Light it Up: Using Lights in Embroidery Designs

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What could be more festive for the holidays than embroidery with lights? Here are 10 machine embroidery projects that include LED lights or flameless tea lights. There is also a quick tutorial on stitching designs. With a little bit of ingenuity, you could even adapt this concept to hand embroidery .

Elf Flameless Tealight Pin Photo via Bluprint member  EmbGarden

Candles on Christmas trees date back to the mid-1700s. A century later, electric lighting adorned trees and, today, the tradition is more popular than ever. So it is only natural that we would eventually incorporate lights into our embroidery projects.

Get the Elf Flameless Tea Light Pin d esign here.

Let’s light up some embroidery designs!

Fairy string lights

embroidered lighted poinsettia Photos via Bluprint member Embroidershoppe

Bluprint member Embroidershoppe  has created several different versions of embroidered organza flowers and butterflies that fit on fairy string lights. Bunched in a bouquet, like these poinsettias, they make for a beautiful holiday centerpiece. They are equally lovely strung on a tree or wreath.

Get the Poinsettia String Lights design here.
butterfly lights

Drape or hang the lights in a string for gorgeous accents. They add soft illumination to any room in the house or accent lighting for a special occasion.

Get the 3-D Butterfly Fairy String Lig hts here.

Flameless tea lights

embroidered tealight gingerbread santa Photos via Bluprint member EmbGarden

This is one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that?” projects. Flameless tea lights are used to make adorable pins and decorations. Tea light covers are embroidered in the hoop. One set features Santa, a tree, reindeer, gingerbread family, and a penguin.

Get the Holiday Flameless Tealight Cover designs here.
nativity tea light embroidery

Another set is a complete nativity that was featured in Designs in Machine Embroidery.

Get the Nativity Flameless Tealight Cover designs here.
santa reindeer tea light embroidery

How cute are these pins? The tea light flame becomes a nose!

Get the Santa Flameless Tealight Pin here.
Get the Reindeer Flameless Tealight Pin here.

Now, let's make our own light embroidery designs!

Photos by Debbie Henry

This tutorial uses a design from the Merry and Bright collection by  Amazing Designs . The design is digitized with 10 eyelets that, when cut out, hold battery-operated LED lights.

1. Start by embroidering the design on a cotton fabric hooped with medium or heavy weight cutaway stabilizer.

Get the Merry and Bright Santa Claus design here.

2. Remove the embroidery from the hoop. Use a keyhole cutter and a cutting mat to cut holes in the center of every of the design's 10 eyelets.

3. Center the design over a stretched art canvas and mark the location of every eyelet hole with a pencil.

4. Place a block of wood or an old phone book inside the framework under the canvas to keep it from stretching. Cut each marked area of the canvas with the keyhole cutter. Adjust the embroidery on the front, lining up eyelets with cut keyholes. Wrap the fabric around the back of the canvas and glue or staple it to the framework.

5. Press each light carefully through the keyholes from the back of the canvas. Velcro attaches the battery pack to the canvas. 

Amazing Designs doesn't sell the light set anymore, but comment below if you have a favorite light set!

6. Place the canvas in an easel, turn the switch on the light pack, and enjoy!
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Create inspired machine embroidery with surprising special effects! Experiment with foam, fringe, fur and more in Bluprint's Dimensional Machine Embroidery  class.

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Have you ever used lights with embroidery designs?

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Light it Up: Using Lights in Embroidery Designs