Hoop Art: The Basics

In December, I told you about one of the handmade gifts I made at Christmastime– a piece of hoop art— that was inspired by a simple graphic print I found on Pinterest.

Today I wanted to tell you a little bit about how I went from idea to a beautiful piece of self-framed wall art, and how this fun little project can be quite the eco-friendly craft.

Supplies for a Hoop Art Project

  • embroidery hoop (preferably thrifted, found or otherwise acquired free!)
  • 1 piece of fabric/felt large enough to fill hoop and hang over edges about an inch or so around
  • embroidery floss and needle
  • sewing machine and thread (optional)
  • scraps of fabric/felt/lace/ric-rac/yo-yos/etc. for embellishing

If you want to do something hand-drawn or just with fabric and/or embellishments, the above supplies are all you really need. If you”re looking to design something on the computer and then transfer it to your fabric, read on.

You might use a hot glue gun to glue the excess fabric to the inner side of the embroidery hoop when you”re done, or you can just trim the fabric close to the hoop, preferably with pinking shears to avoid fraying.

Transferring Designs to Fabric

To create more elaborate designs, such as the family tree I made for my mom, I simply created my design on the computer. For the tree, I found a stock vector image and then tweaked it in Adobe Illustrator.

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For simple text, just find a font you like and type your words in any text or word processing program. Look for simple fonts without serifs that will be easy to embroider.

Print out the design the size you want it to be. Then, you”ll need to transfer the design. My secret weapons are this heavy tracing paper, and this iron-on transfer pen.

You can follow these instructions to use the paper and pen (basically, you just want to make sure you reverse the printed design and trace the back of it, so that when you iron it on to your fabric the letters read the right way).

Then you can go ahead and embroider your design onto the fabric!

Embellish to Your Heart”s Content

After you design your piece of artwork, embellishing is the real fun part. I have a collection of lace that was handed down to me from my husband”s late grandmother, in addition to a container full of fabric scraps, both of which are perfect for pretty-ing up a piece of hoop art.

Take advantage of this opportunity to use what you have and repurpose or upcycle some otherwise unusable fabric or embellishments. The possibilities are endless!

I love that one of the tools, the hoop that holds the fabric while you create the artwork, becomes the frame itself! These little beauties look lovely grouped together on the wall or individually.

If you”re not a sewista (I just made that word up to describe someone who sews) ;), you could always embellish with hot glue, or even just put some pretty fabric in a hoop and hang it up like that! In my living room, I have a two simple hoops of fabric along with a piece of art that I received in a hoop art swap last year.

Hoop Art Resources:

Are you inspired to make some hoop art? What are some other creative uses you”ve seen or thought of for using old embroidery hoops?

About Nicole

Nicole can be found blogging at her lifestyle blog GidgetGoesHome.com, and is the editor of Simple Homemade. She loves to read, sew, make ice cream, take pictures, watch baseball and go for walks by the beach with her hubby and three little kiddos. She loves anything handmade and is affectionately known as a bit of a hippie among family and friends.


  1. I really love hoop art! I used to embroider when I was in middle school, but haven’t in some time. Maybe now would be the perfect time to start again!

  2. Oh my goodness! I am totally pinning this! My 10 year old will flip out when I tell her this is what we will be doing for art:) Many thanks for the inpiration!!!

  3. I am so excited to see this. I keep thinking about the cute hoop art you made and wondering how to make one too!

    I can’t wait to start!

  4. I’m so excited you posted about this…I’ve been wanting to make some hoop art for awhile now.

  5. What a great project idea πŸ˜‰ :) I LOVE the little family tree and the one with the quote from Anne of Avonlea πŸ˜‰ :)…also a huge favorite of mine πŸ˜‰ :) I have two pieces of hoop art…both embroideries..one that I made, and one my cousin made for me when we were both 15 :) :) :) So precious πŸ˜‰ Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  6. These are beautiful–so collage like.

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  1. […] Hoop art :: Sketch or print out a verse, phrase or drawing that your recipient would like and then with minimal embroidery skills and a few embellishments if you want, you’ll have a beautifully thoughtful, custom gift. […]

  2. […] more embroidering ideas, check out Nicole’s guide to hoop art. For more ideas on framing found artwork, see this post over at my […]