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How to Update a Spring Basket with Tulip Ribbon Embroidery

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Create an Easter Basket with Simple Tulip Ribbon Embroidery

I find the new modern baskets marvellous, I love having them for storage, for organizing and for adding texture.   This basket is a new favorite, I bought it because its fabric, it stands well, and the light colour is perfect for our bathroom.


A plain fabric basket before decorating with ribbon embroidery tulips.

My first plan was to paint the bottom third of the basket.  I couldn’t decide between aqua or pink but the problem wasn’t so much adding the colour as I didn’t feel like painting it.  I am such a messy painter and I just didn’t feel like dealing with an extra mess.  This week’s been all about Spring cleaning and between my fabric stash, my car, and the garage  I’ve had enough messes to deal with this week.

As I spent my days toiling away covered in dust, grime and assorted ick,  after my shower I much preferred to spend my evening on the couch with a pretty ribbon and no more messes.

If you haven’t tried ribbon embroidery before, give it a try.  It’s much faster to do than thread embroidery, and it’s inexpensive.   Using some ribbon and garage sale Aida cloth I stitched up this little grouping of ribbon tulips in two evenings.


Tulip ribbon embroidery for Spring on a basket.


The tulips are embroidered on  Aida cloth and then tied to the basket with pink twine.   Its give the basket a bright Spring update that can be easily removed and stored.

How to Embroider Tulips using Ribbon

The easy part of making the ribbon tulips, it only takes 10 stitches, so it’s much faster than regular embroidery.  The ribbon can be challenging to pull through the fabric, but this tutorial will help you deal with that.   There are lots and lots of photos in the tutorial in the hopes that I show you everything you need to know to follow along.

Supplies for Making Ribbon Embroidery Tulips

For this tutorial you will need:

Aida cloth

6mm wide silk ribbon (mine is a smooth polyester ribbon from the fabric store), one pink and one green

Ribbon and Crewel Needles, mine are size #20, (largest the store had) #22 would be better

Coordinating thread


Embroidery hoop (optional)

Prepare the Aida Cloth

Decide how large you want your needlework to be, and cut the Aida to size leaving 3 strips extra on each edge.


Supplies for Ribbon Embroidery Tulips.


Working on Aida cloth is easier than fabric as the holes in the Aida cloth are larger and stronger.  The 6mm (1/4″) wide ribbon is pretty easy to pull through the Aida cloth.  If you want larger tulips, use wider ribbon and a larger needle. Be aware that pulling the larger ribbon through the Aida cloth is harder, your going to want a thimble if you’re using a wider ribbon.

I am going to show you the steps for one tulip.

Embroidering the Tulip Blossom

Starting with the tulip blossom, use your needle to make four holes.  Starting with the first hole (1), then count up as many holes as you like for the height, make the 2 hole.  Then make the other 3 and 4 holes, (5 spaces to each side of the 2 hole).  Making the holes first makes the ribbon easier to pull through the cloth, and it’s downright handy for illustrating the stitch placement.


Embroidery tulips using ribbon on a Spring basket craft.


Cut the ribbon for the blossom to about 18″, and thread your crewel needle.

Start from the back of the fabric, push the needle up through the 1 hole, and then down through the two hole.

Flip your work over, and make sure the tail is long enough to pierce.  This anchors the ribbon in place and is more secure than a knot would be.  This is what the anchored ribbon looks like from the back side.  Once done, flip over.


The backside of a tulip ribbon embroidery Spring craft idea.

Push the needle up through the one hole again, but this time push it back down one hole to the left of the 2 hole.  Make sure the ribbon is smooth on top, you may need to do this with your fingers instead of using the needle.


Embroidery on Aida cloth using ribbon.


Repeat with another stitch on the right-hand side.  Making sure the front of the ribbon is smooth and simulates a petal.  The center consists of three stitches.

Making the Two Side Petals

By now you will find that the 2 hole is pretty hard to sew through.  So starting at the back pass the needle one hole to the left of the 2 hole.  Push the needle down at the 3 hole and pull snug so that the front is smooth.

The next stitch is a little bit different.  Push the needle up from the back at the same hole as the last stitch,  but this time you will pierce the ribbon before pushing the needle through the Aida cloth.  Check out the pic, its pretty self explanatory.  Just make sure to pierce the needle towards the inside edge of the ribbon, and then through the hole in the Aida cloth.


