How To Embroider Letters – Leah Nikolaou

How To Embroider Letters

Embroidering letters to make wall art is great fun. We show you how to embroider letters and words using two basic embroidery stitches suitable for a beginner:

  • Back stitch Letters
  • Cross Stitch Letters

embroidering letters by hand on a piece of wallpaper outdoors

I'm going to first show you how to embroider letters onto off cuts of wallpaper using back stitch.   Easy embroidered letters can be stitched into wallpaper without the need for an embroidery hoop. Your finished wallpaper can be mounted traditionally or hung in a magnetic frame to make a sophisticated piece of wall art.

Embroidered words art on a desk

Here are two simple pieces of word art which I hope will inspire you.  The raised textures created by using wool to embroider your words is really beautiful.  In these pieces of word art I've used a slightly fluffy 4ply vintage angora / wool mix yarn.  The above quote, 'The World Laughs In Flowers' is a simply charming quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

how to embroidery letters

Words Often Embroidered

Before we delve into the embroidery tutorial itself, here are a few embroidery design ideas: 


A combination of of two or more intitals joining together to form a symbol.

People's Names

Childrens or adults names for bedroom wall art.


Names of countries that you love visiting or have lived in.

This is a piece of wall art I did in different languages as a Valentine's gift for my husband.  It represent our heritage which is English, Cypriot (greek language and Italian.)

embroidered words wall art


Favourite and famous quotes that make you feel uplifted and positive.


Catchy slogans that relate to you or make you smile.

Song lyrics

Your favourite song lyrics that evoke a particular memory and feeling.


Words relating to an activity you love like this yoga inspired embroidered word, 'inhale' below.

 embroidered verb in-hale

Single Letters Often Embroidered


Initial of children for kids wall art.

How To Embroider Words

First stage, make and transfer your pattern

Learning how to embroider words is easy with this simple method of transfering your words onto your paper or fabric.  

Step One

Type out the words that you want to embroider, highlight them, experiment with different fonts, styles, sizes and orientations.  Think about whether you want it to fit an A5, A4 (standard printer paper size) or A3 sheet of paper.  Print out your text.

Step Two

Diagram showing how to transfer text for hand embroidery

Take the sheet with your chosen text and lay it on a table in-front of you facing upwards like diagram 1 shows.  Place tracing paper over the top and trace around each letter using a normal grey lead pencil.

Diagram showing how to hand embroider words

Step Three

Step two is to transfer the text from the tracing paper to your wallpaper.  Trace on to the plain side (back) of the wall paper so the letters are easier to see when you are stitching.  First place your wallpaper on the table with the plain side facing you.  Next layer the tracing paper over the top so that the text reads in reverse as demonstrated in diagram 2.  Line the two sheets up together or place where you want your text on the wallpaper.  Using the pencil again trace over the letters.  This will transfer the text to your wallpaper.

Step Four

Choose an embroidery silk, tapestry thread or ball of wool to embroider your words.  I used 4ply balls of wool for my embroidered words.  You could experiment on another scrap of paper with how big you want to make your stitches to be.  You may even trace one letter onto a scrap, like the back of an envelope to try out your thread.  I recommend making stitches about 0.4cm long, although some will need to be shorter to fit the letters.

Take a piece approx 30cm long, tie a knot in one end and you are ready to begin.

Hold your wallpaper with the reverse side (text side) facing you and insert your needle into your first letter from this side.Work the edge of all of your text using a simple back stitch.  

Embroidering letters with wool diagram

How To Embroider Letters | Back Stitch

Embroidered letters are easy to embroider using a simple back stitch. 

  • Pierce holes around the outer edge of each letter approx 0.4cm appart. 
  • Pierce about 5 holes to begin and see how it feels, before piercing entire piece. 
  • Work in a back stitch as demonstrated below.  I start a letter at the hole next to a corner hole, marked here as B.  Thread yarn through B.

embroidered initial S

  • Yarn is now at the patterned side of your wallpaper.  Thread yarn back up hole A and then across and down hole C.  Next back up B.

Diagram of easy hand embroidery letters

  • Continue in the same pattern.

easy way to embroider initials

You will find that sometimes you get to the end of a letter and you need to do a small stitch.  It is better to do a smaller stitch than one huge stitch.

Diagram showing how to stitch text

Below is a demonstration on a piece of wallpaper of how to embroider letters that read 'Garden Goddess.'


How To Embroider Letters | Cross Stitch

Embroidered writng and letters can also be worked in an embroidered Cross Stitch.  This is another of the most basic embroidery stitches.  

How To Work A Cross Stitch

  • Pierce the paper at each end of the crosses, indicated by a black spots.

how to do cross stitch illustration

Work in lines stitching in the same direction.  Stitch A to B, then C to D.  Then worlk the second half of the cross back in the opposite direction.  Stitch F to B, then E to C.

Cross stitch

  Below I've embroidered cross stitch initials into this piece of paper wall art.

cross stitch letters kit

cross stitch initials being embroidered onto a handmade card

Embroidered Letter Art Kits | For Sale

Shop my word embroidered art kits for sale available as a part of my paper embroidery kits collection.  Shop embroidered cross stitch letters kits for sale. They include wallpaper to embroider, wool, instructions and everything you need.

last page instructions of embroidery letters guide

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