Realistic Thread Painting - Embroider a Butterfly

——   Created by Amanda Neely

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1h 26m
Lesson time
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More about this course

Thread painting is a style of embroidery that uses the long and short stitch to blend colors together similar to painting. This technique makes it possible to create life-like embroidery art.

This class shows you the entire process from start to finish of how to create a realistic-looking thread painting of a butterfly. It will be helpful to have some experience with hand embroidery for this class.

In this class you will learn:

  • the long and short stitch
  • tips and tricks for thread painting success
  • picking out a good reference photo to use
  • making an embroidery stencil and transferring it to fabric
  • how to thread paint a butterfly

First, you'll learn some thread painting basics and then we'll cover some tips and tricks to keep in mind while you're learning and stitching.

Then, I'll walk you through how to pick out a good reference photo and how to mark out a stencil so that you can use these skills for the next time you thread paint.

Finally, we'll get started stitching the butterfly. I'll break down all of the different aspects of the embroidery into actionable, bite-sized steps.

Your challenge is to complete the other half of the butterfly by yourself, and by the end, you'll have made your very own realistic butterfly. 

The course project


The class project is to embroider a realistic-looking butterfly. This class will walk you through how to complete half of the butterfly, and your challenge is to complete the other half with the new process and skills you learn.


The PDF files that are attached include the butterfly stencil that comes in 3 different sizes for 5-7 inch embroidery hoops. Thread colors and a supply list are also included in the Reference and Supplies PDF. 

Getting Started:

The Thread Painting Tips video and the Long and Short Stitch video will be extremely helpful when you are first learning thread painting, so definitely watch those and practice the long and short stitch a few times. Then, the next several videos will walk you through step by step how to stitch the butterfly. Have fun!

12 Lessons

free preview
free preview
Long and short stitch
free preview
Thread painting tips
Reference photos
Making the stencil
Body part 1
Body part 2
Upper wing part 1
Upper wing part 2
Upper wing part 3
Lower wing
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Class benefits

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 30 day satisfaction guarantee
  • 24/7 streaming access
  • Project included
  • Direct teacher access
  • 1h 26m of on-demand video
  • 1 downloadable file
  • Have a coupon?

About the instructor

Amanda is a self-taught hand and chain stitch embroidery artist. She started embroidering in nursing school as a creative outlet and since then has a shop where she sells embroidery patterns, custom pet portraits, and chain stitch embroidery. You can follow her on Instagram and her embroidery blog.

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