one strand, and randomly, I'm going to put in white just like a reference picture. Don't think about it too much and keep looking at your embroidery work. This is not something that is, you have to place it there, you have to put it there. No, this is really a feeling that you have to create like, okay, where does it look good? How do I want it to look? Just place some stitches wherever you think it will look good. That is what I'm doing. Again, I'm looking at it after I've done some things, so now, I'm done with the white. I do feel that the light green and the dark green is very blocky. It doesn't come off natural like a leaf because it's such a straight line. I'm going to take the lighter green and I'm going to make some small stitches, long and short. We're going to continue doing this towards the margin after leaf and also the midrib of the left leaf. Just so it blends more in with the lighter green. We have ourselves an affordable variegated Monstera. This is really the basics of embroidery for me. It's how I do it. Maybe it's not the correct way or the traditional way, but this is how I do it. This is basically how I do almost all my projects. I love to layer, love to add stuff, like to make contrasts. You can basically make any plant you want like this. 8. Day 2: Cotton Plant Felting: Felting is very popular these days with embroidery, and I can truly see why. Because the combination is so pretty and you can see so many different textures with felts. That's why I also wanted to include it in this class. For me, it was really easy because as soon as I thought about felting I thought about cotton plants, how can you not? We're going to try to mimic the cotton plant with our felting. This is the rough drawing I made for where the stitches needs to go. You can see that I really want to use very little stitches to make contrast with a dark brown. I'm going to use gray embroidery thread to make contrasts within the cotton plants. I'm using this picture as a rough reference for my color choices, and the way I'm going to place the wool. When I look at the picture, I see only two colors that are really popping out. I'm also going to use two colors, I'm going to use a very dark brown, and a more warm toned, lighter color brown. For the fabric, I'm using the quality batiste. This fabric is really sturdy and we really need that sturdiness, because we're going to punch so many little holes in it, and the fabric needs to be able to handle that. When we do felting, we need felting needles. These are needles that are not smooth. At the end they have these little tiny hooks on them, so that you can really press the wool in the fabric. I've chosen the fine needles, these are from Prim, and you can literally buy these anywhere. I'm going to use a wool for this project, but don't feel obligated to use wool. You can also use cotton balls or those face pads you use for your face to clean. Because we are going to stab into the fabric, it is important to put something under your hoop. Not only because you don't want to stab into your table, but also then you know that you've gone all the way through the fabric. Because sometimes you're really into the hole punching holes and sometimes you just don't really go through the fabric. When you have this mat underneath it, then you will feel actually that you're hitting something, and you really know that you're going through the fabric. I'm using a foam board, but you can use felt mats, anything soft that you can easily put your needle in is fine. For this project, we're going to use one strands of embroidery thread. I'm going to use my John James size 6 needle. The first thing that we are going to do is, we're going to take the dark brown and fill all those branches. This little leaves that are around the cotton, we're going to make them all dark brown, and only one one. Just fill everything in with a dark brown. We're doing that because we want to add highlights later, and it's easier when you already have this base color. After that it's easier to see, where do we want to place the highlights, what looks good? Now we have a better view of the embroidery piece. I'm going to start from the bottom and then work my way up. I use three stitches next to each other to fill the stem. I don't need to be that precise in the middle because I'm just filling in the area. Make sure that all the leaves on the side of the cotton are also filled in. Now we are done with filling any branches and the little leaves. I'm going to pull up the reference picture. As you can see, there is a lot of that lighter brown, especially around this leaves. That's why I also want to place our highlights on those leaves around the cotton, but also on the stem. I'm going to start on the bottom and work my way up. I'm not going to do it exactly like the picture because this is embroidery and sometimes you just want to play around a bit and make it a bit different. I'm just going to look at this piece as a whole and determine where I think the highlights look good. I am going to take this picture really as my reference. I'm not using any specific method here, I'm randomly putting in single stitches. I think it really makes a difference. Otherwise, it's such a flat piece, and now it brings movements, it brings light, it really looks different. It's so much fun to see how much difference just a few stitches can make. Now it's up to the most fun part of this process, and that is the felting. I'm going to take this piece out of its hoop and turn it around, so that the fabric makes direct contact with the foam board. You don't really have to, it's not necessary, but I just like it when it makes contact with the foam