Geometric Paper Embroidery: Construct, Colour and Stitch a Simple Pattern on Paper | Clarissa Grandi | Skillshare

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Geometric Paper Embroidery: Construct, Colour and Stitch a Simple Pattern on Paper

teacher avatar Clarissa Grandi, Artist | Educator | Author

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (1h 27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Class Project

    • 3. Three Inspiring Artists

    • 4. Materials for the Project

    • 5. The Compass

    • 6. Constructing the Pattern

    • 7. Choosing Your Colours

    • 8. Colouring Your Pattern

    • 9. Outlining Your Pattern

    • 10. Punching the Paper

    • 11. Stitching Your Pattern: Part 1

    • 12. Stitching Your Pattern: Part 2

    • 13. Stitching Your Pattern: Part 3

    • 14. Finishing Off

    • 15. Conclusion

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About This Class

Are you looking for a new technique to add a little something more to your artworks on paper? Perhaps you've come across paper stitching before and you're wondering how it's done?

In this class, I will be teaching you the basics of how to embroider simple patterns onto… watercolour paper!

Hi, I’m Clarissa, a geometric artist and experienced teacher, based in the UK. In my own creative practice I enjoy experimenting with different mixed media techniques to enhance the underlying geometry of my artworks. One of my all time favourite techniques is paper stitching. This slow, meditative process adds a delicate, tactile finish to elevate even the most simple designs.

In this engaging course I will share my tips and experience as I guide you through the steps of constructing, colouring and stitching your own geometric embroidery project on paper. 

In this class you'll learn:

  • How to construct a simple geometric motif with compass and ruler
  • Tips on achieving accuracy in your geometric designs
  • How to choose your colour palette
  • Which threads and paper types are suitable for paper stitching
  • How to pierce and prepare your paper for stitching
  • How to plan your stitching sequence
  • And how to tighten and secure your stitches to finish your artwork

You’ll be creating:

  • An elegant, hand-stitched geometric artwork you’ll be proud to display or gift.

Is this class for me?

Absolutely! No prior experience is necessary. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a hobby artist or an experienced practitioner looking to add a new technique to your skillset, the wonderful thing about geometric art is that it is accessible to everyone – you don’t need to be ‘good at art’ (whatever that means!). 

Even if you’re completely new to constructing geometry, or to sewing, you’ll be able to follow these step-by-step techniques to create your own artwork. And what’s more, you’ll gain skills that you can apply to more ambitious projects in the future. The possibilities are endless!

Materials needed:

  • A drawing compass, ideally with a pen holder attachment
  • A ruler, a pencil and an eraser
  • A small sheet of watercolour paper or card (approximately postcard or A5 size)
  • A piece of cardboard or a cutting mat to press on
  • A colouring medium of your choice (e.g. paints, watercolour pencils, coloured pencils, marker pens, paint pens)
  • A pen to outline your pattern
  • A sewing needle and your choice of thread
  • Low tack tape (e.g. washi tape, masking tape, painters tape)
  • A small pair of scissors
  • An awl or paper piercer (or you can simply use the point of your compass)

Downloadable resource pack

Find this in the right-hand sidebar in the Projects & Resources section, when viewed via a web browser.

Time to get started - I can’t wait to see what you create!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Clarissa Grandi

Artist | Educator | Author


Hello, I'm Clarissa. I’m a geometric artist, experienced educator, and author of the Artful Maths books, based in the UK.

When I’m not teaching teenagers mathematics, you can find me in my little garden studio, playing around with geometry and mixed media, and teaching others this fantastically accessible art form.

Say hello on Instagram at, view my geometric art course library to see my online class offer, and sign up to my newsletter to keep up to date with all my news, ticket releases and subscriber discounts.


