Sunday, 12 January 2014

1:12 scale Embroidery silks tutorial

Handmade embroidery silks, beside magnifying glass and thimble by Danny Shotton.......and a cat hair by the cat, damn!

You will need: 
  • 3 needles
  • polystyrene or balsa.
  • pva glue
  • tracing paper (optional, standard paper will work too, but will not be as fine)
  • silk thread (optional, any thread will do, but the results will be finer with silk thread)
  • watercolour paints
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • nail scissors
  • ruler
  • cellotape
  • craft knife
  • black marker (optional)
  • gold pen (optional)

Cut a thread about 9 inches long, wet your finger tip, place the thread on a watercolour block (acrylic paint might work too), and pull the thread through a few times to colour it. When the thread is dry, you can lightly wax it, by running it against a bar of wax or candle. Then tape one end as shown. The needles should be placed about 13mm apart as shown.

This counts as one wrap, do this about 5 more times, so you have a total of 6 wraps. 

When you have the 6 wraps, they should be "piled" on top of one another with no overlapping. So long as you keep the thread taught whilst wrapping, it will layer like this naturally, after each wrap, you can use your index finger to push it down and hold it whilst you wrap again.

Now use your third needle to carefully push the wraps up the needles, so you have a little space underneath.

Cut two thin strips of tracing paper ( I used a black marker and gold pen to colour one side, though the gold pen wasn't working very well). I made one strip slightly wider than the other too. Push one strip, coloured side down, under the wrap, ensure that it is under all of the thread. Then dab some glue on to the end.

Alternatively, you could try using printed labels, but keep a long strip on one end.

Pull the strip under, and then using the third needle, or your tweezers, lightly push down the wraps at either end.
P.s. That dirt under my finger nail is what all of the colours of my watercolour tin looked like when mixed together. BROWN! I have cleaned up for the next photos :D

Use the tweezers to "push the tab over, then hold the tab down using the side of your tweezers, and lightly pull the long end of the strip, until the tab is stuck close to the other side. You don't want to stick the tab to the other end of the strip, but have it butt up against it. If at any stage small blobs of glue appear beyond the boundaries of where it should be DO NOT PANIC! You can pick or push them off with the third needle :D

With the tab in place, put a tiny dab of glue on the other side of the strip, close to where it meets the recently glued tab end of the strip, enough so that it will stick to the top of the tab. (I haven't put the glue on in this photo, as it would have dried by the time I took the photo and moved on to the next step)

Pull the long strip over, and use your thumbnail to hold it tightly in place.

Do the same at the other end of the wraps. Then you can remove the needles and lift the piece off.

Use nail scissors to cut the surplus strips off, as close as possible to the join. If you have a little surplus left, you can roll the skein between your thumb and forefinger, which should hide it.

Bend the long thread ends as shown, and use scissors to snip them off, to the same height as the loops. I used normal scissors for this part, as I found the silk "slipped" when I used the nail scissors, fraying the ends, rather than giving a clean cut.

Then roll the teeny weeny embroidery silk between your thumb and forefinger, tease the loops out, and push the two black bits together, twist it a bit to make it bunch out in the middle.

And then make more so you have a rainbow of embroidery silks. They are screaming for a display stand! :D

Here they all are in a little sewing box/basket I have been working on, which is not quite finished yet, but I needed somewhere to put all those embroidery skeins :D

You may notice a large, in your face, demanding PIN IT red button if your mouse goes anywhere near my images from now on. I will replace it with a small one soon, but after a hair raising experience in the html script department, I am just pleased that the big giant unsightly button is working and that my blog is still here, so don't feel you have to pin anything just because the giant button tells you too :D


  1. A great tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I love your sewing box.
    Hugs, Drora

  2. Fabuloso tutorial así resulta fácil hacer los hilos, lo intentare haber que tal me salen, gracias.
    Un abrazo.

  3. Thank you for the tutorial, it's great.

  4. Thanks for this great tutorial.
    Greetings, Faby

  5. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. Your sewing box is beautiful.
    Hugs Maria

  6. Hi Sarah! My best wishes to you and yours for 2014!
    Thanks for sharing this clear and wonderful tutorial. Your sewing box is wonderful.

  7. Good Morning Sarah, great idea wonderfully illustrated thank you. It is one of the small touches that completes a scene.
    Regards Janine

  8. Hi Sarah, your giant Pin button works though! I saw this tutorial on Pinterest long before my blog reading list was updated :-). Great and very clear tutorial! Thank you!!

  9. Как прекрасно сделано! Спасибо за учебник!

  10. Está muy bien. Has creado una buena gama de colores

  11. Omg!!, I am so amazed by everyone who works in this scale, truly amazing.

  12. Great work, thanks for sharing! Hannah

  13. Thanks again for another very cute tutorial!! The ones you made look all so beautiful!! Well done and thanks again!!

  14. Thanks for sharing this! It comes very useful for me :D

  15. Thank you for the great tutorial. I am going to try it. It is just exactly what I need right now. I am off to buy some water colors.

  16. Thank you for the tutorial!!! Can I do any question? Where did you buy the thimble? or how do you make it? Thank you for answer.

    1. Hello, the thimble was made by Danny Shotton, unfortunately he does not have a website, he sells at fairs, I bought this one at Miniatura, but a few dollshouse shops sell them, I think Swanhouse miniatures do.

  17. Hi Sarah! I love this tutorial of your embroidery cottons! You do the most Extraordinary projects and you do them to Perfection too! This one has perfectly wound threads that look like they where done at a mill! So Professional looking! I am definitely going to have to give this a try! :D


  18. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for all the great tutorials.
    I will do the emboidery cottons.
    They are perfect for my haberdashery shop.
    A big hug

  19. Hace poco que he descubierto tu blog , que es super interesante , muchas gracias por tantos tutoriales . Felicidades .Saludos

  20. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. visit here

  21. Tutorial magnífico y muy didáctico gracias


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