Hand Embroidery: Sleeping Fox | Floor Giebels | Skillshare

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Hand Embroidery: Sleeping Fox

teacher avatar Floor Giebels, Embroidery Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class project


    • 3.

      Tools fox


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Ears fox


    • 7.

      Starting with the lines


    • 8.

      Fox face


    • 9.



    • 10.

      Back fox


    • 11.

      Thank you


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About This Class

Hand Embroidery: step by step guide to mastering the art of needle painting

Class description:

Needle painting was the single biggest influence on me starting my embroidery journey – from the first time I saw the technique used I really wanted to try it for myself. I looked closely at other embroidery pieces and slowly taught myself by trial and error until I had created my first piece. When I shared my first piece using the technique on Instagram, I recieved many emails from people who wanted to buy one from me or wanted to know more about the methods I was using, so – here we are!

In this course you will learn how to make the Fox using "long and short stitch" with color blending.  My technique is relatively simple - using single strands of embroidery thread. 

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

Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro: Needle painting is a type of embroidery where you use lots of shadings and long and short stitches to create a piece with lots of details and the illusion that you're actually painting with thread. When I first started with embroidery, I love the look of needle painting, so I really wanted to do that. I immediately start doing that as soon as I learn embroidery, and I think in a month I made my first embroidery piece and it looked so much better than I imagine. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I am really excited to teach you all how to do this in a way that I think is easy and understandable and not so daunting as it looks, because it looks way more difficult than it really is. In this class, you're going to stitch along with me to create the fox, and in the beginning I will also have an introduction on how to do the stitches, what materials to use, and all that kind of things. I hope you will enjoy it. 2. Class project: First thing I want to talk about is the class project. You're going to have two PDF files. One is for tracing your pattern and the other one is for the color guide. Well, as you can see, this is not a class about Illustrator. I'm not good at that. But this is how I do it. I make a rough guide on how I'm going to trace it. I have a class on how to trace an image on your fabric. You can watch it if you want. You can use also the picture as a reference. I also include the color numbers. You can see all the numbers that I used. Well, these are all the numbers that I use, but I use them multiple times so you can see them coming back in the picture, in the treads. I didn't include black and white, those are also in it. What is the best shirt to purchase? These are for DMC, but the ones I included in the list are not that far off of DMC, but the colors look the same and they have the same color numbers and it's good as beginners. I also still use them actually and I think they're fine. This is a class project. It's more like that you can just stitch along with me. I always like to do that. I think that's fun that you can create your own piece. 3. Tools fox: First, we're going to talk about the tools that we're going to need to create this project. This fabric is just basic cotton. You call it muslin fabric and it's cheap and it looks lovely. For the needles, I love the pebbles. They come in different sizes in one package, it's a really nice case where it's in and I love them. They're my go-to needles. For embroidery thread, you can go with just the MC but they are, in my opinion, expensive. I will put a link in the description where you can find an alternative cheaper option where you will have for $10, you have all the colors. I actually also still use those because they have a bigger color range than the MC in my opinion. To start with, it's just the best. For the sketching, it's just a normal pencil, [inaudible]. It doesn't matter. What is also very handy to have is an arm picker because you want to unpick. 4. Stitches: I think it's a good practice to first learn how to do the stitches. We're going to use all the same stitches for the whole project. You basically need to learn one stitch. I'm just going to show you with two colors how to do it so you know what stitches we're going to use for the entire project. Take your needle and hold the end of the thread. After two stitches, you can let go of it because it will be tight enough. It'll secure enough. What we're going to do is we're going to make a rows, with a long stitch and a short stitch. Then that's the way you can make fur so that it creates the illusion that is fur. Don't worry that it's not close enough together. You can always squeeze a stitch and it doesn't matter. My lines are also not perfect. See it's not a perfect straight line. You notice this is the way that I do it. It's not the way you should do long and short stitches. This just the way that I create fur. I'm going to speed it up a bit for you guys. In a moment we're going to use a different color thread. See there's a little bit space. I'm just going to squeeze it in. Now, I'm going to use a bit it up-close. Don't worry this is not happening the first time. Sometimes you need a second try. We're going to be right in the other stitch. Here too. Just going to go in the middle of that other stitch. That creates the illusion of fur and it blends really nicely together. Again, you make long and short stitches. You can also not go in the other stitch but right between the other stitch, so between the two stitches. Or you can go in the other stitch. I use them all because I just want to make them as close together as possible. I just want all the stitches to be closely together. What I also wanted to show you is, for instance, if you have an ear or something that is a bend, how to make that curve. For instance, you have a straight line and you want to make that curve. How are you going to make that curve is that you make a short stitch and you go right in the other stitch. I do recommend getting a magnifying lamp. I will put it on the description on the Amazon page. But trust me, I never needed glasses and all of a sudden I need glasses. You make a really short stitches and you go into the other stitch. 