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Stitched Cards using the Brother Paper Piercing Kit

Stitched Cards using the Brother Paper Piercing Kit main article image
Posted on October 6, 2021 by Natalie Ballard
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Christmas is a great time to make extra special cards with some unusual finishing touches. This project uses the Paper Piercing Kit by Brother for the ScanNCut. If you don’t have this, create a template and use a piercing tool, or a paper stitching die. I will be setting my design up in Canvas Workspace (Desktop version) and you will need to have activated the software functions for Canvas using the included Activation Card. The Paper Piercing Kit only works with SDX models.

You will need:

  • The Paper Piercing Kit, stitching dies, or a piercing tool
  • Embroidery threads
  • Embroidery needle
  • Thick Card
  • Decorative paper
  • Foam pads or tape

Setting up the design in Canvas Workspace (Desktop version)

Basic Shapes:

You can use basic shapes to start a design and use the piercing option so the software can work out where to place the holes. You can alter the spacing between the holes using the setting at the top of the screen which can dramatically alter the design. The fewer the holes, the quicker the design will be to stitch.

Setting up a design for paper piercing

It is then up to you when you are stitching how those holes join up. I’ve used a simple design below to demonstrate.

Star stitching ideas

This design feature is something you need to consider as part of the process when working in the software as you can’t really alter it the same way on the machine. On larger shapes, you may even want count the holes to check repeating pattern stitches will work.

Basic shapes are a great starting point but as you get more confident with the technique, you can start to build stitched borders and frames using multiple shapes.

Text:

Paper piercing doesn’t stop at basic shapes but can also be applied to text for personalisation projects and bolder sentiments. You can use either the word designs already available in Canvas Workspace (known as logos) or use the Type tool and your installed fonts. This can give a whole new look to your fonts, or combine drawn and pierced elements as shown in the last column below.

Paper Piercing and Text

Your stitching could then outline or fill your words as you wish. 

Using the pen tool:

Obviously, you can also use these same techniques on downloaded shapes and designs that you have imported from SVG. However, you could also use tracing or the pen tool to add stitched elements to toppers and printed papers, stamp designs, normal dies.

Firstly, draw your shape(s) with the pen tool so you have all your elements in place. Then you want to set all of your shapes and lines to pierce.

My chosen design:

For my finished design, I wanted something that would combine stitched elements alongside other finishes like drawing, foiling, cut work, and patterned paper. It was easier to initially focus on a word and I wanted something that isn’t currently available on the market. So, my focus word is SNOW. Upper case letters tend to have simpler forms, so are therefore a good place to start for a novice stitcher.

Adding the word

I added my word using the Type tool before selection my font. At this point, I haven’t decided on a finished card size just yet. When you have decided on your preferred font, consider the scale of your word to make the font easy to draw or cut. Drawn fonts can be much more detailed with finer joins whereas cut ones will need to be bolder. I found filling this word helps with the visualisation of your finished design.

After setting the scale, add a basic shape showing your chosen panel or card size. The next stage is to add the dotted outline to your text. Select your word and go to the Edit tab and click on Offset. Add an offset of 0.8 inches or 3mm from your text so, if you are cutting your text, you don’t accidentally tear the card while stitching. Some designs will need even more spacing in this offset, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Adding a frame and offset

Then, I wanted to add extra detailing to the design so we could play with stitches. I did this using basic shapes for the solid shapes, in this design a six-point star shape was found in the more unusual “basic” shapes; and I used the Path tool to create open lines.

Creating the paper piercing dots

Once you are happy, send your design to your cutter and create all the pricking first. If you are just getting used to lining up your paper piercing and cutting, you may find using a dark card helps you. Alternatively, some find it easier to cut and then align the piercing; particularly if you are using a white or light cardstock for your design.

You do have to change mats mid-process so anything you can do to help you align your design is a bonus. Be sure to group your design before attempting to move it to line up on your new mat and always do a background scan.

Be sure to use the 0.8 paper piercing tool to give you the wider holes; we also used the PlannerCraft Foil Shield to help us align the design for piercing as it is tricky to get the piece horizontal otherwise.

Paper Piercing with the ScanNCut SDX

Once you have completed your panel, ungroup the design using the same group button. You can then delete the inner elements of the panel. Using the outside rectangle, create an offset ready to cut your background piece. Delete the original rectangle and then cut the offset. I used a piece of patterned paper as this adds interest quickly given the time you will be spending stitching.

Creating the offset

Set the background piece and centres of letters to one side for use later.

Stitching the card

Expand the holes you are stitching to make the process a little easier by gently inserting a pokey tool into each hole.

Widening the holes

With your embroidery threads, cut a length measuring a couple of pulls through the skein. Each embroidery thread is made up of 6 individual threads that are twisted around each other. Separate two of these out by pulling them out sideways, and if you have a friend handy, get them to pull downwards on the centre thread to make it easier, or place it between your knees if no one is available.

Separating the embroidery threads

Hook these two through the eye of your needle and allow them to fold. This means you are now stitching with four threads.

Threading the needle

Tie a knot in the end of your thread and feed your needle through your first hole and back through your second. Tape down the loose thread so it stays clear of the cut area or edges if needed. Continue stitching your design as normal.

Tying the knot

Taping the waste

If you are new to embroidery, here are a few basics to get you started:

Running stitch: this is where you go up through one hole and down through the next, then up through the next, and so forth. This is the first stitch you learn in embroidery and sewing. Support any fragile areas of your design piece while stitching to avoid tearing your work.

Running stitch

French knot: this is where we wrap the thread around the needle and gently bring our needle back down the same hole you came up through. So, you come up through the hole to the front, wrap your needle 2-3 times, place the needle back into the same hole, guide the looped thread down to your work and pull the needle through. This takes a little practice to get right.

Once you get started with these, you will find the process simple to fill out your design. Here are a few ideas for your snowflakes…

Snowflakes

Finishing off: When you complete a design section, or if you are running out of thread, on the back of your piece, thread your needle through the nearest previous stitch, loop your needle back through the loop and pull to knot. Cut your thread leaving 1-2cm and tape if required.

Tying off

Once you have stitched your whole panel, it’s time to assemble your card.

Assembling the card

Start by adhering your background piece to a card blank. This will be much easier to do at this stage, especially if you are using paper for your background piece.

Adhering the background

Mount your embroidered panel using foam tape or dots. Some areas of your embroidery may become quite raised on the reverse so make sure the piece is evenly supported.

Mounting with foam pads

Add any additional embellishments you wish to use and your card is complete.

Finished card

Having completed this project, I’m now hooked on embroidering cards. It becomes quite therapeutic and is the perfect sit on the sofa crafting on these darker nights.


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