boards. I'm also doing this because if I leave it like this, and I'm going to stab it with my felting needle, the fabric might move from the hoop. I don't want that, I want to have the fabric in place, and this way I have it better in place. What I like to do is, I like to take my felting needle and I like to push it towards those pencil markings that I have. I'm first going to drag the wool across those markings and stab all the way there. I'm now going to punch in the fabric on those markings. This is going to take some while. What you may notice is that you do have too much wool. In my case that is now happening, I notice everything is covered. I don't see my fabric anymore, everything is covered the way I want to, but I still have wool over. Then I just take my scissors and I'm just going to cut that off. You also want to make sure that you actually see the leaves that we made around the cotton. I'm just going to push it towards that leaf. Then the ends of the leaf, I'm just going to punch it in. I'm going to show you this from up-close, how I do it. Now you see that I have this little ball, but it's still very fluffy, it still sits on top of it. Something that I also like to do is, to swirl it around a needle a bit and then push it in. Because there's little hooks that are on those needle, the wool will grab hold of that. I'm swirling it a bit around, and turning and twisting that needle, so it goes in the fabric. If you punch it enough in the fabric, there's no need to secure it at the back, it will stay in place and you don't need to do anything for that. Now I am happy with how it looks. It looks really good, it looks like cotton. Every time I finish something, I want to take that reference picture again, and look at it. Now I see there is missing something in the cotton itself. You see that there is shading, that there is actually a little bit of gray in it. We can make this two ways. You can either do it with a gray wool, and then felt it in, but because we're mixing this with embroidery and also I'm more skilled at embroidery than felting, I want to add embroidery to this. Now I'm going to take the dark brown that we used before, and I want to make those middle triangle shape mid sections in the cotton ball. I'm going in with my thread and not exactly make triangles, but rather fill in a little section in the middle of the cotton with my thread. I'm going to do this with all the felt pieces on the embroidery. When I look at the reference picture, you can see that there is shading going on, especially with gray and it has some depth in some parts. I'm going to take a gray embroidery thread and I'm going to try to mimic that. I'm first going to divide them in separate parts, because that's how it looks at the reference picture. Then I'm going to take my gray, and just starting from the middle, and making stitches towards the end, to have that shadow effect going on. Note that I divided the cotton ball in three pieces. I'm going to use the same gray thread and make long and short stitches towards the brown middle piece we created. It looks really nice with the shading. I really figured out something. To be honest, it looked also good without the shading. I don't think it necessarily needs that, but it does add something. Try to think about other textures, you can make with felt, because there are so many other textures. Maybe not even plant related, that you can make with felt. I'm thinking about an alpaca, that is so cute if you make it with felt. There are so many endless possibilities to make with that. I think with this class, you can really try out what is your strengths, what do you like, what do you really don't like? Try to figure that out for yourself. For the next class, we're going to use something that you probably didn't think about when you think about embroidery. Let's see what it is. 9. Day 3: Ginkgo Leaf Fineliner Pen: When I was making this class, I really, really wanted to have a gingko leaf in it because they're so beautiful. When I was looking very closely at a gingko leaf, you see that those veins are so close together, and if I wanted to do that with embroidery thread, I have the chance that I think that the threads will just touch each other and then you won't be able to see that it's really lines. So I thought to myself, how can I make that different? How can I add lines that are not embroidery thread? I thought fine liner. For this imported piece, I wanted to use a lot of lines in different colors and combine it with fine liner. I wanted to mimic the effect of the picture where you almost can't really see that there are lines because they are so close together. For the materials you need the gingko leaf pattern. For this pattern is better to print it out or use a pencil because we don't know how the friction pen will interact with the fine liner, and before I decide which pen I'm going to use, it's always best to test it out on some fabric. The fabric I'm using is the quality, but is cotton, I'm just going to take three random fine liners that I have. I'm going to test them out on the fabric. The first one I'm using is the Staedtler. I'm just going to make a thin line and see how it dries up, and I'm going to use another one, this is an unbranded one, and the last one I'm going to use is from the Hayman. Now if I'm looking at all of them, I see that the Staedtler actually is the best one I think, because you can see that the other ones are bleeding a bit more. So I think I'm going to the Staedtler one. It also says color fast, so maybe that has something to do with it, but I'm going to choose this one. For the black thread, what I always use is from glutamine, you have, from