Stitching a Skull

Wow. That title sounds a little dark and quite ominous, doesn’t it?

Well, when I say stitching a skull, I mean a sugar skull. Let me take you on a little journey. We’re heading back to October 2014. FlyBoy and I discovered a show called Ink Master. Honestly, I’ll watch just about anything and get really REALLY enthused about these shows.


Sugar Skull Embroidery 2


Ink Master is a show, where a dozen (or so) tattoo artists must compete in challenges. Each week focuses on a different tattooing skill set. At the end of the challenges, the artists are critiqued by the judges and the person with the weakest tattoo is eliminated.

FlyBoy and I take great pleasure in critiquing as well and then deciding who we think should be eliminated. Just on a side note, neither of us actually have a tattoo and honestly know nothing about tattooing, but we like to play along at home.


Sugar Skull Embroidery 3


On one episode, one of the artists tattooed a sugar skull on someone’s arm… or leg… or back. As I watched I thought, wow this would be a fantastic stitchery. I popped over to one of my favourite embroidery websites, Urban Threads and bought a sugar skull design.

In Australia, we don’t really know much about sugar skulls. It’s really only something which we see on television or on t-shirts. I Googled and Wikipedia tells me: A sugar skull, or Calavera is a representation of human skull made from either sugar or clay, which is used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead and the Roman Catholic holiday All Souls Day.


Sugar Skull Embroidery


After transferring the design to fabric and pressing the fusible fleece to the background, I really enjoyed choosing the bright, sugary sweet colours to stitch my sugar skull. I have many, many, MANY balls of Perle 8 cotton. This image (below) is only about half of my stash. If you’re looking to build your stash of Perle 8 cottons, eBay is your friend.


Bowl of Perle 8 Cotton


It is stitched in just a basic backstitch and then I used this skull as the centre of a Dresden Plate block. The colours in the background stripey fabric, which I had in my stash, coincidentally match almost perfectly to the stitched colours.


Sugar Skull Embroidery Cushion


This weekend, I will be entering this cushion in the Needlework section at my local show. I honestly doubt I’ll do very well with this entry. I think that the judges won’t necessarily appreciate an embroidered skull as much as I do.

I’ll keep you posted.


  1. Great project. I adore sugar skulls. Now for a question or two. I have had great difficulty obtaining perle cotton I have to drive a lil over a hour to find it and they only have red, blue black, burgundy, white & beige. You said you order it off of Ebay. Which brand do u prefer to use to stitch with? I noticed the DMC and Anchor brands in your picture. Is one preferable over the other and why?

  2. Your cushion is certainly different, Anorina. But it looks great! Good luck at the show.

  3. Great stitching and your thread collection is gorgeous

  4. Hi Anorina,i hope you do well in the show with it,because i think it looks great,well done on a beautiful finish my friend.xx

  5. The cushion should win!! I like it a lot:)

  6. I must admit that I am not a fan of skulls, but I love your cushion!! It is happy and perfectly coordinated and balanced with the use of black with those beautiful colours.

  7. I read you often but comment little'! I just had to let you know we watch it to and no tattoos! Your pillow is excellant! I really love it!

  8. I love Sugar Skulls and definitely love this!!

  9. Beautiful stitching and love the fact that you did it on a pillow.

  10. Love the cushion. Your stitching is fabulous.

  11. Now that is very different in a good way. Love the stitchery and the thread you used, placing it in the center of a Dresden brilliant.


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