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How to Embroider on Paper – video

How to Embroider on Paper - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

Yesterday (and last week) I showed you  few cards I made for my daughter using my embroidery patterns to make collage images. In the card above I glued paper on for the cloud, but I stitched the raindrops with embroidery thread on the paper card. In this video I show you how to do that stitching.

The trick is in pre-punching the holes. In the video I’m punching those holes with an awl I picked up at a rummage sale ages ago. If you just want to play around with the technique you can use a push pin. It works, but it’s not ergonomically friendly. If you’re going to do a lot of this, invest a couple of bucks in the tool I mention in the video – it’s called a potter’s needle and they sell them here for $1.99. It has a thin (but strong) needle and a nice handle that your hand and wrist will thank you for.

On this card I used a running stitch, which I love on paper. Backstitch and lazy daisy also work well, but I don’t recommend split stitch or French knots. If you want to go beyond that just play around and see what works for you! I’d love to see what you make!

Happy stitching!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)


  1. Thanks for the great tutorial! T-Pins from office supply stores also work really well for punching smaller holes! and you could easily add polymer clay to the top for comfort:)

  2. Emily – T-pins are a great idea!

  3. Thanks Rosana! I’d love to be featured on your blog. Please send me a link when it’s up and I’ll link back.

  4. Wendi,
    My question is how many skeins of the thread do you use? It looks like you use the whole strand. I have been splitting the thread into 2 ply and I don’t really like the way my embroidery looks.

    • The number of strands I use depends on how thick I want my line to be. I think I was using a full 6 strands on this – though it might have been just 4. I use 4 for most of my projects. One thing to keep in mind when stitching on paper is to adjust the size of the holes you punch to the thickness of your thread. If you’re just using 2 strands of thread you’ll want to punch pretty small holes. Experiment with different needle sizes until to arrive at a hole size/# of strands combination that you’re happy with.