How to Machine Embroider on Cardstock Paper Easily

Ever thought of using your embroidery machine on paper? It’s a delightful way to craft! Cards for holidays, like Christmas and Mother’s Day, are my favorites to stitch on. But picking the right stabilizer, design, and type of paper can be a challenge. No worries! I’ve curated some amazing tips for you.

Mastering Machine Embroidery on Cardstock: A Simple Guide

Getting That 3D Effect

For a standout effect, use a thick satin stitch on a card coupled with tear-away stabilizer. It gives this incredible three-dimensional result. Imagine a butterfly appearing to flap its wings!

Needle Selection

Selecting the right needle is crucial. A bigger needle means a larger hole. So, while you need a needle that can penetrate paper, pick the smallest one to avoid big holes. Sizes like 75/11 or 70/10 are good bets, but ensure the eye fits your thread. If an embroidery needle isn’t enough, try the next size, but ensure it’s sharp. Always use a fresh needle – a dull one is a no-go.

Thread Tips

Your thread and needle need to be best friends! Although most designs cater to 40wt thread, feel free to experiment. I personally love the 40wt polyester or rayon thread, but there are plenty of exciting options like:

  • Cotton thread with a different weight for a hand-embroidered look (maybe 30wt?)
  • Metallic threads (but check the embroidery tips for these)
  • Glow-in-the-dark threads (they’re so fun!)
  • Variegated thread

Embroidery Settings

When I reduce my machine’s embroidery speed, my creations on cardstock come out much better. Additionally, while you might not need to fiddle with the machine’s tension, some threads like metallic ones perform better with reduced tension.

Choosing Designs

Design selection can make or break your paper embroidery project, especially with thin paper. Avoid dense designs; opt for simpler ones with low stitch counts. Some preferable design features include:

  • Redwork, chain stitch, or outline designs
  • Running stitch fonts
  • Specifically digitized designs for cardstock
  • Designs with minimal jump stitches

And remember, needle holes are permanent, so be mindful where it punctures!

Embroidering on Cardstock: A Guide

Ready to embroider on cardstock? Here’s how:

  1. Marking Your Card: Decide where your design will go. Embroidery target stickers are great, but pencils or air-soluble markers work too.
  2. Preparing the Card: Paper is fragile! So, hoop only the stabilizer and place your cardstock on top. There are various ways to attach your cardstock to the stabilizer, but I adore painter’s tape. It’s gentle and leaves no residue.
  3. Machine Setup & Embroidering: Once the hoop is in place, ensure you’ve got the right design, thread, and needle orientation. Begin your embroidery, but keep a close eye as paper can be tricky!
  4. Finishing Touches: Carefully remove the tape and trim excess stabilizer. When trimming any threads, be gentle to avoid bending the cardstock. And for a polished look, attach a matching cardstock piece to the card’s back.

Adding Accents

After your embroidery is complete, jazz it up! Think fabric, beads, glitter, paint, buttons, ribbons, and more to give your card a personal touch.

Table of Key Points

Topic Details
Needle Size Smallest possible (like 75/11 or 70/10)
Thread Type 40wt (polyester or rayon), cotton, metallic, glow-in-the-dark
Machine Speed Reduced for precision
Design Choice Simpler designs with low stitch counts


Complement the information with the following video: