A Quick and Easy Guide to Making Unique Embroidery Hoop Art


I’ve been itching to try this embroidery hoop art DIY for a while now and I’m so glad I finally bit the bullet and did it. I’ve never really painted before. I mean, I’ve painted walls, furniture, and vases- but I’ve only made one painting before and it was pretty much all black. I’m so happy with how bright and cheerful this one is- it brings some much needed color into my otherwise neutral home for spring. And the round shape? I can’t get enough!

Before starting this project, I took a couple of the CreativeLive mixed media classes. I specifically found it helpful to learn about gesso in the Introduction to Mixed Media course as well as learning about colors in the Watercolor 101 class. Even though this wasn’t a watercolor piece- I’ve never seen a better explanation of color in an online course as the one Molly Murrah gave.

Get tips on using acrylic paints to create totally unique embroidery hoop art on the CreativeLive blog.


Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Embroidery Hoop Painting:

2 Embroidery Hoops (I chose the largest bamboo one I could find)
Canvas (I used a piece of unwaxed canvas drop cloth)
Fabric Scissors
Acrylic Paints (including a white for priming)
Foam Brush to Prime
White flat brush to paint
Pallet or plate to hold your paints

The first thing you’ll need to do is stretch your canvas into your hoop. Since I had never used an embroidery hoop for fabric before (I know- that’s what they’re for!), I found this a bit difficult. I’d recommend leaving edges big enough that you can grip them to really pull it tight. Don’t trim it down too much until your painting is dry so you can transfer it to a fresh hoop.

Get tips on stretching canvas for your embroidery hoop art on the CreativeLive blog.

Once your canvas is stretched, give it a nice coat of white acrylic to prime it. This takes a LOT of paint as the canvas can soak it up.

A base coat makes a big difference when using paint to create embroidery hoop art.

When your canvas is dry, it’s ready to paint! I had originally planned on using gesso to add texture to my painting- this is when I would have done that. After learning more about gesso in the mixed media course, I thought it was best to skip it for my first painting- next time I might try it to add a multi dimensional look to a painting.

I used an assortment of acrylic paints but found the artist ones- not the craft ones worked best for me as they were thicker. I used mostly white paint, with some blues, greens, purples, and a touch of yellow for contrast. Squeeze your paint out onto your pallet (or plate!), then start liberally applying brushstrokes of your darker colors. The paint shown on my plate was about a fifth of what I ended up using- I never would have dreamed you would need so much paint for a small canvas!

Get tips on using acrylic paints to create totally unique embroidery hoop art on the CreativeLive blog.

Once you have your darker patches, start layering the white strokes. By laying a stroke of white, then without reloading your brush, laying a stroke over the darker colours, then again over the white, you will end up with a nice mix of color.

Get tips on using acrylic paints to create totally unique embroidery hoop art on the CreativeLive blog.

I used one brush for this whole painting, taking care not to mix or overwork the paints too much (and avoiding muddy colors). I kept adding darker strokes alternated with white until I was happy with the mix. I made sure no primed canvas was left showing. I added the yellow for contrast last and I’m really glad I did- it adds a bit of pop that it didn’t have otherwise. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to add the yellow if I hadn’t watched the module on colors from the Watercolor 101 class.

Get tips on picking paint colors to create totally unique embroidery hoop art on the CreativeLive blog.

When you’re happy with the way your embroidery hoop art looks- walk away and let it dry! When it’s all dry, pop off the outside hoop and slip on a clean one, pulling the raw edges of the canvas to make sure it’s taught. Then give it a good trim and hang it on your wall!

I’m so thrilled with how this turned out, I’m already planning to make another.

hoop painting CL-16031614

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Colleen Pastoor FOLLOW >

Colleen is a wife, Mama to 23 month old twins, and the DIY and lifestyle blogger behind Lemon Thistle where she shares printable art and hands on tutorials for DIY home decor, parties and gifts.