1. Crafts & DIY

How to Embroider a Sweet Valentine's Sampler

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Read Time: 5 min

Valentine's Day is almost here, and what could be a better gift for that special someone than this sweet Valentine's sampler? I spiced up the holiday that is already all hearts and flowers with Pantone's color of the year for 2014, Radiant Orchid.


Sampler SuppliesSampler SuppliesSampler Supplies
  • 12.7cm (5in) embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery needle
  • 18cm (7in) square of cotton fabric
  • 3 to 4 colors of 6 strand embroidery floss
  • Pair of scissors
  • Embroidery transfer pen
  • Card stock in the color of your choice
  • Glue
  • Printout of sampler pattern at your desired size
  • Iron
  • Template

1. Prepare for Your Stitching

Step 1

Print out the sampler pattern to the size of your choice. If you have a larger or smaller hoop than the one I used (12.7cm), you will need to scale your pattern accordingly. This can be done easily with most standard printers.

Sampler PrintoutsSampler PrintoutsSampler Printouts

Step 2

Transfer the pattern to your fabric.

For simple patterns like this one, I like to tape my pattern to a window and trace the pattern straight onto my fabric with an embroidery transfer pen. These pens wash out of fabrics very easily once you complete your stitching. If you do not have an embroidery transfer pen, you may use a pencil and trace very lightly so your lines do not show through on your final project.

Trace Pattern Onto FabricTrace Pattern Onto FabricTrace Pattern Onto Fabric
traced patterntraced patterntraced pattern

Step 3

Secure your fabric into the embroidery hoop.

Position your pattern centered in the hoop and then secure the fabric into place. This step doesn't have to be perfect, as all stitching can be completed before permanently adhering the fabric to the hoop (if that's your desired finished product).

Secure Fabric Into HoopSecure Fabric Into HoopSecure Fabric Into Hoop

Step 4

Plan your stitches and color palette.

One of the best things about embroidery is that you can customize any pattern with the colors and stitches you like best. I have chosen four colors (radiant orchid, dark violet, grey and dark pink) to complete this sampler. The heart is completed in a chain stitch, and I used backstitch for the text and arrow. A french knot fills in the arrowhead. You may choose any stitches and color palette you like.

French Knot DetailFrench Knot DetailFrench Knot Detail

Step 5

Select your first color and thread your needle.

Thread Your NeedleThread Your NeedleThread Your Needle
Separate flossSeparate flossSeparate floss

I began with my radiant orchid shade (DMC floss 209) in a chain stitch for the heart. I used all six strands of floss for a full and bold heart shape. You can create a more delicate outline by separating your floss into fewer strands, as I did with the grey for the arrow shaft.

2. Stitch Your Sampler

Step 1

Pick a starting point and work your first stitch.

I decided to stitch the heart first as it is the main element in this pattern. The pattern also has a tiny bit of overlap (the arrow shaft crosses over the heart at the top), so it is also a good idea to stitch items in the background first, so following stitches can be made on top naturally.

Begin StitchingBegin StitchingBegin Stitching

Step 2

Finish each element before moving on.

I used two separate lengths of floss to complete the heart to avoid tangling and knotting. I finished each element before moving on to the next. This can help you to avoid losing a color of floss while working on the project.

Completed HeartCompleted HeartCompleted Heart

Step 3

Knot or weave in the ends of your floss while working.

Once you finish with a length of floss, it can help keep the back of your work neat if you tie a small knot or weave the end of the floss into your last few stitches. You will avoid catching your needle or getting your floss in a big mess by tidying up your work at the end of each completed segment.

Heart KnotHeart KnotHeart Knot
Completed BackCompleted BackCompleted Back

3. Finish Your Sampler for Display

Step 1

Gently rinse out any lines left by your transfer pen.

Transfer pens rinse out very easily, so you shouldn't need to rub your stitching. Allow your sampler to dry completely. I can usually get my pen to wash out just by putting some water on my final stitched work and moving it around while it's still in the hoop, as shown above.

wash out penwash out penwash out pen

Step 2

Before placing your sampler back into your hoop and gluing it into place, iron out any wrinkles.

Iron final samplerIron final samplerIron final sampler

Step 3

Place your embroidered fabric back into the embroidery hoop.

Adjust the placement of your fabric over the hoop. To secure your fabric in the hoop for display, I used a small amount of glue around the inner hoop, before placing my fabric and then sliding on the outer hoop. Try to keep the fabric smooth while sliding the hoops together. Once you are satisfied with the positioning, tighten the hoop closed and allow the glue to dry.

Final PlacementFinal PlacementFinal Placement

Step 4

Using a pair of sharp scissors, trim off the excess fabric as close as you possible to the hoop. Don't worry too much about ragged edges, as they will be covered up in the final step.

Trim Excess FabricTrim Excess FabricTrim Excess Fabric

Step 5

Trace your hoop onto a piece of card stock and cut out a final backing.

Trace hoopTrace hoopTrace hoop

Trace as closely to the hoop as you can and cut around the backing just inside the traced lines. This will make your backing circle slightly smaller than the hoop so it won't be seen when the sampler is viewed from the front.

Cut out backingCut out backingCut out backing

Step 6

Using a small line of glue all around the hoop, glue the card stock to the hoop. This will cover all rough edges and the back of your stitching. Once dry, your sampler is ready to gift to your own special Valentine.

Glue on backingGlue on backingGlue on backing

Display Or Gift Your Sampler

Your sampler is ready to be hung on the wall or wrapped up for that special someone. Congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Final SamplerFinal SamplerFinal Sampler

Love this Valentine's Day project? Don't miss our other DIY Valentine's Day ideas.

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