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How to Fill with Colored Pencils and Crayons – video

How to Use Colored Pencils to Tint Embroidery - video

With hand embroidery, sometimes you’ll want to fill an area with color but you don’t want the texture of a stitched area – or you don’t want to take the time.

One possibility in those situations is to fill the area with colored pencils or crayons. In this video I show you how to stabilize the fabric for coloring, and how to heat set it after you’re done.

Here’s the finished piece I started in the video.

girl bundled up in winter hat and coat - hand embroidery tinted with colored pencils

I really love to do an all-dark outline when I color the fill. To me it has a playful, cartoony look that suits my drawing style.

By the way – that dark outline looks like black, but it’s really DMC #3371. That’s a very dark brown and I use it a lot of places you’d expect to see black. I think black outlines and eyes can sometimes look a little harsh. Using this color takes the edge off.

The free Vroom Vroom pattern uses the same coloring technique, but I match the outline thread to the fill color. It’s a different look and one you’ll also want to have in your tool basket.

And here’s a totally different look on that same car – colored and stitched by my daughter.

Vroom Vroom - a free embroidery pattern from Shiny Happy World

Finally, for just one more fun look, here’s a set of three Easter chicks colored by my daughter.

Little Chick with Big Feet - a super easy and cute Easter embroidery pattern free from Shiny Happy World

The one in the top left corner is made with the free Little Chick with Big Feet embroidery pattern. The rest are from the Chickens embroidery pattern.

So much fun!!!

Here are all my lessons for fill stitches (besides satin stitch).

Return to the Learn to Embroider main Table of Contents.

Move on to the lessons for all the other stitches.


  1. Anonymous SAYS...

    Is the fabric washable after?

  2. Yes – these should be washable if you heat set the drawings afer you color them. BUT I would definitely test it first because different brands of colored pencils and crayons will behave differently. I used Crayola crayons and Prismacolor colored pencils. I heat set them with a HOT dry iron, and I wash them with cold water and gentle soap. Test YOUR brand of coloring tools, YOUR temperature and duration of heat setting, and the temperature and detergent YOU usually wash with. That’s really the only way to be sure.

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      You’re welcome!

  3. I can’t wait to try this I’ve been doing hand embroidery for quite some time now and wanted to spruce it up but my fill in was not but not great

  4. Kathy Young SAYS...

    Can you do the color fill on already-embroidered projects?

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      You can! You just need to really work it in around those stitches. 🙂

  5. Sam SAYS...

    Never thought of freezer paper. Super idea. Thank you. I love using crayolas with my embroidery.

  6. Louise Sigouin Blanchette SAYS...

    Bonjour I made some dolls. I have a question for you. Could you think I could make the face with pencils and embroidery or it’s better just embroidery for the eyes merci

    • I think it really depends on how much they’ll be played with. Do you need to be able to wash the finished doll? If it’s sitting on a shelf, will it be in sunlight which can fade some pencils? It all depends.

  7. Laura SAYS...

    Can freezer paper be used to stabilize knits such as tee-shirts? Thank you!

  8. Pingback: Free Embroidery Pattern – Vroom Vroom! - Shiny Happy World

  9. Pingback: Free Easter Embroidery Pattern – Little Chick with Big Feet - Shiny Happy World