Embroidery Library

Embroidering on Cardstock

Embroidering on cardstock to make holiday and greeting cards is one of the hottest trends in embroidery. The Embroidery Library recently released dozens of new designs specially digitized for cardstock. We've received some excellent questions from embroiderers who are ready to make the plunge into the card-making business.

What kind of paper should I use?

Any heavy weight paper (cardstock) will be fine. I've embroidered on several different kinds: paper from an artist's water-color pad, short-fibered tagboard, and expensive hand-made paper.

I've found the best results with heavy paper that has longer fibers. Look at the image to the right. That's generic cardstock. The fibers are very short. You will get a fine result when you embroider on this type of paper, but you will see perforations left behind by the needle.

Paper with longer fibers (below, right) is more forgiving of the needle perforations, and it will pull together slightly after embroidering. You'll still see needle perforations, but they'll be smaller and less noticeable than when working with the inexpensive, short-fiber cardstock.

When choosing paper, you really get what you pay for. Paper with long fibers is considered higher quality, so it's more expensive.

You can find paper with short fibers at almost any store, including discount chains like Target and Walmart. You'll find higher-quality paper at craft stores, art stores, and specialty-paper stores.

Paper with short fibers


Loretta wrote in with this tip: SuedePaper (tm) works really well with cardstock designs! It has a fabric-like texture and comes in a variety of colors. Paper Wishes is an online source for this paper, or rubber stamp or scrapbooking store also.

Paper with long fibers

Why should I slow my machine down when embroidering on paper?

Truthfully, the reason why I slow my machine down, is because the first time I did it, I wanted to really watch and study the process. I just got into the habit of running cardstock designs at a slower speed.

You can embroider on paper when running your machine at full speed, but if you have the option to reduce the speed, do so. It might be a personal preference, but I've found that I get a cleaner, crisper result when embroidering on cardstock at a slower speed.

What kind of needle should I use?

Definitely a sharp needle. A ballpoint needle creates a larger hole when perforating the cardstock. A sharp needle makes smaller holes, so those perforations will be less noticeable.

As far as needle size, a 75/11 will be fine.

Can I sew cardstock designs onto fabric?

Absolutely. You can sew any cardstock design onto fabric. Just keep in mind that the the fills are more sheer than other designs. Expect the fabric to peek through.

This design (right) is sewn onto white fabric. You can see that the sheer blue fill is allowing a bit of white to peek through. If your bobbin tension is too tight, then more fabric will show through. As long as your thread tensions are balanced correctly, you'll have fine results when sewing cardstock designs onto fabric.


Cardstock designs can also
be sewn onto fabric.

Click here to find the card designs specially digitized for cardstock!

Kenny is a master digitizer and Vice President of Production at Embroidery Library, Inc. He has more than ten years of experience as an artist, digitizer, and embroiderer.

Because his Christmas card list includes more than 100 names, he started making cards in August.

Ask Kenny! Send your questions to stitch@emblibrary.com.

Click here for a printable version of this page.

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