glutamine you have these thread for sewing and they have polyester ones, but they also have a 100 percent cotton thread. This on a spool. I have this spool for I don't know how many years and it works great, especially when you do line work. I'm also going to use different colors of green, and my size six John James needle. I'm going to start with one strand of the darkest green, I'm using the backstage. I want to go over all the lines that I create with my pencil, and I'm making my stitches small because we have lots of curves going on, and we can make the curve smoother with using small lines. You can see that with every stitch I'm going back in the same hole that I use to make the stitch. I'm going to do this with all the lines. Now that the lines are done, you do see that the lines are not perfect. The lines are not all have the same amount of space between them, but that is fine. That is something that I also wanted because it's nature and things shouldn't be perfect. Now we're going to take a fine liner and we want to make all those thin lines between those lines that you made with your embroidery thread. You can see how it makes such a really cool effect. Because it looks like embroidery thread from a distant and it looks like so many threads, but in fact it's just a fine liner. Also for the lines, I'm not going to be very precise, I want to create as many lines as I can without them touching each other. After my lines are done, I want to do the stem because that is our base and we can build up from that point. First I'm going to fill this area up with the dark green, and I'm starting from the outside of the stem. That is the part where the pencil lines are and work my way up inside. I'm starting with the pencil lines because this has to be more precise. I want to make sure I'm covering up those pencil lines, and after that, I don't have to worry about being very precise, and I can just fill up the rest with stitches. At this point, I can decide if it needs more contrast and if I want to add another layer. Well, for maximum contrast, I'm going to use black on the bottom of the stem and then work my way up. One of my favorite things to do is to go over the stitches and just create that contrast and go over the stitches that you already made. So we're just going to go in and go over the other stitches at the bottom, witty black. What we're now going to do at the top, we're going to take our lighter green and you're just going to make one stitch going up, down, up, down. You're going to do that all the way around the leaf. That you don't see the markings anymore from the pencil or from the printer because we do want to cover them up. Here you see that I've done that, so everything is filled in. We really want to make that illusion that you don't see that it's fine liner, that's my intention. It should be a little bit that you look at it and you're like, is that pan is that not pan, so trying to create that illusion and this rubber also doing it at the top. So the same way we just going to make one stage going back, one stage going back. I'm starting at the side and make my way to the other side. This is time-consuming but also very repetitive and for me that is very relaxing. I want to use the black thread to create a contrasting lines between those stitches we just made, and they don't need to be that close together. Then as a really a last one, what I'm going to do is I want to take my 469 and I want to use that in the middle. Because I feel like the contrast is now too big and that in the middle it's really dark, and we need something to make that contrast a bit less in the middle so it flows nicely together as one whole. Then it is done. Remember that you can experiment with so many different type of inks and pens. This is just what I use. This is what I have. But maybe it is really is your medium and you have all these cool pens, cool inks laying around, then please use them and show us. I'd love to see what you can do with this medium and show it in the project gallery, upload it so we can all get inspired by how you do it. 10. Day 4: Potted Plant Using Paint: I designed this potted plant with inspiration from the plant you see on the picture but also knowing that I will be adding embroidery after painting this image on fabric. This means that I design it in a way that I can add small stitches that have minimal contact with the plant. For paint in this lesson, I'm going to use gouache. I'm using gouache paint because I wanted to make a potted houseplant with really saturated colors. Now, with watercolor you have less control over the area you want to paint. You do have the other side and that is acrylic paint. Acrylic paint, you also have lots of control and we'll absolutely not bleed but acrylic paint is very thick and it will sit on the fabric and as soon as you use your needle on the paint, it will chip off the fabric. Then you have the perfect mixture of these two and that is gouache. It has a thickness of watercolor and a saturation of acrylic. The gouache paint I'm using is from Talens and it has all the primary colors. That means that I will have to mix paints to get the color I want. We do need a fabric that can hold the paints. If my fabric is a 210, then I have the chance that the paint is too heavy for the fabric and then the paint will drip out underneath the fabric. I'm using now the quality batiste for this project because it is strong enough to hold everything and it has a fine texture so that I can make straight lines. Now, the brushes are not that important on fabric as they are for when you use paints on paper. You just really want a basic brush that is small enough that