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Applique Name Picture

Sew an applique name picture

This project has been written by Karen Robinson.

Follow the instructions below to make a personalised applique name picture. Ideal to hang in a child’s bedroom, this project teaches the techniques of raw edge appliqué, free machine embroidery and some hand embroidery stitches. Make a girl’s or boy’s version.

You will need for both pictures…


Selection of machine embroidery threads in various colours (I used Gutermann Rayon 40 weight threads)

Rectangle picture frame size approx 60cm x 20cm

Mount board

Polyester wadding

Strong fabric adhesive

Temporary spray fabric adhesive

Masking tape

Sewing machine with drop feed

Needles, scissors, air erasable/heat erasable marker pen, pencil etc ….

Applique Picture Template PDF

Applique picture for a girl

For girl’s picture

Plain white cotton fabric (background fabric) size approx 75cm x 35cm

Selection of  patterned fabrics fat quarters for appliqué letters (I used Fine & Dandy by Riley Blake) 

1 round button for flower centre

2 flower shaped buttons

Small black and white buttons for flower centres and owls eyes.

Heart shaped button for owls chest

Green felt for leaves

Blue felt for owls body

White felt for owls eyes

White, green and yellow embroidery threads


Sew a picture for a boy

For boy’s picture

Plain off white/beige cotton fabric (background fabric) size approx 75cm x 35cm

Selection of patterned fabrics fat quarters for appliqué letters and moon (I used Jolly Farm Collection by Makower) 

White and black felt for sheep

White embroidery thread


Prepare the main fabric – Using the board from the back of the picture frame, place in the centre of the main fabric and using a heat erasable/water erasable pen draw round the board as in the picture, this will ensure the design is kept to the correct size, help to mount up the fabric and ensures the finished design will fit inside the picture frame.

Making fabric letters
Sew a child's picture

Adhere the Bondaweb and cut out the letters – Using a computer program such as Word on your computer choose one of the fonts (Arial black is the font I have used on the boy’s picture), increase the font size to around 400 this will give a letter with a height of approx 10cm.  Dependent on the number of letters in the name you have chosen the font size may need to be enlarged/reduced so that it fits and looks good in the picture frame.  Print out each letter required, the letters need to be printed out as a mirror image (adjust the printer settings so that the letters are printed out back to front as in the picture).  

Place the Bondaweb on top of the printed letter (with paper side up and glue side down) and trace round the outer edge as in the above picture. 

Bondaweb tips

Place the piece of Bondaweb with the traced letter onto the reverse (wrong side) of the fabric and with an iron on a dry heat, adhere the Bondaweb to the reverse of the fabric.

Cut out the traced letter and continue to cut out all of the letters in this way until all the letters for the name have been cut out.

Sewing letters for applique

Arrange letters onto the main backing fabric –  Peel off the backing paper from all of the cut out letters and place them onto the main fabric, arrange them into place and when you are happy with their placement, adhere the letters to the main fabric using an iron on a dry heat.

Applique a child's name

Girl Picture – I have placed the letters in the middle of the picture making sure that the space above and below the letters measure exactly the same, to ensure that the letters are straight. Use a heat resistant pen and draw a straight line horizontally across the picture (the line was drawn at 5cm up from the bottom of the picture) put the bottom of the letters on this line the letters will then be straight across the width of the picture.

Boy Picture – I have placed the letters nearer to the bottom of the picture as I needed more space at the top for the sheep to jump over the name. I drew a line horizontally across the picture (the line was measured and drawn at 3cm up from the bottom of the picture) and placed the bottom of the letters  onto the drawn line. this ensures the letters are straight across the width of the picture.

The beauty of the Bondaweb is that all of  the design can be placed onto the main fabric and ironed on only when you are happy with the placement.

Stitched applique name

Stitching the letters onto main fabric – Place some tearaway stabiliser behind the main fabric and set up your sewing machine, Thread the machine with a machine embroidery thread on the top and a normal sewing thread on the bottom. Use a straight stitch adjust the stitch length to 3mm and sew inside the letter all the way round. Try to keep the stitching nice and straight for a neater finish. Continue until all of the letters  have been stitched – the appliqués are now permanently stitched in place.


Decorating and Embellishing

Fusible applique tips

Girl’s Picture

Small Flowers – If  you are using the Fine & Dandy fabric adhere some Bondaweb onto the back of the fabric, to avoid wasting the fabric or the Bondaweb. Cut enoughBondaweb to cover the flower on the fabric you wish to use then using an iron on appropriate heat setting adhere the Bondaweb to back of the fabric and then cut out the flower shape. Peel off the backing paper and iron flowers into place onto the main fabric. 

You could use your own flower fabric or trace the flower from the templates onto the Bondaweb and cut out and iron on. I have used two flowers one at the top of the ‘L’ and the other at the bottom of the ‘M’. Using two strands of yellow embroidery thread sew on the tiny white buttons into the centre of both flowers.

Embellishing a child's picture with applique

Owl – Iron on some Bondaweb onto the back of the  blue felt, cut out the owl body template and draw round the template onto the Bondaweb backing paper. Iron onto the main fabric at the top of  the last letter in the name (as in main picture) repeat the above process with the white felt for the owls eyes and also fabric for the wings, beak, feet and flower, iron them into place on the owls body as in the picture.

Set up the sewing machine for free machine embroidery and free machine around the edge of both wings, feet, beak and the flower on the owls ear (see machine embroidery tutorial below).


Free Machine Embroidery

Drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine (if your machine has drop feed facility there will be a switch which will allow them to drop or refer to the manfacturers instructions). If you are new to free machine embroidery you  may wish to have a go on a spare piece of fabric,  it does take a little practice as you are in control of moving the fabric and  the speed of the machine and you  may also need to adjust the tension on your machine. Different tensions will give different effects.

