Toucan Embroidery ~ How I Made Him


This is my most recent embroidery project I’ve been working on for the last two weeks and I love how it has turned out. It is the biggest and most complex piece I have made so far. I love toucans and I also love decorative and fancy designs which I tried to capture here.


I started off with a sketch of an idea before anything else. Then I picked my material and I knew I wanted to use black fabric for the background. This would allow bright threads to pop.

Fabrics, Threads & BeadsI also wanted to add beads to this project and give it some intense visual interest. These beads reflect light well. I added a fabric stabiliser to the fabric for some extra support with all the stitching I was planning. Next I sketched my idea on to the fabric using tailor chalk. While this did work, it was more difficult getting precise details and I did buy a white tailor pencil a few days later.

chalk outlineI started stitching the beak and used a split stitch for the entire toucan outline.

blue outlineI then did the same stitch with the blue thread.

Half way...I then began to fill the beak in with a satin stitch and used two different kinds of gold thread. This was more because the first type of thread was so hard to stitch with, I actually found some better stuff in the art shop. I also had to stock up on more threads.


When filling in the decorative parts of the Toucan I decided to be quite free in how I approached it, creating flower stitches and adding beads as I went along. I also did a similar thing with the tail, making sure each separate piece was different.

white filling inI then began to fill in the white part of his head. This was a bit scary in case the finished look turned out bad as I used a lot of white thread here. I started to stitch in the branch using a back stitch.

tail stitchesI love how the gold, blue and black work together. I started to make the leaves and used a split stitch for the outlines. I love this shimmery green thread.

flower stitchI then began adding the flowers and wanted them to all look different. Some are partial petals and this one is enclosed. I kept the flowers and leaves simple as the toucan is the main feature.

I decided to add the writing The Adorned Forest like I had planned, and used a split stitch to give it an element of handwriting. It was pretty hard to make it look even, but I think with the added colours on separate letters it looks pretty good for a first try.

toucan side

To finish I cut away the fabric stabiliser and glued the fabric at the back to the embroidery hoop using a glue gun. This gives a nice finished appearance. And then, finished and ready for the wall! Really love how this turned out! I will be using beads in my embroidery again.

text from side

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