How to Hand Stitch on Paper - Hummingbird Pattern

As promised in last month's paper stitching geometric star tutorial, today I have another paper embroidery project for you... a pretty hummingbird. Why yes, I do love a good geo design! Tip... just Google geometric clip art of whatever it is you're interested in stitching and you'll probably find a pattern. 


embroidered on paper hummingbird in square metal frame


Someday when I look back on 2020, rather than remembering being in the midst of a pandemic, I'll prefer to think about the hummingbird feeder my husband and I enjoyed watching all summer long. In June he installed a video camera on the same tree branch as the feeder and soon we were hearing a ping on his phone each time a hummer landed in view of the lens. They're fascinating little creatures and surprising territorial! If you ever need a distraction, I highly recommend installing a bird feeder near a window, and if you'd like to lower your stress level, find a seat nearby and have a go at paper stitching. A project doesn't take long, is very easy to do, and you'll have something nice to display when it's finished.


You will need:

paper embroidery supplies 

Printable hummingbird pattern - I printed mine to a width of 3.25 inches (8.26cm)

[Note that all PNGs from the site PNGFuel are for Non-Commercial use, no attribution required, meaning you may stitch this design for personal use only. You may not make multiples to sell.]


Paper or card stock on which you'll stitch the design - I recycled an invitation that came in the mail because it was too colorful and unusual to throw away. Similar here and here


Pearlized paper or pearlized card stock on which to mount your stitched design - optional


Cardboard square as a backing in the frame - if needed


Pencil - to mark your papers for measuring


T-pin or Ball head pin 

Sewing needle - choose a slim one with an eye that is large enough to accommodate your metallic cord or floss
Metallic ornament cord or embroidery floss (use three strands of the six)


Small scissors 

Ruler or paper cutter
Scotch tape

Frame of your choice

First, an interesting tidbit about the invitation paper I used as my stitching surface. It's actually plastic-coated and is one of those moveable designs I bet you've seen since you were a kid... tilt it one way and you see a color, tilt it another way and the color changes. Curious to know more about this type of paper, Googling showed that the process is called lenticular printing, most likely invented in 1912 by Walter Hess of Switzerland. The images are known by a variety of names... flickers, winkies, wiggle pictures, or tilt cards. Here's a look at the changing colors.

Step 1
Cut the stitching paper to a size that will fit your frame. I chose to cut a larger square of pearlized paper to use as a background since my stitching square did not fill my frame, creating a contrasting border.
geometric hummingbird image with striped paper square and pins

Step 2

Size, download, and print the hummingbird pattern. Cut down the hummer pattern in size to match the dimensions of your stitching paper, leaving a small margin around the design perimeter.


Step 3

Place the pattern on top of the stitching paper, making sure the design is centered. Tape the sides so it doesn't slide around. Using a T-pin (easy to grip), pierce the pattern at each angle. If your stitching paper or card stock is not too thick, a sharp ball head pin can be used instead. When done, separate the two papers and put the pattern aside to refer to while stitching. Tip: Work on a magazine or an old foam place mat to protect your work surface. 


Step 4

Thread the needle with about a 24-inch (61cm) length of ornament cord. Begin stitching on the reverse side of the paper at one of the hummingbird's outermost points (I started at the bottom of the tail), drawing nearly the full length of cord up through the first hole. Leave about a 1/2-inch tail (0.5cm) and tape it in place, taking care to not block any of the holes. There is no need to tie a knot.
paper stitching hummingbird in progress
Insert your needle down through the next closest hole. Continue stitching your way around the hummer, in and out of the holes, one at a time, to create each angle. There is no set path, but keep referring to your pattern to make sure the design is taking shape correctly. When the end of the cord is reached, leave a short tail and adhere it with a small piece of tape. 
reverse side of paper embroidery hummingbird shows thread ends taped in place
Thread the needle with another 24-inch length of cord and repeat until the stitching is complete. 
hummingbird pattern, metallic thread, and stitched hummingbird in progress
 stitched hummingbird on paper in progress
I worked my way across the width of the hummer and back again to complete the wings.

stitched hummingbird paper craft project with spool of metallic thread

Step 5

Use glue or double-stick tape to adhere the stitched paper to the center of your background paper and place it in the frame. I needed the thickness of an extra square of cardboard behind the design to secure everything in place. It's up to you as to whether you want to use glass in the frame or just let the texture of the stitching shine forth.
embroidered hummingbird in metal frame

 These tiny birds have truly been a source of fun and we'll miss them when they begin their long journey to South America soon... they'll fly 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico - amazing! And whenever I glance at my stitched hummer years from now, I'll remember this odd pandemic summer and how we did our best to beat it at its own game. 
floral paper embroidery design in frame

Would you like another little project? This cute floral paper stitching was created as a tutorial by Patty McGuire of Pattymac Makes. You'll find lots of tasty goodness on her blog along with many more sewing ideas so do pay her a visit. Her previous paper embroidery project was a Christmas card.
More Paper Stitching You Might Like:


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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Such a sweet project. Very doable, with any design. I've been watching your hummingbirds all summer--they're delightful. I'm glad that awful storm that blew through recently didn't do any harm. I wonder how they hunker down? You might like this artist's take on a paper hummingbird automaton. In French, but easily translated. You might want to go back to some older posts to see more of the project:

    1. Thanks and oh how nice, I'm happy to meet another hummer watcher! I wondered about them during the storms we've had too. I loved looking at Arnaud's clever birds; appreciated the link.


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