People Are Getting Colorful Tattoos That Look Like Embroidery on Skin

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Embroidery and tattoos have more in common than you might think. When you consider how each of their images is created, the similarities are striking. They both use needles to form designs and require the respective artist to make deliberate linear marks every time they touch fabric or skin. These likenesses, when combined, make for eye-catching ink that's spawned a new trend called embroidery tattoos.

The field of embroidery encompasses many approaches. From thread painting to freestyle, stitchers have a lot of choices when it comes to making images with thread. Embroidery tattoos feature two predominant methods that are inspired by the ancient practice: cross stitch and crewel. The cross stitch tattoo, first made popular by Eva Karabudak, has designs formed by tiny “X” marks, while the crewel approach mimics the satin stitch on the skin. Often, the satin stitch tattoos take on the appearance of an embroidered patch or clothing. The “threads” are so lifelike that they appear to pop off the skin. It's also as if you can see the sheen reflecting off each individual fiber.

Check out our picks for some of the best tattoo embroidery designs being inked today.

The embroidery tattoo trend makes it look as though threads are stitched into your skin.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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