Paper Embroidery

I have been reading a lot about paper embroidery for the past few weeks. It reminds me of the string craft I had seen in my childhood. Strings and Nails are used for this art. The strings are wound around nails that are hammered into wooden board. Paper embroidery is a combination of both string craft and needlework on fabric . The concept is the same and the only difference is in the materials used. I have found out that the same pattern can be done in different ways and results are completely different.With a little imagination, the possibilities are endless.

For your paper embroidery, the first thing you have to think about is the type of paper that you will be using. I usually choose the regular Card stock which we get in any craft stores. The needle you need for your paper embroidery project should be very thin and sharp so it won't create big holes in your Card. Also make sure that the eye of the needle will accommodate the thickness of the thread you are planning to use.

The next thing you have to consider is the kind of thread to use. For paper embroidery, you can actually use any kind of embroidery Floss you like.I have used both Sulky machine embroidery threads as well as cotton embroidery floss. You have to just make sure that the thread will fit the needle, and that it won't be too thick for the Card you have decided on using.

Tools of the Trade

Mouse pad, piercing tool, embroidery floss, card stock, needle and tape

Stitches Used

Stem Stitch

The stem stitch gives the design a corded effect. There are two ways of doing it:

1. Take the needle through the hole 1 from back to front. Skip one hole and then take the thread through to the hole 3, now come back reverse to hole 2 and come up then skip one hole and go down at hole 4and so on. This is the basic stem stitch.

2. Come up at hole 1 and go down at hole 2 (skip 2 holes) on the top then (skip 1 hole) underneath from hole 2 to hole 3.

When I come to a curve in the design, I usually do the basic stem stitch (No.1).

Back stitch

I have done a few of the cards using this stitch. It is exactly done the way you do on fabrics except that you have to do with the help of the pre pierced holes.


Choose the design you would like to use (1) and then tape the design to the front of the card using a tape, which won't mar the surface of the card (2)



Place the card on a padded surface,I use a mouse pad. (1) In order to embroider a design onto a greeting card, you need to pre-punch all the holes where your needle will go in and out of the card. This process needs a little patience from your part. I have pricked the holes every 1/16''apart. 1/8" apart looks good too. (2) Remove the original design and you will end up with a card with the design punched in.



Back stitch done for the Fan

Backstitch is a great stitch for outlines on your design. I'm using it to outline the Fan in my design.





Lazy Daisy stitch used for the Flower petals

To prepare for the Lazy Daisy stitch, punch two holes, one at the base of the petal and one at the top.Begin the Lazy Daisy stitch at the base by passing the needle up and then down through the same hole, creating a loop. Now bring the needle up at the top hole through the loopwhich you made earlier. Finish the stitch by passing the needle back through the same hole( the way you came up). This creates a stitch that anchors the loop. Keep in mind, never pull the thread hard. Be very very gentle when you pull the thread. Always pull the thread straight up instead of sideways. If you pull the thread hard sideways, there is a possibility of the card tearing between two holes.

Stem Stitches done for the stems in the design

Come up from the first hole , leave one hole and go down the third. Now come up the second hole which you skipped earlier. Repeat as you move forward.

Basic Straight stitches used to embellish the fan

The Finished project is shown below. When you're done stitching, you would like to cover the back of the card. Cover it up by gluing on some decorative paper or any scrapbook paper.

You can always add a few embellishments of your own like beads and Stencil embossing to give it a more classy look.

The string craft influence comes handy in two cards I have shown in my Gallery below (2. Basket of Flowers and 6.Ganesha). I have illustrated a few ways of doing it below which can help in your project

After you follow the pattern which is given below 1 and 2 ,your final design will look like 1a and 2a respectively



The only difference between design 1 and 2 is the number of holes left between the stitches. Holes left in pattern 1 is 5 and in pattern 2 is 10. The more holes you leave the wider the designs get or in other words it is fuller.





I have taken a design of a birdie and have tried different ways of doing it. Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless.

My Gallery

(I got the designs from the internet)

References & Resources

Cards and Memories to Treasure By Erica Fortgens

Embroidery on Paper with Vellum By Erica Fortgens

Easy Embroidery on Paper By Joke De Vette