Learn how to make hand embroidered greeting cards. Embroidering cards is a great craft for people of all skill levels. It is fun and easy to do, inexpensive and makes something useful. It’s also a wonderful group activity for both children and adults.
The only special tool required is a needle, and materials are inexpensive, so get lots. You won’t be able to make just one!
For more designs, check out the pattern Embroidered Cards – five designs for Christmas and more.
You can use blank cards from craft stores or you can cut your own from card stock. Be creative with size and colour.
Almost any type of thread will work for this – embroidery floss, Perle cotton or crochet thread. If you know an embroiderer, ask them if they have any leftovers they will donate to your cause. They probably do.
Usually I don’t recommend discount threads for embroidery, but in this case it is fine. You won’t be washing the finished project (hopefully 😉 so it doesn’t have to be colourfast.
Use a size 18 – 24 cross stitch needle, or any needle with a dull point. It should not be smaller diameter than the thread you are using.
Just a few tiny pieces of tape. A roll would do for an entire Girl Guide unit.
Seam ripper or push pin
You need something sharp and pointy. A seam ripper or push pin work well because they are easy to hold onto. If you don’t have these you can find a replacement. Even a sharp needle will work.
You can create your own circle template if you wish. Trace a circle, then mark points equally spaced around it.
Get a free printable template as a bonus when you sign up for the Epida Studio newsletter.
Prepare the Cards
Before stitching, the cards have to be prepared. All the holes are punched into the card first, so when you stitch, you do not pierce the paper with the needle.
If you are doing this project with people with dexterity challenges, you might want to do this part ahead of time.
Print the circle template, and cut out around the alignment marks. Use these marks to align the circle on the front of the card. You could have it centred or offset, anywhere you want it is fine.
Place on an old piece of styrofoam or cardboard to protect your work surface.
Using the point of a seam ripper, poke holes on each dot through the template and the card front.
You do not need to turn the seam ripper to make the holes round. Just jabbing in and out will be good enough.
Before removing the template, hold up to the light to make sure that no holes were missed. Once you remove it, it is hard to line up again.
When all the holes have been punched, remove the template. The template can be reused over and over.
You are ready to begin stitching.
Cut a length of thread about 30″ long and thread the needle. This is longer than normally used in embroidery, so stitching has to be done slowly to avoid tangles.
Pull up through any hole in the circle. It doesn’t matter which one.
Tape the tail of the thread on the back. This is in place of a knot, but it will be flatter so there isn’t a lump in the card.
Take the needle down in another hole. For this example, the hole is 8 spots away from where the thread came up.
Bring the needle up in the hole immediately next to where the needle went in.
Take the next stitch down one spot away from the starting hole.
Continue along, moving one spot over on the up and down stitch. Gradually move around the circle.
On the back of the stitching, be sure there are no long stitches going across the circle. They are only short stitches from one space to the next.
Keep going until you get back to where you started. There are two stitches in each hole. Variegated thread gives a fun effect.
You might need to use more than one thread. Just tape down the ends where it starts and stops. This will lay more flat than knots.
You can leave the inside of the card as is or cover it with decorative paper or card stock if it bothers you.
Different thread choices totally change the look of the card. These circles are the same size, but the threads are different thicknesses and colours.
The white card has a chunky pastel variegated thread and the dark pink card has a fine light pink thread. They give totally different looks.
You can always layer two circles for a special effect.
The dark pink circle design was stitched first. The white circle design was stitched next in the exact same holes.
They are stitched in the same way. The only difference is the number of holes that are skipped in the first stitch.
The closer you choose the holes, the smaller the stitches will be and the larger the opening of the circle will be.
In this option, the stitches go almost directly across the circle and it is almost closed.
You can also experiment with the size of the circle and the number of holes.
Have fun playing with all the different variations you can come up with.
For more card embroidery fun, get the pattern
Embroidered Cards – five designs for Christmas and more.
Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.