How to Embroider Photos for a Heartfelt Mother's Day Gift

Embroidered photographs for a Mother's Day gift

The Spruce / Lovely Indeed 

Embroider Photos for a Mother's Day Gift

Embroidered family photos
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

If you're searching for the perfect Mother's Day gift idea, we've got you covered! Everybody wants to find the perfect gift for mom—something that she'll love, treasure, and want to display. This year, skip the usual ideas and create something personal and charming with these embroidered photographs! They're simple to make and full of a whimsical joy that is so contagious. 

Gather Materials

Materials needed to create embroidered photos
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

As you're gathering your materials, try to find photos that have a little bit of space on them to create your embroidery. It's also great to find photographs that you could add a "drawn" element to--steam rising from a cup of coffee, waves on water, clouds in the sky, and so on. Use your imagination when it comes to your embroidered elements, and mom will love it!

Supplies Needed

Sketch Images

Sketched image to create embroidered photos
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

Start by lightly sketching your images on each photo. Consider the scale of the images that you're drawing and don't let them overwhelm the photograph, but don't let them get so small that the embroidery thread will look messy. 

Poke Holes

Needle poking holes in photo
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

Use the tip of your embroidery needle to poke guide holes along the lines of your drawing. These holes should be approximately 1/8 inch apart, to help "trace" the lines of your drawing with your embroidery thread.

Prepare Thread

Embroidery thread next to a photograph
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

Prepare your embroidery thread. Standard embroidery thread comes with six thin strands interwoven; split this in half and separate three strands. Cut a length of about three feet. Thread the three strands through your embroidery needle, pull the ends so that they're even, and knot them off so that there is a thick knot at the end.

Begin Embroidering

Embroidering on a photograph
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

Begin embroidering. Start by inserting your needle through the endmost hole in your design, coming up from the back and through to the front. Then find the next hole and insert it from the front to the back. You can see this technique on the dotted line trailing behind our paper airplane in this photo.


Backstitch embroidery on a photograph
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

Most of your designs will be outlined with a backstitch. We used this technique on the paper airplane on this design. Start by creating your first stitch as described above. Then, skip a hole and come up from the back of the photograph into the next hole. Once your thread is in the front of the photograph again, insert it through the hole you skipped, creating a backstitch. Continue in the same manner (skip a hole, come up through the back, insert through the skipped hole) until your entire design is outlined.

Tie Off

Embroidered photograph Mother's Day gift
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed 

Once your design is outlined, tie off the thread at the back of your photograph and trim the extra. 

Give and Enjoy

Embroidered photograph Mother's Day gifts
The Spruce / Lovely Indeed

Give to the moms in your life and enjoy! These are wonderful as Mother's Day cards (glue a backing on it to hide the stitches and so that you can write a little message), or framed as art. No matter how you give it, mom will love it!