The completed cross-stitch of all five nudibranch designs

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How to cross-stitch a nudibranch

Stitch yourself some fancy sea slugs. 

You will need:

  • nudibranch-coloured embroidery thread (we used DMC thread and the colours you need are on the pattern, but you can also choose your own colours)
  • cross-stitch fabric (we used Aida 14 count fabric)
  • an embroidery needle
  • an embroidery hoop
  • scissors

Purple nudibranch cross-stitch pattern to download and print

Purple nudibranch PDF (39.8KB)



Green nudibranch cross-stitch pattern to download and print

Green nudibranch PDF (40.8 KB)



Blue nudibranch cross-stitch pattern to download and print

Blue nudibranch PDF (38.7KB)



Red nudibranch cross-stitch pattern to download and print

Red nudibranch PDF (29.4 KB)



Pink nudibranch cross-stitch pattern to download and print

Pink nudibranch PDF (43 KB)


What to do

To cross-stitch your nudibranch, you need to make a small cross of embroidery thread to match every coloured square on the pattern.

  • Choose a square roughly in the middle of the nudibranch pattern and sew a cross of that colour in the centre of your fabric.
  • Keep following the pattern, making a cross in each square. Work outwards from the centre, changing colour when needed. 
  • A good way to know when to change colour is to count how many squares there are of the same colour on the pattern in a given direction.
  • To make a cross, sew two stitches of thread diagonally over each other.  
An electric blue, yelow and black nudibranch, with a bright orange fearthery-like appendage follows another identical nudibranch across some coral.

Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites, and so can mate with any other individual, a process which sometimes involves a dance-like courtship between the two slugs ©Elias Levy/Flickr CC BY 2.0


  • Use three strands of embroidery thread (standard DMC thread is six strands thick, so you'll need to separate it into two).
  • Always start from the back of the fabric when making a cross and always sew the two diagonal stitches of every cross in the same order, so that the same diagonal stitch is always on top.
  • When you have a line of squares of the same colour, you can save time by sewing them in one go. Start by sewing one diagonal stitch for each of the crosses in your line and then return with the other diagonal stitch. 
  • Don't worry if the back of the fabric becomes a little messy with thread, it will be hidden.

Did you know?

Nudibranchs are a diverse group of marine gastropods which shed their shells when they develop into adults. There are around 3,000 known species of nudibranchs, found from the Arctic to the Southern Ocean.