Portrait Transfer with Cross-Stitch

This picture was taken when I had pink hair extensions put in last fall.  I wanted to do something fun with this photo so I printed out a color copy and covered it with gel medium.

Then I placed it print side down onto the canvas.

I didn’t let it dry long enough and the image was blurry.  If you give this a try, let it dry overnight.  I did a second transfer with a red-tinted print to see what would happen…

It wound up looking like an impressionist painting. Hey, I’ve always wanted red hair!

I hand-dyed some white thread with Wilton icing colors to match the c0lors of the transfer…

And now you know why my fingers look gross… I started adding some free cross-stitching…

Then added color back into facial features with pencils…

A few details with the .o3 black pen…

More cross-stitching…

I stamped the butterfly onto the canvas as a guide and then colored it in with more stitching detail…

I also used some ‘Vintage Photo’ distress ink around the edges and over the red hair to tone it down a little.

I think it turned out kinda cool.  I’ve got another one to show you up next.

Happy New Year and thanks for stopping by!


  1. OH WOWSER! That is such a NEAT idea! I love it! How very cool!

    You’re so creative! I think I may have to try this technique!


  2. Great idea and the end result is fabu!

  3. Stitching on canvas, great idea. Love the transfer and the way you added all the extra details. Awesome and very special self portrait. Looking forward to see more of this 🙂
    Happy New Year for you and yours!

  4. That’s a really cool idea! Love the way it came out. 🙂

  5. I love how your creative mind works…this is such a brilliant idea!

  6. My talented friend….you still amaze me with your talent!

  7. Great ideas from a great lady! Awesome! LOVE IT! ~ Sue

  8. Susan in TX

    You never cease to amaze me! It’s beautiful…just like its subject. 🙂

  9. Looks great! The colors really pop in the pictures!

  10. Fabulous canvas! You always share such amazing ideas with us. Warmest wishes for 2013…

  11. Melanie Keel

    Soooooo cool, you are amazing!! Love you….kisses and hugs!

  12. Floy Height

    I really love this! You are so pretty and this print shows the mystery within you. I so treasure the cross-stitch your Mother made for me, the most intricate pattern of tiny stitches that a sheet of wrapping paper inspired. She would be so thrilled with your work!

  13. This is fantastic!!! I love how it came out. Great idea coloring the white thread to match your picture. It came out perfect!!! Love it!!! I have some gel medium and can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!!! ~Sophia

  14. This is gorgeous!! my DD9 will love this project.

    I have a couple of questions: will it work for laser printer? Also did you remove the print paper from the canvas? In some of the photos the canvas has the texture of paper.

    thansk again for sharing. 🙂

    • Hi, glad you liked this project! Not sure about laser, I have a Lexmark Genesis ink jet. Yes, I sprayed it with water with a spray bottle to dampen it and then peeled/scraped the paper off the canvas. Some of my paper did not come off easily and I just left it like that because I liked the look of it. Thanks so much and have a great day!

  15. That is VERY cool! Great idea, I love how it turned out.


  16. Awesome, Awesome! LOVE this – love the way the red came out – and how you left some of the paper / pulp for added texture. Oh, and I really like the cross stitching. AND congratulations on your new published piece – I noticed that you were a part of the latest SS newsletter – way to go Mama! xoxo

  17. Wonderful work! Thanks for the steps! Kim

  18. This is SUCH a great idea…I have been doing some embroidery lately and this would be a great way to use some stitches… Love all the different textures too…Happy New Year Scarlett!!!

  19. Scarlett, I LOVE this! (It is nice to see you stitching too ;-))

  20. Your work is complex yet simple and beautifully executed. I love your combination of painting and stitching. Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts…

  21. How cool! I love the whole idea of it and am quite impressed. I need to play more in hopes that my brain will go to such an imaginative place. And congratulations on being featured in Somerset. This is my first time to stop by your blog, which I found in the Artful Bloggers magazine. Looking forward to seeing more. –Julie

    • @Juiie–Hi there, I’m so glad you stopped by and appreciate your kind words about this project. I love finding other creative folks through that magazine, too, and love looking at the photos. Hope you’re having a great week! ~Scarlett

  22. Scarlett,
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and love your work, your style, your language and your spirit. Can tell you are doing what you love and it’s therapeutic for you – and therefore your followers like myself too.
    Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself with the world!

    • Dear Sharon,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate you taking the time to leave this encouragement. I needed this today! Thanks again and have a blessed weekend. ~Scarlett

  23. Hi Scarlett – love the thought of the red-hair .. and that portrait montage is just wonderful …

    Your photo is beautiful … so I can see why you want to remember it and record it in another format … I love it … I often think of you – so am pleased to see you’re back … cheers and hugs Hilary

  24. Hi Scarlett – love seeing your creative techniques and all the layers of textures you use. The end result is awesome. I am semi-retired and have been a life long crafter. I love to experiment with techniques and textures also. Busy hands and minds make for a happy heart!

    • Hi Ruth, thanks for stopping by and leaving a note. I’m glad you liked this project, it was a complete experiment and fun to make. You should start a blog and post some of your experiments, too! And yes, I agree about busy hands…my mother’s hands were always busy. She didn’t even watch TV without having her needlework in her hands! Have a great week! ~Scarlett

  25. wow pure magic! I love how this turned out (and I love your pink extensions). You always create the most amazing things. And congrats on your feature. xo

  26. This is such a cool mixed media technique! Wow!
    Did you use an inkjet printer for transferring the photo on to the canvas? Or just a normal HP copy machine? Just curious. *(I’m sure I will figure that one out once I have read your other instructions). Thank you for the instructions!
    And using the cross-stitching is just over-the-top brilliant!
    Congratulations for being published in three Stampington publications at once. That is just phenomenal!
    Teresa in California

    • Hi Teresa, Thanks so much for your kind words, so happy you like this project! Yep, I just used an inkjet. Each transfer is unique and you’re never sure just how it will turn out, it makes it an exeperiment every time! 🙂 I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday, thanks again for your sweet comment! Scarlett

  27. Susan Warnick


    I just loved your canvas portraits. Very nice work.
    I just wondered if mod podge would work as well as the gel medium? (Since I don’t have gel medium).

    Keep up the good work —have a great year

    • Hi Susan, thanks for your kind words on this project. I’m so glad you asked this question! Though I have not tried the Mod Podge myself, a friend of mine just did using the same method as I did with the gel medium. She said it worked well! So go for it! It may even work better than the gel so let me know how it goes! Have a wonderful day!

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