5. Sketching: We're going to start with the sketching of the details. You can look at my other videos to see how to actually trace an image for embroidery. Right now I'm going to do the final touches, the details, so I know how to stitch. You see here that I make little lines that I see which direction the hairs are going. I make the eyes a bit more visible. For me, it's also important to know the direction of the hair. Here it did go up, but not all the way because you see there, I also try to make a distinction with what is the light parts and a dark part. So I make a line there. You do your hair to go to the side. The ears are always difficult with the hairstyle to try to see the direction the hair goes. Here you see that there's a white part as a fox. You can see that I made a line, I'm going to make a line here that I know where to stop or where to start with the white line. Then the last thing is just the tail, and that's pretty, it goes one way the hairs. I'm just going to make some little hairs that go that direction. 6. Ears fox: Starting off with the base color, remember combing the hairs, be going to the side. We're also going to do it underneath, because you can see in the picture the fox also has a [inaudible] dark color, so we're also going to use that color there. Now we're going to use a lighter yellow just to make it a little bit different, to use a different color on the other side. It's the other color that we use before we're going to go in the outer stitches like we practiced. A big side note here is that I'm here using black, but afterward I used gray because it looked better and I forgot to film it. Instead of black, please use gray. I will use it to color in the notes. 7. Starting with the lines: We're going to start with making just simple lines for the fur. What we're going to do is we're going to make a row of lines and we're going do long, short, long, short. It doesn't have to be perfectly long, short, long, short evenly at the same length, just so it's roughly long, short, long, short. We're going to repeat this process on the top of the head, long, short, long, short. You see that I make just evenly lines and then put other stitches between it. Now, we're going to use a different color a slightly lighter one to create the illusion of fur. You're going to go between those lines and just stick it in there. I find a promise that people really think you have to be really neat with it. It doesn't need because it's fur and fur is also not evenly neat the same. Just go in-between the lines and put your needle there. The one thing that it is it's time-consuming, that's what it is, but it's nice. It's relaxing. It's just squishing lines next to each other. You're going to repeat this process for the whole down area tail to tail. You're going to use the dark part lines and then you're going to fill them up with the light part. You see that it's just basically repeating the same step over and over. I skipped ahead a bit because it's basically doing the same thing, making lines as I showed you. Now, we're going to go with a darker color and create here straight lines in the other threads so you have the illusion of a neck so that there's a transition of color that it looks like there's a shadow. If you look at the fox, it's different because you see also that there's shadow down its ears. We're not going do exactly like the fox. I can do that but then it will take really long because that means I have to look really closely to the picture. I like to do it more dense that it's all a bit of own interpretation. Otherwise, if I make it too complex, it sometimes turns out weird because you overthink it and overlook at the picture. But this is a nice way to create the illusion of shadow that there's a neck. Remember that underneath that we're still going to add white. 8. Fox face: We're going to continue with the side and we're going to continue with the same color as we used for the middle stitches for the fur. Here, we're going light, dark, light, dark to just basically the same color as before. Here, we're going in with a slightly different color. Just keep making lines next to each other. Here, I already made the eye. That was not really exciting because it's just lines next to each other, next to the eye. You're just filling it in. This is a tricky part. I had to unpick this I think three times, at least. It's difficult because you want to have the illusion of the shading and in the picture, it's very dark and I wanted to also make it dark. But if I overdid it, then it would just not work and it will look too weird so very small you make the stitches. Again, you're going to unpick a lot. I mean, I edited out a lot because why would you want to see me unpick? But a lot of times it just doesn't look right. What I also do where you want fence you can also just go over it with other stitches. You will always also see that I go over it with different thread like here. I will cover up most of the black because I wanted to have a