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1. Introduction: Are you looking for a new technique to add a little something more to your artworks on paper? Perhaps you've come across papers stitching before and you're wondering how it's done. Then you might be interested in this my first Skillshare class where I'll be showing you the basics of how to hand stitch a geometric pattern onto watercolor paper. Hello. I'm Clarissa and I'm a geometric artist and experienced teacher from Suffolk in the UK. For a few years now I've been incorporating stitching into my geometric art works on paper and it's a technique I get asked so many questions about. So it seemed like the perfect topic for my first Skillshare class. In this class we'll be stitching this cute little geometric motif on paper. It's sometimes known as the seed of life and it's one of the first patterns you meet when you're learning geometric art. It's simple, easy to construct for beginners, and it's got a really elegant outcome. This class is for you whether you're a complete beginner or a more experienced artist looking to learn a new technique. In this class I'll be taking you step-by-step through everything you need to know. From the materials you'll need to source beforehand, to how to use a compass if you've not used one for a long time, to what sort of paper is best for paper stitching and how to prepare it before stitching, how to choose a color palette, how to plan a stitching sequence, and finally, how to secure and finish your art work. The best bit is that you will have learned a simple technique that you can take on and apply to much more complicated, ambitious projects in future. I think paper stitching is my all-time favorite technique for adding a delicate, elegant finish to my art. I'm really excited to share the technique with you. 2. The Class Project: The project in this class is to create your own mini stitched geometric motif. If this is something that's completely new to you, whether you're new to geometry or new to stitching or both, then don't worry because I'll be guiding you step by step through the whole process from start to finish. We'll start by looking at the materials you need for the project, and a lot of these you'll have in the house already. For those of you who might be new to using compasses, there's a step by step lesson for getting to know your compass with some tips for improving your accuracy. I'll be showing you step by step how to construct the motif with ruler and compass. I'll give you some tips for choosing a nice color palette, and then I'll walk you through the rather nerve wracking bit when you outline your pattern in pen. Finally, I'll talk you through the stitching sequence. We'll look at punching holes in the paper first, then I'll talk you through planning a sequence for your stitching. Then finally, I'll show you how to tidy up and secure your work. You'll be left with a cute little paper stitched geometric motif that I think you'll just fall in love with. I'll also be introducing you to three super inspiring paper stitches, who I follow on Instagram, and I think you'll want to follow too. When you finished your project, remember to photograph it and upload it to the project section, because I'm really excited to see what you make. Now to get inspired in the very next video, I'll be introducing you to my three favorite paper stitches. 3. Three Inspiring Artists: [MUSIC] It's now my absolute pleasure to introduce you to three paper embroidery artists whose work I so much admire. All three if kindly gave me their permission to share images of their work with you. The first artist I'm excited to introduce is Kellin Nelson, an American artist living in Florence, Italy. Kellin's work is a gorgeous combination of intricately precise geometric stitching. Contrast it with these delicious, chaotic inky watercolor backgrounds and with lots of gold. Kellin describes taking inspiration from her surroundings in Florence. Once you're aware of that, I think it's easy to see a distinct renaissance vibe in several pieces of her work. She draws inspiration from geometric patterns of all kinds, from scientific diagrams, radio frequencies, and astronomical charts, to Islamic geometric patterns and designs from Gothic tracery. She also often features the simple seed of life motif that we'll be working with next. The results of his work of really elegant beauty. I can't get enough of it. Indeed it was Kellin and I have to thank the first inspiring me to take a needle and thread to my own work. The next artist I'm delighted to feature is Liz Sofield, an artist and ceramicist living and working in Australia. I've admired Liz's work for a long time now. She combines her delicate, repetitive geometric stitching patterns with folded paper and more recently with the delicate colors of her handmade pigments. The resulting effect is one of the quiet minimalist beauty. I've tried long and hard to put into words what it is that draws me to Liz's work. I think it's something to do with the way the folded paper is held in a gentle tension under the binding mesh of the stitched white thread. It's like it's about to spring loose, but can't. The overall effect somehow captures the essence of stillness like it's a moment preserved in time. It's just such lovely work. Now for burst of color, the final artist I'm excited to introduce is Petra Heidrich, a mixed media collage artist from Germany. I've only recently come across Petra's work but I was instantly drawn to it. Petra combines vintage photographs and postcards with colorful embroidered geometric embellishments. In a similar way to the other two artists, she uses the geometry of her stitching to contrast with the other elements of her collaged pieces. I particularly enjoy the way in which the figurative elements of the vintage images interact with the linear precision of the hand-stitch geometry. I think Petra also uses these stitched embellishments to cleverly direct the viewer's gaze and create focal points in the artwork so that your eye is drawn in a journey around the piece. Really interesting, delightful work. I highly recommend following these three wonderful artists. You can find clickable links to their Instagram pages and websites in the downloadable class notes resource found on the right-hand side in the projects and resources section. I'm sure you'll now totally inspired by all this beautiful art. Of course, I must remind you at this stage that you should never directly copy another artist's work. However, there's so much to be learned from the way in which these three paper embroider is. Use that geometric stitching to enhance their artwork. I hope that you are now excited to begin your project. If you'd like to explore more paper embroidery on Instagram, then these are some useful hashtags to follow; #paperembroidery, #paperstitching, #embroideryonpaper, #stitchedpaper and #embroideredpaper. I'm sure you must be feeling really inspired now, so let's make a start by looking at what materials you need for the project. 4. Materials for the Project: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we'll be looking at the materials you need for the project. We look first of all, the materials you need for constructing the geometric motif. Then we'll look at what you need to decorate it before stitching. Finally, we'll look at the materials you need to stitch it. First of all, you're going to need a piece of mixed media or watercolor paper, something with a decent weight to it that will support the stitching. Around 250-300 GSM, which is about 140 pounds. For your first project, it's best to work with a small piece of paper because we'll be turning the paper up and down as we stitch. If the paper is too large, then it becomes unwieldy. This sweet piece of card is approximately 10 by 10 centimeters. This is an A5 postcard size also perfect and the largest I'd go is here's about 20 by 20 centimeters, eight by eight inches. Next you're going to need a surface to press on while you're constructing. I normally work on a paper cutting mat, but the back of the sketchpad is just as good. The cardboard makes the perfect surface. Essentially you're protecting the surface of your table, but at the same time, you're giving the compass point to surface with a little bit of give in it so that it can grip into it and not slip. If you don't have either of these things then simply use a few sheets of