you can have really small strokes. I'm also making sure that I have some water. The design can be found in a worksheet. This design I made in Procreate. I really made this design knowing in the back of my head that I will add embroidery later. For the potted plants, I want to start with red. I'm not going to mix any colors right now because I really love this vibrant color red that is already in the tube. I'm going to take this red and I'm going to add a little bit of water. Very carefully, I'm going over those lines that I created with my pencil. I'm just going to fill everything in. I just want to make sure that you don't add too much water because then it will bleed but you do want it to be thin enough. I'm going to cover that entire part with my red. I'm not done with the potted plant but I want to put another layer over there and for that it needs to dry. I'm first going to do all the leaves. I'm going back to the mixing. First up is some blue. Taking a dark blue and light blue and I'm taking some yellow. This is a bit of a dark yellow. I have two color yellows in my pallete and now I'm going to mix it and then we get green. I do want to have a dark green, so I am happy with this color. I'm going to use it, and very carefully I'm going to make these leaves. I'm trying not to add too much water so that we're not going to bleed. But we do actually also need a little bit of water because this needs to be diluted because I want to add embroidery here. This is a bit of a touchy feeling base. Now that I did all the leaves, I want to have a different color for those stems. You want to have a bit of contrast. I'm going to make something lighter and I'm going to make something lighter, I'm going to add yellow to my green. Very carefully I'm going to make those lines connecting them. I made a little bit of a whopsy there. It bled a bit. The stem is a bit thicker than I would have liked but I'm just going to play with it. It will be fine. I'm going to cover it up at embroidery. Now I want to add some stripes to the pot. I was first thinking about light pink. I'm mixing the light pink and I do love it but when I see it now here in front of me, it needs yellow. It needs yellow and that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to put some yellow over it. I'm going to take my small brush again and I'm making some lines on the pot to make contrasts. This does pop. Now that I'm done with the painting, I'm going to just set it aside and let it dry. But in my case, I'm going to let it dry for at least a day, but a couple of hours should be fine. Then I'm going to add embroidery to this project. I first want to add embroidery to the leaf. The color green that I'm using for the leaves, it is a bit like yellow-greenish, it pops out. We really need that contrast. I'm going to choose a really contrasting color for that. It's still green but it's a yellowish-green that will pop out. I'm going to use one strand. I'm going to make little stitches going back from the outside to the inside. I'm trying to avoid touching the paint on the outer side, so just slightly move it away from the paint. Then I'm going in, of course in the paint. All through the leaf, I'm making stitches from the outside going to the inside. I'm trying to line them up in the middle but don't worry about that too much because I'm going to make a line in the middle, so we're going to cover that up. When it comes to the amount of stitches I'm making for every leaf, that doesn't matter, I'm just really doing this on feeling. Also the lines I made with the paint, they're not as neat and tidy and well painted as I would like to have them painted. My little trick with this is to just go over it with my embroidery thread to get the focus off that line a bit. All those lines, I'm also going to embroider. The thing with paint is that, you are making a layer over your fabric. If I go in with my needle, you will see that and we want to try to not do that as much. Every hole that I make I'm going to try to use it for that line in the middle. I'm not going to make new lines, I'm going to use the holes that I already created. We want to avoid making as much lines as possible in the paint. What I did on this leaf, I want to do that on all those leaves in the plant. But for now I want to show you what I want to do to the pot. My first thing was to not do anything to the pot because I really like it, but when I look good at the parts, I do see that the yellow lines doomed really perfectly add up to the parts, to the red. I'm going to hide that mistake with my embroidery. I'm going to take my embroidery thread and make a red line in the same color as the potted plant and make a line around that pot. I'm making two lines around the pot, so it's thicker and you can't see the yellow lines going beyond the pot. You can also use two strands for this. Here you can see that I did a line around the pot. It's a bit of both ways because I also liked it without the embroidery added around the pot but I also like this. It's whatever you prefer. I'm going to continue using the same method that I used for that one leaf and I'm going to do all the leaves that way. I'm going to use the same thread as I used for a leaf and I'm going to use one strand. I'm going to make all those lines. I'm also doing this because I don't feel super comfortable about the lines that I made. This way we cover it up with the embroidery. I'm doing this all with one single stitch. I'm going in the other stitch where I left off from the leaf. Where are you? Here. I'm going in where I left off. Now we run into, well, my mistake, I'm going to really try and cover this up. I'm taking my pencil and making a