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Growing up in a little town in Southern California meant we spent many Saturday afternoons at the beach. My mom would pack a lunch and the quintessential bags of beach towels, extra clothes, and plastic buckets for sand castle making. It’s funny because I’ve never really enjoyed swimming out in the ocean but being at the beach itself holds so many happy memories in my heart. When I lived in Los Angeles, my favorite time to go to the ocean was in the winter when the waves turned gray, the beach was empty, and I had to wear a sweater to keep warm in the mist. Ah, memories!
Because we’ve taken our share of pictures and collected shells here and there for years, I have several little spots in my home that have a little beach vignette. One day, I thought I’d try to paint some muslin with ocean colors to see if I could make a stitchery, and that’s how this craft came to be. I always love how fast this kind of simple embroidery project comes together. For this particular project, you don’t need to have painting skills. It’s easy enough for kids to make and you could also customize it with whatever colors and words you like.
How to Make Ocean-themed Hoop Art
You will need:
Small 4-inch wooden hoop
One 8×8 square of muslin fabric
Fabric paint in light blue, teal, and white
Embroidery floss in teal
Embroidery transfer pen
Hot glue gun and glue
First of all, if you would like to paint the hoop, I recommend doing that first and letting the hoop dry completely. I decided to paint mine with watered-down fabric paint for a soft wash and like how it turned out.
Place the fabric into the hoop. Squirt a few drops of fabric paint onto a ceramic tray or plate. Dip your brush into water and then swirl it in the paint. I started with the turquoise paint and then moved on to each color separately.
Paint the fabric, being careful to not touch the hoop. This is where it gets fun. You can experiment by adding a lot of water to the paint for a watercolor effect or dot paint straight onto the fabric (aka, embrace your inner Impressionist.) The point is to cover the fabric with paint. Once you achieve the effect you like, set the hoop art aside to dry.
Using your transfer pen, write the word, “Ocean” onto the fabric. You can get fancy with this and write the letters in a pretty hand-lettered style or just go plain-Jane like I did. You could also stitch waves, clouds, or a simple pattern.
Thread the embroidery needle with floss and back stitch along the letters you drew. By using all six strands of the embroidery floss, you won’t see the transfer pen outline once you’re finished.
Cut the leftover edges of the fabric down so you only have about one inch of fabric left. Using a hot glue gun, glue the fabric inside the back of the hoop.
Now your ocean-themed hoop art is finished! It would be fun to make several of these small pieces of artwork to make a gallery, don’t you think?
Oh, and p.s. this also makes a great gift for the ocean-lover in your life. Just sayin’.