Wednesday, November 14, 2007

stamp-n-stitch: a tutorial...sort of...

perhaps "a collection of random thoughts & hints" is more like it! i am not so much for step-by-step instructions (either giving *or* following them!) but i had a BUNCH of fun playing around with the caardvarks' hand stitching challenge, and there's still time for you to get in on it, too! (deadline is midnight, saturday 11-17)

one of the things i realized when elisa and i were talking about this last week is what a difference terminology makes. for example, neither of us are particularly interested in--or much good at--sewing. but as soon as we got on to discussing embroidery, we both had a ton of ideas!

supplies: you definitely need cardstock for this, or patterned paper glued to printer paper to sturdy it up; thin paper wants to rip after a few stitches. i'm not big on specialized, uni-tasking turns out that a piercing tool is MUCH better than anything else for making the holes; you need something quite sharp, or else you will have puckery wrinkles in your paper. oh yeah, and just as the craft-mags have told us: an upside-down mouse pad is the perfect thing to pierce into! embroidery floss gives a smooth look with a faint sheen; needlepoint yarn has a more homespun/rustic look; you could also try silk ribbon...variegated or metallic thread...thin yarn...raffia...even household string!

a rhonna flourish stamped with an inkpad on sei patterned cardstock

method: not being very much of an artist myself, i love the idea of using rubber stamps to provide a super-quick framework for my stitching. varks' guest designer celeste brodnik rather brilliantly points out that by stamping on the back of your cardstock you can get the effect of free-hand drawing, but i also liked letting a bit of the ink show for a two-toned, two-textured look. it is fun to play around with adding extra bits of stitching and/or leaving some of the stamped image un-stitched.

the above, embellished with 6 strands of black embroidery floss, some silvery beads, and a marah johnson velvet flower brad

variations: if you stamp using colored inks (or markers) and stitch with more than one thread color you can get quite a sophisticated multi-toned look with very little work!

a different rhonna flourish, accenting a glitter-painted, sequin-adorned heidi swapp flower

i mostly stuck with narrow lines and backstitch, but you could fill in an outline stamp with satin stitch, or cross-stitching, or any other sort of decorative embroidery that doesn't require a lot of flexibility. lazy-daisy stitch, of which i had high hopes, is sadly NOT a possibility on cardstock! ...but then...who says you can't stamp on fabric and then glue--or sew-the resulting panel onto your project?!

a sasafrass arrow stamp stitched in several ways & accompanied by a bunch of creative imaginations rub-ons (note the "puckering" phenomenon caused by piercing holes with a not-quite-sharp-enough needle!)

more ideas:
  • use a crop-o-dile to punch holes in painted or raw chipboard (or acryllic?) shapes and stitch right through them!
  • outline a text stamp, or underline specific words to make them stand out; dot your i's with small beads or french knots (there ya go elisa...more french knots for you!)
  • make a frame for a stamped image by stitching a circle or rectangle around all--or part--of the design
  • sew beads, sequins, buttons, tiny felt or paper flowers--or any combination of these--to the centers of large stamped...or drawn...or silk...blooms
  • highlight a bit of the design in patterned paper with stitches
  • blanket stitch along the edge of a card
  • use iron-on pattern books instead or...or in addition to...rubber stamps

for more inspiration, check out the *amazing* caardvarks' hand-stitched gallery ......then come along and have a go!!!


  1. Lauren, I LOVE this idea!! Thanks for the tip on the mouse pad, too. I know I've heard it before, but I had forgotten!

    Thanks for your blog, too. I'm a loyal reader and I love it!

  2. Absolutely fabulous samples ... love them all.

  3. Holy cow, girlfriend! Your cold has not slowed you down at all! Thanks for all the fabulous ideas and especially for the eye candy :)

  4. Wonderful cardstock embroidery! Love that first pink one. I started stitching on cardstock a while ago because I'm completely hopeless with fabric and was surprised to find out what a great technique it is. I started spraying the paper with water resistant & UV protective sprays before stitching for greater longevity of the final pieces.

  5. Lauren, these are just wonderful!!! great tutorial! i think even a huge non~sewer such as myself could do something with this...hmmmm...well, maybe at a future time...i am bogged down with other projects that i am being quite lazy in's that cold? all better i hope...

  6. Beautiful work! Great ideas, thanks for sharing!

  7. Hmmmm....good Tutor you do make! I love the light orange one! The cold has not slowed you down! I recommend tea with lemon & honey...not decaff though!

  8. such pretty pretty samples. thank you so much for this sweetie. i had never even thought to use my stamps as a pattern. you are most clever :-) and talented. after i get these christmas cards done i'd like to try some o'this. i love my machine but your samples are so lovely i neeed to try it!

  9. What a great idea. I never embroider much cos I'm rubbish at drawing - stamping, great idea.

  10. Thanks for the tutorial. I love your blog banner! (first time visitor.)


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