How to Crochet Beautiful Shadow aka Illusion Crochet Easily

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This photo and video tutorial explains in detail how to crochet Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet easily. You will use simple basic crochet stitches and a graph to crochet in two different colors to create an image you can only see from an angle.

Are you someone who likes to crochet something special no one else has? I have always loved making something for someone that just made them be in awe. The best presents to give are the ones where the recipient looks at it in surprise, thinks about what it is and then is completely amazed.

And then there are the gifts you give that have a multi-purpose. I love those even more. They are the gifts that keep on giving.

Shadow Crochet which is also known as Illusion Crochet is a technique that creates an image that can also be visible from an angle. Looking from the top or the back, you might not be able to see what the image is supposed to be. This makes this technique so special and unique.

How to Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet

The Common Misconception about Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet

I’ve heard so many crocheters saying they have trouble changing colors. They don’t like crocheting patterns that make them have to change colors as they feel like it won’t look great.

Well, I’m here to tell you that Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet is not hard, or anywhere close to tapestry crochet. It is a lot easier than it looks.

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You will only change colors on the side and not in between. And you will only need 2 colors to create this effect. Furthermore, you will only need to know how to crochet single crochet and half double crochet stitches. Yes, that is all.

There’s one more thing many crocheters are worried and scared about. And that is a graph. I am not sure why because, in my opinion, a graph is a lot easier than a diagram. I’m serious. Please don’t be scared about it. I will show you how easier it really is.

A graph is used for many things. But in crochet, it is usually used for graphgans or corner to corner crochet.

Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet side view

The Most Important Part: The Shadow Crochet Tutorial

First, let me tell you that I won’t be showing you the pattern of the image you see above. That pattern above of the Santa Hat Washcloth is now published HERE and I will link it here as soon as it is available. I want to make this easy for you. So I will teach you, Shadow Crochet, with a very simple and small swatch that will show you a heart when it is done.

Remember, learning this technique is the first thing you need to do. Once you learn it using this tutorial, you will be able to create your own graphs and create your own shadow crochet patterns. By the way, my favorite patterns are washcloths, blankets, hats and scarves using this technique. I’ll be publishing some of those very soon.

Now, let’s get started. Below, you can see a graph that we will use to crochet a sample to learn this technique. It shows a heart broken up into several areas in different colors. A graph is usually read from the bottom up and the arrows show in which direction you will crochet per row. Each square equals one stitch. For, shadow crochet or illusion crochet, all the white squares are single crochet stitches and the colorful squares (or pixels) are half double crochet stitches.

Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet Graph with Legend

Furthermore, the purple pixels represent hdc’s in the front loop only and the pink ones are hdc’s in the leftover loop (that was the back loop from the previous row). There is one more thing you need to know and that is that the letters “a” and “b” represent different colors. For this example, I used white yarn for the letter “a” and red yarn for the letter “b”.

If you feel like this all seems very complicated. It really is not. Watch my video below, where you will see how easy it really is. I also go in a lot more detail than the photo tutorial.

How to Crochet Shadow Crochet – Photo Tutorial

First, crochet a chain of 16 and then crochet 3 rows of single crochet, 2 of which are made with white yarn and 1 with red yarn.

beginning of Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet

Next, you will see on the graph that you need to crochet 7 sc’s, 1 hdc in flo and then again 7 sc’s. Go ahead and do that. Below you can see that I am crocheting a hdc in the front loop only.

Half Double Crochet for Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet

After you finished that hdc in the flo, you can see how the back loop is still visible in the back. You will use that loop for the next row. So make sure you know how to identify that loop.

Left over loop of Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet

In row 5, you will change colors back to white and then crochet 7 sc’s, then 1 hdc in that leftover loop, and again 7 sc’s. Below you can see how I crochet a hdc in white into that red leftover loop from the previous row. Crocheting this way, makes the shadow crochet appear three-dimensional and allows the image to appear in an angle.

Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet HDC in FLO

After you finish that hdc, keep crocheting according to the graph. Do you see already how easy it is? Again, if you have any trouble understanding this photo tutorial, the video tutorial is your golden ticket. Watch it. It shows every step.

Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet Tutorial with HDC

Once you finish replicating the graph into a small crocheted swatch you should see that I am showing you below. If you know hold this swatch in an angle you see a heart. A small heart, but one can see it. Of course, a heart will be a lot more visible if you make the graph a lot bigger. But this is just to teach you the technique of shadow or illusion crocheting.

Heart Shadow Crochet aka Illusion Crochet

Now, you finally know how to crochet something very special and unique. You can create gifts that will make your friend or loved one in awe. That is always a great feeling when someone reacts that way.

If you want to see more free crochet patterns and tutorials and always get notified when I have new ones available, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter HERE or in the form below. I promise you, you will be surprised how many freebies you can get from me.

Here is your Break-Through Moment: The Shadow Crochet Video Tutorial

This video shows you every detail and more about how to crochet Shadow or Illusion Crochet. It will also explain to you at the end, how you can create your own graphs and make your own shadow crochet images using crochet.

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Crochet Quiz Knowledge question

I hope you love Shadow or Illusion Crochet as much as I do. If you love this tutorial and technique as much as I do, please use the social media share buttons above or below and share this pattern link with the world and your friends. Thank you.

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  1. There is a way to crochet “illusion” where you crochet the opposing colors EACH raised, red in the red rows, white in white (your sample), so that the illusion (hat for your sample) is not the only thing standing. For all the white rows, stand stitches outside the profile/perimeter of the hat, each row using the same stitch.If that makes sense. This is how knit illusions have almost always been done.

  2. I’ve tried illusion knitting; didn’t know it could be done in crochet! I will most definitely try the crochet version! Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial!

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