Embroidery is a classic technique that gives apparel a polished look with a personal touch. It’s a great way to express your artistry and boost your online business offering.
If you’re considering starting a print-on-demand business or want some inspiration to freshen up your online store with new products and designs, look no further. We’ve put together a generous list of custom embroidery ideas for you to get inspired by and try out.
You’ll also learn more about embroidery at Printful and the guidelines to follow when creating embroidery designs.
Embroidery has a number of standout characteristics. First, it creates beautiful dimension that no other print-on-demand (POD) technique can match. Thanks to the various stitching options and patterns available, it adds lush texture, and designs read richer than printing. Plus, it’s possible to embroider on various fabric types.
Embroidery also means longevity. Not only do designs look cool, but they are sturdy and resilient in the face of wear and tear. Machine embroidery creates durable stitching that doesn’t wash out or lose color over time.
Check out this video on how Printful maintains the quality of each embroidered product worldwide.
Embroidered floral patterns and animal-inspired designs have been popular for years. However, you can make any embroidery designs evergreen. All you need to do is focus on your chosen niche and start creating attention-grabbing, original designs.
Plus, you can embroider pretty much anything (with some limitations). Let’s dive into some of the coolest embroidery ideas that even beginners can turn into reality.
People love to have a sense of belonging and often have nostalgia for their favorite places. Offering your customers products with embroidered geographical locations, names, symbols, and coordinates can really hit the spot. This is a niche with many possibilities.
Create designs of popular places. For example, if your focus is on travel, a certain region, or a particular community, offer products with embroidered outlines or the names of states, cities, and countries.
Give your customers the option to choose how they want to represent their favorite site through embroidery. It’s a fun and simple design option to embroider on apparel that travelers and locals will both love.
This is an especially winning idea for teams, volunteer associations, rangers, etc. If you notice that your local organizations don’t have a flag, a sign, or an emblem, you can offer to create one. It doesn’t have to be complicated because a simple design can go a long way.
Offer products with your customers’ special coordinates embroidered on them. This can be the place they met the love of their life, a place from their childhood, or a place they made great memories with friends. This idea will surely be appealing to tons of people.
Thanks to on-demand fulfillment, the possibilities are endless: you can offer your customers designs of anything they like. Geography-themed embroidery is a simple idea that can hold a lot of meaning, and your customers will jump at the chance.
People love to be recognized and appreciated in different ways. Offering products with customized dates and names is a great way to target those looking for gifts.
There are multiple embroidery ideas you can try out to offer personalized products to make loved ones feel extra-special. You can find free embroidery patterns in the Design Maker and start making cute designs for your customers to give as smile-inducing gifts.
It may not be a super common embroidery idea, but that’s what makes it original. Embroidered family crests or flags are a great way to show your pride or get ready for family events. If you create heritage designs, you can also offer to personalize a crest, a sign, or a flag for your customers.
These embroidery designs will look great on apparel and home & living products. Explore your options!
For a more personal approach, you can offer to embroider birth years, months, or days (especially popular in Roman numerals) as well as names or initials. This is a great embroidery idea not only for your customers’ family members but also for friends and coworkers.
Such embroidery art also works well on home & living products, but don’t limit yourself to just a few items. Experiment with all the different embroidery products we offer.
This is the perfect embroidery idea for astrology lovers. It’s great for embroidery patches, but hats, apparel, bags, and home & living products are all fitting for embroidering zodiac signs. Since zodiac signs have designated attributes like colors, flowers, and specific stones, you don’t have to make complicated art. Choose one or two elements for a creative pattern and you’re good to go.
Similar to family, people have a soft spot for pets, too. Offering your customers custom pet designs is another way to boost your business.
There are different ways to go about it: you can design cute pet portraits, animal outlines, names, paw prints, etc. The Design Maker offers gorgeous animal-themed free embroidery patterns to choose from. Explore and create original embroidery designs that’ll get your customers talking.
Custom pet designs can include pet portraits, names, and custom paw prints or side silhouette outlines. This idea might require using photo editing software, but it’s worth it as pet-related designs are usually very loved.
Pet portraits look best with large embroidery, while smaller designs are better for outlines and paw prints.
Make general pet designs that anyone will adore. For example, you can design the most popular pets, paw designs, or quotes about pets that animal lovers will relate to. Don’t forget to create designs for many different pets, like birds, fish, turtles, snakes, spiders, and even farm animals like pigs, horses, cows, and sheep.