leaf right here. I'm taking embroidery thread that matches the color from the paint. I'm using one strand for this. I'm going to fill that up. Trying to avoid those lines I made there, so really going in and making another leaf. I have to be careful not to go too much in the paint. See, in the middle it really doesn't matter because we don't see it anyways but here on the outside we have to make sure that it doesn't touch the paint too much so that it doesn't chip off. I'm going to make the illusion that this is just a leaf that's passing through, it's growing behind that other leaf. I could do this with paint but I feel like the same thing could happen possibly. More likely will embroidery not to happen anything that will permanently damage the space, but with paint there's definitely a chance with me. We're getting closer to having it blend in. This is all filled up and is the way I want it to be and now I'm going to take the other thread we have for the lines. Now, we also want to use that here to make it blend in. This is it. You really see how texture can change a painting. Even if you add just a few basic embroidery stitches, it can change the entire painting and bring it to life. I would love to see how you would interpret this, and especially with the paint because I'm so excited to see what other people can do with this. 11. Day 5: Baby's Breath Using Paper: Embroidery on paper is how I started with embroidery. It's one of the first things that I tried out. It's just a fun and easy way to work with embroidery thread. Baby's breath was the first plant that came up in my mind when I was thinking about embroidery on paper because we can't trace our image, so the best thing is to not make our design too complicated; and I really wanted to add French knots because they look so good on paper. I did change the colors of the petals. On the picture they are white, and I really wanted them to pop, so I used a mustard color for the petals in the embroidery piece. First of all, for this project, you will need some sturdy paper. I'm using watercolor paper, and this is a great paper to work with if you're doing embroidery on paper. Now, for the embroidery thread, we're only going to use two colors and for the needle I'm using the size 6 John James. I am also using a felt mat. It's not necessary to get a felt mat, but I would recommend something underneath your paper, just so you don't stab your table. One thing that is a bit of a thing with embroidery on paper is that, it is very difficult to make a pattern on it, so you have to be a bit creative. This is also the reason why I use baby's breath. It is actually just lines connecting lines. As you can see, I'm just making a line and connecting that line with another line, so that it's not that difficult. Because we're working with paper, you can just erase it with your eraser if you want to, if you made a mistake. But for the baby's breath, just connect lines with lines. I'm going to take our needle, and we're going to stab some holes in it. I'm going to start at the bottom. If you want to be really precise, if you are the kind of person who likes to be really precise and know exactly what to do, then you can put a ruler next to it and just make a hole every couple of millimeters, if you would like to. I think every centimeter, I'm just making a little hole. But when we go to the top, it becomes a bit more important where you are going to punch those holes. You want to have those holes where they are connecting with another line. So every time your line goes a different direction, you want to make a hole there because you know your thread has to go that way, and you have to make a hole to make a connection. I punched all the holes that I needed to punch. Now I'm going to take the green, and I'm going to use one strand. I'm starting at the back, and here you do have to look really good, at least I do, because it's difficult to have a feeling of where the holes are. I'm just going to put my finger on that and go into the next hole. I'm still leaving my finger on it, going up, and then back down into that hole that we already created. We can see that the thread that I made in the beginning, we still have to be a little bit careful, because if I pull really hard it can go out. My arm in the end is going to take care of all the strands that are hanging from the back. Just going to make my way up. Now we are going to those parts that we connected the lines. This is how we're going to do this whole paper. We're going to connect all those lines together. It does not really matter in what order you do this because, each part is separated and nothing will cross connect. This project is also a fun way for children to practice fine motor skills. Now that we've connected all the lines, I'm going to take my mustardy orange color. This is really a personal choice, you can use one strand, you can use two strands. I'm using one strand, but you can also use two strands. You have to have a feeling of what you like as a look. We are going to decorate all those ends that we made. We're going to make a French knot, which just sounds very fancy and very difficult, but it really is not, especially not with paper. I'm going in with my needle, and I'm taking my needle, and I'm going 1, 2, 3 over it. I'm holding it tight, putting it back in the same exact hole, holding it tight. Still holding it tight. Then I'm going to pull it through, and it's gone. I wanted to show you this because I did it wrong. What I did wrong is that I pulled way too hard. I'm going to show you again. I think it's important to show these mistakes. Going again, 1, 2, 3, in the same hole, keeping it tight. This time