Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Embroidered pet portraits, 4th grade

We tried a new media with our #petpARTners project, which raises awareness of the homeless pet population in our community - embroidery! Fourth grade learned to load an embroidery hoop with fabric, thread a needle, tie a knot, and sew a few stitches like the running stitch, back stitch and satin stitch. Managing needles can be tricky, but this tip from Art with Mrs. E on Instagram was a good idea - I ended up making six smaller boxes with five needles each, one box per table. It made for quicker collection and distribution.

We started by tracing our empty hoop on paper and drawing a "head and shoulders" portrait of a dog or cat from FurKids animal shelter - a few students wanted to make their family pet. I shared these examples from this Pinterest pin to get an idea of how the embroidered stitches might look. 

Then, we placed our muslin over the pencil drawing and very lightly traced it onto the fabric. Finally, we loaded the fabric and started stitching - the first day of threading needles and making stitches is very hands on for me, because it can be a little confusing right at first. By the next lesson, however, most kids are rolling along and solving their own stitching issues. This is a great lesson to demonstrate problem solving!I have Open Studio mornings a few times a week, and I get the biggest turnout from kids wanting to work on their embroidery - they really get hooked. It is a bit time consuming and I have interrupted the lesson a couple of times for things like getting ready for our upcoming art show. But the results are great and they love learning a new skill. For the paper frame, we trace the interior of the empty hoop on to a piece of construction paper, cut it out from the inside, and tape the fabric behind.

I share these on social media to encourage people to “adopt, don’t shop” or to donate to their local shelter. #petpARTners ties in wonderfully with our character ed program, 7 Mindsets. These are some from our first finished batch - will post more soon!


  1. I want to to thank you for this good read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it.
    I have got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

  2. Hello Mrs knight its me Derek

    1. Hi Derek, did you see your dog on here? I hope you are enjoying your summer so far!

  3. These are so charming and I love the message as well- my family has always adopted from animal shelters :)

  4. Me encantó tu clase, copiaré por acá en Chile, hay muchos perros abandonados, ..

  5. Oh my god, these are so cute and charming! I love them!

    Wish the peeps here in Sweden would have introduced the same thing to us :)



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