Monday, September 29, 2014

Tutorial : Hand Stitching on a Photo

The amazing Paige Evans designed this really fun background Silhouette cut file for the Studio Calico The Underground kits and when I was working on my layouts this month, I knew I had to incorporate it somehow. I had several spreads with these big 6x8 photos and my first thought was to try to cut out the design on my photo. Nah - it needed something more, like texture.
After sleeping on it, I decided to experiment with using the file as a stitching template and it is so very easy. Let me show you how.
1. Open Photoshop. I'm using Photoshop Elements 9. You can download a free 30-day trial of version 13 here.
2. Open the photo you want to stitch on and do any necessary or desired editing. Mine was in the vertical orientation so I sized it down to 6" wide x 8" high for my Handbook. If you are using this particular background file, there are four sizes included - 12x12, 8.5x11, 6x8 and 4x6.
3. Next, open the .PNG of the background cut file in the same size as your photo. If you want to use the design as is (where the cross/plus pattern fills the entire page), move on to the next step. Otherwise, you can alter it here like I did. I used the Eraser Tool (the little pink eraser in the toolbar), set the brush size to 250 px and erased three diamonds in the lower portion of the design.
4. Toggle back to your photo. From the Project Bin, I dragged the .PNG up to the active window (my photo) to place the .PNG over the photo. In the Layers panel on the right, the background should be first, and your photo second. You'll see the .PNG looks like it is stamped over your photo. Next, with this design selected in the Layers panel, turn the opacity down (I went down to 73% to tone down the black background). The embroidery floss will be covering the design, but I wanted it to be just dark enough to pierce.
5. Print and trim your photo and collect your supplies. I'm using a paper piercer, a cutting mat to protect my work surface from all of the holes I'm going to make, a needle and embroidery floss in the color of your choice (I used gold) and scissors.
6. With your paper piercer, start making holes in your photo at the end of each (+) plus. Top, bottom, left and right until you get them all.
On my photo, it's easier to see the completed piercing from the backside.
7. Thread your needle with embroidery floss and start stitching. I usually begin with a pattern I want to follow. You can start from any end of each (+) plus - just be consistent. On my photo, I started on the underside, poked my needle UP through the right side of the (+) plus, then back DOWN through the left side, UP through the bottom hole, the DOWN through the top.
I had a few slip ups, but for the most part, the vertical stitch is over the horizontal stitch on each (+) plus. Keep stitching each (+) of the diamonds on your photo.
8. Keep going! This is a great project to work on while watching a movie since it takes a bit of time, but it's also easy to stop and start again if you need to.
I think it took me about 1.5 hours to complete all of the stitching on this photo. Not too bad considering I'm a novice hand stitcher. And I love the results. It's subtle. It added some awesome texture to this cozy fall photo. And well, it's gold.
Such a fun project for any season, any photo and any color stitching. I'd love to try this with a black and white photo and a bold (maybe neon?) floss. Oh, the wheels are turning now.

Here is my completed project. You can see a full supply list here.

1 comment:

  1. Nicole, I'm so glad you did a tutorial. YAY! I was going to beg you to explain how you did it. It's been a while since I've seen anything new the PL world... But this, this completely knocked my socks off. While taking my breath away. And blowing my hair back. So effing good, my friend.