I'm going in really slow. I'm not pushing too hard, and it stays there. Some people love French knots, some people don't love them. I love them but in most projects that you will see, or that it looks really good is when you make so, so, so, so many of them, and then it becomes quite boring I must say. But with this project, it is fun. Holding it tight and not too tight. This takes a while to really get the feeling of. Maybe now you can also tell why I said that you maybe want to use two strands, because you can see that they are very small, and it's a personal choice, but maybe you like them a bit more bigger. That can also be. Every one of those ends, I'm going to make a French knot. Here is the finished look. This is such an easy way to create just something that looks really cool, in my opinion. I love it. Normally I always say, like on the back, it will sort itself out, and it will not come off different on paper. We do have to secure itself. There is no pretty way of doing this. There really isn't. So I'm going to take masking tape, and I'm just going to tape it down. I'm taking my masking tape, and I'm just going to tape it all down just so it's all secure. All those loose ends, going to cut them off, and we're going to tape them down. There are several options to hide this. You can put another paper behind it. What you can also do is that I use one of those frames that you can buy, you can really find them anywhere, these carton frames, and you can just stick it in there and use a tape on the back, and you're done; and you have such a pretty project to hang up. From this point on, we've really tried to mimic making plants; but for our next lesson, we are going to use a real leaf. 12. Day 6: Skeleton Leaf: I don't think I can do a botanical mixed media class without using a real leaf, I just have to. I saw these skeleton leaves and they are so pretty. I really wanted to enhance the beautiness of that skeleton leaf. I don't want to change it too much, I really want to enhance the sheerness and the beauty. You can buy these leaves online. There are ways to make your own skeleton leaves but that seems a bit too ambitious for me at the moment, so I decided to buy them online. I initially wanted to buy natural colored ones, but they didn't have them anywhere anymore so I decided to go with the most and natural-looking color, and that is green. For fabric, I'm using the cotton silk, because I wanted to be able to see the veins through the fabric. This will make it more difficult because the cotton silk is very delicate and so is the leaf. For thread, I wanted to use something else this time. This is nylon suing thread and it is thinner than normal embroidery thread. The thread is going to be very subtle so I wanted to use a color that is close to the leaf. For the needle, we are going with the all-time favorite, the size 6 John James needle. I'm trying to find a leaf that is small enough to fit in my embroidery hoop. I'm placing a leaf on the fabric and I'm going to embroider lines on either side of the inner stem. Because if we would embroider over the stem, we would break to leave. The nylon thread is very smooth and it has a tendency to slip out of your needle. That means you have to be very careful keeping everything in place. I'm going with my needle right next to the stem, and I'm going to use my thumb to keep it all in place. I'm going back in the same stitch where I began and very carefully I'm working my way up. You see that I'm doing this very slowly because if I wiggle my needle too much, the leaf might break. Once I'm at the middle, I'm going to do the other side of the leaf stem. At this point, I still have to use my thumb to keep the leaf in place and it will not be necessary if the other side of the leaf stem is also halfway stitched. What I'm now doing is something that can happen, especially when you are very concentrated on your piece. I accidentally stitched the excess fabric along with it. I'm just going to cut it away and cut off the excess fabric from the hoop so I won't do it again. Now, we don't have to worry that much anymore about the leaf moving round. I do want to make the same stitch on the side of the veins as we did on the leaf stem, so going back into the same stitch. There is so much you can do with this leaf because there are so many patterns you can follow from the veins of the leaf. With this leaf, I followed more details with my thread of the pattern from the veins. Remember to be very careful with your leaf. Yes, you will be frustrated, but yes, it will be worth it in the end because they're so beautiful. I wanted to go from using this sheer delicate fabric to go to golds, and crystals, and sparkling. 13. Day 7: Olive Branch Spark: For this project, I suggest that you use pencil or that you print out your pattern on fabric. Because I don't know how friction pen will work with glue because we are going to use glue and gold leaf. Just to keep it safe, use some pencil or print it out. Because we're using so much embellishment, I want to keep the embroidery really simple, and that's why we're only using one color. We're first going to focus on the leaves, and after we've finished all of those leaves, we're going to go on to the olives. We are going to make an olive branch and use embroidery for all the leaves, and the olives, we are going to make a gold and sparkly. For this project, I'm using the quality but it's cotton and a size six John James needle. I'm going to go in with my needle one strand and I'm doing this with little parts, with little steps. I'm making sure that the outside of the leaf is very neat and very small stitches, so the outline is very straight and