I don’t know about you, but a little extra sunshine might be just what we need right now. I hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy and home. But while you are doing all of those things, you might find that you have some extra time on your hands.
Enter the Mixed-Media Boho Sunshine project.
I designed this project to be easy enough that a young, child-sized beginner could complete it with help from a grownup. I have two child-sized beginners who are home from school right now and this was an excellent project to work on together while having fun with paint and learning a new skill…embroidery!
If you are not child-sized, I think it is still a fun project to take on…especially if you are new to mixed-media embroidery. I created my own version of this hoop and working with a sunshine-filled color palette was just what I needed during several rainy & cloudy days.
While creating the list of supplies that you will need for this project, I tried to be mindful of putting together a list of things that you would most likely already have in your home.
- An embroidery hoop (any size you would like; we used 8″ and 7″)
- Low volume fabric (we used this fabric from Giucy Giuce/Andover Fabrics)
- A water soluble pen or pencil or just a piece of chalk or colored pencil (anything that can mark a few lines)
- Acrylic paint (any brand from the fancy art store kinds to the craft store acrylic paint)
- Paintbrushes (again, whatever you have on hand)
- Embroidery thread, yarn, etc (this is what we used)
- Beads (any kind of seed bead) or Perler Beads or Pony beads (it’s super fun for kids to repurpose their craft stash and they come in such great colors!)
- White school glue (any brand, we used Elmer’s)
Let’s Get Started: PAINTING!
Begin by choosing your background fabric and placing it in the hoop. Stretch the fabric while you are tightening the hoop…you want the fabric to be nice and tight in the hoop.
*TIP: if you normally prefer to have the screw on the right side of the hoop, you may want to flip it around for now. I’ll tell you why later!
Trim any excess fabric. I like to keep about a 2″ border of fabric which allows me to tighten the fabric as I work on the project.
It’s time to draw your sun! You can either freehand this or find something circle you trace a sun shape into your fabric. This is where you will want to use your water soluble pen/pencil/chalk. Your lines don’t need to be very dark…just dark enough to give you some guidelines for painting.
Once you have your sun, have fun drawing the rays. Draw as many or as few as you want!
Now for the fun part…paint!
You are going to paint your sun first. This large area gives you space to test how it feels to paint on fabric. Begin with a thin coat of paint to see how the coverage looks on the fabric. I ended up using two coats of paint on my sun (see below).
The paint will dry fairly quickly and if you need a second or third coat, you can usually apply that within minutes.
So you’ve painted your sun and you’re ready to paint the rays. Have fun with your paint colors and if you don’t have a large variety of colors at hand, try mixing colors to come up with shades that are slightly different for more variety.
When painting the rays, carefully begin with the edge that touches the sun and work out towards the hoop.
Remember how I said to place your hoop on backwards? This is why! As you paint toward the edge, it is inevitable that bits of paint will get on your hoop. Don’t worry about that! When your project is finished, you will flip the outer hoop and won’t see any of that paint! (I’ll walk you through that at the end!)
Your rays will also need 2-3 coats of paint but will dry quickly.
When you have finished with painting your hoop, let it dry completely before embroidering. I like to give it about an hour to completely dry.
Parents, this gives you some time to clean up your kids and their paint before moving on to the next step! You can even save the embroidery part for another day…make this a multi day project that they are excited to come back to!
Here’s my painted hoop…I think it’s pretty even before any embroidery has been added! And if that’s where you want to end this project, then skip to the end for directions on how to finish your hoop!
Let’s Get Started: EMBROIDERY!
Our hoops were stitched using just the backstitch. Here is a link to my YouTube tutorial on stitching this stitch with and without beads!
I stitched my hoop first using Eleganza size 5 Perle Cotton. If you are using a stranded thread like a DMC floss, I would recommend using at least 4 and even 6 strands, just so that the thread and your stitches are visible. If you are using seed beads, check to make sure that your needle fits through the bead.
My boys used the same thread to embroider, however, they used Perler beads which were super fun to add to this project!
Here’s a little mom tip for you: don’t try to stitch your project while you are helping your kids stitch their projects…trust me! They will need a little more hands-on help with this portion of the project and you can save your hoop to stitch while they are in bed!!
If your little one is too small to take on the embroidery, this is a perfect joint project for you! Let them do all of the painting and you do all of the embroidery. You’ve just made a keepsake that will bring you some sunshine for years to come!
Let’s Finish Your Hoop!
When you have finished embroidering your hoop, re-tighten the fabric in the hoop. If you have paint on the edges, resist the urge to flip your hoop. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that in just a bit.
Trim your fabric now. You want to have enough fabric around the edge to fold it backwards towards the back of the hoop, but you don’t want so much extra that it touches the fabric. I usually leave about 1/2″ – 3/4″ depending on the thickness of my hoop.
Grab your school glue and flip your hoop so you are looking at the back. Run a strip of glue all the way around the back edge of the hoop and begin to fold the fabric over the glue. Your fingers will get a little gluey while you do this, but you’ll notice that as the glue dries, it hardens the fabric leaving you a perfect finished edge on the back of the hoop.
Once it is completely dry (I always leave it an hour, just to be sure), you can now completely unscrew your hoop, remove the outer hoop and flip it over so that any painted edges are now on the backside of your project! Re-screw the hoop and you have a finished project!!
Tie a piece of ribbon and you can hang this hoop to remind you that sunny days are just ahead!
And while you have all of this extra time, make a few of these to give as gifts down the road. This project would make a perfect teacher appreciation gift, because don’t we appreciate those teachers all the more so now than ever before?!
If you want to try your hand at another beginner friendly embroidery project, check out my latest embroidery pattern: Wreath of Flowers, which is available for download now!
If you want lots of embroidery tutorials, check out my YouTube channel!
If you are looking for something to embroider without having to go to the effort of transferring a pattern, my latest release Boho Gardens: In The Conservatory is available and shipping now!
And, for a limited time, check out everything that Bluprint has to offer for FREE, including my class, Mixed Media Embroidery. This is a really great time to chill out and learn a new hobby or skill!
I hope that your family has fun trying this project and be sure to share your projects with me! If you are on Instagram, be sure to use the #bohosunshine hashtags so that I can see what you create!