Make Greeting Cards with your Embroidery Machine

Did you know that you can machine embroider directly on cardstock and make your own customized greeting cards?  This tutorial will demonstrate how to use your embroidery machine to make your own greeting cards.

The cards in this project have a combination of applique fabrics and machine embroidery.  We take you step-by-step through completing this project including tips and tricks for embroidering on cardstock or paper.

Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial

After you have read this tutorial if you are interested in other patterns made to embroider on cards, click the link to find a list!

Click the link below for a full video tutorial on creating these greeting cards or keep reading for a written tutorial and instructions.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link Make Greeting Cards with your Embroidery Machine to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

TIPS for Machine embroidery on paper

  • Stitch on High Quality Cardstock, watercolor paper or other heavy paper without decorative elements like embedded leaves or flowers.
  • Paper with longer fibers will also work, but test first.
  • Use cut-away stabilizer for extra support.
  • Float your card on hooped stabilizer secured with some temporary adhesive spray.
  • Use a smaller sharp needle, size 11 or smaller, to avoid large holes
  • Consider slowing your machine down.
  • Add scrapbook paper to cover back of the stitching.
  • Consider adding extra embellishment with colored pencils

Appropriate Designs for Embroidery on Paper

  • Low stitch count
  • Sketch or Redwork type designs may work.  Designs should mostly contain running stitches without a lot of overlapping.


Instructions for machine embroidered greeting cards

Select your designs

For this project, we used the Smith Street Designs Greeting Collection embroidery designs.  These designs make cute greeting cards with appliqued fabrics so they are very customizable!  The designs are also very quick to stitch and most take only a few minutes.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Patterns.JPG

Purchase these Smith Street designs patterns through the link and look for other supplies for this project at the end of this tutorial.  Also, find other patterns made to embroider on cards through the link.

The Smith Street Designs Greeting Card pattern comes with instructions for completing the project, a CD with embroidery designs, and PDFs for printing the fabric templates.

This tutorial will take you through the steps of making two cards from the design collection.  We also provide tips and tricks to successfully embroider on paper or cardstock.

Create the applique templates

The applique fabric pieces are prepared by tracing or printing the templates onto Heat 'n Bond Lite, adhering them to the back of fabrics, and cutting them out. 

There are two ways to create your fabric templates.  The templates are provided on the instructions sheets included in the package.  Using a lightbox, trace the patterns onto the paper side of the Heat 'n Bond Lite.

The other way to create the templates is to use your printer and the provided PDF documents to print onto the paper side of the Heat 'n Bond lite.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Printing templates

The steps are:

  1. Cut a piece of Heat 'n Bond Lite to be 8.5" x 11".  
  2. Lightly spray some temporary spray adhesive to a piece of cardstock.
  3. Place the Heat 'n Bond Lite onto the sticky side of the cardstock with the paper side facing up.
  4. On your computer, open the PDF document to be printed.  Each printout will have templates to make more than one of the same cards.
  5. Load the cardstock with the Heat 'n Bond Lite attached into your printer so that when it's fed through the printer, the printing will be on the paper side of the Heat 'n Bond Lite.
  6. Print the PDF page(s).
  7. After printing each page, carefully remove the printed templates from the cardstock. 
  8. Place the next piece of Heat 'n Bond Lite onto the sticky side of the cardstock and print the next page.

Note: The cardstock will remain sticky through several printouts so there is no need to apply the temporary adhesive after each print.  The first print may remove some of the heat 'n bond from the paper backing.  This happened to me, but the next sheets peeled off correctly.

Prepare the Fabrics

The templates will indicate the fabrics needed for each card.  This project is perfect for using up fabric scraps!  So, search your fabric scraps or select a charm square pack to use.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Fabrics Prepared

Cut apart the templates to be used on each fabric.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Cut Apart Templates

Pick out the fabrics to use for the card and adhere the wrong side of the fabrics to the Heat 'n Bond Lite using your iron and the directions on the product.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Iron Onto Fabric

Cut out the fabric templates along the cutting lines.  Cut out all of the fabrics needed for one card (or more) before starting to stitch.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Cut Templates

Stitching the Cards

The steps for stitching each card are outlined in the instructions sheets included with the pattern.  Once you've stitched the first card, the other cards will be easier as the process is very similar for each different card.

This tutorial will be showing the basic steps and highlighting the special elements of a few cards.  

1. Load Pattern & Hoop Cut-Away Stabilizer

Load the pattern to be stitched on your embroidery machine.  

Cut-away stabilizer is the best to use for stitching on cardstock.  Hoop stabilizer into the appropriately sized hoop for the pattern as indicated by the machine.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Hoop Cutaway Stabilizer.JPG

2. Stitch Card Placement Line

The first step of each card stitches a placement line for the cardstock.  Stitch this step in any color as it will not show on the finished card.  Carefully remove the hoop from the machine.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Card Placement Line Stitched.JPG

3. Place Card 

I used a pack of Greeting Cards that included envelopes for my greeting cards.  Look below for a link to purchase a pack similar to this.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Greeting Card Blanks with Envelopes.JPG

Lightly spray the back of the right side of the cardstock with the temporary adhesive spray.  I have a spray box I use when spraying the temporary adhesive.  This helps contain any overspray and keeps surrounding surfaces from becoming sticky.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Spray Card with Adhesive.JPG

Machine Embroidered Greeting Adhesive Spray

Place the card over the stitched placement line making sure the card is straight. Then return the hoop to the embroidery machine.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Card In Place

3. Stitch Steps before Fabrics

The next step(s) will stitch out parts of the card.  Follow the instruction sheet to stitch out the steps.  Stop and remove the hoop at the step to apply the fabrics. 

