Paper For Embroidery - Giclee Prints – Leah Nikolaou

Paper For Embroidery - Giclee Prints

Giclee paper range been held above a giclee print

Embroidering Museum Quality Paper

Paper for embroidery comes in so many different shapes and sizes but for the first of my blog posts on this subject, I want to talk about embroidering into giclee prints, a museum quality paper.

I’ve experimented with many different papers for embroidery since beginning my paper embroidery journey but my absolute favourites to stitch into has to be giclee papers.  The printers used to print these papers print in 12 colours rather than a standard 4 (CYMK) meaning the depth and richness of the prints are of exceptional quality and of museum standard.  The range of archival inks used mean that I can capture the really fine details and colours of the pressed flowers and leaves that I use and that the colour will last longer than from a standard ink-jet printer or a lithograph.  The weights of giclee papers also provide the perfect base for chunky tapestry stitches not bowing under the length or weight of stitches whilst having the softness and durability I need for piercing.  

I've experimented with the following branded paper for embroidery:

  • Hahnemuehle Hemp 290gsm
  • Hahnemuehle Photo Rag 308gsm 
  • Decor Watercolour Art 245gsm
  • Soft White Cotton 280gsm 

Hand holding a range of giclee papers at a desk

What is a giclee exactly?

Giclee is a French term meaning ‘to spray’ or ‘to squirt,’ referring to the way in which the inks are fired in little droplets onto the page during the printing process.  The term giclee pronounced (zhee-clay) was introduced to our vocabulary in around 1990 when printmaker Jack Duganne coined the term to differentiate his high quality prints with those of mass manufacture.  He also wanted to build their credibility to stand alone in the fine art world as prints worthy to hang alongside paintings.  After all, the high definition now possible was something traditional printing methods couldn’t replicate.

Image showing the detailed quality of a giclee print

Giclee Art Paper

The paper range used for giclee printing often looks like watercolour paper because of it’s slightly rough texture plus it’s accuracy and clarity of colour when printed.  Giclee papers are also free of acid and lignin and should last well over 100 s of years without deteriorating or fading when stored correctly.

Why use giclee paper for embroidery?

They are a superior quality prints that have the credentials to become heirloom pieces!  Just as some artist add embellishments to their giclee prints to make them one of a kind for collectors you actually have the chance to embellish your print yourself following the printed embroidery template.  Because no two pieces of hand crafting is ever exactly the same you have the opportunity to create something truly original.

Owl Giclee Prints

My owl giclee prints are printed on a bright white paper with a rough watercolour textured surface.  They are archival and therefore free of acid and lignin. Of museum quality they are 245 gsm in weight which are excellent for embroidering.


Giclee art print of an embroidered owl

Crochet Bag Giclee Prints

My iris giclee prints are also printed on a bright white paper with a rough watercolour textured surface.  Similarly they are archival and therefore free of acid and lignin. Of museum quality they are 245 gsm in weight and a joy to stitch.

botanical giclee print on a table

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