Tuesday 6 October 2015

How I add lovely lettering to personalise a hand embroidery design (a great way to get around messy handwriting!)

I recently created an embroidered wedding gift which I personalised with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date. Rather than using my own scruffy and childlike handwriting I devised a quick and easy way of adding a professional looking font to my design. 
*I spent days making a video which inadvertently wouldn't edit because of my rickety laptop, and then spent ages creating this post...only to realise that perhaps I shouldn't offer this out to the world at all, as what I am offering could (even if only in the least likeliest sense) damage your computer....and I really don't want any irate tutorial followers wanting to sue my backside!

But given I'm 100% behind seeing little tips and tricks that artists and makers share, I am going to offer this post as a "share" rather than a "tutorial". 

Perhaps this may seem a little bit overzealous.....
(DISCLAIMER TIME!) Should you decide to do the same as I outline below and trace from the screen of a computer or any other device, you do so at your own risk. I accept no responsibility for any damage that may be caused.I definitely don't recommend you attempt tracing if you are using a device with a soft screen (not composed of glass).

Materials I used:
*Laptop with hard screen
*tracing paper
*Pen with soft tip
*Embroidery pattern 
*Transfer pencil 

Part 1: I establish area where the text is going

I have created a new embroidery design to use as an example. (You can receive both of the embroidery designs shown above with my newsletter. You can sign up for it in the sidebar to the right).The ribbon is where I wanted to place my text, so I traced out the full design so that I can transfer the design and lettering when finished. 

Alternatively, the photo below shows the area marked out for where I plan to add text to an already embroidered project.

Now I am ready for
Part 2: Creating the lettering

1) I go to www.picmonkey.com 
This is a free online photo editing program which I use a lot. (It has an upgrade option which provides access to more editing effects, but for the purpose of adding lettering it's free.

2)Click on 'Design' (as shown below)
I am creating a new design and not editing or uploading a file or photo.

*By clicking on 'Design' a white blank 'canvas' appears. I want the colour to remain white so click on the green button that says "APPLY" (step 1)
This little white canvas is going to act as a little 'light box' which I will add my lettering onto and then trace for my embroidery. Simple!
3)Click on the Tt button at the right hand side (step 2)
This will bring up a selection of different fonts to choose from. Some of the fonts have a little crown next to them, which means I can only use them if I have paid to upgrade. There are plenty of lovely fancy fonts to choose from which are free.

4)Click on the style of font I like.(step 3)
Once I have chosen my fancy font, I then click on the 'Add text' button (step 4).

A box will appear on the screen (as shown below) which, when clicked on, a cursor bar will appear and I can then write my chosen word.

Phase 3: Editing my text
This is the bit where I want to make sure the lettering I am creating will fit the area I have decided it is going.
It is also why I use thin paper or tracing paper,so that the text is able to shine through.
You can see below that I have placed my traced pattern on top of the computer screen and am able to see how well the name fits within the ribbon.

To get my text to fit into the desire area there are 2 editing buttons that can help..... 'Rotate' the text and alter the text 'size' (indicated below)

I want to add more text, but as my text is going to sit on a curving ribbon, I am adding a new text box for each word. I like to change the fonts I use, which simply requires clicking on a different font and then clicking on 'Add text' again.(see below)

Depending on the space where my text is going to fit, I sometimes choose to add my letters separately rather than words. This works well in fitting around unusual shaped areas. I also like to play around and find that different fonts in varying sizes can create great effects. 

I added another text box and rotated it again to create that curve which fits the ribbon (shown below).

I will keep playing with the text and checking that it fits within the area, and once I'm happy then I'll trace the lettering directly off the screen. Obviously this tracing requires gentle work, I use just a very light hand with a soft tipped pen.I have never had a problem or caused damage to my hard screen laptop doing this. (BUT again the choice and responsibility is entirely yours!)

Now I've traced the lettering and have some lovely looking text already to stitch up. yay!
There is NO way I'd be able to create this style of lettering with my dodgy hand writing, so for me this is such a quick and easy way to add some pretty text. 
All that's required now is to transfer the design onto fabric. I do this by tracing the outline on the BACK of the paper using a transfer pencil. This is then transferred by ironing onto the fabric. 
Alternatively sometimes I may pin the paper to an already embroidery piece and stitch over the top of the paper.(works best if I use tissue paper as it's easier to tear away after stitching)

So that's my share...... :)xx

*Please note: this tutorial has been created with personal projects in mind. If you planned to replicate the fonts from Picmonkey onto items being sold then you would need to check Picmonkey's copyright policy.*


  1. How do we get these embroidery patterns? I signed up for your newsletter, but I'm not sure how to get these. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Nat, I've just emailed you my summer newsletter which has a link to the library with all the patterns at the end.Enjoy :)

  2. Great post and very informative thinks about embroidery designs
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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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