Octopus embroidery pattern

Stitch with beads to create Emily Anne Ach's colourful blue-ringed octopus embroidery pattern.

octopus embroidery pattern

Dive into the deep blue with this striking octopus embroidery pattern. The octopus, as we know, is one of the most intelligent sea creatures on this planet, and they’ve even been known to use intricate tools, which isn’t surprising since they have nine brains!

To celebrate the impressive complexity of the octopus and capture the mystery of the ocean, Emily Anne Ach has designed this detailed how-to guide to create this octopus embroidery. This project was published in Love Embroidery magazine issue 2.

This octopus embroidery pattern features curling legs and beady eyes, perfect for anyone looking to step up their stitching game. For help on learning the stitches, visit our embroidery stitches library.

Materials for the octopus embroidery

  • Cotton fabric: 35x35cm
  • Stranded cotton: 1 skein each of black, bright blue, brown, lemon, white, yellow
  • Seed beads: blue
  • Embroidery hoop: 13cm diameter
  • Basic embroidery kit

Embroidery stitches key

  • French Knots – See our How to do French knots guide
  • Satin Stitch – See our How to do Satin Stitch guide
  • Stem Stitch – See our Stem stitch embroidery guide
  • Straight stitch – See our Straight stitch embroidery design for instructions
  • Long and short stitch – Work alternate long and short stitches for the first row – the short stitches should be half the length of the long stitches. Bring the needle up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4 and so on. Subsequent rows are worked with the stitches all the same length, equal to the long stitches in the first row.
    embroidery pattern diagram

Free octopus embroidery template

And you’ll need our octopus embroidery pattern template too.

Your octopus embroidery pattern

octopus embroidery pattern
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You Will Need

  • Cotton fabric
  • Stranded cotton
  • seed beads
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Basic embroidery kit

Total time:

Step 1

octopus embroidery pattern

Transfer the octopus design from the template onto the centre of the fabric using your preferred method. We used a lightbox and erasable pen.

Fill the oval shape of every other suction cup on the octopus with seed beads by attaching each one individually using a small stitch and one strand of bright blue.

Fill the remainder of the suction cups with French Knots using three strands of bright blue. Use as many French Knots as needed to cover the ovals. For the narrow ends of the tentacles, make short Straight Stitches to cover these smaller cups.

Step 2

octopus embroidery pattern step 2

Fill inside the suction cups with Satin Stitch using three strands of brown.

Step 3

octopus embroidery pattern step 3

Use three strands of lemon to work randomised clusters of Satin Stitch over the octopus’ head and upper portion of the tentacles. This creates a three-dimensional and textured effect.

Step 4

octopus embroidery pattern step 4

Create the pupil by working two vertical Straight Stitches and one horizontal Straight Stitch that intersect to create a U shape, using six strands of black. For the iris, work Straight Stitches in a spiral pattern, starting out from the centre using three strands of white.

Step 5

octopus embroidery pattern step 5

Fill the remaining unstitched areas of the octopus using Long and Short Stitches with three strands of yellow. Start with the head of the octopus and work your way down the tentacles. When the tentacles narrow out near the ends, use two strands of yellow to fill the tapered ends.

Step 6

octopus embroidery pattern step 6

To give an impression of distinction and depth, work Stem Stitch in two strands of brown thread to outline the octopus’ breathing hole, and also between
the tentacles, as shown.

To finish the eye, work Stem Stitch in two strands of brown to encircle the white of the eye and the eyelid.

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Amazing! You have completed the octopus embroidery, now all you need to do is find the perfect place to display this eye-catching piece. It makes for a real conversation starter, so a spot in your living room will work well. If you loved our sea creature embroidery be sure to check out our other embroidery patterns. From the sea to the stars, we think you’d love this magical Constellation embroidery pattern. If you want to stick with the wildlife theme try this Autumnal deer embroidery pattern.

Meet the maker

Emily Anne Ach

A printmaker, illustrator, sculptor and stitcher, Emily Anne hails from New York, but now lives a warmer life in Florida. The themes of her art centre on nature – landscapes and seascapes and the fascinating creatures who live there. 

Visit Emily’s Etsy Store.