Step 1: Draw your design
Draw a design on a piece of scrap paper that matches the size of your card. Experiment with graphic shapes and lettering to create border designs and monograms. Simple designs using straight lines work best, like zigzags, asterisk stars, or boxy lettering.
Step 2: Punch holes to outline your design
Paperclip the design to the front your open card and place it on top of a few sheets of cardboard. Using an awl or push pin punch holes outlining the design. You just need a few holes where lines intersect, at corners and at the end of a line. For example, to create a zigzag design you’d only need to punch holes at the points of the peaks and valleys. For a double zigzag, add a second set of holes under the valleys.
Step 3: Thread your needle
Remove the paper clip and scrap paper. Cut a 14-18 in. / 36-46 cm. length of thread, and tie a double knot at the end, leaving a ½ in. / 1 cm. tail. Thread your needle and begin by coming up from the inside of the card, so the knot is hidden. Tip: It’s better to use short lengths of thread for stitching paper, because paper is rough on thread. It slowly strips the thread of its shine, and can create knots. Try using a thread conditioner or beeswax to lightly coat and smooth the thread.
Step 4: Start stitching
Stitch your design using a backstitch. Pull the thread up from the back and go forward dropping the needle down into the next hole. Pull through and drop the needle back down into the previously stitched hole to make a continuous line. Keep following this pattern to complete the design. Depending on your design, you may need to jump around from point to point as you stitch. For the zigzag design with two rows of color, stitch one color and then the second. The top points or “peaks” will be stitched twice.
Step 5: End length of thread and finish
To end a length of thread, tuck the thread under a stitch on the inside of the card and tie a double knot. Cut with a ½ in. / 1 cm. tail. Finish stitching your cards. Write a message and enjoy!