Print your own embroidery patterns

Create a bespoke piece of wall art or upcycle a plain white T-shirt with this step-by-step guide to printing embroidery patterns.
A white T-shirt with a printed embroidery pattern of houseplants, beside a pack of Canon iron-on transfers.

Embroidery has become increasingly popular in recent years, as we look for hobbies to calm our minds and take our eyes away from TV and computer screens. But did you know that you can use your printer to create your own embroidery patterns?

With a PIXMA printer, it's simple to design your own motif and transfer it onto fabric. Discover how to decorate a plain T-shirt or create a bespoke piece of wall art with this step-by-step guide.

You will need

  • Canon printer, such as the PIXMA TS5350 Series
  • Iron-on transfer paper for light1 or dark2 fabric, or Matte Photo Paper
  • Embroidery pattern design of your choice
  • Textile of your choice (material should be at least 50% cotton and machine washable at 30°C)
  • Scissors
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Needle and thread
  • Embroidery hoop

1. Selecting your embroidery pattern design

A printed embroidery-patterned T-shirt and wall hanging, beside a Canon printer.

You can choose any design you like for your embroidery pattern or even have a go at creating your own.

A woman placing a plant-patterned T-shirt in an embroidery hoop.

Your design doesn't have to be perfect, as you can stitch over any bits you want to hide.

You might already have a pattern in mind for your embroidery. For this project, our crafter Rosie from The Embroidery Barn opted for two designs. The first was a plant-themed motif to brighten up a plain white T-shirt. The second, a pair of hands in the shape of a heart, which she planned to stitch onto white fabric to create an inspirational wall hanging.

Rosie created the designs herself, but if you're stuck for ideas, you'll find lots of inspiration on Creative Park or the Creative Park app3. Both sites feature designs and patterns from a range of artists and illustrators – check out Cactus Party or Peaceful Parakeets!

2. Printing your embroidery pattern

A Canon PIXMA printer printing two designs on a sheet of A4 paper.

Our crafter has printed her designs, for both the T-shirt and the embroidery ring, on one sheet of A4 iron-on transfer paper for light fabric.

Once you've chosen the design for your embroidery, it's time to print out your pattern. The free Canon PRINT app, which is compatible with most Wi-Fi-enabled Canon printers, including the Canon PIXMA TS5350 Series, enables you to control your printer straight from your smartphone and even connect to the cloud.

If your fabric is fairly thin, you could print your embroidery pattern on ordinary paper, such as Matte Photo Paper, and trace the design straight onto the fabric. Simply tape the pattern to a window, cover with the fabric, and trace the lines with a marking pencil or pen.

Rosie used iron-on transfer paper for light fabric, which makes the process a little simpler. It's available in A4 size, so you can create large designs or fit several smaller motifs onto the same sheet (using the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app to assist with layout) to avoid any wastage.

3. Preparing your printed embroidery pattern for transfer

A woman cutting out a houseplant motif with scissors.

The blank parts of the transfer will show on your final design, so trim neatly around the edge to create a tidy frame.

A woman positioning a houseplant design on a T-shirt.

When you're happy with your cutout, decide where you want to position the design on the fabric.

Before transferring your pattern to the fabric, cut out your design with a sharp pair of scissors. You can either trim as close to the edge as possible or leave a neat frame around the motifs. Position the design on the fabric – if you're transferring to a T-shirt, it's worth trying it on first to make sure everything's in the right place. When you're happy with your positioning, turn the paper over so the design is facing the fabric.

4. Ironing your embroidery pattern onto fabric

A woman moving an iron across a T-shirt and a transfer design placed facedown.

Place your design face down on the fabric, and use a preheated iron to fix the pattern to the T-shirt.

A woman peeling backing paper off a transfer attached to a white sheet of fabric.

Carefully peel off the backing paper to reveal your pattern.

Place your fabric and design on an ironing board. Set your iron to approximately 170°C (equivalent to the 'cotton' setting on most irons) and slowly move the iron across the fabric, applying even pressure as you go. Use circular motions to make sure the image has released from the paper and transferred to the fabric. When you are sure the pattern has adhered, use one hand to press down on the fabric to hold it in place and the other hand to slowly peel off the backing paper.

5. Stitching your printed embroidery pattern

A woman stitching an outline around her hands design on a sheet of fabric.

Using an embroidery hoop or a tapestry frame will help to keep your needlework firmly in place.

A piece of fabric in a frame with a printed embroidery design of hands in the shape of a heart.

Using a simple running stitch to outline your design will make it more visible.

Now your pattern is in place, it's time for the fun bit! This is where you can let your creativity run wild. You might decide to embroider over the whole pattern or adopt a more minimal approach. Rosie used basic embroidery stitches to add colour to the plant pots and highlight the foliage on her T-shirt design. To make the hand motif stand out, she used a dark thread to stitch around the outline.

When you're happy with your stitching, it's time to show off your handiwork. The T-shirt could make a lovely personalised gift, and the wooden embroidery hoop is a ready-made frame, so your bespoke wall art can be hung right away, as a reminder of your craftsmanship.

For more papercraft inspiration, follow us on Pinterest. And don't forget to share your creations on social media using the #MadeWithPIXMA hashtag.

Written by Andrea Ball

  1. Light Fabric Iron-on Transfers LF-101 compatibility: PRO-100/PRO-100S, TS series (except TS31xx series/TS20x series), TR series (except TR45xx series), MG77xx series/MG75xx series/MG68xx series/MG67xx series/MG57xx series/MG56xx series/MG36xx series, iX68xx series
  2. Dark Fabric Iron-on Transfers DF-101 compatibility: PRO-100/PRO-100S, TS series (except TS31xx series/TS20x series), TR series (except TR45xx series), G series (except GM40xx series/GM20xx series), MG77xx series/MG75xx series/MG67xx series, iP87xx series/iX68xx series
  3. For information about supported Canon InkJet printer models, check this webpage:

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