print paper, that has the same effect. Next, you're going to need a ruler, a pencil, an eraser, and a sharpener. Try to make sure that your pencil stays nice and sharp. Transparent rulers are best but if you don't have a transparent ruler then any ruler you have will be fine. If you're, how should we say in the prime of your life, then you might wish to use a magnifying glass just to help with positioning of the compass point, but it's not essential. Finally, there's the most important piece of equipment, your compass. Now you might just have your school campus, which looks something like this. That's absolutely fine for a really simple pattern like we'll be drawing today. However, if you want to go on and develop your geometry, then I would recommend investing in something more substantial. You may have already invested in a more upmarket compass like this one and I'll be talking you through using a compass like this in one of the next lessons. It's also going to be really useful to have a pen attachment. Your school campus will already have one. But some of the more complicated campuses come with a separate pen attachment, and I'll be showing you how to use that. The next thing to think about is how to decorate your patterns before you stitch them. Now you don't have to add any color at all, but I would advise that you outline your pattern in a nice pen. I'm going to be using one of my favorite gold markers, but you could use any pen really to outline your patterns. One with a little bit of thickness to it is best and then it covers up any inaccuracies if you do decide to color in. You must also be sure that your pen fits your pen attachment. Although if you don't have one, you could outline freehand if you wish. If you do choose to add color to your pattern, then you can use any color medium you're confident with. You might be someone who enjoys using watercolors, in which case, of course, you'll need a paintbrush. You might want to use your mark pens or you might want to use colored pencils or watercolor pencils. I'll be using my new paint pens that I'm very excited about. Finally, let's look at the materials you need for stitching your piece at the end. First of all, your needle. You can use any general purpose sewing needle really. I just wouldn't use anything too thick because that will make the hole in the paper quite large. A general purpose sharp is fine. If you go on to do more complicated patterns where you're passing the needle through the same holes again and again, then you might want to choose a slightly blunt needle so that you don't fray the thread that's already going through the holes. Next onto the thread, you can use any thread really, and I'd encourage you to experiment. I like to use metallic embroidery thread like this from Madeira or core bond. It comes in all sorts of lovely colors and I like the little bit of bling it adds to my work. It's also quite thin and that adds a delicacy to the work. However, it can be a little temperamental, it likes to get tangled up so just be patient if you're using it. If you're going to be using embroidery floss, I'd probably only use two or three strands. You're also going to need a pair of scissors. You might have some small embroidery scissors. Those are ideal, but you can essentially use any scissors you've got lying around the house, kitchen scissors, nail scissors, and so on. You'll need some low tack tape, washi tape, painter's tape, low tack masking tape is fine. If you're anything like me and constantly losing your needles, you might want to use a pin cushion. In paper stitching, we punch the holes first, so you're going to need something to punch your holes with. This is a paper piercer, but if you don't have anything like that, remember, you've got the point on your compass and that will do just fine. Finally, you'll need something to place under your work to support it while you're punching holes. I like to use this old felt laptop cover it's perfect or a cork table mat is good. If you don't have anything like that then just a piece of cardboard from some packaging is fine. Essentially, you need some material with a nice bit of give so that it accepts the point of your piercer or your compass and at the same time it's protecting your table. Now take some time to gather your materials together and then I'll see you in the next lesson where I'm going to show you some tips for using your compass. [MUSIC] 5. The Compass: [MUSIC] If you haven't used a compass for a long time, we've just invested in a new one. They can seem a little intimidating at first. Fear not, I'm now going to talk you through a set of tips to help you get to know your compass and feel confident using it. We'll start right at the beginning with opening and closing it. We'll look at how to sharpen those strange leads, and we'll look at some tips for maintaining accuracy as you use your compass. Finally, we'll look at how to use a pen attachment if your compass has one, and then there'll be a practice task which I highly recommend you spend a bit of time on. If you're using a school compass then that's pretty self-explanatory. But if you've invested in a higher spec compass, you might be feeling a little daunted about how to use it. Firstly, opening and closing your compass, you'll notice there's a cog at the top which opens your compass slowly and helps you make incremental changes in radius. However, you might have noticed that your compass has some quick release leavers. They don't all have these, but these are quite useful if you change your radius a lot. If you squeeze them down, you can open and close your compass much more quickly. If your compass comes with its own lead, then you will need to know how to sharpen it, especially if you're undertaking a more extended project than we're going to be doing today. Some campuses will come with their own little lead sharpener like a baby pencil sharpener, rather cute, but a lot don't, so how do we go about sharpening the leads that come in our campuses? If you take a close look at your lead, it's very likely to have arrived with a wedge shape cut into it. This is quite easy to sharpen. All you need is a nail file or emery board or a small piece of sandpaper. You'll notice the angle of the wedge in the lead, turn your campus on its side and simply place the flat surface of the wedge onto your nail file and move it back and forth. When you're happy with the point, you can start constructing again. Once you've been using your campus for a long time, the lead will invariably shorten. Some campuses come with some little refill leads in a small pot. Simply unscrew to remove your lead, replace the new one back in, reference to the point to get lead and pointer the same length, and then tighten backup being careful not to over tighten because you might crush the lead. The start of any geometrical construction usually begins with measuring out a radius, so you'd need your ruler for that. Start by placing the compass point at the zero line. Now, it's quite useful to have pressed your compass point into the zero line so that you have a little groove that it can sit in. I'm going to do that now. Now, each time I need to measure out a radius, I can find that little hole that I've made. Once your compass point is on the zero line, use the quick release bars to open up your compass to close to the desired length. For example, if I was opening up to a six centimeter radius, I'd use my quick release bars to open up to round about six, and then use your fine tune wheel to achieve a more accurate measure. The next step is placement of the compass point, and to demonstrate that I'm going to make small cross on the page. That's something to aim for. Placing the compass point is one of the most important steps in the whole process if you're keen to maintain accuracy. I always hold my compass on the leg with the point, I tend not to handle the leg with the lead much at all. Holding the compass on the leg with the point, you can use your other hand to study it if you wish. You're going to place it as carefully as possible, exactly where it needs to go. When you're happy, you can give a gentle press to make a slight indentation in the paper which helps hold the campus in place when you start to spin. If like me, you're someone in the prime of their lives, you may want to use a magnifying glass for this stage. Using a magnifying glass, I hold it in my other hand, and as I