Updated Family Tree: Embroidery Style

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Recently my embroidery love has been lit on fire again.  There are so many fun things you can do with a scrap of fabric, a needle and some thread.  Last year I made a project for my Mom and Dad that you could take ideas from and create something all your own.

Embroidered Seashell Family Tree

First, what you will need:

  • fabric
  • scissors
  • Warm & Natural batting
  • embroidery thread
  • needle- read about needles here
  • embroidery hoop
  • freezer paper
  • sewing machine
  • velcro- I prefer the sew on kind
  • a frame

I rarely ever use that red pencil and tracing paper method to make patterns anymore. I like easy, short cuts. So I use the freezer paper/printer method. I LOVE it. I design whatever the heck I want, run it through the printer and voila- really cool design and no tracing involved.

Here’s what I did-

I googled “starfish coloring page” (then later sand dollar and shells) this is a great way to make embroidery patterns, you can find hundreds of clear, clean coloring pages online.

So I found my starfish and right clicked and saved it:

Then using Photoshop
(use whatever program you have to do the same)
I placed my images where I wanted them:

I added some text on the starfish.
And repeated for the other shells as so:

I then used the freezer paper/printer method
This is what it looked like straight out of the printer:

Next I embroidered it.
You could use any number of techniques.
I used a back stitch and stem stitch.
(here’s a whole bunch of other stitches)
Note that I used the Warm & Natural underneath the piece of fabric
that I printed on. It’s a little thick at first to embroider with but
I like the look of it so much better.
*One little tip my sister shared with me that has saved me oodles of time-
instead of licking the thread and then trying to thread the needle, lick the eye of the needle.
Try it- you’ll thank me (and my sis)!
This is what the pieces looked like after embroidered them:
perfect activity to do late at night while watching brainless tv

Next I cut them all out around the shape:

Then I gathered some fabric of similar
colors but different patterns.
These are for the back. I cut out a piece of fabric
for each item and sewed on velcro on the back:
**I used velcro because my siblings are still having babies
so I wanted to be able to add more onto this later.
I can just create more shells and swap them out as needed.
If your family is complete, you could just sew the shapes
directly onto the background fabric.***

Then I flipped it over like this:

And sewed around the shape
right inside where I embroidered,
using my sewing machine.
When finished, this is how the backs looked:

I then laid out how I wanted the tree to look:

And pinned velcro down onto my main sheet of fabric
that will serve as the backdrop of the tree.
I then sewed them down (sewing machine):

After that, I just attached the shells and
wrapped the background fabric around the mat
of the frame.

My mom and dad loved it!
You could take the same idea and do any number of things.
It’s takes a little time, but the end product is well worth it.


  1. Syndea says

    Yes, I LOVE this gift. You always know the perfect thing to make and give. I’ll always treasure it!


  2. says

    OMGoodness this is ADORABLE. My grandmother is a beach fanatic. She would love this. It would make me have to learn how to sew and how to do all of these stitches but would be a great mothers day gift for her. Her family is complete so she would love love love this. She even has a beach themed room at her house. Her email is Beachmom LOL

    thanks for this :)

  3. says

    Love the embroidery!! I could spend hours just sitting and sewing, and it seems like no one knows how to do it anymore!! (at least here is southern california) I’m off to google coloring pages now!!

  4. says

    Oh my goodness, this is such a wonderful idea for a family tree! Some of the pictures didn’t show, not sure if it’s my computer, but anyway’s you’ve done a fantastic job, thanks for sharing.