The world asks for all our time be it work, children, spouses, working out, or Netflix. Ever since the 2015 reemergence of adult coloring books research has shown the therapeutic nature of coloring has tangible affects on one’s mental health. While I am fan of coloring books for several reasons I hardly take the time to color them. My love for sewing took me in a different direction; I stitch illustrations from classic literature.

I first began by picking a theme and deciding on how many illustrations I want to needlepoint. Typically coloring doesn’t require as much prep as I took with this project. However, I set out to display my work as pieces of art and felt the need to take my time. Once everything was in place my tools were easy to access.

Theme choice

Considering I am choosing to frame and display this project I decided on a theme I would like to see day in and day out. You can pick a color,  subject, or just something that you like. In this case I chose frogs from classic literature.  Frogs being my favorite animal and classic literature giving me much to work with.  I also chose to keep this collection to at least three images.

*Consider the color pallet as well. A cohesive color pallet ties each work together. *


Like any other visual art you need to consider what medium you will present your piece with.  I have chosen to embroider on printed cotton calico. I first tried an iron on to canvas which eventually flaked and bled compromising the image (not shown).  To strengthen the cotton I backed the fabric with embroidery interfacing. You can find the printable fabric  I used  at any craft store, Amazon , or big box store.  Remember to always iron the fully dried image to set the ink.

*Keep your images the same size to allow for matching frame sizes later.*

Finding an Image

The internet makes finding an image easier than ever. However, this part of the project took some time. Although I had thousands of images at my fingertips I chose to keep the collection to four.  Being picky about what I display in my home also made the search longer than I had liked.  I chose images with color and were from original illustrators.


Any embroidery thread will do.  I do suggest mixing up threads for texture. Cotton embroidery floss is the most economical and comes in a rainbow of colors. Metallic threads or fine wool yarn can add a quality to any image you stitch. I like to use wool for foliage or fur.  If you are just starting anew take your image to the craft store and match the colors you need. Once you are comfortable choosing colors you can use online color guides. DMC embroidery allows you to  order just the colors you need based on their color chart. You can upload an image and it will calculate what you need. 


Once you have all your tools and have mounted your canvas to a hoop or embroidery frame you are ready to stitch. Always have a basket or a drawer near by to stow your work. Baskets are easy to move locations with and can be put on a high shelf in case a small child visits.

Illustrations in this project are below. I am still working on completing this collection. Follow my progress on Instagram or Twitter @marloflorence.

Want to start a project like this. Let me know how it’s going. Leave your comments below.

Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carrol

Thumbilina – Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

The Frog Prince- Grimms Fairy Tales

Frogman- The Lost Princess of Oz

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