place the point, I hold the magnifying glass in my line of sight and it gives me a much clearer view of where that point is going. Finally, when it comes to spinning your circle, you use the twiddle at the top. I tend to move my hand up to the twiddle, supporting my compass with the other hand as I do so, and then because I'm left-handed, I tend to spin anticlockwise. You're more likely to be right-handed, so you will probably spin clockwise. I lean into the direction of turn as I go and keep a little bit of pressure through the leg with the point so that it doesn't skip out of the paper. Leaning into the direction of turn, you can spin your first circle. I would practice this, so you might want to spin some more circles until you get confident with that motion. You might also want to play with adjusting the width of your compass, the radius. Get used to using those quick release bars, using your fine tune wheel and measuring out some different lens on your ruler. Finally, I'm going to show you how to use the pen attachment and how to line up your pen or pencil in the pen attachment. You'll find on the side of your campus there's another wheel. You can loosen the lead, insert the pen attachment and make sure that you twist that nice and tightly. Open up the pen attachment. Then I always very nearly close my compass, because when you insert your pen or pencil, you want to make sure that the pencil tip or pen tip and compass point are nicely lined up together. If I was inserting a pencil, that looks about right, hold it steady while I close the pen attachment. You can see you need to slightly adjust as you go, and then it holds it firmly in place. If you're using a pen, is exactly the same process. You're trying to keep pen tip and compass point in the same alignment. That way when you open and close your radius, the two tips are level. Finally, it's a good idea to practice outlining circles that you've already got on the page. I'll start with the first one I did, place your compass pointing to the little groove that should be there already from when you first spun the circle. Use the quick release bars to open up, to round about the right radius, and then you can use the fine tune wheel to adjust your radius until you think it's just right. I sometimes just make a tiny dot of ink to check that it lands plum on the line that I want to outline. When you're happy, you can spin your circle. I can see from these little bits here where the lines a bit fainter that actually I need to ink my nib a bit better. To do that, it's good idea to have a little bit of scrap paper. Give the pen a bit of a shake, and then press it down a couple of times on your scrap paper until you feel that there's a little bit more ink in the nib. Another tip when using metallic pens to outline is to turn nice and slowly so that the nib doesn't run out of ink as you're spinning. That's a much better line. Now your task is to go through and outline a set of circles that you've already gotten pencil with your pen [MUSIC] 6. Constructing the Pattern: [MUSIC] So now you've been practicing using your compass and drawing some circles. We're ready to construct a geometric motif. This simple pattern that we're going to be drawing together is often called the seed of life. It's a pattern that emerges naturally from the geometry of a circle, and it's a motif that I often return to in my own work. I'll also talk you through some design decisions you might want to consider and then at the end of this lesson, your motif will be ready to decorate. One last thing to note about this next lesson is that I made the decision to construct in pencil so that I could demonstrate erasing sections of the pattern you might want to remove. But it means that the lines of the pattern are a little faint to see if you're viewing it on a small screen such as a phone. It's fine on a larger screen such as a tablet or a laptop. But to support you if you're watching it on my phone, I've created some step-by-step instructions in the downloadable class notes resource. So it might be an idea to have those alongside you as you're viewing the lesson or to refer to them afterwards. You'll need something to press on. Your watercolor or mixed media paper, pencil, ruler, eraser, and campus. However, you might want to practice on printer paper first and then when you're feeling confident, construct on your precious watercolor paper. We're going to start with a vertical line down the center of the page, which will help orient our pattern nicely on the page. To do that, we need to know the width of the sheet of paper. Use your ruler, place the zero line on one edge, and measure the width. Mine is just under 20 centimeters. Then half that measure, so I'm going for 9.9 centimeters. Then move your ruler up to the top half of the page and make a little notch, your halfway mark, just lightly in pencil, and then do the same in the bottom half of the page. Then we're going to draw a light vertical line through those two marks. Finally, we need to know where to start our pattern and for that we need to measure halfway up the page. So you need to know the height of your page. Mine is a square, so it's just 19.8 again. Then once you know your height of that, move your ruler along that vertical line and mark halfway up with your pencil. This central point is where we're going to place our campus to begin the pattern. Now we need to work out our compass radius. That will depend on the size of the page that you're drawing the pattern on and how much of a frame of blank space you want to round your pattern. I've decided I'd like four centimeters of white space surrounding my pattern. Once you've decided how much of a margin you'd like, double that because we need that at both sides of the pattern. For me, 4*2=8. Next, subtract that double measure from your total width. I'm going to call mine 20, 20-8=12. That means that the width of my pattern will be 12 centimeters on the page. Finally, take the pattern width and divide it by four. For me, 12/4=3, and that means I need my radius to be three centimeters. I'll go through that one more time. Decide what width you'd like around your pattern, double that, and subtract from your total page width. The resulting measure divide by four to give you your a radius. The next step is to measure out your radius on your ruler. Find that little notch you may have made earlier on the zero line and then open up your compass to your desired radius length. Now it's time to spin our circles. Remember that compass point placement is the most important step really. Place your compass point nice and carefully on that central mark you made. When you're happy, spin your first circle by moving your fingers up to the twizzle. These intersections will become the centers of the next two circles we draw. So placing your compass point carefully on your north, double-checking that your lead goes through your center, and when you're happy, second circle span. Next, choose yourself most point, compass point carefully on. Double-check is going through the center. Third circle drawn. You'll notice we've now created two lovely almond shapes in our first circle. Each of the almond tips now create four more intersections that we're going to use to draw our final four circles. Placing your compass point carefully on one of the tips. Double-checking your lead is going through the two little checkpoints we have now, the center and the north intersection and committing to circle Number 4. Moving down to the next almond tip, double-checking, circle Number 5. You'll notice the subtle six petaled flower beginning to emerge at the center. Final two circles. Just checking for accuracy as we go. Final circle which will complete the flower at the center. We're nearly done. All that remains now is to erase that central vertical. You might also decide that you'd like to erase that center circle. This is an example of what the pattern looks like outlined with the central circle and this is an example of a pattern outlined and colored without a central circle. So the flower petals aren't broken up with the edge of the circle. I've decided I'm going to erase mine. This next step is not important if you're not going to color your pattern. But if you are, you might want to just go over these edges that we've erased again so that you've got a nice clear edge to fill in with color. To do that, we're just going to use the holes we're