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How to Make a Fabric Bookmark

There are a lot of tutorials out there for fabric bookmarks, but I’m very. . . picky. . . about my bookmarks. I’m a book collector, you see. My husband is a writer. We met when we worked together at an independent bookstore. I spent twenty years selling children’s books. Almost all of the art in our house is by children’s book illustrators. We are book people.

I like a bookmark that’s not so tall that it hangs way out of the top of a standard paperback. And I definitely want a bookmark to be THIN. Nothing that will damage the spine please! (Lots of fabric bookmarks are way too thick.)

So here’s a quick and easy tutorial showing you how to make my kind of bookmark.

Materials to make a fabric bookmark with an embroidered motif.

You’ll need two pieces of fabric – one for the front and one for the back of your bookmark. I, of course, am partial to a bit of embroidery on the front, but you could just use any amazing fabric that you love.

If you’re going to have embroidery, do it now before you assemble the bookmark.

bookmark from Davis- Kidd Booksellers

Grab a bookmark you like the dimension of (this one is 1 5/8 x 7) and some super-strong, paper-backed fusible adhesive. I use Heat and Bond Ultra Hold. Do NOT try to sew through that stuff! It will gum up your needle like crazy. I keep mine separate from all my other fusibles – just in case.

Cut out a piece of adhesive about 1/2 inch bigger than your bookmark all the way around. It doesn’t have to be neat.

The bookmark in the photo is just a guide for the dimensions. You’re not going to glue it inside or anything.

Making a fabric bookmark using fusible adhesive

Lay it adhesive-side down over the back of your embroidered piece. (Never iron the front of your embroidery! There’s more info here about how to iron your embroidery without smooshing the stitches.) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fuse it in place.

purple striped fabric

Let it cool. Peel off the paper and lay your bookmark backing right side up over it. Fuse in place. Now the bookmark front and back will be glued together.

finished fabric bookmark made with an easy tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Flip it over so you can see the front. Trim to the size you want it. This is super easy with a rotary cutter and a ruler, but you can do it with scissors too.

Embroidered lady wearing a hat - motif from the book How to Embroider Almost Everything

You’re done! The adhesive will add quite a bit of stiffness to the fabric bookmark. You could make it even stiffer by using two layers of adhesive with a sturdy interfacing between them, but I’m ok with some bend to my bookmark. And the adhesive does a really great job of keeping the edges from fraying – so you can skip the time (and bulk) of adding a hem.

I think including a handmade bookmark with a book makes it a really nice gift. And it takes no time at all! The lady took me about an hour to stitch (it would have been faster if I hadn’t added all the satin stitching) and making the bookmark takes all of five minutes.

Looking for the pattern for that lady? It’s in my book How to Embroider Almost Everything.

Happy stitching!


  1. These are so great! I am a school librarian and plan to make these for end of the year gifts for my parent volunteers. Thanks for your wonderful site and for sharing so much!

    • What a great idea! I hope you’ll share them when you’re finished. 🙂

  2. Rebecca SAYS...

    so, you embroider afterwards, thru the paper and heavy bond?? that doesn’t seem like the right way after what you said about gumming up needles???

    • No – you start with the fabric already embroidered. Or you just use a piece of pretty fabric with no embroidery. 🙂

  3. Tamara SAYS...

    Do you think that you would be able to blanketstitch around the edge of the bookmark?

    • You could – but it will add thickness. How much depends on the thread you use.