EMBROIDERING ON WOOD: project idea and hints & tips for success


Did you know that you can embroider on WOOD? Yes, we sure can. Well, not on a chunk of wood like a 2×4 (of course!)  but on the right type and a thin layer of wood, it is quite do-able. The best type of wood to use is the softish, balsa wood that is used in the making of model aeroplanes – so a Hobby supply store is the place were you will find this. I bought some wood from the craft store and while it worked, it was not the greatest as it was a lot more brittle than the type used for model aeroplanes (and is prone to cracking as you can see in the pic below which was my test piece.)


Hints and tips for embroidery on wood:

  1. It would, for obvious reasons, not be wise to try to hoop the wood!  Rather float the wood over tearaway stabilizer which has been sprayed with a little glue (or use sticky stabilizer).
  2. Don’t baste the wood in place either as you will end up with a bunch of holes you probably don’t want.  Just gently hold the wood in place for a short time at the beginning of the embroidery (with your fingers well away from the machine needle of course!) until it is held in place with a bit of the embroidery and then it should be OK.
  3. The choice of what embroidery design to use is quite important: something too dense with lots of stitch fill is not good. Rather select something open and “airy” like a red work design or cross stitch. Lettering with lots of satin stitching can also be a little problematic.
  4. Use a regular, universal size approx size 80. If the needle is too large (like a top stitch or denim needle) the holes made in the wood made be too large for your liking. A size 80 universal needle will work just fine, provided you slow down the speed of the embroidery machine to the minimum or close to that.
  5. There will be a fairly loud “thacking” noise as the needle penetrates the wood. Don’t worry about this, it is to be expected.
  6. Do slow the speed of the machine down to the minimum or a little above that if going at snail’s pace irks you.
  7. Do replace the needle after you have completed the embroidery!

Cross stitch butterflies embroidered on wood. Then the wood was glued into the little wooden tray with Elmer’s School glue  (goes on white, dries clear)


About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to sew, read, knit , crochet, travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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2 Responses to EMBROIDERING ON WOOD: project idea and hints & tips for success

  1. Karen Young says:

    Wow my husbands hobby is woodworking. I’m definitely going to have to try this for him to incorporate into something awesome. I love the tray idea.


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