Stitching on Paper - Paper Embroidery Tutorials

In a recent newsletter, I asked readers to email me if there was anything they would like to see featured here on the blog. In no time at all a message popped up... I would love to see more about people who are combining paperwork and embroidery. I'm a needleworker myself, but love paper art and have been trying to figure out a way to combine the two.

Carol, thanks for asking... this post is for you and everyone who wants to give paper stitching a try.

stitching on perforated paper

Stitcher-extraordinaire Mary Corbet of Needle 'n Thread posted about bringing holiday greetings to life with paper embroidery. Embroider Your Christmas Cards includes many helpful tips. Start now for next December perhaps? Another post is titled When You Care Enough - Embroider Your Cards!

Paper Stitched Heart Card

I love this graphic heart with gradient shading that was created by Maria of BlackRedDots. It would be perfect to send as a Valentine; instructions can be found at Craft Tuts.

Stitching on Paper - Geometric Heart Card

The geometric trend is still going strong and this free Heart Card pattern [edit: no longer available] by Pumora would be another nice one for Valentine's Day.

The Framed Geometric Heart of mine could be made as a card instead. All of these projects can be completed in an evening... my favorite kind.

stitched geometric heart on red paper

For the extra-ambitious stitchers among us, the next few designs are more time-consuming, but just as simple to do.

Stitched Peace on Earth Card - Detail

I used fine silver metallic thread and followed a free pattern from Card Inspirations for this spirelli design. You'll find more ideas at Card Inspirations, and Stitching Cards has many options too, including fonts, words, borders, animals, etc.

Sticky Pad Notepad Holder - a Project in All Things Paper

Here's another spirelli pattern I love... Stefani Tadio created it for the All Things Paper how-to book. It's just the right size to hold a tablet of Post-it Notes and is reusable.

Everyday Tote Bag - a Project in All Things Paper

Another unique project in the book is this stitched tote bag by Richela Fabian Morgan. It's made of upcycled grocery bag handles... if you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's nearby, you'll know the bags I mean. Hey, using a sewing machine still counts as stitching on paper!

You'll find inspiring paper stitching posts, including ones about freestyle stitching on newspaper and thread on paper as modern art, in previous All Things Paper posts via this list. Google is your friend too... there are many more paper stitching projects waiting to be discovered.

I came across an interesting post on Vintage Copywriting about an industry that sprang up during WWI... French and Belgian women embroidered ornate designs on silk - often forget-me-not flowers - that were mounted on postcards and sent to soldiers.

It triggered a memory... when I was a kid, my grandmother and aunt often traveled to far flung places. Aside from waving at every plane that flew over our house in the hope they might be on it, I loved receiving the colorful postcards they would send.

I recall satin-stitched scenes on heavy card stock of Dutch children playing near a windmill and a Spanish dancer holding castanets... not the exact card (above) that I found on Pinterest, but similar... even the deckle edge was the same.

Contemporary Embroidery on Vintage Postcard

And speaking of postcards, Céline Nardou does contemporary embroidery on vintage postcards; her Instagram feed is fascinating. This one, of course, was tagged #prayforparis.

Stitching on Paper - Liz Sofield

And lastly, Liz Sofield, @liz.sofield.artist on Instagram, is a textile artist who creates beautiful stitched geometrics on watercolor paper. This linoblock print with copper stitching is part of her Tapa Star series. Peak (below) is also in her Etsy shop [edit: not currently open] and would be a wonderful Valentine's Day gift.

"Peak" - Mountains of Love Series

Have you tried paper stitching? I'd love to hear about your experiences. If you have any favorite tutorials, please share the links below.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Now I want to embroider instead of being at work. :)

  2. I started incorporating Japanese chiyigami paper into my fabric embroidery a few years ago. I also stitch little intricate paper dresses onto watercolour paper. You can find my stuff at (which also has a link to my Etsy shop)

  3. Thanks for sharing your link, Judith - intriguing work. Heather and Kathy Ann, yes!

  4. Yea....I just purchased a heart die made for stitching....want to give this a try. Have done lots of spirelli on cards, but not the stitching -YET!
    Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!
    Paper Hugs,

  5. Stephanie and Jan, I can relate! :)

  6. I do most of my work, when the arthritis is down, on fabric. This artist is surprisingly like "little augury" who has the gift of historical writing on designs in famous homes in Europe??? I like to view the ability of an artist whether with paint medium on canvas, sewing on fabrics, needle work that picks historical people and design... This is definitely good work and a fine artist. atk

  7. lucydorothy, pretty dresses and I loved the pinball machine video too.

  8. atk, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  9. Lovely post! Thank you so much Ann, for featuring my heart-stitched card!
    Some pretty amazing finds are featured on this post! :-)

  10. Maria, you're welcome! I kept meaning to email you to let you know I featured you, but hadn't gotten to it yet. Glad you found your way here. I love the card!


  11. Thankyou Ann for featuring paper embroidery.

  12. I loved the post, tks!
    I cannot sew but I really enjoy fabric and paper embroidery. I do handlettering and every now and then I try a paper embroidered one - if anyone would like to see my kind of style, i've just posted one at, and all visitors & questions are welcome. TFL.

  13. lettrera, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I think your stitched letter looks really nice.

  14. Thanks for this great post. I'm absolutely obsessed with stitching on paper and make all my own greeting cards using this method (to be quiet honest I make way too many and actually sell quiet a few too!). Here is a link to my blog if you are interested in seeing some of my work.

  15. My Paper Cat, so glad you enjoyed the post and shared your link. Nice cards!

  16. Oh my!! I am not supposed to be finding more things to do and try! But thank you all for sharing! Thanks especially for the spirelli information. My aunt used to make these for me to sell in my gift shop and when she retired for the umpteenth time, she said n more. I have been looking a little on line for patterns but did not know what it was called. Thank you so much, the memories of this are priceless to me.

  17. Judy, I'm glad you enjoyed the post and that it triggered such a nice memory!

  18. Ooh, don't miss this link I just came across on My Modern Met about embroidered handmade notebooks:

  19. I stitch on paper, by hand and machine. Have been doing so for 15+ years. First doing so during City & Guild Embroidery studies. This was followed by qualifications in paper art, so the two aspects naturally combined for me. Spookily yesterday I was working on a bit of play, spirelli.... find me at - or blog for background chat

  20. Thanks for sharing your link, Beverley, very nice!

  21. FYI, the first link in the post is dead. (How To Embroider Holiday Cards)

  22. Thanks Anon, I've updated the link.

  23. I use thread and 3D objects in my work.

  24. I wish I read this post before I started to embroider on vintage postcards, so many good suggestions and inspirations. I'd some if you could take the time to look at my Instagram feed @francescacramer
    Thanks and best wishes,

  25. Your postcards are beautifully done, Francesca!

  26. I've been trying to stitch leaves and round 5 or 6 ways of doesn't work. Has anyone tried this? Any tips?

    1. I'm not sure what leaf pattern it is that is giving you trouble, Crimson. Happy to help, but I need more info.

  27. A very belated thank you for linking to my blog on the WWI silk postcards. I love the examples you have shared here or embroidered paper. If you wish to use one of my images of the WWI cards to add to the information in this blog, please do.


  28. I am a professional paper embroidery artist. You can see my work at zenthreadsstudio on instagram. Thank you for highlighting this form of art Ann. Maria


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