Embroidery is a skill that my Nana taught me years ago. I was obsessed with it for a little while as a tween, but hadn’t thought about it in years.
After seeing some kids calling it ‘needle painting’ on TikTok, I thought it might be time to try my hand at it once again.
However, as the list of duty stations continues to grow, we needed to downsize so they can all fit in one area. So, I decided to make embroidered states instead!
Here’s how I embroidered each state we have lived in using 2 simple stitches:
- embroidery hoop
- embroidery needles
- fabric (I used white tea towels)
- embroidery floss (I bought a variety pack with lots of colors)
- white paint
- template of states
Most embroidery wall art is left in the hoop and hung on the wall, but I wanted something that matched our decor better. I knew I wanted to display these pieces in a simple wooden frame.
So, the first step was finding the frames that I wanted to hang the finished product in.
Pro Tip: Make sure you find the frames (or the size of the hoop you’ll be using) before you start stitching to make sure that you make the state the right size.
I found these wooden frames in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby for $3.24!
They are the perfect size, but needed a little work before I could use them for my intended purpose. I pried the mermaid accessories off of the front and painted the background white.
Make the State Templates
I lucked out and found this embroidery kit with a template of all 50 states and the map of the U.S. in it. And it couldn’t have been more perfect for this project!
There are directions in the kit on how to use your home scanner and printer to correctly size the states to fit your needs.
It took some trial and error, but eventually I got it all worked out. Then I cut 6 pieces of fabric slightly larger than the size of the frames.
Sketch Your Designs
The next step is to sketch the designs that you want inside the embroidered states.
I sketched a simple landscape design inside of each of my states, but you could do any kind of design.
You could fill each embroidered state outline with the State Flower, you could do the aircraft/tanks/machinery that your soldier used at each duty station, you could sketch the skyline of the city that you lived in, or landmarks that are unique to that area. There are so many ways to customize this project to your interests!
I sketched my designs out on paper first.
Pro Tip: Make sure you use pencil for your first sketch! If you’re anything like me, there will be plenty of mistakes.
After your sketch is just right, transfer it onto your fabric. (I am no expert at this, but I found this article with 7 different ways to transfer designs onto fabric that was very helpful!)
Stitch the Outline & State Name
The first thing I stitched onto the fabric was the state’s black outline.
After completing the outline, I embroidered the state’s name.
I used a simple backstitch for 99% of this project. All of the stitches in the state’s outline and the name were done by backstitching. It’s a basic stitch and gives a seamless appearance. (This is a great tutorial to learn this stitch.)
Stitch the Landscapes
After finishing the outline and the text on the embroidered states, I moved on to stitching the landscape.
The landscape designs are also stitched with the backstitch technique. The only thing that wasn’t done with a backstitch were the French knots that I used to make the bluebonnets on the State of Texas.
Frame Your Art
After all of the stitches are in, it’s time to frame your masterpiece.
Remove the fabric from the hoop and iron it. Then center it in your frame before putting your frame back together, and you’re done!
I am obsessed with how well this project turned out!
The burlap canvas silhouettes were a conversation starter with guests before, but everyone takes notice of these beautiful embroidered states. I get so many compliments on them!
It’s such a unique way to display our Army life in our home and despite not being a professional embroiderer or a seamstress in any way, I was able to make these embroidered states. And you can too!