As we’ve discussed, two of the many embroidery designs that are trendy are floral embellishments and animal art. That’s not surprising—nature-themed designs have tons of different possibilities and are appealing to a wide audience with diverse interests.
Looking for ways to create nature designs for your online store? Printful offers a variety of free embroidery patterns you can choose from. Explore some embroidery ideas below.
If you like the idea of pet designs, consider creating other types of animal designs too. Explore your artistic side with cute embroidery designs that can be elaborate or simple for any animals imaginable, including dinosaurs and mythical creatures like unicorns.
Animal designs and patterns are popular for children but will also wonderfully complement different accessories and home & living items for all ages.
Not only are embroidered plant patterns and flower designs some of the hottest design trends this year but they can also easily be made evergreen. Think about crafting a niche that speaks to a wider audience that includes avid gardeners, nature lovers, and outdoor devotees.
You don’t have to limit yourself only to houseplants and trees—get your hands dirty designing unusual wildflowers, diverse herbs, and rare plants. Be creative!
Another great embroidery idea for beautiful clothing? The seasons. Elements and symbols that represent spring, summer, fall, and winter are timeless and relevant throughout the year. Seasonal designs also often fit with holiday themes and can be super cute gift ideas.
Create art with wildflowers that bloom in spring or the shining summer sun. Design colorful autumn leaves and the delicate snowflakes that fall in winter. The seasons are beautiful, and you can get creative with a variety of clipart and patterns to make your products stand out.
This theme extends beyond planet Earth. Embroidered stars, planets, and moons on accessories and apparel can make an out-of-this-world clothing line that will complement a variety of styles. Make minimalistic and simple embroidery designs and patterns using only our clipart graphics or outlines of space objects, or add a personal touch by including text or designing your own artwork.
You can also expand on this theme with inspirational astronaut designs or extraterrestrial beings like cute aliens that will bring joy to many space enthusiasts.
Dive into the timeless appeal of the sea with nautical-themed embroidery ideas. Simple anchors, sailboats, waves, or lighthouses—these designs are evergreen and easily adaptable for your vacation clothes and accessories.
Whether stitched onto a casual sweatshirt, blanket, or beach tote, nautical embroidery adds a classic yet fresh touch to any item. Embrace the simplicity of line art or explore colorful, detailed patterns to bring a personal touch to your next embroidery project.
Words are powerful. You can crack a joke, tell an impactful story, or confess your love to someone special by using just a few words. Mix up your product offering by creating embroidery patterns and designs with different text on all sorts of items.
Plus, it’s super easy—even design beginners shouldn’t have a problem making creative embroidery art with text.
People need encouragement every day. Whether it’s just positive vibes that encourage you to smile no matter what or a bold statement that keeps you moving forward, words have the ability to uplift and motivate.
Write your own words of encouragement or choose from free embroidery patterns in the Design Maker.
So many stories are loved by millions worldwide, and many old stories are still told today. Use books available in the public domain as inspiration to design relatable quotes. For example, on January 1, 2022, A. A. Milne’s original Winnie-the-Pooh stories entered the public domain. Take advantage of these lovable characters’ words to offer extra-special designs for your customers.
Copyrights for books differ from country to country, so do your research before using any references to your favorite stories.
Do your friends think you give the best advice? Are you always coming up with hilarious one-liners? Consider creating your own original quips, sayings, or punch lines. You can design a variety of cool and creative quotes, or focus on puns and jokes if that’s your forte.
Don’t hesitate to share your talent with the world. If you’ve got a way with words, the outcome will be awesome, so trust the process.
If you’re into beautiful minimalistic patterns, consider embroidering abstract forms. Lines, shapes, and outlines of different objects are easy to embroider and get a great result. It can be totally symmetrical or more scattered—there’s no limit to your creativity.
These designs are easy to make into patterns and don’t have to mean complicated artistry. Check for inspiration around you: different sites and surroundings are fantastic for exploring embroidery pattern ideas.
You can turn photos into line art and make beautiful patterns with lines alone. You can also explore other ideas and make impressive outlines of different objects or people that become much more than just a simple design. One line can do wonders, you just need to let your imagination flow.
Circles, cubes, triangles, pentagons, and more. Geometric shapes and creative forms can make cute embroidery designs, especially if you think outside the box (pun intended). Combine different shapes to design objects, people, animals, or anything really.
Overlapping, barely touching, or merged—the fabric is a place for your creativity to run wild. Choose from a variety of shapes in the Design Maker to help you in the process. Even beginners can nail beautiful embroidery patterns made from shapes.
Today more than ever, support for different communities and groups is vital. One way to show your appreciation for others is with custom embroidered products that champion important causes.
