mars art camp - photo embroidery for all ages

Hey everyone! I'm excited to present

Activity 2 for Mars Art Camp: Photo Embroidery for all ages.

This project is inspired by artists like Shaun Kardinal and Flore Gardner, who use embroidery to make beautiful designs on photographs! You can see examples of their work below!

This is a fun way to spruce up old photos or add texture and dimension to photos for an album or scrapbook! And it's very possible you already have everything you need at home.

I have created a no-needle intermediate and beginner version for kids!

For the INTERMEDIATE version: please go to minute 4 in the video. For the BEGINNER version, please go to minute 5:30. Backstitch explained at minute 3.



String (or yarn, twine, ribbon)



Thumb Tack

Board to poke into (foam/cardboard/cork)

Tracing paper or stencils (optional)

For Intermediate and Beginner: No needles/thumb tack, but a hole punch instead! Thicker string like yarn or ribbon.



  1. The first step is to select a photo and an image/pattern you would like to create.

  2. You can draw the design right on the photo or use the "jack-o-lantern" method of attaching a piece of paper or tracing paper with the design to the photo.

  3. Put your drawing on your poking board and poke holes along the outline at a minimum of 1/8" spacing

  4. Choose a string, and using a backstitch (See minute 3 in video), fill in your outline with thread.

  5. Tape or tie off the thread in the back.

Intermediate (video minute 4)

  1. Instead of poking holes, use a hole punch to create holes to thread something larger through, like yarn.

  2. You can create all kinds of borders and designs using this method!

  3. Tape or tie off the back the same way as advanced version.

Beginner (video minute 5:30)

  1. Instead of poking holes, cut slits around the perimeter of the photo (see video).

  2. You can put the thread in these notches to create geometric shapes, lines, zigzags and more!

Stumped for an idea of what to embroider? Check out the Mars Art Camp Pinterest Board for examples/inspiration!

Thanks again for being part of our creative community!

Happy Creating,