Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Nell of YTN
Paper embroidery can be a beautiful and unique addition to your art journal or your journaling in general. And it isn’t as difficult as it may sound, I promise.
Embroidering on paper does require certain techniques that are different than fabric embroidery, but no worries, I’ll go over those in this article!
Along with tips, hacks, and tricks, you’ll leave this article knowing how to embroider on paper and in your journals in no time flat!
And, I talk about my favorite secret tool that has taken my paper embroidery journey from frustrating to easy going!
So, you ready? Let’s get to embroidering!
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Paper embroidery is a creative technique that involves stitching or sewing on paper to create decorative designs.
This technique combines the art of embroidery with the versatility of paper, resulting in unique and visually appealing pieces.
Paper embroidery can be used in various ways, including incorporating it into journaling.
You can use paper embroidery to create decorative borders around your journal pages, framing your content and adding a touch of elegance to the overall layout.
Enhance the cover of your journal by adding embroidered elements such as floral patterns or geometric shapes, complementing the theme of your journal.
Paper embroidery can be used to create personalized stationery, adding a handmade and thoughtful touch to your letters, notes, or greeting cards.
Use this technique to highlight quotes, headings, or important sections within your journal, making them stand out visually.
Make your journal more interactive by incorporating paper embroidery elements that can be lifted or flipped, creating flaps, pockets, or tabs with embroidered designs.
Tailor your paper embroidery to match the theme of your journal entries, such as nature-themed designs for a nature journal.
Consider using paper embroidery to embellish photos in your journal, creating a beautiful and artistic framing effect around ordinary pictures.
You can also create monthly or seasonal paper embroidery elements to mark the beginning of a new month or decorate seasonal entries.
Experiment with various embroidery stitches to add texture to your journal pages, providing a visually appealing and tactile element to your journaling experience.
Tell a story through your paper embroidery by creating a series of stitched images that represent different events or experiences in your journal.
Combine paper embroidery with other mixed media elements like watercolor, collage, or washi tape to create dynamic and visually interesting journal spreads.
Incorporate embroidered elements as prompts for your journal entries, using symbols or images that inspire your writing.
Paper embroidery is a form of mindfulness and relaxation and so don’t put pressure on yourself to get it right or do the best, just enjoy the experience.
Feel free to experiment with different stitches, colors, and designs to make your journal uniquely yours.
I talk about tips for paper embroidery and show step by step pictures along the way.
15 Paper Embroidery Tips
Below are some fun ideas of how to incorporate embroidery with your journal and other papers.
Decorative Borders: Use paper embroidery to create intricate borders around your journal pages. This can frame your content and add a touch of elegance to the overall layout.
Cover Embellishments: Enhance the cover of your journal by adding embroidered elements. This could be floral patterns, geometric shapes, or any design that complements the theme of your journal.
Personalized Stationery: Create personalized stationery by incorporating paper embroidery into your letters, notes, or greeting cards. It adds a handmade and thoughtful touch to your correspondence.
Highlighting Quotes or Headings: Use paper embroidery to highlight quotes, headings, or important sections within your journal. This draws attention to specific content and makes it stand out.
Interactive Elements: Make your journal more interactive by adding paper embroidery elements that can be lifted or flipped. Create flaps, pockets, or tabs using embroidered designs to add an element of surprise.
Themed Pages: Tailor your paper embroidery to match the theme of your journal entries. For example, if you have a nature-themed journal, incorporate floral or leafy designs.
Embellish Photos: Attach embroidered elements around photos in your journal to create a beautiful and artistic framing effect. This can turn ordinary pictures into visually stunning focal points.
Monthly or Seasonal Embroidery: Create paper embroidery elements that correspond to each month or season. Use these elements to mark the beginning of a new month or to decorate seasonal entries.
Create Texture: Use various embroidery stitches to add texture to your journal pages. This not only looks visually appealing but also provides a tactile element to your journaling experience.
Storytelling Through Embroidery: Tell a story through your paper embroidery by creating a series of stitched images that represent different events or experiences in your journal.
Mixed Media Collage: Combine paper embroidery with other mixed media elements like watercolor, collage, or washi tape to create a dynamic and visually interesting journal spread.
Journaling Prompts: Incorporate embroidered elements that serve as prompts for your journal entries. These could be symbols or images that inspire your writing.
Mindfulness and Relaxation: Engage in paper embroidery as a form of mindfulness and relaxation. The rhythmic stitching can be a therapeutic activity that complements your journaling practice.
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Important Tools and Hacks
So there are differences between paper embroidery and regular hand embroidery on fabric. It was trial and error for me, so learn from me so you don’t have to experience the same frustration I did!
Below are the top tips I’ve found that work for me when embroidering on paper.
1- Invest in an awl
An awl is a pointed tool with a sharp tip used in paper embroidery to create clean and precise holes in the paper.
Its slender, tapered shaft provides controlled penetration, minimizing the risk of tearing delicate paper.
