Embroidery Tattoos: Everything You Need to Know

Embroidery tattoos, also known as patch tattoos virtually exploded in popularity almost overnight. And many people are still wondering, “How did they do that?”

By taking inspiration from the classical art of embroidery, tattoo artists are creating designs that look like they have been stitched into the skin, combining an ancient art with something more modern.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how you can replicate the style by covering:

  • Where embroidery tattoos come from
  • How to do embroidery tattoos
  • Embroidery tattoo design ideas

Where Did The Embroidery Tattoo Come From? 

Embroidered patch tattoos have the appearance of a patch you might put on clothing…just on your skin. 

Tattoos that look like embroidery patches are relatively new, and their unique, three-dimensional look makes them “pop.”

A Pioneer of Embroidery Tattoos

Brazilian tattoo artist Eduardo “Duda” Lozano is one of the most talented tattoo artists doing this kind of work today. Duda says that he did not invent the style, but that he is one of the first tattoo artists to embrace the latest embroidery trends of designs depicting old cartoons like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, video game characters, characters from kids’ movies, etc. 

In addition to Duda Lozano, some of the best tattoo artists doing these patch tattoos are Ksu Arrow, Russell Van Shaick, and Fernanda Alvarez.

What’s Unique About Embroidery Tattoo Designs?

Embroidery tattoo of an anklet

Most three-dimensional tattoos are designed to look like they are inside of your skin or bursting outward. Embroidery tattoos are designed to look like they sit right on top of your skin, just like a patch would on a jean jacket.

Combining Past and Present

One of the most interesting things about this trend is that patch tattoos use two art forms - tattooing and embroidery - to seamlessly blend the past and the present. On the surface level, these tattoos feel very modern. They’re a trendy new style and a way for younger tattoo fans to stand out from their elders.

However, embroidery is an ancient art that has been around since the 14th century, and it’s a skill that is often passed down from generation to generation. Turning embroidery into a tattoo style is a great idea that helps to bridge classic and modern art.

How Are Embroidery Tattoos Done?

Embroidery tattoo of a hummingbird

The most important part of doing embroidered tattoos is making it look like the tattoo was done with a needle and thread. 

Eduardo Duda Lozano explains that embroidery tattoo design can be very difficult because the three-dimensional effect requires the tattoo artist to have a really in-depth understanding of light and shadow. In order to get the desired effect, the artist needs to layer different colors of tattoo ink.

One of the important things to remember in an embroidery tattoo design is that the simplicity of the design itself is key. You’ll need to use a lot of small strokes in different colors to get the tattoos to look like embroidered patches, but the design itself doesn’t need to have a ton of detail.

Using Small Needles  

tattoo gun needle

Patch tattoos incorporate embroidery designs by using black ink to mimic thread lines. Some tattoo artists will add lines to look like loose threads, which makes them look even more like embroidered patches. 

Because there needs to be so much detail for embroidery tattoos to look real, they need to be done with smaller tattoo needles like a 3RL. Tattoos that look like patches require a lot of very careful line work and attention to how light and shadows can create a 3D effect.
  • Check in with Your Client

Because embroidery tattoos require a lot of short strokes, it might be uncomfortable for the client being tattooed, so check in with them throughout the process.

How Well Does an Embroidery Tattoo Hold Up?

One of the risks of embroidery tattoos is that so much line work in a small space might eventually blend together and lose definition. Because embroidery tattoos are so new, there’s not a lot out there about how well they hold up over time.

Tattoo artists currently doing embroidery tattoo design have reported that the tattoo may change a little bit over time, but not a lot. You can expect to see the normal amount of fading overtime and some spreading of the line work.

Best Style for Embroidered Patch Tattoos

When any new kind of tattoo becomes popular, we get the same question: “What are the best designs for these tattoos?”

While people can (and do) get just about everything as an embroidery tattoo, a lot of clients like nature-inspired imagery, like flowers.

Similarly, animals or recognizable cartoon characters make for great subjects, like Winnie the Pooh and Spongebob.

Embroidery Tattoo Design Gallery

While a lot of these tattoos incorporate embroidery designs that are more classic like flowers and geometric designs, a lot of embroidery tattoo designs really lean into pop culture.Check out the gallery below for some embroidery tattoo design inspiration:

Duda Lozano patch tattoo
Duda Lozano patch tattoo
Duda Lozano patch tattoo
Duda Lozano patch tattoo
Embroidery style tattoo by Ksu Arrow
Floral embroidery forearm tattoos
Patch tattoo of an elephant with a lot of detail
Patch Style Tattoo of Daisy Duck
Tattoo of Stitch from Lilo & Stitch by Russell Van Schaick
Patch tattoos by Fernanda Alvarez
Embroidered patch tattoos of the Jurassic Park logo by Eduardo Duda Lozano
Minnie Mouse patch tattoo by Russell Van Schaick
Patch Tattoos of Reptar from Rugrats
Floral embroidered patch tattoos
Embroidery tattoo design of a bird with very fine thread lines on a branch
Tattoo of a sewing machine with loose threads to make it look more like embroidered patches
Patch tattoo of an astronaut wearing a hoodie with a slice of pizza on the front
Embroidery tattoo design of a cityscape within a heart surrounded by flowers
Embroidery tattoo design of the Black Panther logo
Patch tattoo of Iron Man’s mask breaking open to reveal a skull
Embroidery designs of The Jigsaw Killer on a tricycle

Become a Tattoo Artist with the Artist Accelerator Program

Understanding tattoo trends is an important step in your journey towards a tattoo career, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straightforward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need for your tattoo career. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

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AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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