already got and we're going to redraw these little sections of circle that we've erased. Work your way round each circle in turn. Just completing those sections that disappeared. Then when you're happy, you can see all your edges clearly so that you can color it in. You've got one last decision to make, would you like to enclose your pattern in a final circle? I'm going to do that. What I'm going to do, is I'm going to place my compass point on the center. I'm going to open out to a far edge. Check it against some other edges. When you're happy, you can complete your frame. Motif complete and ready to decorate. Adding color is optional, but if you are going to add color in the next lesson, I'll give you some tips to help you choose your colors. [MUSIC] 7. Choosing Your Colours: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I'm going to talk you through a simple technique that I use when I choose colors in my work. It's a very simple technique where I just make use of the colors included on the barrels of my mark pens or my colored pencils, or from the swatches I create from my watercolor paints. I'll first talk you through some design considerations, like how many colors you might want to use before we look at choosing a selection of colors intuitively and then narrowing down to your final selection. If you've decided to add color to your pattern, then you've got to choose your colors. I think this pattern looks nice done in three different colors. There are four sections of the pattern that can be colored; the small flower at the center, the next flower out, then the outer sections of the circle. Finally, if you put a frame on, then the very edge sections of the frame. Personally, I like to have my darkest color at the center. Then to balance the pattern appearing again on the very outer edge. This leaves us with one, two, three colors in total, with the center color appearing twice. Choosing colors can feel a little daunting. What I like to do is choose a selection of colors that I feel drawn to, and then make my final selection of three from a smaller selection of colors. That makes it a little bit easier than being confronted by your entire watercolor collection or your entire colored pencil collection and having to make a decision with too many colors to choose from. Once you've selected a set that you're drawn to, without really thinking too much about whether they go together, your next job is to partner with them up. You can just pick three randomly. If you're happy with those, then you're off. However, you might not be happy with the selection you've got. You can start switching in some different colors just to see how they interact with each other. Place some either side. I quite like this three. That's a nice combination. I might want a bit more warmth. I'll try that. I quite like that as well. Just keep playing with your sets of three moving them around until you find a set that feels harmonious to you. I quite like that as well. I think I'm going to go with these three, orange, green, and teal. Teal is my darkest. I'm going to have teal at the center and at the outer edge. If you've decided you're going to add color and you've now chosen your three colors, it's time to get coloring. [MUSIC] 8. Colouring Your Pattern: In this lesson we're going to be coloring in together. You can of course use any coloring medium you feel confident with. I shall be using my new paint pens. Because we're going to finish by outlining the pattern before stitching it, you don't have to worry too much about having perfect edges because that will all be covered by the pen that you're going to outline in. I'm going to use my darkest color for the center and the outer edge and I'm going to start there first. [NOISE] I find it useful to outline the section I want to color in first [NOISE] before filling in the section with color. You might find it useful to turn the paper around as you go so that when you're outlining, you're using the natural movement of your hand to do so. Once you've picked your darkest color and done the center and the edge, you'll then need to decide which of the two you want to do on the outside and which on the inside. You can use your pen lids to help you decide. That's orange on the inside and green on the outside and the other way round. I definitely like the contrast of the orange next to the teal and then the greens almost like the leaves around the edge of the flower. I'm going to have orange next and then green. You might also be a bit worried about smudging the work you've already done. Using a sheet of kitchen towel can be useful just to cover up your work as you're coloring in. [NOISE] Remember to keep moving the paper around so that the edges you want to outline align with the natural movement of your hand. Now we're all colored in. It's time to crisp everything up with the addition of an outline. [MUSIC] 9. Outlining Your Pattern: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I'm going to talk you through using your compass with a pen to outline the pattern. This is probably the most nerve-racking stage, so take a deep breath and I'll talk you through it step-by-step. I'll remind you how to use the pen attachment on your compass and I'll also talk you through some tips for using metallic marker pens, because those can be a little temperamental as you are about to see. To outline your pattern, you're going to need your compass with pen attachment. You're going to need the pen you'd like to outline with ensuring that it fits in the pen attachment and it's also a good idea to have a little bit of scrap paper to hand. If you are using a metallic paint pen, then sometimes they need a little bit of work to activate them. First of all, give them a good shake with the lid on. [NOISE]. This mixes up the ink and ensures it comes out consistently. Once you've finished shaking the pen, It's a good idea to release the pressure. To do that, have the nib pointing up and use a little bit [NOISE] of rough paper to press down to release the air that may have been built up. This helps prevent flooding that might occur when you first place the pen on the page. If your pen is brand new, you won't have any ink on the nib at all, and you'll need to press up and down a few times to encourage the ink into the nib. It's also a good idea to do that if you haven't used your pen for awhile. Test the ink flow out. Be careful not to over press because that can encourage flooding. When you think the ink is flowing well enough then stop. Next, we're going to insert the pen into the compass. Remember that we partially close the compass and then we line up the pen nib and the compass points so that they're level. Ensure that the pen is tightly in the pen holder and that the pen holder is tightly in the compass. Then take a deep breath because it's the nerve-wracking bit next. Next we need to remeasure our radius. We're going to be using the tips of the six petals of the inner flower. There should already be holes there from when we constructed the pattern originally. Place your compass point in one of the holes. You might want to open your compass a little first. When you're happy it's inside the hole, we're now going to adjust our compass until it looks as if we've got the radius in about the right place. It's a good idea to do a little test with the tiniest dot of ink. I'm just going to dot my pen down. Now I think, I'm in the right place there. You can test it on another section of the circle if you wish. Yes, I'm happy with that. Once you're happy, deep breath, remember we're turning slowly, especially if you're using a metallic ink pen and off you go. Now, looking at mine, especially here, I can see that actually my radius has turned out to be a little narrow. What I'm going to do is I'm going to do my six circles with this radius and then I'm going to incrementally open it up and do a second circle in each of the six. Locating the hole each time, easier said than done. [NOISE] That's a better one actually. If you can sense your pen nib running dry, you may need to give it a quick press on some rough paper. I'm wondering if the issue here might be cleared up by simply re-outlining with the same radius so I'm going to try that first. That's much better. I think my nib wasn't properly inked for that first circle. If you do have a problem where your outline isn't quite covering the edges of your pattern, then you can do the incremental