March 2002
Hooked On You - Embroidery Card
Designed By Judi Kauffman

Many rubber stamps are easy to adapt as an embroidery card. At first glance, the pen and ink fish looks complicated and not at all like something that could be transformed with needle and thread. But the fish has very distinct areas and it's those areas that make it easy to stitch.

In order to turn your choice of stamp into an embroidery project, stamp on paper and analyze the stamp till you begin to understand which areas are larger, simple shapes and which ones are smaller, but still important. Use a highlighter or light color marker to help you choose - fill in the different shapes and "squint" or take off your glasses so you see whether the simplified shapes look right to you (seeing in a partially out of focus way is very useful).

To my eye, the body of the fish is the largest area and defines the form, but the mouth and small fins are still vital to getting the look of the fish. For a flower it might be petals, stem and leaves that you choose. For a figure, it might be hair, mouth, eyes and hands. And so on. Once you begin to analyze your stamps with this kind of project in mind, you'll be able to use them in this new way.

You can embroider any stamp a variety of ways. It's your choice which areas would be fun to OUTLINE or FILL with thread. You can also add stitched details over a stamped image instead of using the stamped image on the back (as I did on this project). The fish would look great with little beads or French knots along the back and a larger one for the eye, for example. Or if you stamp it with a very pale color and stitch with something brighter or darker it will give a dimensional effect.

I chose these areas to FILL:

I chose these areas to OUTLINE with pricked holes or running stitch:


42360 Pen and Ink--Fish, Cat Birds, Lady, Feather
(*I chose Kreinik Metallic #8 Fine braid to add shimmer to the fish)


  1. Stamp image several times, at least once on heavy card stock. Place stamped image on mouse pad or craft foam and practice pricking around the edges of the portions of the design that you will stitch. (Hint: Remember the old sewing cards you had as a child? In a sense you are making one with this project). You will be pricking holes on the STAMPED side of the pattern, but you will be stitching on the PLAIN side of the card (stamped image becomes the back).

  2. Sponge ink around the pricked pattern if desired. I used two shades of pale blue dye ink.

  3. Thread needle and knot end of thread as if you are sewing on a button. With knot on back of project, come up through a hole and stitch across the area you are filling with a long stitch (some areas are filled with angled stitches in two directions, other areas are only filled with one set of stitches). Repeat till each area is filled, ending with needle on back of project.

  4. Each time you start and end a thread (to add more or to move to a different area of the project) put a tiny dab of fast drying glue on the knot or tail knot to secure the thread.

  5. Sponge on more ink (I added purple and raspberry). Pierce more holes and leave them unstitched to add detail. Use markers, chalk, and colored pencils to emphasize different areas of the project.

  6. Cut out embroidered piece and use it on a layered card as shown or add it to a gift tag, pop-up or any other project.

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(c) Copyright 2002 by Judi Kauffman and Red Castle, Inc.
Red Castle, Inc. - P.O. Box 1841 - Saint Cloud, MN 56302-1841
All Rights Reserved.