Color Your Embroidery

Coloring books are really popular right now, even with adults. So why not color between the lines of your machine embroidery?

This is a great project for kids, too. Imaging the fun they would have coloring their own shirt or pillowcase. Redwork and line art designs are perfect for this technique and there are a variety of ways color your fabric after you stitch.


This is a fabulous tutorial on coloring fabric with crayons. Although it describes coloring on fabric appliques, the same technique can be used with embroidery.

Colored Pencils

Jenny of Elefantz has dozens of tutorials (with beautiful photography) on her site. She specializes in hand embroidery and uses Prismacolor pencils to color her designs. It would be much easier to color machine embroidery designs since you don't have to trace the design to fabric and stitch them out by hand. Check out her tutorial on pencil coloring embroidery designs to see how it's done.

Permanent Markers

You may remember this tutorial on "painting" with permanent markers and rubbing alcohol. It gives a watercolor feel to the coloring process which is fun, and a little bit unpredictable.

Tips for Coloring on Fabric

  • Choose a quality cotton
  • Protect your work surface from paints
  • Check the tutorials to see how to properly set the pigments
  • Launder as recommended

Want to give it a try? Here are some embroidery designs that will work quite well!

Redwork Designs

Girl & Birdhouse
Redwork Daisies