Rubber Stamp Embroidery: Creating Custom Stitched Images with Your Favorite Stamps
3 August 2010
Author: Kara Ward
There are so many different kinds of stamped images available for crafters. Combining the crafts of stitching and stamping into rubber stamp embroidery just makes sense. Using a stamped image allows you to transfer the most detailed or complex stamp in one easy motion.
Often, wooden mounted stamps have a color of the image on the top of the stamp block. This can be a color guide for stitching. Stitching allows one to maintain the detail and quality of the image. With different stitches you can make a rubber stamp become a textural work of art!
Types of Fabric for Rubber Stamp Embroidery:
Anything goes when it comes to fabric for stamping and stitching surfaces. You may want to embellish a pair of denim jeans
or personalize bath towels
. The type of fabric you use is up to you.Here are some things to consider when working with fabric:
- Weaver’s Cloth or Quilter’s Cotton is a traditional fabric used for embroidery
- Some like to use Linen and Aida Cloth (a heavy fabric with a large weave used in cross stitch)
- Knits are tricky. They stretch and are more challenging to embroider. Try using an iron-on stabilizer for your project if you choose a stretchy fabric. Use an embroidery hoop but be careful not to overstretch the material,
- Watch out for delicate fabrics like chiffon and silk. They can stretch in the embroidery hoop and damage the fabric or the design.
- Cotton T-shirts are great to stitch on, but make sure to wash them first to remove the sizing in the fabric. Avoid using a fabric softener during the wash and dry process.
- You may not need an embroidery hoop when you use thick fabrics like felt.
Peek through you home and see what you can stamp and stitch on…So many fabrics, so little time!
Types of ink to Stamp With:
Another option is to use fabric paints or fabric dyes to stamp on fabric. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's directions when using these products.
Choosing Ink Colors:
It is a good idea to use ink that matches the color of embroidery thread you will be using. For example, stamping a snowman in black and outlining the snowman with white thread will cause the black ink to show through, the white stitching.
Don't Forget to Set:
It is important to remember that fabric inks need to be heat set with an iron for approximately 2 minutes. Place a press cloth or parchment paper in between the iron and the stamped image. Iron both sides of the design to set it.
Tools for Embroidery:
You will need a few tools to get started embroidering. Embroidery is a craft you can do anywhere from the car pool line to waiting for a doctor’s appointment. It can be thrown in your bag for easy, mobile crafting
- Embroidery Floss:
- Comes in zillions of colors and kinds.
- You will separate the strands and use the amount you think necessary for the stamped image.
- The more threads you use when stitching the thicker the stitch will be.
- Metallic Thread:
- A slick, sturdy thread for sewing.
- A perfect choice for a Christmas bell or for a shiny necklace around a little girl’s neck.
- Embroidery Ribbon:
- Embroidery ribbon is different than regular ribbon.
- Silk is the best thread for embroidery.
- It comes in sheer ribbon threads too.
- Look for needles that are medium sized with a sharp point.
- The packaging will say embroidery needles.
- It is a good idea to have a pack of several size needles for different stitches and projects.
- Plastic hoops seem to be sturdier than wooden hoops.
- Look for hoops with a lip design that will hold your work up and taut.
- A good size hoop to work with is 6 inches.
- It can be moved around when you are working on a large rubber stamp embroidery project.
- Small, sharp pointedscissors are needed for sniping threads.
- Make sure to keep them in your supply bin when you are taking your projects on the go.
- If you are flying, check to make sure that your scissors are approved by FAA regulations before you chose to travel. It would be sad to have to leave a good pair of scissors behind on a trip.
How to Choose your Rubber Stamp and Prepare for Stamping on Fabric:
- Pick stamps that have good, defined lines. It is difficult to stitch stamps with shaded areas or ones with a sketched look.
- Choose stamps with fine and simple outlines.
- Make sure your stamp doesn’t have excess ink on it when you get ready to stamp on your fabric.
- Make sure you are stamping on a solid table surface.
- Inks can saturate fabric. Place chipboard or scrap paper between the fabric and the table.
- It is helpful to keep your stamp available for reference when you are stitching. Just make sure to clean it immediately after stamping your image.
- When opening ink, ink the stamp by pressing the ink pad lightly on the stamp instead of pressing the stamp on the ink pad. Use a foam brush if necessary to add ink to your stamp.
- Press firmly to stamp your image…avoid rocking the stamp.
- It is a good idea to use a stamp positioning tool, like the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig by Inkadinkado, to position your stamp on the fabric.
- Clear stamps allow you to accurately position the image on the fabric and they also allow you to use a combination of stamps because you can see where each image will be stamped.
Types of Embroidery Stitches:
Stitches for Outlining Your Stamped Image:
Once you stamp your image you need to outline it, especially any areas that you plan to fill in later.
- Straight stitch or running stitch, is a basic embroidery stitch.
- Your threaded needle goes in and out of the fabric like a worm.
- In the ground, out of the ground, in the ground and out.
- Keeping your stitch the same length and an even distance between the stitches is important when doing this stitch.
- Backstitch is another outlining stitch.
- Start the stitch under the fabric and bring it up towards you and work backwards with the stitch for a clean outline.
- Split Stitch is also used for outlining.
- It is where you split your stitch with another one coming through it.
- It makes a nice, thick outline stitch.
Stitches for Filling In your Outlines:
Fill-in stitches are used to fill in your stamped designs once you have outlined them.
- The satin stitch is where you stitch the width of the outline with close touching stitches.
- The stitches are long and sit on top of the fabric.
- Another fill-in type stitch is the Long and Short Stitch.
- Only the first row of stitches has long and short stitches.
- The other rows just fill in the design with straight stitches.
- Just try to keep your stitches going in the same direction when filling in with this stitch.
- French knots:
- Adding French knots by wrapping the thread around your needle and poking it back in to the fabric is a perfect stitch for creating polka dots or flower centers.
- Cross Stitch
- The cross stitch makes a nice “X” for creating a whimsical border around your stamped image.
- Blanket Stitch:
- A blanket stitch is perfect for finishing the edges around a stamped image.
There are many other embroidery stitches but these are great stitches for any stamped and embroidered project. Learn one stitch and then add another and another. Don’t try to learn all the stitches at once. Practice makes perfect and helps you remember the stitches.
Step-By-Step Directions and Photos for Rubber Stamp Embroidery:
- Stamp the image onto the fabric. Test the stamp before stamping it for the first time on the fabric.
- Embroider around the image with an outline stitch.
- Add texture and color to the image by filling in areas with different types of stitches.
- Embellish with a button, rhinestone or sequin if desired.
- Add your completed stitched image to a card, pillow, or tote bag.
Ways to Change it Up:
- Add dimensional items to your stamped and stitched image for some fun texture. For example, try adhering a rhinestone to a crown stamp or red buttons on a tree stamp to create apples.
- Stitch with bright embroidery threads or in a monochromatic color scheme for a completely different look.
- Stitch with beads for even more dazzling creations.
Reach into your stamp drawer and select a favorite stamp design. Get started with rubber stamp embroidery and listen to the relaxing sound of the needle passing through the fabric, creating a rhythm of calmness while you craft. Just remember the more you stamp and stitch the better you get!