How to Do Machine Embroidery Greeting Cards

Updated May 01, 2018

Machine embroidery doesn't just work on fabric. You can create greeting cards and make them as simple or elaborate as you like. Experiment with some paper and design your own one-of-a-kind greeting cards for any occasion.

Draw your embroidery design on tracing paper. If you are new to machine embroidery, stick with straight lines and gentle curves. The stitching will make the card special, so you don't necessarily need a complex design. Consider hearts for Valentine's Day, a tree or star for Christmas, or a large bold number representing a child's age for a birthday card.

Attach the tracing paper with your drawing over a sheet of construction paper using painter's tape along the edges. Make sure the tracing paper is smooth and wrinkle-free.

Choose a thread colour that will stand out against the colour of the construction paper background, and thread your sewing machine. Do some test stitches on a scrap piece of construction paper and adjust the stitch tension to produce smooth, even stitches.

Sew directly over the lines of your drawing on the tracing paper using straight stitches, sewing through both the tracing paper and construction paper layers at once. Sew slowly and carefully.

Remove the painter's tape and tear the tracing paper away from the stitches carefully, leaving the construction paper and stitches intact. Trim any long thread ends and apply a small dot of glue on the reverse side of the embroidery to hold the ends of the thread in place.

Cut the embroidery out with scissors, either following the outline of the design or by cutting a square, rectangle or other shape around it.

Fold a piece of cardstock in a complementary colour in half smoothly to form a plain card. Glue your embroidered construction paper shape to the front of the card, or stick it to the card with double-sided tape if you prefer.


Keep a separate sewing machine needle just for use with paper. Sewing paper blunts the needle and makes it unsuitable for use with fabric. Use the sewing machine without thread to create a perforated design. Place it over a contrasting colour background for a different look.

Things You'll Need

  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Construction paper
  • Painter's tape
  • Thin card stock
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Glue or double-sided tape
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About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.