Yarn Painting Tutorial - Darn Good Yarn

Yarn Painting Tutorial

Written by Kate Curry

I'm so excited to yarn-paint with you! This craft is something that can be very simple or be super detailed- it's up to you!  All you'll need is some yarn, glue, scissors, and a canvas. 

Yarn painting is exactly what it sounds like; using yarn on a canvas to create a 'painting'. While researching this project, I've found that many historians agree that the origins of yarn painting can be traced back to the Huichol people, one of the native tribes of Mexico. Check out some of their art online, it's stunning! 

For our version of yarn painting, you'll need: 

  • Yarn (I'll be using lace weight yarn)
  • Scissors (Make 'em sharp!)
  • Glue (I use a glue pen, but you can use any kind of water-based glue)
  • Some kind of canvas or backing. (I'm using canvas board, but any kind of thick paper or cardboard would work great!) 

Step 1:

Come up with a design! 

If you're new to yarn painting, I'd suggest something simple just to get a feel for it! I've make a few fun and simple samples for you to print out and use:

Step 2:

Using a pencil, trace out your design on your canvas. Trust me, this will be so helpful when you're covered in glue and yarn! The lines will help keep you on track and focused on the placement of the yarn!

Step 3:

Prep your yarn! Cut a few different sizes and colored strings of yarn for you to use. You don't want to be cutting yarn while there's glue waiting on your canvas, it might dry before you can cut the yarn!

A person is sitting on the carpet. In front of them is a canvas board with a salmon drawn on it. They are holding a ball of yarn, displaying the yarn that they will glue onto the canvas board.

Step 4:

Using your glue, spread a thin layer over the area you'd like to place your yarn. Start off in a small area until you get a good handle on your speed in relation to how fast your glue dries! 

While sitting on the ground, the person is now using a glue-pen to glue the yarn onto the canvas board. The glue is placed in specific areas to create the pattern needed for the yarn painting.

Step 5:

Place your yarn on the glued area of the canvas. You can use your finger or a paintbrush to push your yarn through the glue and into the right position that you'd like! 

With the glue placed on the canvas board, the yarn is pressed into the glue. The person is using their finger to hold the yarn against the glue to ensure that it sticks.

Step 6:

Once the yarn is placed properly, press down on it firmly. This helps set the yarn in place. Once the yarn is fully dry, you can take your scissors and snip off any access glue.

Once the yarn is attached to the canvas board, the person is now pressing firmly on the yarn to ensure that it is compact against the canvas board.

I can't wait to see what you make! 

Happy crafting
- Kate 

Meet the Author

Profile picture of the author, Kate Curry, wearing a dark red Nanda Poncho sitting on concrete stairs in front of brick wall.

Kate has been on the Darn Good Yarn team since 2018.

They have their degree in Creative Art Therapy & Psychology - and like crafting and animals a little too much.