Kantha Embroidery Design Ideas


Kantha embroidery is a type of folk art where worn-out garments are given a second life. Bengali women created the technique several hundred years ago, using old thread to create running stitch designs. The name "kantha" comes from "kontha," which is the word for "rags" in ancient Sanskrit.

Family Story

  • The most traditional form of kantha tells a story. Create stitched small designs of your family home and include your pets. Stitch another area of your arrival at a favorite family retreat or vacation spot. Or, create a series of stitched images that shows your progression through life, beginning with your family home and continuing through your education, career and your current life, including friends, children and home. Include traditional kantha images of flowers, birds and trees.

For Your Adult Child

  • For an adult child, stitch a story of her first home. Include any pets she may have had. Provide details that will be instantly recognizable to your child. Use threads from their favorite blankets or clothing they wore as a child. Show her progression to high school and college, including sports they have been involved in and awards they have received. Attach it as a cover to a soft cotton blanket.


  • Create a progression of events starting with the location where the bride and groom first met. Include details of the college where they met, for example, using the school's logo or stitch a design of the couple's favorite hobbies. Place the wedding day design at the center and the other stitching around it.


  • Design a repeating floral stitch for a canvas tote, with a geometric border. Make a shawl for the back of your couch. Design a botanical theme and add personal touches, such as a few favorite words of wisdom. Create a piece of wall art on the theme of a wedding, birth of a child, a parent. Make a few pillow covers with whimsical designs in animal themes, or create a series of colorful, free form swirls and leaves with a geometric pattern for a border.


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