adjustment, and I think I'm going to demonstrate that for you anyway. What I'm going to do is I'm going to very slightly open up my radius a tiny bit further. I'm going to re-ink all six circles and that will have the effect of widening the gold line just very slightly. Placing my compass point in one of the holes again, and literally the slightest adjustment out and then another six circles and you can see this has had the effect of fairy slightly widening the gold band. I'm much happier with that. Then finally, I want to outline my outer circle. Compass point at the center this time, and we're extending to the outer edge of the pattern. Find that hole first. Find your measure. Maybe a quick dab down to see where you actually land. I think I'm happy with that. Final swing and my pen has decided to run out of ink. I'm going to use my scrap paper and do just a press or two. [NOISE] It's better. Let's have another go. Now that's better, but there's just a slight gap between the color and the frame. I could either choose to go over it with my teal pen or I can slightly reduce the radius and do a second circle and that's what I'm going to do. That's much better. Now to decide whether I want to add a second circle as an outer frame, to help you decide I've got an example where I've done just that. In this one, I've just opened my compass out a little bit more. Enough that there's a distinct gap, and put on a second circle. If for comparison purposes, that's the difference. I quite like doing that, I think it adds a final touch before the addition of the thread. I'm going to add the outer frame. To do that, compass point at the center again. Then, I want a distinct gap so I'm going to open up the compass enough that when I nearly touch it down on the paper, I can see there's going to be a gap up here. You're just doing this by eye [NOISE] and because I've been talking, my gold pen has decided to dry up again so a quick press on my rough paper. Double-check the radius and have another go. [NOISE] Because the lines in my pattern are double thickness, I'm going to do the same to the outer line and I think I'm going to come in slightly just to reduce the thickness of the white band. [NOISE] An incremental adjustment on the wheel. Maybe a quick test, yes, I'm happy with that. Remember to keep nice and slow so that the nib has time to re-ink as you go. I think I'm happy with this punchy color combo. The most nerve-wracking stage is now complete, give yourselves a pat on the back, and it's the final stage next, the stitching. But before we move on, let's just have a quick look at the glint of gold in the light. Super pretty. [MUSIC] 10. Punching the Paper: [MUSIC] So now for the really satisfying stage, we're going to pre punch the holes before we stitch. Because the paper we're using is quite thick, and we don't want to be doing that with our needles while stitching, you'll need your soft surface to press on, a ruler or pencil, and something to pierce the paper with, either a paper pacer of some description or you can use the point on your compass. As you've seen, some artists stitch the curves of their geometry with individual stitches, but in this paper embroidery project, we're going to be using our thread to create straight lines that connect intersections in the pattern together. Now you can essentially use all the intersections in the pattern and connect them up in any way you wish and I really encourage you to explore different ways of connecting up the intersections. But before we stitch, we need to create holes because paper is quite thick and you don't need to be forcing your needle through while you're stitching. I'm going start by punching holes in the obvious intersections, the center, the tips of the petals of the small flower, the tips of the petals of the large flower and then I'm going to show you one last place that it can be useful to add some help. Support your piece of paper so that it doesn't move. Then simply punch the holes that are already there from when you use the compass, and pass your pacer all the way through. [NOISE] Makes a really satisfying noise. [NOISE] Just make sure you're always finding the holes that the compass left or going right in the middle of the intersection if there's no compass point already there. [NOISE] That's all my obvious intersections punched. But there is another set that can be quite useful to provide a frame around the pattern. I'll show you those now. As you can see on this pattern, I've added a set of six extra holes on the outer edges of each circle. How do we find those positions? You'll need your ruler, and your pencil for this. Essentially we are going to lie our ruler through our small petal tips. We'll just take each set in turn. When you are happy that your ruler is going through all three positions, then just make a tiny little mark with your pencil on the outer edge of each of those circles. You could, if you didn't want to make a mark with your pencil, just punch straight away. In fact, I might do that. [NOISE] Then the next set of intersections through the petals, [NOISE] and the final set. There are actually many different options for joining up this set of holes we've created. I'll be showing you one way, but I'll also point out some other ways you could consider. Now it's time to add the stitching. I think I'm going for gold. Finally our motif is ready to add thread to. In the next lesson, I'll be talking you through that process step by step. [MUSIC] 11. Stitching Your Pattern: Part 1: [MUSIC] It's the stitching lesson at last. In this lesson, I'm going to introduce you to the pattern we're going to be stitching together, and I'm going to talk you through how to plan a stitching sequence so that you can tackle patterns of your own devising. Then I'll show you how to start off and finish off a sequence of stitches. For this stage, you're going to need your needle and perhaps a pink cushion, your thread, scissors. A ruler can be useful for measuring out your length of thread. You will need some low tack tape like masking tape. It might also be useful to have a copy of the stitching patterns to hand. You're also going to need nice clean hands because we're going to be handling our work a lot. One final check that it's a good idea to make is that your needle passes through the holes that you've punched previously. I'm going to quickly do that now. [NOISE] Now that you're satisfied that everything is in place, I'm going to talk you through the stitching pattern. I've provided you with three different alternatives for stitching. I'm going to be talking through this one, which is the one on this little piece, and then this one. This is the one I've used to stitch this piece. Finally, this one built up of triangles is the one I've used here. However, I really encourage you to explore your own ideas, and there's a principle template you can use to try out your own designs. Now I'm actually going to be stitching this piece, just because the thread will be easier to see on a white background. Now when we stitch geometry in this way, essentially, we're doing a giant running stitch. We'll emerge from one hole and then we'll pass into the next, and then pass under the paper, emerge from the hole next door into the next, and so on. We'll create a series of stitches with gaps in between them. When you're planning your sequence of stitches, it's a good idea to identify a circuit around the pattern that you can do one way and then double back to complete the gaps that remain. Looking more closely at our pattern, I can see that a good starting point would be this circuit around the outside. I'm going to stitch this circuit around the outside and then double back to fill in the gaps. We're then left with this arrangement of rhombuses inside the hexagon. We could stitch each rhombus in turn and then double back or we could identify this circuit around the outside and then double back that circuit. I think that's what I'm going to do because I just think it's going to be easier to explain. Finally, we'll be left with this cross at the center, and I'm just going to stitch each arm in turn. [MUSIC] 12. Stitching Your Pattern: Part 2: [MUSIC] Now that we've planned our stitching sequence, it's time to get our needle threaded. Now, one thing to realize about thread is that the end that you pull from the spool is the end you should thread into the needle. Because I didn't know this until I started