How to Embroider a Greeting Cardcomments (13) March 15th, 2011
What you'll need:
Blank greeting card
I love embroidering on greeting cards, because the texture of the stitches has such impact. And it's not too hard to do! Here are some basic instructions.
Be sure to use a blank greeting card made of heavy, sturdy cardstock. You'll be handling this card a great deal as you stitch, so you need something that will withstand it without bending or tearing.
Next, you'll need a design to embroider. For stitching on paper, it's a good idea to stick with simpler designs that involve mostly outlines. Most Sublime Stitching embroidery templates are excellent for stitching on paper. Or, you can begin with a complex design and modify it. Here, I'm working with a vintage transfer design I picked up at a thrift store. It's a little too ornate for a greeting card, but we'll simplify it.
Reduce or enlarge your design on a photocopier, and then tape it to the front of the card with some blue painter's tape. (Notice that the card is opened out flat at this point.)
Next, put your card onto some kind of padded surface. You can use a cork trivet, or a folded towel, or even a sock. I'm using a piece of folded felt.
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 paper. This takes a little thought and pre-planning, because you'll also need to know in advance what embroidery stitches you'll use. So let's take this design one part at a time:
The backstitch is a great stitch for outlines on your design - it's easy and takes curves well. I'm using it to outline this bird, so I've punched holes about 1/8" apart, following the lines of the drawing.
I'll be stitching all the flowers with Lazy Daisy stitch. For that, I just need to punch two holes: one at the bottom of each petal, and one at the top of each petal.
Straight stitch works well for small details of a design. I'm using it for the fountain in this design. However, I decided that the lines were a bit too close together for embroidery on paper, so as you can see, I re-designed the fountain a bit as I punched.
If you compare the design with the finished card, you'll see that I also simplified the image by leaving out a number of flowers and small leaf details. When you embroider on a greeting card, keep in mind that each time you poke a needle and floss through the paper, you are in effect perforating it. So the more complex your design is, the greater the risk of perforating the paper so much, it tears. Simplicity is always a good idea.
Once you've punched all the holes you'll need for stitchery, remove the photocopied template from your card. Keep it handy in case you need to refer back to it while you stitch.
Now, what kind of floss to use? Here, you can see several options: from left to right, they are pearl cotton, crewel wool, and six-strand embroidery floss (six strands, three strands, and two strands). As you can see, the thinner the floss you use, the more those holes in the paper show. So I like to stick to thicker flosses when I stitch on paper.
I never use knots when I stitch on paper, because they make it hard to cover up the back of your work later. Instead, cut yourself a lot of small pieces of masking tape, and have them handy while you work. Use them to stick down the ends of the floss when you begin and end a strand.
Let's learn some stitches, then! Here's the backstitch. You begin with a short stitch, following the holes you've punched. Then, you bring your needle up from the back of the card, using the hole for the next stitch, as shown.
On the front of the card, take your needle back down in the same hole where the previous stitch ended. See? you're stitching forward and backward at the same time.
Also, notice here how my thumb is placed. Try to keep your fingers as close to the point where your needle is passing through the paper as you can. Your fingers will help stabilize the card and keep it from warping or tearing.
If your hands tend to perspire, you can also fold up a paper towel and use it to hold the card while your work.
The straight stitch couldn't be easier - just bring the needle up through the card at the start of the stitch, and back down through the card at the end of the stitch. See how much simpler my fountain turned out?
For the Lazy Daisy stitch, you begin by passing your needle up and down through the same hole at the bottom of the petal, so that you create a loop of floss on the surface of the card.
Bring the needle up through the hole at the top of the petal, and position that loop so your needle is sticking through it, as shown.
Pull the needle all the way through, gently pulling that loop so that it tightens lightly around the needle. Then, pass the needle back through the same hole again, as shown, to complete the stitch.
Here's the back of the finished card. Wow, this needs covering up! You can glue a piece of scrapbook paper over it, or even take a second blank card and glue it to the inside of this one.
That's all there is to it! Happy Stitching!