Complete Guide to Embroidering on Paper - Star Ornament

Welcome to Christmas in July, paper stitching-style! Each summer I like to chill down with a small project that has me humming Jingle Bells and reminiscing about Jack Frost's window etchings. This year's adventure is an embroidered tree ornament that can double as a gift topper... but wait, there's a special twist.


stitched silver star on circular ornament displayed on patterned paper

I've teamed up with Patty MacGuire of the blog, PattyMac Makes, so you'll have access to two brand new paper stitching projects! Patty's ease of doing many different types of making caught my eye on Instagram where I was drawn in by her fab photography. Pretty soon I tossed out the idea that it would be fun to collaborate on a project.


Patty agreed and we decided to each make a stitched paper star to post as a tutorial. It's safe to say she was a bit unsure at first as she had never done paper stitching, but she found out she loves it! Let Patty show you how to embroider a Christmas card... her design is such a pretty one and even her photo is ethereal.

holiday card with four hand-stitched stars

And now we'll make my Embroidered Star Ornament / Gift Topper

You will need:

supplies for making a paper stitched star ornament

Suede paper - 1 sheet, alpine green (regular card stock can be used for both circles; suede paper gives a rich look)
Card stock - 1 sheet, sturdy, red
Circle templates - two sizes; I used drinking glasses with rim widths of 2 7/8" (7.3cm) and 3 1/8" (7.9cm)
Printable star pattern - I printed mine to measure 2/1/2" (6.35cm) in diameter
Detail scissors - I love these Fiskars scissors
Pin - ball head pins are my fave; sharp, rust-proof, and easy to pick up
Needle - choose one with an eye wide enough to accommodate the cord
Glue - Crafter's Pick - The Ultimate grips well, is odor-free and non-toxic or use double-stick tape
Paint brush - to apply glue

Step 1

geometric star printable

Right click and save the star pattern. Print (you may need to modify the width according to your small circle template size) and cut it out along the outermost border. Here is the wikiclipart page where I found it... note that the designs are designated for personal use only; you may not make multiples to sell. (This star pattern would be a great one too!)

Step 2

red and green paper circles with paper star pattern
Use a pencil to trace around the small circle templates on the suede paper and do the same with the large circle template on the card stock. Cut slowly - turn the paper, not the scissors - for the smoothest look. If you have a cutting machine, use that instead!

handcut circles, paper star pattern, and detail scissors

Step 3

Position the star template at the center of the reverse side of the suede paper, hold it in place firmly with your fingers, and use a sharp pin to pierce a hole at the point of each angle. The holes will barely show on the suede surface, but will be clearly visible on the backing. When all of the holes are pierced, put the template aside. (Your needle will enlarge the holes slightly when stitching... there's no need for them to be overly large.) Tip: Place the suede paper on a magazine or old foam place mat before piercing... not your nice tabletop!

Step 4

reverse side of paper stitched star ornament with silver thread and needle

Thread the needle with a 24-inch (61cm) length of ornament cord... longer than that and it may tangle. Begin stitching on the reverse side at one of the star's outermost points, drawing nearly the full length of cord up through the first hole. Leave about a 1/2-inch (0.5cm) tail and tape it in place without covering any of the holes... there's no need to tie a knot. 
Go down through the next closest hole. Continue stitching your way around the star's five points, in and out of the holes, one at a time, to create each angle. When the end of the cord is reached, again leave a short tail and adhere it with a small piece of tape. Thread the needle with another 24-inch length of cord and repeat until the stitching is complete.

Step 5

a. Position the stitched circle on the red circle and use a pin to pierce a hole for the hanging cord in the red circle at the tip of one of the star's points.

b. Use a brush to apply glue smoothly on the reverse side of the stitched circle. Center it on the red circle, positioning the pierced hole at the tip of one of the star's points. Press firmly to adhere the circles. Allow the glue to dry. Tip: You may prefer to use double-stick tape instead of the glue method. Either way, take care to center the stitched circle to avoid do-overs.

c. Insert a needle threaded with a 10-inch (25.4cm) length of cord into the pierced hole and tie a hanging loop. Trim excess cord.

embroidered paper star ornament hanging on holly bush with green berries

And voilà, all done! I hung it (just for a moment) on the holly bush in my back yard one evening hoping for a realistic Christmas-y evergreen effect. No bright red berries yet... they'll be ready for holiday decorating in late November. There were plenty of green ones though (and mosquitoes too... the things I do for this blog, haha :).

Come December, hang it on your Christmas tree, in a window, use it as a topper on a present... a little gift on a gift, or you could even put one inside the cards you make using Pattymac's pattern to mail to the most special people on your list. 

For a look at an example of artistic paper stitching, paper maker Helen Hiebert is currently creating an embroidered artist's book.... it's a beauty. Enjoy a sneak peek:

Paper stitching has long been popular around here... in fact, just last week a Joone Creative paper embroidery kit was featured (by the way, the giveaway winner has been announced... sngrbean, please get in touch with me so I can hook you up with your prize) and readers seem to love this embroidered geometric heart tutorial

More paper stitching inspiration:

Paper Stitching on Holiday Cards
Learn to Stitch on Paper
Modern Stitching on Paper - Karin Lundström
Stitching on Paper - Jessica A. Kelly

I'm happy to say Pattymac and I have another project up our sleeves for August.
And here it is... enjoy!

embroidered silver star on circular layered paper ornament displayed on table 

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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Thanks Ann>Love the star ornament. I am making quilled ornaments for people who lost their homes in bushfires in Australia.

    1. I'm glad you like it, thanks Bronwyn! That's so kind of you to make ornaments.


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