Do not remove the card or stabilizer from the hoop unless all steps have been stitched.  

If there are jump threads, trim those before continuing.  Below is the Balloons Birthday card stitched.  The card is still in the hoop because there are more steps to be stitched.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Trim Jump Threads.JPG

Below is the Happy Easter card stitched.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Stitching Before Adding Fabrics.JPG

4. Iron on the Applique Fabrics

Below are two sample finished cards with prepared fabrics for another card below them.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Alternate Fabric Options.JPG

Peel the paper backing off of the prepared appliques.  If you are having trouble getting the backing off, score the backing with a pin.  This can make it easier to get the backing off.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Remove Paper Backing From Heat n Bond.JPG

At the ironing board, place the appliques over the stitching lines covering them completely with the heat 'n bond side (shiny side) towards the card.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Place Fabric Balloons.JPG

Using a small iron set to medium-high to high, go over the appliques for 5 - 10 seconds.  Test to see if they have adhered completely.  If not, iron some more until all edges stay down.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Iron on Fabric.JPG

For the Happy Easter card, apply the fabrics in the order specified by the instructions.  The chick fabric is applied first, then the egg, then the beak.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Fabrics Ironed On.JPG

4. Stitch the Remaining Steps

Put the hoop back into the embroidery machine and following the steps on the instructions sheet, stitch the remaining steps for the card.  Below is the balloon birthday card with the stitching finished. Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Balloons Ironed On.JPG

Once the stitching is complete, the card can be removed from the hoop.  Below is the Happy Easter card with the finished stitching and with the fabrics appliqued. Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Card Finished Stitching.JPG

Apply Hotfix crystals

Some of the cards call for hotfix crystals to be added.  These are optional.  If you do not want to add the crystals, then skip stitching the placement step for the crystals.  

Below is the ballon birthday card with the placement lines stitched and crystals selected.  The instruction sheet indicates the size and color of the crystals to use.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Select Crystals.JPG

Using your hotfix crystal setter, apply the crystals to the card.  I selected a tip appropriate for the size of my crystals and held the setter over each crystal for about 10 seconds to set them.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Affixing Crystals 1.JPG

If they are not set after 10 seconds, hold the setter over the crystals longer.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Affixing Crystals 2.JPG

The Happy Easter card gets more crystals in yellow/orange for the feathers and green in the grass.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Card with Crystals attached.JPG

You're So Special Card with Ribbon Attached

This card is a little bit different in that it has a ribbon attached to it.  The instructions say to cut a piece of ribbon X inches long.  During the stitching steps, it stitches a placement box for the ribbon so it can be added.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Card with Fabrics.JPG

Above is a sample completed card and prepared fabrics for sewing another card.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Steps Before Fabrics Stitched.JPG  

For this card, start by stitching the initial steps as shown in the photo above.  Then, using a small iron, adhere the fabrics over the stitched placement lines as shown below.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Fabric Ironed on Special Card.JPG

After stitching the step for the placement square for the ribbon, fold the ribbon in half to make a crease.  Open the ribbon up and place the crease over the placement square.  Hold it down lightly with some tape.

Stitch the next step to hold the ribbon in place.  After all of the steps are completed, remove the card and carefully tie the ribbon in a bow.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Card with Ribbon.JPG

Covering up the Stitching with Scrapbook Paper

The last step in making the machine embroidered greeting cards is to place scrapbook paper over the stitching and stabilizer on the back of the card.

Start by trimming the stabilizer close to the stitching.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Trim Stabilizer

The card will look like below.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Inside of Stitched Card.JPG

Cut a piece of scrapbook paper slightly smaller than the card back.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Cut Scrapbook paper

Then turn to the back of the paper and apply double-stick tape all around the outside edge as shown below.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Double Stick Tape on Scrapbook Paper.JPG

Center the paper over the stitched area and stick to the back of the card.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Scrapbook Paper Added.JPG

The cards are finished and ready for a message to be written inside!Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Finished Cards

Below is another birthday card with presents.  This card has a ribbon down the center.  This ribbon can be stitched or glued down over the placement line.Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Finished Happy Birthday.JPG

This card also has a button.  I used a needle and thread to attach the button to the card.  The button could also be glued to the card.

Machine Embroidered Greeting Cards Tutorial Finished CardsAs you can see from the photo above, I had fun machine embroidering on cardstock or paper and making my own greeting cards!  I hope you decide to make some for yourself.


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

You may be interested in these other machine embroidery projects:

Anita Goodesign Pocket Purses

In-the-Hoop Tall Cell Phone Wallet Project

Machine Embroidered Herb Kitchen Towels

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

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