stitching, thread tends to have a grain so it has a smooth side and then a rougher side. Now, I don't think it's obvious with this metallic thread but with some threads, it will be obvious as you run your finger along. If you're using embroidery floss, then you'll just want to separate two or three strands. I tend to do that by inserting a finger between the two sections and running it quite slowly down the length of the thread. We're first going to cut a length of thread. Now, you don't want to use too long a length because it's got a tendency to get tangled up and caught on the edges of the paper. But at the same time, if you've done a larger pattern like I have, then you need enough to get around the outside in one go really, it would be ideal to. If I think I needed a longer length, I tend to use arm spans worth. But if I'm doing a smaller section then I use fingertip to the end of my nose length, somewhere between 3-4 lengths of the ruler. Hopefully, that should be enough. Now to thread the needle, I quite like this metallic thread, it's nice and easy to pass through. I'm going to be stitching just a single strand, so I'm just going to pull about six inches through the needle to secure it at that end and then I've got my longer length trailing out. If you feel this length is too long, for example, if it's getting really tangled up in things, then just pull a little bit more through the top of the needle to shorten the length that you're working with and you can lengthen it as you need. We're going to start on the back and we're going to start in any one of the points that we've identified on that first circuit that we're stitching. I'm going to start here. I'm going to draw my thread through for now until I've got about six or so inches remaining. You won't need to leave quite so longer length, more like 3-4 inches. I'm just leaving this extra long piece so that I can demonstrate some securing methods at the end. Pull the thread away from the center of the paper and then just use a small piece of your masking tape to secure it at the back, making sure you're not covering up any of the holes. Press the tape on all sides to make sure there's no little bit sticking up that will catch on thread as you're passing it through. Then if you think this longer length is going to irritate you, you can just fold that up and use another piece of tape to secure it. [NOISE] Again, pressing down to make sure there aren't any sticky up bits. Then we're going to start. Now we're going to stitch that first circuit. We're going to go into this point here at the tip of this almond shape and then come out at the circle edge and then in the tip of the almond shape, out the circle edge, and so on. Then once we've gone around once, we'll then return to fill in the gaps. In at the tip of the almond and then out at the circle, working your way around the hexagon. As you go around every few stitches, just give a gentle tug to make sure that you're keeping everything nice and tight as you go. Don't pull too hard because sometimes this metallic thread can break. I've nearly completed one circuit now. That's one way around the circuit. I'm now going to come up as if I'm going to continue along the stitches I've already got but I'm going to double back so that I'm filling in the gaps. Going back the way I came. I'm noticing now that I've got a double layer of thread all the way to the hole so I'm just going to pull a little bit more through and lengthen the piece that I'm using. Hopefully, I've got enough to make it back, I think I do. This is my final stitch then on this circuit. The hexagon is done. It's starting to look very pretty. Now we've got decision to make. I can either secure this length of thread and use a new piece for my new circuit, or I can just continue with this piece and then change the thread midway through the next circuit. So I'm going to demonstrate that because I think it's useful to know what to do in that case. My next part of the circuit is this zigzaggy piece that goes around the edges of all the rhombuses. Where have I ended? I've ended here, which means that if I come up here, this will then be my first stitch. Then I'll come up here at the petal tip and then go to almond tip, petal tip, almond tip, and so on all the way around and then back again. Where did I say I was going to come up? Here, I think, or here. Either one doesn't matter. I'm just going to give everything a gentle tug again just to make sure I'm keeping the tautness. I will show you a way of dealing with baggy threads when you're finishing off. But it is a good idea to try and keep that to a minimum as you're working. I've come from here and up out of here. That means I'm going to go in here to complete my first stitch on the edge of my rhombuses. That's almond tip and then come back up at petal tip and then in at almond tip, and I think my thread is getting a bit short now. I can do a couple more. Into almond tip and then up the petal tip, and I think I'm going to make this my last stitch. Yes. [MUSIC] 13. Stitching Your Pattern: Part 3: [MUSIC] Now that I've seen, I've got round about six inches or so left. I'm now going to just give this another gentle tug and secure it with my piece of masking tape. It's not pretty at the back. So keeping it nice and taut. Pressing down all the edges of that tape and then if I think that's going to get in the way which it probably will. Let's secure that as well. Then I'm going to start a new piece of thread off where I need to come up through again. So I've just come out here, which means I would have gone in here on my next stitch if I'd been continuing. That's where I'm next going to enter and then secure my length of thread. Continuing as if I was just using the same piece of thread into the same hole, I would have gone into pulling through until I've got about six inches or so and securing that away from the other holes so I think just about here. I don't want to cover up any of the holes, so I could have used a smaller piece of tape really. Then this might get in the way, securing that down and hoping for the best. We're going to continue our way round one side of the zigzag. So back into the almond tip. Now I feel I've got too longer length of thread here. So I'm going to pull that shorter length through a lot more. That will shorten the piece that I'm working with and I can lengthen it as I go. So back into petal tip and then in the final almond tip. I've got in here, I would have come out here. But I'm not going to continue in this way because I'd be doubling up then instead I'm going to reverse my direction of travel. Going backwards now to fill in the gaps from petal tip to almond tip. Now I can see I've got a bit of baggy thread here. I'm going to figure out where that's come from by just giving a little bit of a gentle tug. That's better. If you feel that the threads are getting a bit baggy and you're not able to keep them as tight as you want, you can secure them with your thumb, pull them nice and tight. Secure them with your thumb before you make your next stitch. Then secure with your fingers as you turnover. You'll find your own way of working. Secure before turning over. Starting to look lovely. Giving a little tug every now and again, just to keep it taut and I think that's that circuit done. Yes. So now what remains is the six armed cross at the center and I think I might have enough thread to do that. So that's great. Where have I come out out? I've come out at the top of the almond tip. I think I'm going to enter in here, which will be a petal tip and that'll allow me to start my first stitch to complete one of the arms of the star. Just giving it a little tug, securing it with my thumb while I pass my needle through so that the thread doesn't loosen [NOISE] and then passing through the center. I think I'm just going to work my way around the petals and turn into center out at tip. [NOISE] Then papers a little bit too large to be able to clamp with my thumb, so I'm going to pull the thread back to clamp with my thumb before passing it through the center and pull in through center. We're now passing quite a few threads through the same hole. So just watch when you pass your needle through that you're not going to pierce the thread itself. I think that's the last stitch. So giving it that gentle tug just a few times and securing that final piece for now. The stitching stage is done. I'm really pleased