Including Tattoos in Stitch People Portraits

In Cross Stitch, Stitch People by Lizzy1 Comment

I love the challenge of including tattoos in a Stitch People portrait. People don’t expect it can be done, so it’s always a nice surprise to add this little detail, and it really adds to the personality of the individual character and the overall portrait.

If you look at the portrait of “The Macarellas,” below, you’ll notice that the man has a full-arm tattoo on his left arm.


What I recommend for colorful tattoo “sleeves” is this: choose what you think are the top three colors of the tattoo, are and combine one thread of floss of each of those colors, and stitch the arm. In this case, I chose a dullish red, a dark gray-ish green, and one thread of the skin color, DMC 945, as this particular tattoo showed some natural skin color throughout. Together, it creates the effect of the tattoo. You can also split up the tattoo into “sections” as you design your Stitch People portrait. If there are colors more common to the top of the tattoo, and different colors more common to the bottom of the tattoo, complete the tattoo’s cross-stitches using appropriately different combinations of colors.

Here are some more examples:



For a one-color tattoo, for example a small black tattoo on an arm, I would complete the full arm in the skin-tone color, except for one or two stitches where the tattoo is. Then, on that part of the arm, combine 2 skin tone threads with 1 black thread, or if it’s a more substantial tattoo, 1 skin tone, 1 gray, and 1 black and it will allude to the tattoo on the body.


Obviously, in such a small space you can’t really replicate the tattoo but it is certainly worth adding!

If the tattoo is extremely small, try adding a French Knot in the approximate color and location of the tattoo.

Have you ever included a tattoo in your Stitch People portraits? How did you do it?

Have a great day,


Disclaimer: I do not own the images used in this blog post, nor do I own the actual tattoo designs. Sources: Black & White Sleeve Tattoo  |  Colorful Sleeve Tattoo  |  Small Geometric Tattoo


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