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Hand Embroidered Mother’s Day Card. DIY Tutorial

Hand Embroidered Mother’s Day Card. DIY Tutorial main article image
Posted on April 20, 2023 by Tatjana Iljaseviciute
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Mother’s Day is approaching, and you might wonder how to surprise her this year. Whether you want to make a special gift for Mam, Grandma, step-mum, mum-to-be, or partner, this versatile card with a simple yet elegant floral design will be perfect.

Hand Embroidered Mother's Day CardPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

What you should know before starting an embroidery-on-paper project

Starting a new embroidery project or trying a new technique is always exciting; we want to jump into it immediately. But let’s learn the basics first.

What kind of paper can you embroider on?

cardstock paperPhoto credit: The Paper Mill Store

Any heavyweight paper (cardstock) will be fine. However, I like using watercolor paper because it has an excellent surface finish. Also, a smooth surface cardstock is a good choice of paper for embroidery. Avoid the paper with glitter or woodgrains as it can be hard to pierce it.

How to transfer embroidery patterns to paper?

  • You can draw a pattern directly on a paper card with a pencil, make the holes for the embroidery, and then cancel the pencil marks with a rubber.
  • On the other hand – you can print the pattern on a sheet of paper, sandwich it over the card and poke the holes through both layers of paper. The result will be the same, but you will save time and effort canceling the pencil marks. Besides that, this transfer method will work on any kind of paper – dark, light-colored, or with a grainy surface. 
  • Use a layer of softer material (cardboard, formboard, or corkboard) under the paper when transferring the pattern. It will protect your working table and add some softness. Also, it will be easier to poke holes with cardboard under the paper card. 
  • To make the holes in the cardstock paper, use the sewing pin, push pin, drawing pin, or any other sharp tool to make a hole of your desired size.

What is the best needle for paper embroidery?

The needle has to be the same size or smaller than the holes you made for the stitches when transferring the pattern.

What embroidery stitches can you use on paper?

Basic hand embroidery stitches work best when embroidering on paper. Opt for backstitch, running stitch, lazy daisy stitch, or French knots. Avoid the stitches that require placing stitches close to each other, as too many holes in a row can cut the paper.

In the article, Six Basic Hand Embroidery Stitches to Learn First on The Artistry blog, I teach how to embroider all the basic stitches mentioned.

How to keep the back side of the embroidery on paper neat?

Inside the cardPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • Avoid the knots. To start stitching, use a folded thread method, and to finish stitching – anchor the thread under the previously made stitches.
  • Avoid jumping threads. To move from one embroidery section to another, pass the thread under the stitches already made, or start a new thread. 
  • If you cannot avoid the knots or there are some loose threads on the back – cover them with a piece of washi tape.

Tools and materials you will need for this project

tools and materialsPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • Embroidery pattern. I used a Flower One Line Art pattern from the Creative Fabrica library.
  • Paper card. You can use a premade blank card or make it yourself. I used a piece of watercolor paper and cut it into 30×15 cm to create a square card of 15×15 cm with a fold.
  • Watercolors or any other paint to color the abstract shapes of the pattern. You can use colored pencils or colored markers as well. For this tutorial, I used watercolor pencils.
  • Embroidery floss. I used black DMC Embroidery floss #310. You can choose any dark color for embroidery.
  • Embroidery needle. Opt for a small needle (e.g., No 7-8). We will use two strands of embroidery floss for this cardmaking project.
  • Pins. We will use pins for pattern transfer to the paper.
  • Bone folder or paper creaser. You can also use an empty ball pen.
  • A piece of cardboard to help you poke the holes in the paper card.
  • Scissors or snips for the embroidery floss.

Embroidery stitches

We will use only one hand embroidery stitch for this project – Backstitch. If you are unfamiliar with it, read the article Six Basic Hand Embroidery Stitches to Learn First on The Artistry, where I explain how to embroider this stitch in detail.

Step-by-step tutorial

1 Preparation

Flower One Line Art pattern from the Creative Fabrica libraryPhoto credit: Creative Fabrica

  • Download and resize the Flower One Line Art pattern from the Creative Fabrica library. I resized mine to 12 cm in height to fit my 15×15 cm card. 
  • Print the pattern.
  • Prepare the paper card.

2 Transfer the pattern to the card

transfer the patternPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • Cut out the Flower pattern and center it above the blank card. Place a piece of cardboard under the card to protect your working table and add softness. Also, it will be easier to poke holes with cardboard. 
  • Use four pins to pin the pattern over the card.
  • To transfer a pattern to paper – poke the holes along the design lines. Start with the angles and crossing points. Then, add holes between these. Each spot you pierce on a paper card will mark a stitch, so make the distance between the holes equal. You can make the stitches smaller on the curved parts of the flower and more significant on the straight lines. Just keep them similar on each element.

mark the shapesPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • To outline the abstract shapes, use a paper creaser or an empty ball pen. The mark will be slightly visible on the card but will have no color.

pattern transferred to paper cardPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

3 Color the abstract shapes

paint with watercolorsPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • Paint the marked areas with watercolors or other paint of your choice. I chose purple and green colors for the rounded background shapes.
  • Leave the card to dry.

4 Embroider the flower

embroider with backstitchPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • Embroider the flower on a paper card with a backstitch. Use two strands of black embroidery floss (DMC #310). Pass the needle through each hole you poked with a pin. 

start embroidery with folded threadPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • Use folded thread method to secure the starting stitch and avoid the knots on the back side of the card. 

Anchor the last stitchPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • When the thread is finished, anchor the end under the previous stitches.

start new threadPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

  • When you need to start a new thread – anchor it under the previous stitches with a folded thread method.

Add a personal note

card for writingPhoto credit: Tatjana Iljaseviciute from Practical Embroidery

Your hand-embroidered card is ready. Write a warm message and tell your Mom how much you miss her!


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