How To Embroider Words – Leah Nikolaou

How To Embroider Words

I'm going to show you how to embroider words onto off cuts of wallpaper.   Easy hand embroidery 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 or something more maximalist depending on the wallpaper you choose!

embroidering letters by hand on a piece of wallpaper outdoors

Wall Art - Embroidering Letters

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 led 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

 Embroidery Letters

Pierce holes around the outer edge of each letter approx 0.4cm in length.  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 of a piece of wallpaper I hand embroidered with the text 'Garden Goddess.'

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