For this project you do not want to see any of the bottom thread on the top of the fabric. Lift the presser foot up and place the hoop under the foot (you may have to take the foot off on some machines as the presser foot may not lift up high enough to get the hoop underneath).  The stitching is done  inside the embroidery hoop.  I use a darning foot on my machine when free machining. 

Before you start to stitch bring the bobbin thread up through to the top of the fabric, with the presser foot in the down position and turn the wheel on the side of the machine a few times. Hold on to the top thread and pull it upwards and the bottom thread will come through to the top.  I always start with my needle in the down position, make sure the presser foot is also in the down position or the tension on the machine will not engage.

When you start to stitch hold onto both  the top and bottom thread and  stitch a few stitches, stop and then cut off the long ends. With the appliques already in place, move your fabric and stitch round the edges.  Try to keep the sewing machine at a consistent speed this will ensure that your stitches will be of a  more regular size. The beauty of free machine embroidery is that if you stitch and are not happy with the way it looks just go over it again, you may find that you like the effect more anyway. 

Stitch round each one at least a few times – the amount of times you do this is really of personal preference and the effect you wish to achieve.  I like to use threads that compliment the fabrics I am using but you could also use grey or black for a more sketchy look so experiment before you stitch onto the actual fabric to see what you like best.

Sew a heart button on the owls chest.  Using two strands of white embroidery thread sew the tiny black buttons onto the white felt to finish the eyes.

Sewing a child's picture

Flowers –  Just to the left of  the first letter using a heat/water erasable pen draw three vertical lines for the flower stems, draw the lines at different lengths (as in the picture above). For the flower on the far left, I have  cut out a flower from the Fine & Dandy fabric and have adhered it into place at the end of the first vertical drawn line, I have then free machine embroidered around the edge of the flower to secure it in place, just the same as the flowers on the letters and the wings on the owl.

 Iron some Bondaweb onto some green felt, cut out the leaf template and trace nine leaves onto the paper backing, cut them out,  peel off the paper backing and arrange as in the picture below and iron them into place.


Felt flowers in applique

Use two strands of embroidery thread, embroider back stitch along the vertical lines for the stems and also through the middle of the leaves which ensures they are secured in place and creates the leaf veins.

Back Stitch – Bring your needle and thread through from the back of the fabric, place your needle back into the fabric behind your thread and then bring the needle back up through the fabric in front of your thread . Try to keep the stitches the same size for a neater finish.


Child's name applique framed picture

With two strands of yellow embroidery thread, sew the flower shaped buttons onto the middle and right hand flowers and a round button for the centre of the machine embroidered flower.


Boy’s Picture

Sewing for children

Sheep – Place the Bondaweb paper side up (glue side down) on top of the sheep template and trace the body, legs, head and ear as in the picture. Iron the traced body onto white felt and the legs, head and ear onto black felt, cut all of the pieces out. Repeat this four more times, peel off the backing paper and put the sheep into place on the main fabric (see main picture for guidance) and iron them in place.


Hand embroidery stitches

Using two strands of white embroidery thread embroider blanket stitch round the sheep’s body, this secures it in place and also gives the sheep more depth. To sew the sheep’s eye, use a small stitch and sew on the same spot a few times. 

Blanket stitch

Blanket Stitch – Bring the needle and thread through the fabric from the back at point A and go back through the fabric at point B, ensure that the thread is behind the needle as the needle pulls the thread through to create the first stitch.

Repeat Step 1 until the blanket stitch is complete, to join up the first and last stitch, take the needle under the first stitch and through to the back of the fabric secure the ends at the back of the fabric.


Moon – Iron some Bondaweb onto the back of the fabric chosen for the moon, cut out the template and trace round onto the paper side of the Bondaweb. Cut it out, peel the paper off the back of the fabric, place it onto the main picture, and iron into place. Stitch round the moon with a straight stitch on the sewing machine in the same way as the appliqué letters (see above instructions).


 Framing Instructions – Take a piece of mount board and cut it to the same size as the hardboard that comes with the frame, ensure that when it has been cut out that it fits easily inside the frame.


Framing an applique picture
Prepare a stitched picture for framing

Using temporary fabric spray adhesive, spray onto the polyester wadding and stick it to the mount board, smooth it out so that there are no creases, cut the wadding to the size of the mount board as in the picture.

Using spray adhesive on fabric

With wadding side up and mount board side down, spray the wadding with temporay spray adhesive (ensure that you spray the wadding and not the fabric) wait a few seconds and then place the appliquéd picture on top. As the adhesive is temporary it allows to you to replace the picture until you are happy with its placement, use the guidance lines drawn at the very beginning of the project to assist with this. Smooth the fabric from the middle of the picture outwards. By using the temporary adhesive it holds the picture in place and enables the fabric to be pulled round the back of the picture and secured in place.                   

Personalised applique picture

Turn over the project so that the front of the picture is face down. Use permanent fabric adhesive and  run a line of glue along one of the long edges of the mount board, trying to keep even pressure pull the excess fabric round onto the mount board and stick in place, repeat along the second long edge ensuring that the fabric is pulled around evenly so that it is taught and smooth across the front of the picture.

Mounting an embroidery for framing

Repeat the previous step with the two short ends, to make the back neat mitre the corners and glue into place, ensure that the excess fabric is pulled evenly and taught so that there are no creases across the front of the picture.


Mounting techniques for embroidery

To finish the back off so that it looks neat place masking tape along the raw edges of the fabric.

Visit our free sewing projects section for more projects to make for children.