Can you embroider color gradient changes?

Unfortunately, color gradient changes are not possible with embroidery. The technique of embroidery uses one thread color per needle at a time while stitching making it very hard to create a gradual color change. Colors can be switched from one shade to another but the general maximum number of colors per design for embroidery is eight colors. That is because stopping frequently to change the thread color is not only extremely time consuming it also creates a much greater chance of some sort of error occurring.

However, even without the eight color minimum, in general it would be nearly impossible to get a gradual, gradient effect in the artwork. That is because each thread would still only be a single color and the blending would at best still look incomplete and rough. That is not so much a production problem as it is a general limitation of the process in general. Embroidery simply isn’t a good medium to get that type of gradual, color gradient effect.

The good news though is that even if you do have artwork which currently has color gradients in it, very often we can still get it embroidered on the shirts for you. To do this the artwork would need to be converted into single, solid spot colors without any gradients. Naturally this will significantly change the way a piece of artwork with gradients looks, but for that reason we will send you an artwork proof after the order is placed and prior to going into production.

It is also important to keep in mind what the embroidered items are being used for. For instance you may have a complicated design with many colors and color gradients in it; however such a design might not be ideal for embroidery to begin with. After all, in addition to needing to embroider in solid thread colors, the size available for embroidery is also typically fairly limited. That means that a very complicated, detailed design might not fit very well within the small space. Embroidery is a great way to customize a hat, polo shirt, or other item, but it is important to keep in mind how the design will look on the actual item.

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