neat. After I've made those stitches on this side, I'm filling the middle up. Once that is done, I'm moving up a little bit also making first the lines on the side and then filling in the middle. I'm doing this with one strand because then we have a lot of control over the stitches. When your surface is this small like this little leaf, it really doesn't matter that much how you're going to fill it up. When I'm filming something in, I'm just literally just filling it in with stitches. My main concern, my main part that I really want to focus on is that the edges are nice and straight. Try to make those lines on the outside nice and small that you have a good nice curve going on. But the middle part, just make stitches so that it is nice and filled up. Now, with some leaves, you'll notice that there is an overlapping with an olive. In that case, you just make stitches toward the olive and also make a line. Now for the last part of the embroidery, I'm going to fill that line in. Just going to make really small stitches in and then up and back into that same stitch we were in before, and do that all the way to the top. Now that the embroidery is done, we are going to focus on the olives. I first want to show you how you can do gold leaf on fabric. First of all, get yourself something that is allowed to be stained that you can use on your table. Gold leaf wants to hang on to absolutely everything, so I recommend using something that you can throw away later. For the gold leaf, I'm using imitation gold leaf. Gold leaf is mostly used on paper, and for paintings. It is definitely a bit harder to use it on fabric. It doesn't stick that much, so we're going to have you do it over and over again, so we make sure that everything is covered with the gold leaf. It's definitely a possibility to use it on fabric, it just takes longer. For gold leaf, you need something that will stick to it. I'm using mod podge, which we all know I love. Mod podge is a great product to use for fabric. The first thing we are going to do is we're going to take a mod podge and paint all those olives with the mod podge. I'm using just a really small brush for this. Afterwards we want to smooth out all the gold leaf. We really want to polish it, and I'm going to use a makeup brush for that. Makeup brushes are very good for gilding because they're so soft and when you have a normal brush, the bristles can be quite hard and that can result into the gold leaf not being as shiny and as smooth as it would be when you use a makeup brush. We're taking your brush and we're just going to go over all those olives. I'm doing this very careful because I don't want anything to go out of the olive area. It's also important that you don't see the pencil markings anymore, so make sure that you go a little bit over it. Now, as you can see at the top, that's a very tricky part because it's an angle in which it's difficult to paint with the embroidery there. I accidentally touch the embroidery with the mod podge. But don't worry, I'm going to show you how to fix that later. I'm going to let the mod podge sit there for about 30 seconds, and then I'm going to put the gold leaf on. Very carefully, put it on the embroidery piece. Gold leaf is very flimsy and it will stick to anything that has some oil to it or bristles, or basically anything. But especially your hands, it will get on there because of the oils. Be very careful and gently put it on the embroidery piece. We want to make sure that the gold leaf is really stuck on those mod podge areas, and you can do this with your fingers, but you do have the chance that the gold leaf will stick on your fingers more than it will stick on the mod podge. I'm just going to take my brush and very gently push it on those areas. Make sure you don't do this too hard because you can scratch the gold leaf and it's not smooth then anymore. At this point, I know that it has made contact with the mod podge, so it's going to stick to that instead of my hands. I'm gently tapping it with my fingers to make it more stick to the mod podge. Then I'm going to let it dry for an hour. It probably doesn't need that much time to dry, but just in case, I'm going to take an hour. After I've waited an hour, I'm taking my makeup brush and I'm just gently going over the gold. The gold that is not stuck to the mod podge will just come off. I'm doing two things at the same time. I'm polishing the gold leaf, but I'm also stripping away all those excess gold leaf. You may notice that you have to do this a couple of times because the gold leaf will not always stick immediately to the mod podge on the fabric, so there's a good chance that you might have to do this a couple of times. This will take a while to really polish everything off because I really want to have these nice clean edges, and I want to achieve that as much as possible with the makeup brush. When I realize that I got as much off as I can with the makeup brush, I'm now taking a paintbrush and I'm going after those edges because I want to have them in that nice shape that we made them in, those nice olive shapes. Very gently, I'm going to get rid of the excess gold leaf on those edges. Now that everything is removed and I really have these sharp, nice edges, one last time, I'm going over them with the makeup brush. It will take a while to get all those little gold leaf flakes off, but I'm happy with the results, how it looks now. It's very shiny, it's very fancy. Now as we can still see, I don't know if you can really see it good on camera, but I went with my mod podge over the embroidery. Especially from up-close, it doesn't look that good. A little bit of the gold also goes over the