The holes made by the awl serve as guides for the embroidery needle, facilitating an efficient stitching process and ensuring accuracy in following specific patterns.
This tool is crucial for achieving uniform hole size, contributing to the overall neatness of the design.
By customizing the size and spacing of the holes, artists can use the awl to add precision to intricate and detailed paper embroidery work, making the stitching process smoother and more controlled.
Awl I Recommend
3 in 1 paper embroidery awl by Flourishing Fibers
This is my secret weapon! It’s specifically made for paper embroidery, has three needle sizes, and is easy to out together, and to use!
She doesn’t have them in stock all the time, so I will list another option from Amazon, but if you can get the 3 in 1 by Flourishing Fibers, I say jump on it!
Another retractable awl that I’ve seen other paper embroiders recommend and it’s usually in stock on Amazon, so it’s a good second choice if the 3 in 1 I love isn’t in stock. Click here to purchase.
2- Foam Pad
I use a foam pad when punching the holes in my paper and photographs. I use this foam pad, but there are many on the market and any will work. Choose your size and go from there!
3- Embroidery Thread
There are all kinds of embroidery thread on the market to choose from and it really just depends on your needs and preferences. You may like DMC, which is one of the best threads on the market, or you may prefer a cheaper but still nice thread that you can find on Amazon.
I use both DMC, Sulky, and cheaper Amazon threads in my embroidery. If I were stitching to sell, I would use DMC and Sulky only but because all of my work is for myself then I don’t mind what kind of floss I use.
The size of the needle tends to be important with paper embroidery, as the eye or width of the needle can’t be larger than the hole you punched or it can rip the paper and that will cause a disaster.
Sizes to consider buying
5/10 size needles by DMC
Beading needles – which can be used for beads but also just floss, too. (DMC)
5- Tracing Paper
If you have an intricate design you’d like to punch, or you’d like to punch without pencil marks underneath the design, you’ll want to use tracing paper so you can lay the tracing paper over your paper and punch through both to make the design.
You can use any tracing paper but this is the one I use.
If you’re using the paper in your journal, then you’ll likely find that most journal papers are about the same in thickness.
If you’re designing something on cardstock or even photo paper, there will be varying degrees of thickness of the paper.
I like the in-between of thickness, personally.
Some paper embroidery artists use thick cardstock or even water color paper while others use a thinner paper – it’s really about personal preference.
If you’re using photo paper to print a photo onto and then stitch onto that photo, I recommend a thicker photo paper.
Something like 45lb or heavier would likely be ideal, otherwise if it’s too flimsy it’ll be harder to work with without tearing it.
This might be a good option but please note I’ve not purchased this size or brand so I can’t vouch for it.
7- Needle Threaders
While not necessary, I find them particularly helpful with the smaller needles, and my aging eyes. You can find all kinds on Amazon.
I recommend getting a big pack as they’re easy to misplace and I’ve accidentally pulled the metal part out of the plastic part before.
This is the pack I recently purchased and have been using.
Inspiring Paper Embroidery Artists
I love paper embroidery artists so much and I think you will too so below are my favorites! I think you’ll be inspired and will enjoy the beauty of these artists work!
Lady Lauren Stitching
Lauren is an amazing photo embroiderer and also sells her templates on Etsy!
Katia is another incredible photo embroidery artist who takes people’s wedding photos, and other special photos, and embellishes them with stitching. Very inspiring!
Anita is an artist who works with paper embroidery, she has created amazing pieces that are inspiring and lovely to look at.
Shannon Knowlton Artist
Shannon has the coolest style and you’re going to think the same as well! I love her cross stitched women specifically.
Britt is an artist who works with more than just paper and thread but her past paper and thread pieces are so simple yet so inspiring so beautiful and perfect!
Natalie has some of the most fun paper embroidery. She uses pieces like spoons and wood within her work. A true artist!
Lorena is a fav of mine, she is so clever, and so artistic, but still feels so approachable.
Amyu has a delicate and whimsical/playful style and it’s different than everyone else I’ve shared here. I think you’re going to adore her work, it’s the cutest.
Wrapping up: Paper Embroidery
Paper embroidery opens up a world of creative possibilities for journaling enthusiasts, providing a unique and tactile dimension to the art of self-expression.
As highlighted in this blog post, incorporating paper embroidery into your journaling endeavors involves careful consideration of materials, stitches, and design elements.
From creating decorative borders and personalized stationery to embellishing photos and telling visual stories, the tips shared aim to inspire and guide your paper embroidery journey.
The use of an awl in this process proves invaluable, ensuring precision and preventing damage to the delicate paper.
As you explore the tips and techniques presented, remember that paper embroidery is not just a craft—it’s a means of infusing your journal with personalized artistry, turning each page into a canvas for your creativity.
So, pick up your needle, experiment with colors and stitches, and let the thread of inspiration weave its way through the fabric of your journaling adventure.
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