Sewing the outside petal of a DIY ribbon embroidery tulip stitch.

Be careful not to pull the knot you create with the needle through the hole in the Aida cloth.  To prevent this I like to hold the front loop in place with one hand and flip the fabric over so that I can pull the long loop of extra ribbon out.  I then flip the embroidery back so I am looking at the good side.

Insert a needle through the loop on the top side of your petal stitch.  Place the needle at an angle and pull tight.


A Spring craft project, ribbon embroidery tulips on a fabric basket.


Do the same two stitches on the other side.   Finishing with a curled stitch.


Ribbon tulip embroidery. How to embroider a tulip.


So far you have seven stitches done.  Three left for the stem.


A Spring basket embellished with handmade Tulip ribbon embroidery.

Making the Ribbon Tulip Stem

Start by making two holes, one just below the blossom (5) and wherever you want the bottom of your stem to be (6).  Thread your needle with green ribbon.


DIY embroidery embellishment on a Spring basket craft.


Push your needle up at the 5 hole and leave a long tail on the backside.

Pull your needle down to about where the 6 hole is.


Embroidery of a tulip on a Spring basket


Twist your needle clockwise, until your ribbon is nicely twisted.  Then pull the needle through the 6 hole.


How to make a tulip using ribbon embroidery.

Just like the first stitch on the blossom, flip your work over and anchor the ribbon by pushing it through the long tail on the back.


Handmade tulip arrangement using ribbon embroidery on a basket.

Embroidering  Tulip Leaves

There are two styles of tulip leaf stitches,  I will share one of each kind so you can choose which ones you want to use on your tulip arrangement.

The first one I will call the folded leaf.

Choose a hole in the Aida cloth near the bottom and just to the right of your stem.  Poke your needle up through the hole, and then choose a second hole on the left-hand side of your stem.  Loop the top of the leaf over as shown, before stitching thru to the back of your cloth.


Ribbon embroidery stitch for a tulip leaf


Here is what your tulip should look like so far.  You can stop here if you like, or continue with more leaves.


A DIY tulip ribbon embroidery

The next leaf I will call a straight leaf.  You do it almost the same as the outside petals of the blossom.

Start near the bottom of your stem, on the left-hand side.  Pull the ribbon over top of the stem,


Embroidering a tulip leaf with satin ribbon.

A pretty tulip made with ribbon embroidery.

Were almost done.

Ribbon Embroidery Tulip Final Finishing

The final touches are completed using sewing thread.  I used a single embroidery thread as I had it on hand.

There are three places to sew.  Starting with the folded leaf.  Place a single stitch in the arch of the leaf to anchor it.


Sewing the arch of a folded tulip leaf, to stitch it to fabric.

Make some small stitches in the folds of your stem to hold it in place, and the folds hide the stitching.

Using small stitches to finish a ribbon embroidery tulip.

Sew the back of your tulip to attach the long tails.

The backside of a tulip made using ribbon


Making the Ribbon Embroidery Tulip Arrangement

To keep the arrangement simple I only used ribbon embroidery tulips.  When adding a flower you can weave the stem beneath another flower so it doesn’t matter which flower you start with.  Just start sewing and having fun.  The Aida cloth makes it very easy to keep your tulips relatively the same size.  You can make the tulips droopy if you like, just lengthen and curve the stem.

Spring basket with ribbon tulips



Tulip embroidered basket for Spring

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  1. Wow! It’s definitely a Wow factor for the basket. You ribbon tulips would be a wow factor for anything but I love this especially for a nice basket to use in the bathroom. I do know how to embroider but haven’t done it in many years. I feel inspired.
    Shirley Wood recently posted…Baked Chicken Leg Quarters Easy RecipeMy Profile

    1. Ribbon embroidery is really quick Shirley. The only thing is making the holes in the fabric large enough to pull the ribbon through. It can be really tough pulling if the holes are small. Let me know how it works for you.

  2. Leanna this is just adorable. What a great solution to your painting dilemma. If it was me I would have painted it and be done with it. But you came up with such a creative solution that can also be changed out from season to season if you want. A work of art!!
    Mary recently posted…How to Makeover a Curbside Mirror the Lazy WayMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Mary, I like the basket plain, but I love the ribbon embroidery, so European looking.

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