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Embroidering On Card Stock

by Carolyn Dzoba

Embroidering on card stock was something I was reluctant to try.  I saw it as an application that could be useful for scrapbooking, but I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to sew on something other than fabric.

As usual, curiosity got the better of me and I tried it, but I had many questions.  What type of card stock to use, what type of designs to use, how to stabilize?  It seemed a bit overwhelming.  I’ve also learned that in addition to embellishing scrapbook pages, there are numerous ways to use card stock in your embroidery, and it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Cards stock itself won’t ‘give’ or stretch, so it doesn’t require stabilization so much as just to be held in place within the hoop.  For this I like to use sticky stabilizer that tears away after you stitch.  When you’ve stitched your first card, tear it away very carefully and leave the remaining stabilizer in the hoop.  Subsequent cards can then be stitched on that same stabilizer as long as it remains sticky enough to hold the card stock in place.

Need a last minute card for a birthday, holiday or other special occasion?  Embroider one!  Inexpensive sets of note cards and envelopes can be purchased at any craft store and kept on hand for just such situations.

In selecting an appropriate embroidery design for stitching on card stock, I choose designs with large stitches and a relatively low stitch count.  There must be space between the stitches so that the card stock (65#) will not tear.  Cross stitch designs are a good choice and really give a handmade appearance to the finished card.  Red work or color work designs are another good choice for stitching on regular card stock.  Both of these stitch very quickly, but the finished cards have the look of something truly special.  Experiment with variegated threads as well as ‘tone on tone’ cards for a lovely variety.   A set of 4 of these cards with envelopes makes a great little gift for a shower or other occasion.


Bookmarks are another good use of card stock.  They can be stitched several at a time and cut afterward for unique gifts that are finished in no time.  These airy designs lend themselves especially well to suncatchers because the tiny holes made in the card stock by the needle allow light to pass through in interesting patterns.


Special paper is also made specifically for embroidering (note: I am referring to Kiwi Embroidable Paper, which is available both online and off).  This is useful for stitching more dense designs.  For example, satin stitched monograms would perforate regular card stock, but stitch well on embroidable paper.

A good application for embroiderable paper is to insert it in acrylic embroidery blanks.  It stands up well and holds its shape in travel mugs, water bottles, etc., where fabric or felt might be too soft to stand well or too thick to be inserted.

These are just a few ideas to get you started exploring the possibilities of embroidering on card stock. It’s worth giving it a try.  You’ll be pleased with the results!

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23 Responses to Embroidering On Card Stock

  1. jacalyn says:

    You have given me the courage to try something I have always wanted to try but didn’t know where to start. I will try it tonight after work and let you know how it came out. In this time of cost cutting this is a great idea to help save a little and you have a keepsake to boot!!!!

  2. Cheri says:

    Thanks for the ideas and encouragement! I too have been hesitant to try embroidering on paper, but I will now!

  3. Ishmael says:

    Thank you Carolyn for the tips on embroidering on stock cards. I did try a few years ago. I was disatisfied with the result. The untouched stock cards are still sitting in the cupboard.
    I now understand why the card perforated and was left with only a design almost fsl. I surely will try again. Thank you.

  4. Chrys says:

    I embroidered some cards this year for the first time. They really do look special. Some of the designs did look like they might start to tear away from the card, so I used cutaway stabilizer, trimmed it leaving about 1/2 inch around the design and then taped the stabilizer to the card. Then I glued a piece of pretty paper (cut just a little smaller than the card) over the back of the design. Chrys

  5. Carole says:

    My sister will love this as she makes greeting Cards. Thanks for the idea.

  6. Margie says:

    Thanks so much for the instruction. I had bought Kiwi paper but was too imitated to try it! Now I will. Thanks!

  7. sewflower says:

    I have also had good results by just taping my card to the bottom of the hoop. I made christmas cards this way. I have also found some designs that are specially digitized for card stock.

  8. Jeanne says:

    I also embroidered on wood. Balsa wood 1/16″
    Used lots of stabilizer and dense pattern.
    It came out fine. I was scared of it leaving wood splinters in my machine. But the technique I used kept it from hurting anything except breaking lots of needles until I slowed it down to the slowest possible speed.

  9. Sue says:

    Thank you for your insights. I have not tried this but you make me feel I could do this successfully.

    Thanks again

  10. katrina says:

    I have thought about doing sometihing like this since both my daughters do scrapbooking but hadn’t tried it yet. I hadn’t quite figured out how to go about it.
    I try to make gifts and cards. This will be a fun way for me to make something nice that isn’t expensive to make and/or mail but shows that little extra caring.

  11. Bev says:

    Thank you so much for posting this article, Carolyn! I do want to stitch on cards and have been looking for the card stock to do so, to no avail. You have now given me a hint and I shall follow it through. Very much appreciated!

  12. Joyce says:

    Great article. But I have a question. How do you know which designs will work and which will not? Is there a “rule of thumb” for how many stitches in the design before it becomes too many stitches?

  13. Verne says:

    I like the clear description of how this is done thank you. I have done a few cards myself but I used the fusible polymesh as a stabilizer for the card and was able to stitch out some fairly dense designs on card stock. But I agree that the more open or less dense the design , the better it is for stitching out on cardstock

  14. Wendy Jones says:

    Embroidery on Kiwi Paper is fantastic, I have used this technique many times.

  15. Judy LaVois says:

    You can also use water color paper to embroidery on, they look pretty is you tear the edges a little bit then, glue it the front of the card stock then you can’t see the back of your embroidery. You can also color the edges under the watercolor paper on the card stock, gold realy looks good. Another thing I have used is Angelina under the water color paper.

  16. Leah Howard says:

    I was excited to embroider on cardstock for the first time. It turned out that my cute little daisy’s were too dense and they punched themselves out by the time I reached the end. They didn’t fall apart though so I glued them to another piece of cardstock and rubber stamped a Happy Birthday wish around them. Then I made matching kitchen towels for a gift. It was a lot of fun and very appreciated. So if you make a mistake… enjoy it!

  17. Thanks for the clear instructions on embroidering on card stock. I haven’t tried it yet but certainly plan to.

  18. Sue Mohan says:

    where can I buy the design…what company ?

  19. I`m fed up with trying to find out where to purchase needles and embroidery thresd to use in my home made cards can you please help

  20. nonie says:

    I have used OESD stitched with love including 12 cards+bookmarks. Tried some redwork designs which did fairly well but not as well as the OESD. Would like to have more like these. Any suggestions.

  21. Rosebud says:

    Nonie, Can you tell me what OESD stands for. New to Embroidery abbreviations.

  22. april says:


  23. Dora says:

    Why does it some on some embroidery websites that you can only use patterns that are specially digitized for cardstock?

    I am new at machine embroidery and would like to make some cards but am curious about the distinction between patterns.

    Thank you.

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