slightly black. I just go very far in my tread so that it's not that visible. Now we have the cheeks. Here, we're going to do the little black specks. With black, we're going to make some really tiny. Also what is a trick in if you put it in and then pull a little bit harder, then the thread goes deeper into the fabric and it disappears a little bit more. You're only going to do a few, just a tiny bit. After this, we're going to start with the nose. With the black, it's just also looking how much do you think is necessary. We're going to start with the nose. We're starting with a darker orange on the bottom. See, I'm going in the black because I want to have it disappear a little bit more so that the tread is less visible. Now, you're going to work your way from down to up. I'm starting with the dark orange. In the diagram, you'll see that I use the slightly lighter version in the middle. This darker color, we're going to use that a little bit still on the top there so that you have the shadow of the end of the nose. In the middle, you're going to use a lighter color. I already did the nose. Now, we're going back to head. You can see I also did already a part of the head because it's a large area to fill, and it's basically doing the same thing over and over again. I'm going in a little dark, the dark goes in the lighter part. Although here at the end, I'm going to speed it up. We're going to end with the light part a bit more. We're going to end now. We're going to end out with lights. 9. Tail: We're going to first do the white part. We're going to start with a little bit of grayish. We're just going to stick that up there. We're going sideways just next to the other threads. We're going pretty far in the other fur, so then you have the effect of that it's underneath it. We're now going to finish the slightly grayish one. I'm going to speed it up and then we'll go to do really white part. Now, we're done all the gray parts and now, we're going to fill in with white. On camera, you don't really see the difference that much. The difference is very subtle because light gray and white, which thread you don't see that much, but it's just enough to create the illusion of that is fur. Now, we're going to continue with tail and finish that one. As you can see with the fox in the picture that he also has way more black. So we're going to add some more black now. Now, I think we added enough black on this side. I hate it when this happens. It's really annoying. It's when you get also when the thread is too long, then it just gets a knot. It's just annoying. But what we're going to do is, we're going to now fill in with a lighter color. This still took me actually a lot of time because you can do very efficient and that is, having lots of needles with different colors on this side so that you don't have to try your needle every time you use a different color because you're going to use a lot of colors in the tail. But I choose the not so efficient way, that is to use a color and then use another color, and another color, another color and then go back to the different colors all the time and keep threading my needle. But I'm going to speed it up. But as a tip, is best to have all needles handy in place with the color thread, so you don't have to worry about threading you needle all the time and it's more efficient. I left out a bit because you going to see that is basically going from the end to the middle, so you work your way up to the middle and you keep switching with dark and light. You can see in the diagram which colors to use. We're just going to continue with that. Then at last, we're going to do some specs of black. It's almost finished. Any far I would now go ahead and do some blackening in between. If you look at the fox, well, it's more sophisticated than that. But I thought to create some same illusion, we're just going to go ahead and at the end, put in some random black. It looks nice. You're going the same way as the other threads, put one in the middle a bit and it looks really nice. 10. Back fox: First of all, I'm going to sketch a bit with my pencil just so I have a good understanding where the lines go. Because you see it's a fox that it goes here in that direction of there, so I wanted to be sure that I know that I'm going the right direction. We're going to begin with the back of the tail and work our way up in the same color as the end of the tail. Because when we look at the fox, it has a rounded back, it has a darker color, so we also are going to do that. We are also going to do that at the tail, but then in the opposite direction. We're now going to add a light color. We're going to do that on top of the stitches that we just did and we're going to go from light, so we are beginning with light to end with dark. On top of the body, we're going to end with dark. The color that we're now going to use is very slightly darker than the other one. It's really going to be a gradient between colors. You really don't see that much difference from it. It's going to be a really nice flow to dark. We're going to go ahead with the next color, slightly darker, and we're going to go in the other thread. Now we're going to fill up the whole entire section with this last color. That's it. Then we're done. That was the fox. 11. Thank you: Thank you so much for watching this class, it means a lot to me that you guys are watching. I'm still very new at this online class things, so if you have any feedback about how I'm giving the class or maybe something's wrong with the audio, something that you would like to see improved then please give me feedback, it always helps. If you would like to give me a good review, then please. If you want to see more of my work, you can look at my Instagram. Here you can see my Instagram. I hope to see you again for another class.