Making in-the-hoop Valentines on an embroidery machine

By on January 15th, 2020
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in-the-hoop valentines
free machine embroidery designs

Do you struggle with what to send in for Valentines at your kids school? What about using your embroidery machine to make some unique Valentines for your kid’s fellow classmates? Sounds like a lot of work. But it’s actually not. There are a ton of in-the-hoop Valentines projects you can whip out that the kids will actually use and love.

I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy – BUT I really am NOT THAT MOM who feels compelled to DIY everything. But I really feel like the school is forcing my hand!

My son is in his last year of elementary school, which marks the 10th year that we have had a kid at this particular elementary school. And, over the last 10 years a lot of things have changed. When my oldest was in kindergarten Valentine’s Day meant loading up on goofy valentines and candy from Target and addressing them to everyone in the class. But, flash forward 10 years later and candy is no longer allowed!

Wait – but it’s VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

So instead of coming home with a bag full of candy, the kids now schlep home a bunch of stupid plastic rings and pencils. And every year parents are challenged with the task of coming up with 20 something odd things to label and stick in all of the other kids’ valentines boxes.  Can we PLEASE just bring back the candy? I can handle nut free, but candy free? What has this world come to?

I could stage a protest or just send in candy anyway, but, since I don’t want my kid to get kicked out of the fifth grade, I will come up with another idea. Fortunately, I have a secret weapon and it’s called an embroidery machine. And, using my embroidery machine I set out to make the best damn valentines fifth grade has ever seen.

So here’s what I did. I got the in-the-hoop heart earbud holders from ABC Creations and went to town. The design is quick and easy to stitch out and you can actually stitch out a few instances at one time. When you buy the file, it has a few different versions to download.  Since i have a larger hoop, I stitched out the version with three instances of the design.  Like this idea?  Here’s how I did it. 

Valentines earbud holders from ABC Creations
Valentines earbud holders from ABC Creations. Photo used with permission from ABC Creations

How to make a valentine other earbud holder

Supplies needed


First hoop a piece of tear away stabilizer. Make sure that it is hooped very tightly so much so that you could bounce a quarter off of the stabilizer. I use the adhesive-backed variety. So, once I hoop my stabilizer, I score it around the inside edge to expose the sticky surface. 

Replace your embroidery bobbin thread with thread that matches your top thread. I am using a red thread that coordinates with the color of my shiny vinyl. But if you want to have contrasting stitching – use whatever color thread you wish.

red embroidery thread

Next stitch at your first round of stitching. This is your placement stitching. 

placement stitching

Place your vinyl over the placement stitching that you just completed, and start your next round of stitching.

Carefully remove the item from the hoop.

Cut out the heart shapes closely around the stitch line.  I folded them in half when I cut them so that the front and the back would match.

Now you need to insert the snap. Before you can install a snap, you need to punch a hole through the front and the back of the heart.  A hole punch came with my snap kit. Then, follow the directions in your snap kit for installing the snap.   

in-the-hoop heart earbud holder

Put the earbuds inside and you are all done. Now repeat this as many more times as necessary for the rest of the kids in the class.

OK  – so maybe you’re not crazy about this idea. There are a few other in the hoop projects that I think would make great valentines.

Recommended Products

Other In-the-hoop Valentines projects

Snap On Flashing Valentine Bracelets

In-the-hoop Valentine flashing bracelets

 In-the-hoop Valentine flashing bracelets. Photo used with permission from JJ’s Appliques

Bracelets aren’t just for girls – especially when you stitch some super fun lights inside. Any kid will be excited to bring these bracelets home and try them out in the dark.  Jaynie from JJ’s Appliques recommends buying the flashing lights from Glitter Bug Fairy.

In-the-hoop Heart / Arrow Bookmark

In the hoop Valentine heart arrow bookmark
In the hoop Valentine heart arrow bookmark. Photo used with permission from Katie L Designs

Oh I just love this adorable bookmark.  It’s so simple and elegant but slightly unconventional as far as bookmarks go.  You can use either a twill tape or a grosgrain ribbon for the body of the arrow. 

Heart Corner bookmark

In-the-hoop corner bookmark
In-the-hoop corner bookmark. Photo used with permission from Kylie + Chaos Designs

Here’s another unconventional bookmark that is both kid and teacher approved.  And since it’s all one piece, it be pretty quick and easy to stitch out. The pictured conversation heart bookmark is made with regular felt, but you could make it in shiny vinyl  as well. 

In-the-hoop Heart Keychains

In-the-hoop heart keychain
In-the-hoop heart keychain. Photo used with permission from Designs by BabyMoon

Yes – I know kids don’t usually carry around a lot of keys. But for some reason – they seam to love keychains. This in-the-hoop keychain is adorable and looks great stitched in white vinyl with a colored heart. And, you can get more key chain hooks than you could ever need for next to nothing.  

In-the-hoop conversation heart pencil toppers

No one is going to complain about pencils on Valentine’s day.  A kid always needs a pencil, and these conversation heart toppers make them a lot more fun. I think these red ones are pretty festive. 

So… are you feeling inspired?  Maybe the candy ban at our school is not so bad.  I’m actually feeling a bit more creative and I think these kids are going to love the earbuds and the heart cord keeper.  Just 19 more to stitch! 

Good luck, Happy Valentine’s Day!  And happy stitching!


Oh – and if you are looking for something to wear to that Valentine’s party, check out my previous post on how to make a Valentine heart sweatshirt.  

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in-the-hoop valentines
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