embroidery and I want to fix that. Now, how I'm I going to do this? I'm just going to take my embroidery thread again, I'm going over that leaf. Always know that you can fix mistakes also with your embroidery. If a little bit of paint or something goes over your embroidery work, then don't stress out, you can always go over it again with your embroidery. Now that the gold part is over and we've fixed the embroidery, it's time to go over the crystals. Now, for crystals, I'm using this type of glue, a multipurpose glue. You have an E6000, B6000, so this is a new glue that is especially for crystals, beads, et cetera. Another tool that is very handy, well actually, you really need this if you're going to work with crystals, is a rhinestone picker. If asking what it is, is just a stick with a little bit of wax on it. The rhinestones will stick to the wax and then you can easily pick it up and put it on your project. I'm using Swarovski crystals. This is very fancy and I just bought them in a whim one time, but there are many more affordable options out there. If you go over to the worksheet, I will have many brands listed there that you can buy that are not Swarovski and are very much more affordable. This glue is very easy to work with. You can be very precise with this glue because it's tacky now, and I can easily move it around. I'm going to put a little bit on our golden olives and just some rhinestones here and there on our embroidery. You see how easy it is with the rhinestone picker, they cling right to it and you can just put some on your project. Trust me, they will not fall off. I've done this many times and they will stick to it. Here is the result. Simple but also not simple, very simple embroidery with a lot of glit. This was the last embroidery piece but we're not done yet because we do have to frame them so we can give them or hang them up. 14. Finishing Your Hoop: When you are done with your embroidery work, I can imagine that you want to frame it nicely and maybe also you don't feel that really confident about the back. My backs are always messy. Whenever I put a piece for sale or I gift it to someone, I make sure that you don't see the back. Now, how do we finish our hoop? First, we're going to the back, and I'm going to get rid of all those loose ends. There are many ways of doing this. But I am going to show you the method that I use. Make sure that all the loose bits are pretty much off. Now, if I want to give this to someone, or I want to sell it, I must admit, if I want to sell it, it depends on what fabric I'm using. If I'm using something that is very sheer, I just let the back for what it is. I do also like it when people see the back. But when it's really messy, I don't want them to see the back. But if you like to hide your back, then I really recommend to use another fabric. This is the same fabric as this one. It doesn't look like it, but it definitely is. Make sure that it's nice and tidy, and then I'm going to put the other. I'm putting the same fabric over the hoop, as that I used here, and then I'm going to put my embroidery piece over it. I'm going to hoop it straight in the middle. We have this puckering here going on, but I'd like to first pull a bit tight, and then I can work on that puckering. I'm going to make sure that it is really, really tight. Also, make sure that you have this really screwed tight. Now I think it's tight enough. I'm going to go to the back, and voila, we don't see anything any more, and I'm going to cut the top layer. We now have two layers. Actually, it doesn't really matter. Going to use a bigger scissor for this. I always make it pretty short. [inaudible] Yes. Now that I have it to way I wanted, I'm going to get my glue, and I'm using from Bison, I'm using fabric glue, it's textile glue. But any glue will actually do. Now this is very unconventional. Again, this is how I like to do it. I like to put it on my finger and then put it on the hoop. I'm just putting it on the hoop but also on the fabric. That's why I like to use my fingers, and I have both covered. Going to put a bit everywhere, and make sure you let it sit there for a while. If you put a little glue and then straight on, push it down, it will not glue down. You really have to make sure that it gets a bit gluey but tacky. Then we're doing our first layer. Just going over it with my fingers again, my thumb, I'm just pushing it down. Now we have another layer that we need to take care of. Sometimes you just see that you miss some spots, get some glue. Then I also like to just cut. You can even put a nice sticker on there that says that it was made by you. I'm just pushing ideas here, but this is how I back my hoops. Now that our piece is framed and ready, I want to share my final thoughts with you. 15. Final Thoughts: I hope that you now have so many ideas floating in your head. If we look back at our journey, you now know how to combine mediums together, like beads and embroidery, what fabrics work for different mediums, use a different surface like paper instead of fabric, and go for a minimalistic results or go all out with gold and glitter. If there's one thing I hope that you take from this class is that you feel empowered to take a risk with your art and see materials in a different light, even if that means that it will not be perfect in your perspective. Please upload it to the Project section so we can all have a look and we can all get inspiration from each other. I hope you liked this class. If you have anything to say, you want to comment on something, you want to add something, please put it in the discussion, and then we can all follow along with your thoughts. Thank you.