that I've chosen this white and gold copy to stitch on because I think it shows you that it's just as lovely without color as it is with. The stitching is finished and you can see what your final piece looks like now. We've got one last lesson in which I'll show you how to tidy up and secure the back and fix any issues that might have arisen during the stitching. [MUSIC] 14. Finishing Off: [MUSIC] Now, it's time to tidy up those loose ends and finish the project. For this finishing off stage, it might be useful to have your needle and thread close by, pair of scissors to hand, and your tape. The first thing I'm going to show you is how to tidy up some little issues that can arise when you stitch in this way. The first of these is what happens at the entrance to the holes when you've got more than one stitch going into the same hole. I'm going to zoom in on this bit. But at this point here, at this Ullman tip, I have got a thread that's overlapping another as it enters into the hole. I haven't got each thread entering cleanly into the hole. Let's see if I can find another example where that's happening. Yes, I've got the same issue just here. I've got a thread overlapping another as it enters the hole, so each one is not entering cleanly. What I tend to do in this scenario is I use the back of my needle. Just because this is blunt than the sharp end. I'll just carefully, without scratching the surface of the paper, drag the needle along to separate the two threads where they enter the hole. I'll do the same here, where I have the issue again. Push the needle towards the hole and that separates the thread so that each one, if you like, enters the hole independently of the other. I'm just going to check for any other situations I've got, where I might have that going on. But I think that looks fine. Yeah, I'm happy with that. Another common issue is that you might have some sections of stitch that are baggier than others, just where it was difficult to keep the tightness as you were working. I'm now going to show you what to do to tighten your baggy stitches. I've got a piece here that I'm not happy with how it's lying. It's not lying in a nice straight line, that I might see if I can just adjust where it goes in a bit fast. Looks better. This little piece here, it seems to be baggier than the other stitches. What I'm going to do is I'm going to think about where it's emerging either side. Because the piece of thread that I'm going to need to tighten will be coming out of either this hole, but on the other side of the paper, or this hole, but on the other side of the paper. Pulling either of those two pieces of thread will help tighten this piece sitting on top of the paper. These are my two holes, which are these two, so it's a piece of thread either emerging from this one or from this one. Now, let's have a look. I found the one. If you look closely, you can see that if I'm moving a piece of thread on the back of the paper and that's got the effect of tightening this stitch here. I've discovered that it's this piece of thread here, that's the one I need to tighten to tighten the front. What I'm going to do is I'm just going to use a piece of tape to pull that one tot, is going to need to be a little piece of tape, so that I don't obscure any of the holes. I'm going to pull it tight, and then place the piece of thread over the top of it. Then pulling that one tot, I've made the rogue piece. I can't even tell which one it was now. The rogue piece of loose stitch has now been tightened on the front by pulling through and tightening a piece on the back. It takes a little bit of detective work sometimes to work out which piece of thread that you need to tighten. I'm pretty happy with how the front of that looks. Now to the back. The back is never pretty. You can, if you want to, pretty it up a bit by cutting neater pieces of tape with your scissors. But to be honest with you, what the eye can't see, nobody worries about. I don't tend to worry about that. But there are some things to consider for the longevity of your piece, so it all depends what you want to do with it. Now you will have noticed that I didn't start with a knot. That's for two reasons. The first reason is that this thread that I use is so thin, that I would have to knot it several times to get a knot big enough that didn't pass through the holes when I pull the thread. Then the second reason is with a knot that big, your paper might not lie flat. If you want to use your paper in different ways, for example, you might want to use it in collage, you might want to stick it onto something, you might not want a big old knot on the reverse side of it. I don't tend to knot my work, although I know some paper stitches do. Then thinking in terms of the longevity of the piece, this is a consideration you might need to make, if you're thinking of selling your work. If you are thinking, for example, of selling your work, then you're going to need to think about the tape that we've used. If you want to preserve the work and make sure it's long-lasting or archival, then you may want to replace the tape with an acid-free tape that has a little more tack than the ones we've been using today. You can search online for acid-free framer's tape, or acid-free artist's tape, and those should all be good replacements for the temporary tape that we've stuck down today. Another option if you're considering the longevity of the pieces to consider using glue. This would need to be an acid-free glue that's designed for use on artworks, and you can use it in two ways. If you want to secure your work onto a backing of some sort, whether you're using it in a card or on top of the canvas or as part of a larger collage, then you're going to use the glue over the back of the piece and glue it down. That will have the effect of securing the thread very well. If the piece is going to be sold as a standalone piece, then you might want to consider using glue to secure the ends of the thread where they emerge from the starting hole. To do that, it can be good idea to essentially think about replacing the tape with small pieces of paper that you're going to glue on top of the thread. For example, a small piece of paper about this size could be glued on the back and used to replace these pieces of tape here by making sure that you're pulling with a few gentle tacks nice and tightly, and placing the glued piece of paper and holding down while it dries. You could then cut the length of remaining thread much shorter, so that it doesn't escape over the edge of the paper at the back. I'm happy with my bright yellow masking tape, though. What I'm going to do now is I'm going to remove each piece, and just check that each of the threads is nice and tight. Then I'm going to replace my masking tape with a fresh piece and snip the longer length of thread off after retightening. I'm really happy with my finished piece. I love the little glint of gold from the thread and the pen, and I think these are pretty enough to frame. If mine was any smaller, I'd also consider using it on the front of a greetings card, because I know I'd love to receive a card that look like this. I really hope you're happy with your finished pieces too. [MUSIC] 15. Conclusion: Thank you so much for joining me for what has been my very first Skillshare class. I really hope that you're happy with your little stitch motif and that you feel you've learned a new skill that you can take on and apply to new projects in future. I hope you've been inspired by the three wonderful artists that I showed you and that you're going to get on Instagram and follow them. If you post anything on Instagram then tag me because I love to see your work. Please take a photo of it and upload it to the project section. If you've got any questions about materials or techniques or anything else, then please pop them in the discussion down below and I'll make sure I keep an eye on it and get back to you. If you've enjoyed the class then please do leave a review. That would be really appreciated and it would help me get established on this brand-new platform. If you came to hear about my next class and perhaps the one after that, because I'm absolutely fizzing with ideas, then do follow me on Skillshare. You can follow me on Instagram as well and you can sign up to my newsletter to hear about my other courses. All that is left to say is, thanks again, and happy stitching. [MUSIC].