Make Your Own Embroidered Owl – Leah Nikolaou

Make Your Own Embroidered Owl

My love of owls stems from my childhood and one book in particular, Jill Thompsons  ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark?’  Armed with ‘Plop’ the little barn owl as my inspiration I designed this owl embroidery kit, which I will show you how to make.

large owl wall art

Design Inspiration

Plop, the barn owl was afraid of the dark so he sat wisely on a branch of pressed astrantia during the day. This is my depiction of Plop, illustrator Paul Howard has his, illustrated above and lots of other designer have theirs too. 

The inspiration for my owl embroidery design is also influenced by other memories from my childhood.  As a child in the 80s we had 70s crafts dotted around the house. I remember a brown rope macrame planter of an owl that my sister had hung in her bedroom when we were little, I was always so jealous she had it!  I think I liked the look of her spider plant too!

I took these two retro owl references and created this vintage owl wall art with a modern aesthetic.  I love blurring the boundaries between crafts, between classic flower pressing, hand embroidery and macrame.  So I've used fringing that emulates macrame and printed pressed flowers that mimic herbarium art.

vintage owl wall art

pressed flowers

You Will Need - Owl Embroidery Kit

  • 1 x Large A3 giclee print (pre-printed.)  Approx 29.7cm wide x 42cm high (11.64 x 16.54 inches.)
  • 1 x A4 sized instruction leaflet
  • 1 x Premium John James needle
  • 3 x Appletons, British tapestry skeins

How To Make An Owl

This video demonstrates how to make an owl using different hand embroidery stitches and an art paper.  You will see that the owl embroidery pattern is pre printed onto a museum quality giclee paper.  The dots show where to pierce each hole, and the lines which dots to join up with your wool.  It’s very much like a giant dot-to-dot with wool!  

There is never one way to complete an embroidery kit but this is how I handmade the embroidery owl designs:

1.  Choose which colour owl you want to embroider the pastel pink owl or the sage green owl.  Or if you are using the PDF pattern, the colour choice is all yours!   I chose calming pastel colours that would compliment a variety of living spaces, a babies nursery, kids room, living room, hallway or bedroom.

2.  Take your first length of tapestry wool approx 30cm long and tie a knot in one end.    I always start this owl design by embroidering the centre of the eyes.  Check out, Tips for Doing Paper Embroidery.  Then start piercing the holes you need to create a woven wheel.  It’s such an incredibly easy stitch,  you can see it in more detail broken down also in illustration here, Woven Wheel Stitch.

3.  After embroidering both woven wheel eyes continue piercing holes for the next section you want to embroider. I'd advise against piercing the entire piece straight off as the paper remains sturdier working in sections and it’s easier to find where you are on the reverse of your embroidery.  Continue by working the fan shaped stitches around the eye.

4.  Then work the rectangular pattern and back stitch along the ear, head, tail and wings.  

5.  Lastly work the areas of fringing stitch so that the long strands don't get in the way of the other stitches. It's a slightly adapted version of Turkey Work stitch.  Adapted because I needed to ensure the holes in the paper weren’t too close together.  It’s extremely therapeutic to make, you really get a rhythm going working this stitch, which is just so much fun!  So much so I want to design a few more animals using a fringing stitch.  Watch this space!

6.  Even more satisfying is the last step, cutting all of the loops and trimming the fringing to the same length.

    If you are interested below are three different vintage owl embroidery products that we have available,  a pink owl kit, a green owl kit and the other a downloadable PDF pattern:

    Owl download pattern

    Or browse the entire collection of paper embroidery kits!

    Paper embroidery kits

    Also check out our Autumn gift guide based on 'The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark'!


    Leave a comment

    Name .
    Message .

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published