7 Things You Should Know About Watercolor Embroidery

Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by wajeeha khan

“7 Things You Should Know About Watercolor Embroidery” provides a comprehensive guide for beginners looking to explore this captivating art form.

Watercolor embroidery is a captivating fusion of watercolor painting and hand stitching. Initially, it may appear daunting and complex. Finding reliable information on this art form can be quite challenging. To address this issue, I have compiled a comprehensive guide outlining 7 essential aspects to master the incorporation of watercolor into fabric.

Once you grasp the fundamentals, you will swiftly build the confidence to infuse watercolors into your embroidery projects effortlessly! One aspect that draws me to utilizing watercolors on fabric is its efficiency in reducing time consumption. For instance, when filling a surface with floss requires meticulous stitching techniques closely spaced together. While increasing the number of strands can expedite the process slightly, maintaining precision and finesse often necessitates avoiding full stranded floss. Conversely, employing paint on fabric allows for quicker realization of your artistic vision, fostering a sense of creative inspiration.

7 Things You Should Know About Watercolor Embroidery

Exploring “7 Things You Should Know About Watercolor Embroidery” offers valuable insights into the unique techniques and materials required for mastering this creative craft.

  1. Selecting The Ideal Fabric For Watercolor Embroidery

When discussing coloring techniques for embroideries, a common query arises: which fabric best suits watercolor application? Based on personal experience, the choice of fabric matters less than its color quality. White fabrics (irrespective of thickness) tend to yield optimal results with watercolor paints, particularly with budget-friendly options. However, I have successfully used cotton canvas as my preferred choice for architectural embroidery designs due to its durability and paint compatibility attributes.

  1. What Paint To Use For Embroidery?

When it comes to embroidery, watercolor paint is an ideal choice for creating mixed media art pieces. You don’t need to worry about whether the paint you have is specifically for fabric, as I have found that various brands of watercolor work well for embroidery. I have even used a cheap watercolor set from the supermarket with success, although my preferred choices are Van Gogh or Winsor and Newton pocket sets. If you plan on washing your embroidered items, consider using a fabric medium to help set the paint onto the fabric. While I haven’t personally tried this method, it’s worth experimenting with.

  1. What Brushes To Use To Add Watercolor On Fabric?

Select a variety of watercolor brush sizes for painting on fabric to match the size of the area you’re working on. Larger brushes hold more water, affecting color bleeding, while smaller brushes absorb less water, reducing uncontrollable bleeding.

  1. Can You Add Paint After The Embroidery Or Do You Have To Paint The Fabric Before You Embroider?

Is it possible to paint after embroidering or must you paint before? Indeed, you can! However, consider the visual impact of painting before versus after embroidery on your final piece. Painting before allows more freedom in selecting floss and stitches as the paint remains only on the fabric. Painting after may result in floss absorbing some paint, with color absorption influenced by the original floss color? Experimenting revealed that dark floss doesn’t absorb watercolor paint, making it easier to work with compared to white floss which absorbs color naturally. Utilize this knowledge strategically; for instance, adding stitches prior to painting can create texture and depth in a smooth area, enhancing the overall effect!

  1. How Much Paint Vs. Water To Use For Watercolor Embroidery?

When working on watercolor embroidery, the ratio of paint to water is crucial as it determines how the color will spread and bleed. Remember these two simple guidelines:

  1. Using more paint and less water results in a bold, intense color.
  2. Using less paint and more water creates a softer shade of color.
  1. How To Control The Bleeding Of Watercolor On Fabric For Embroidery?

Managing the bleeding of watercolor on fabric for embroidery can be challenging, if not nearly impossible, to completely control. Embracing the natural bleeding adds charm and authenticity to the medium. However, there are techniques you can employ to adjust the level of control based on your design. For abstract embroidery pieces, allowing the paint to bleed freely may be preferable, while for structured patterns like architectural embroidery, more control over the bleeding is likely desired.

Three crucial factors directly influence how much your watercolor will bleed on fabric: the amount of water on your brush, whether the fabric is dry before painting, and if the fabric is already wet or humid. When working on dry fabric, bleeding occurs only in proportion to the water on your brush. However, with wet fabric, the paint can spread as far as the humidity allows. Typically, paint will not extend beyond the wetness of the fabric but may continue to slowly spread throughout the process.

  1. How To Transfer An Embroidery Pattern For Watercolor Embroidery?

To transfer an embroidery pattern for watercolor embroidery, I recommend using permanent ink to draw directly onto the fabric. This ink remains solid even when exposed to water, ensuring a neat transfer. While carbon paper transfer is commonly used for architectural embroidery patterns, it can make the fabric appear dusty or grayish. My preferred tool for this task is a 0.5 Muji pen, which I also use for drawing our embroidery patterns on paper along with micron pens. Thank you for taking the time to read this!


In conclusion, “7 Things You Should Know About Watercolor Embroidery” highlights the intricate fusion of watercolor painting and traditional stitching methods, resulting in stunningly vibrant and textured designs.

Watercolor embroidery offers a realm of imaginative possibilities by blending the fluidity of paint with the enduring craft of stitching. This enhances traditional embroidery, providing a distinct path for self-discovery and innovation. Watercolor embroidery breathes new life into textiles, attracting both experienced and novice embroiderers with its boundless possibilities.





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