Teaching Kids to Embroider

Top Ten Tips for Teaching Embroidery to Children

Teaching kids to embroider is fun and easy, and you'll be helping them learn skills and embroidery basics that will last a lifetime! These Top Ten Tips can be used when teaching embroidery to children ages 4 through 10 - the perfect age for learning embroidery.

Updated by Mollie Johanson

  • 01 of 10

    Keep It Simple

    Embroidery Sample by a Young Child
    Embroidery Sample by a Young Child. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to About.com

    Kids as young as four years of age can learn to embroider using basic patterns with a minimum of design elements. A simple pattern, such as the Smiling Hello pattern featured free here on the site, works best to keep youngsters engaged and ready to stitch.

    Simple patterns can also be completed quickly, helping to keep their interest and not allowing boredom to set in, which can happen with larger or more detailed projects.

    They may also enjoy stitching a basic drawing they create themselves!

  • 02 of 10

    Teach the Basics First

    Running stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, lazy daisy stitch and cross stitch are some of the most basic of all stitches, and are used in a wide variety of needlework and sewing projects. Teaching children these simple basics first gives them a good foundation.

    Have them work the stitches on scraps of fabric first, using really big stitches so they get the mechanics of the stitch down before moving on to an actual project for best results. Save more complicated embroidery stitches for a later...MORE time.

  • 03 of 10

    Use a Limited Number of Colors

    Just use a handful of colors of embroidery thread when working with children, and let them choose. Using just one to five colors keeps even larger patterns from feeling complicated.

  • 04 of 10

    Keep the Lessons Short

    Kids have shorter attention spans than adults. Keep the lessons short, and let them choose the time or day that suits them best. Arrange the lessons for the time of day when the kids have energy and enthusiasm. Sitting them down for a stitching lesson right after school or after a meal is not the optimum time because they might be tired.

    Also, don't get discouraged if a child loses interest in the embroidery lesson after just a few minutes. Don't force it - just smile and try again...MORE another time.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Make it Fun!

    Choosing bright fun colors, easy patterns and spending time together is what makes embroidery fun for kids. Also, making something they can use and enjoy later will keep their interest in embroidery growing long after the project has been completed.

    Remember that the process is more important than the final product. Keeping that in mind will alter your own experience, which is more likely to make it a fun experience for the child.

  • 06 of 10

    Choose the Right Materials and Supplies

    Using chunkier threads like pearl cotton and long, thick needles are easier for small hands to hold and use. Keep the embroidery fabric soft, but not flimsy and not stiff so its easier to handle. Medium weight even weave cotton fabrics are best for beginners.
  • 07 of 10

    Invite a Friend

    Children love to do things with their pals, and its always more fun to learn as a group. Make a party out of each lesson.

    You could even invite another stitching friend of your own so that you can all stitch and work together!

  • 08 of 10

    Inspire and Educate

    Point out just how many ways embroidery can be used on your next trip to the clothing or home furnishings stores. Blouses, skirts, sheets and towels and home deco items often feature hand embroidered accents, using stitches the child may have already learned.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Start With Best Practices

    Scissors, needles and other embroidery tools are sharp and should be handled with respect - these items can be dangerous! Teach the child how best to use them, pass them to others safely, what not to cut, and how to store them so they will remain sharp.

    Basics such as washing hands before working on an embroidery projects and not eating while stitching helps keeps the project and materials clean. Learning not to use knots and avoiding common embroidery mistakes leads to good stitching habits that...MORE last a lifetime.

    That said, remember that they will have time to learn these things, and it's more important that they feel like this is something they can do, without being overwhelmed.

  • 10 of 10

    Reward a Job Well Done

    Proudly display the child's stitchery, or treat them to something special once their project has been completed. A new embroidery kit can be a terrific motivators, but so can your words of encouragement and praise. Make a point to tell others about the great work they did!