Whether you’re a part of a community or want to support loved ones, you can make gorgeous patterns for different causes that are important to you.
Embroidered rainbows, flags, quotes, and other colorful, inspirational elements work nicely on all sorts of embroidery products. You can embroider not only globally recognized symbols but also design your own for an edgy twist.
Show your support to the community, whether you’re a part of it or just an ally, by offering your customers products embroidered with LGBTQ+ art and original patterns.
Apparel made with the idea to raise awareness about various diseases, syndromes, and other health issues is growing in popularity globally. Create your art and fun, informative patterns to raise awareness about important health issues.
Educating people on existing illnesses and rare diseases will leave a positive impact on society. Show your love and support!
Embroidery is fantastic for designs that promote sustainability. You can embroider various motifs related to a sustainable lifestyle, like the recycling symbol, a green leaf, and slogans about the planet and our beautiful Earth. These simple embroidery ideas can be meaningful and visually appealing, perfect for eco-friendly brands and products.
For example, Printful has plenty of modern eco-friendly products fit for embroidery. Choose a tote bag, hoodie, sweatshirt, t-shirt, apron, and many more for yourself, your loved ones, or your brand.
You can also make embroidery art to support the Black Lives Matter movement, feminism, animal rights, the anti-bullying movement, and other important causes.
If you have a hobby that you’re passionate about, let the world know about it. Offer embroidered art that resonates with what you love doing most. There are tons of different hobbies, so choose your favorite and start designing eye-catching art.
You can also browse our Design Maker for free embroidery patterns for different hobbies. It’s great because these embroidery patterns look cute on every item available for embroidery.
Running, cycling, skating, and working out at the gym are some of the most popular activities people do to feel good and stay healthy. Design activity-themed art that people can relate to or offer customized art for teams.
Whether you play an instrument or just enjoy listening to music, designing simple and creative music-themed art will speak to many. Make musical notes, lines, or even lyrics (but remember to check for copyrights if you want to use an artists’ lyrics). It’s a great way to connect with music lovers!
Bring fun into your life with embroidery that features dice, chess pieces, playing card suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades), board game motifs, or related quotes. These designs can add a playful touch to apparel, making them perfect for game enthusiasts and teams. Embroidered accessories, like tote bags and blankets, also make for thematic decor in game rooms.
Cooking can be a hobby, a way to relax, or a time to spend with family and friends. Embroidering fruits, veggies, desserts, and other delicious foods can be a fun and simple way to sell custom apparel and home & living items, especially aprons.
There are also many cool ways to embroider foodie quotes and puns, so stay open to exploring and experimenting.
Since embroidery can provide you with new opportunities to expand your business and elevate your offering, let’s take a look at what products are great embroidery options and what design guidelines you should follow for the best results.
Another great way to freshen up your brand and store is with cool new products that support embroidery. At Printful, you can embroider:
Apparel (e.g., t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, shorts)
Accessories (e.g., hats, bags, socks, embroidery patches)
Home & living products (e.g., towels, sherpa blankets, aprons, robes)
Even if there are embroidery products that don’t fit into your store’s aesthetic now, you can always make a one-off collection or have a limited edition offer for the holidays.
Don’t forget to explore our Design Maker for free embroidery patterns. Explore clipart and designs to make fresh clothing lines and more.
Check out our video on how to create embroidery designs with the Design Maker:
Even though embroidery offers many possibilities to expand your product range, there are a few rules to note.
When creating embroidery designs at Printful, you can choose from 15 thread colors and use up to 6 thread colors per design.
It’s hard and sometimes impossible to embroider designs created for print. Instead, you can recreate your print art into embroidery patterns and make new designs that fit your store’s vibe.
Remember that embroidery doesn’t support gradients, tiny text, thin lines, and other very detailed designs. Watch this video on how to follow Printful’s embroidery file guidelines and be successful when creating embroidery art from the first time you do it:
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of embroidery, looked through plenty of creative embroidery ideas, learned about embroidery products, and reviewed the guidelines to follow when creating embroidery patterns, you’re ready to turn your ideas into reality, thread by thread.
For your next embroidery project, deciding what you like and thinking about what you’d love to see embroidered on various products is important. Be open, explore different stitch types, try new art, experiment with colors, and combine patterns.
Think outside the box. The fabric is your canvas, and the thread is your pen!
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Jana is a Content Writer at Printful with a background in creative writing and content marketing. She draws inspiration from all things creative and has a deep love for all things written, be it a book, a script, a quote, or a joke.