Embroidery on Paper: Scrapbooking

In February I had the opportunity to teach a class on stitching for scrapbooks. The class was so well received that I thought it would be fun to share it with you. I had created two designs-one for Christmas and one for Easter. Since Easter was yesterday, I am going to share that design with you today.

In a past newsletter, I talked about the history of embroidery on paper. Rather than talk about that again, I want to give you a brief history of scrapbooking. You may be amazed to learn that it is not a new technique. Mark Twain was a scrapbooker as was Thomas Jefferson. Even the word "scrapbook" is not new. In the late 1700’s there were colored papers that were used to create the albums. These little papers were called "scraps". Thus, they became scrapbooks!

In the early 1900’s scrapbooks became popular as friendship albums. Friends swapped poems written on special papers. When hair jewelry was popular, friends would also weave little flowers from their hair and gave them out for the books.

Another popular trend today is distressed books where you take a regular hard-bound book, but glue things over the printed pages. That too is not a new tradition. I have a couple of books that my grandmother created as a young adult. She saved recipes, obituaries, postcards, and other treasures.

So, today I want to show you how you can use your stitching skills to enhance a scrapbook page. You can use the same techniques to create a handmade card, bookmark, or handmade tag.


When stitching on photos it is really important to pre-punch the holes through the photos and papers. So, a Piercing or Pricking tool is needed. The tools come in grades: extra fine (348-271-0007), fine (348-271-0008), and coarse (348-271-0009). The grade determines the size of the hole. We also sell them as a set (348-271-0006).

To cushion the paper when piercing, you need a good piercing pad (348-271-0011).

You will need a variety of needles to match your fibers and holes. You don’t want the eye of the needle to be much larger than your fiber or the punched hole or the fibers won’t cover well.

The threads you choose should be appropriate for the design. For example, if you are creating a lacy edge, you would probably want a fine thread or metallic. Some of the overdyed threads enhance the patterns with their color changes.

Papers are available in all weights from parchment to cardstock and can be plain or patterned. One of the fun things to do is find papers with patterns you can stitch on. You will see what I mean on the eyelet egg shown later.

Have a pair of scissors available that you will use only to cut the paper. Don’t use your embroidery scissors!! If you are using a lot of metallic threads, you will also need a pair of scissors made for cutting metallic threads (305-371-1525).

Start collecting a variety of embellishments including Mill Hill beads , crystals, Mill Hill treasures, buttons, charms and silk ribbons.

We have a fabulous selection of embroidery on paper books to choose from also full of hints and ideas.

On to our project

The design has been created so that you could use it with or without using pictures. The sample is not completely stitched as it was used in class. However, I think you can tell what the plan is!

Download the project!

Before we get to stitching, we need to cut out the individual pieces. I used several different papers and weights. The background paper is a heavy cardstock. I used one with a glittery surface, but it did make keeping the pieces in place while stitching harder. The rabbit is cut out of a textured tan-colored cardstock. The pattern shows where the arms and feet are located. You will need to cut along the inside arms and top of the feet so one of your eggs will slip into place. The Easter eggs are cut out of colorful scrapbook papers. The grass has a torn edge taken from a scrapbook paper of grass.

To cut out your eggs, tulips and bunny, use the templates included in the project download.

You can make as many eggs as you want. To use photos, you can replace the scrapbook pages with photos. Or, cut out your eggs from scrapbook paper and then cut your photos just a little bit smaller.

The larger egg is outlined with the rotographic technique.

Tape your egg in place and then punch out the holes around the outside edge. This egg was stitched with DMC Floss #782 that matched the dots on the scrapbook paper.

Next I stitched the rabbit in place using ThreadworX floss #10341.

I used a simple running stitch around the outer edge.

Put your egg in the rabbit’s arms before you stitch the rabbit down. The rabbit’s feet can be stitched in a criss-cross pattern with Wisper #90. I used a short length of pink picot ribbon for the ear. I stitched it down through the picots with Splendor #950. You can use beads or buttons for the eyes.

To create the grass bottom, tear the paper towards the back of the paper to keep the white edges from showing on the front. You can use your fingernail to guide the tear. You can also use a small paintbrush and water to make a different type of tear. Paint along the edge you want to tear so that it is wet. Then gently tear along the edge. Vary your edges and grass blades.

Add your torn grass edge. Use some tape to hold it in place. To permanently hold the paper in place, I stitched several lazy daisy flowers in the grass with Watercolours #145.

I added Mill Hill beads in the center of the flowers. You can also stitch small buttons in the center.

Position your eggs around in the grass. Stitch them down using regular embroidery stitches. For example, this egg has an eyelet like design on it, so using Kreinik #8 braid #3240.

I stitched over several of the eyelets. Side-by-side cross stitches were used around the edges of this egg. One of the eggs was held in place with a blanket stitch using Leah’s Size 8 #30.

Position the tulips and stitch them in place.

I used a large whip stitch on the pink tulip with variegated Brazilian thread, Iris 030. The purple tulip was stitched down with DMC Floss # 553. The stitch was a combination stitch of straight stitches. The tulip stems are silk ribbons that have been couched down with silk thread. One stem is couched with straight stitches, and the other one has cross-stitches over the ribbon.

You can find more of the stitches you can use in the project download. They are shown on a straight line and on a curve. There are no rules, just have fun playing.

Download the project!

We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!

For those interested in using this article or others published by Nordic Needle, Inc., please use this copy when referencing the information:

“The following article was written by Debi Feyh of Nordic Needle and published in their weekly e-mail newsletter. Permission was granted by Nordic Needle to share this article in (name of your publication). For information on subscribing to their weekly e-mail newsletter, visit www.nordicneedle.com. A free mail-order catalog is available to you upon request if you live in the USA or Canada.”

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