How to sew Strip Paper

Paper stripes collage

A postcard I made, using striped “strip paper”. Doesn’t it look cool? I love it!

While planning to make my travel journal and later sewing pages for it, on the sewing machine, I got intrigued by sewing into paper. A couple of days later I went back to the sewing machine with a pile of papers to sew together and just made “sewn strip paper”. I don’t know exactly how I got this idea, but I thought it was great fun, so here is a tutorial today!

Choosing some scraps (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
1) First go through your stash, and pick some papers that you like but don’t mind cutting up. This is great for your own “painted backgrounds” that you never used and torn out vintage book pages for example.

Sewing papers (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
2) Cut stripes that are about 2-3 cm (less than 1″) with your scissors. You choose if you want to cut on the length or width of the paper. No need to cut straight or to be neat. Just enjoy the process, mix and match colors and structures of papers.

Sewing stripes of paper down (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
3) Time to sew! Hold the first stripe of paper to a thin printer paper (my was A4 size), this will be your base. Hopefully you can use recycled papers from your printer trash or junk mail. But use cardstock if you want to make sturdier papers or cut them down to postcards later. Sew a straight line in the middle of each stripe. Let the next stripe overlap the first one just a little and sew another line on top of that. Keep adding on now.

Add more stripes! (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
4) Keep adding… Cut off each paper strip if it sticks out from your background paper when you finish, but don’t forget to use those small pieces too! Make shorter rows, or multiple strips together. The too short bits can be stitched together to make a longer strip, or added by feeding several small pieces under the needle like I did above.

Some finished Stripes Papers that I made while in a creative flow:
Stripey papers I made (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
Yes, I did quite a few pages with this new method! I had a difficult time stopping – it was so much fun sewing stripe by stripe, much like quilting together fabric. You just want to add more pieces to see where you will go…

Stripes of paper sewn together (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
Mix all kinds of colored papers together for a color explosion effect…

Blue paper stripes sewn together (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
…or add mostly one color for a more toned down but still very textured page!

Sewing papers (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
Sewn Stripes of Paper l iHanna. I call it Strip Paper!

You can use wrapping paper, wallpaper, magazine images, silk paper or other more transparent paper for fun effects or “layering”, newspaper or scrapbook papers! Imagine what you can do with these Sewn Stripes Papers – only your imagination will stop you here! Add them to your Art Journal, paint on them, collage on top, cut them up for bookmarks, postcards or notebook covers… :-)

More inspiration?

Paper Sewing Inspiration

Trend-o-meter says: Sew paper!
After the Teesha Journaling Videos we all caught the Teesha Bug, hehe. Now it’s Mary Ann Moss’ blog Dispatch from LA and her class on sewing paper that has gotten the whole internet to start sewing papers. If you want even more inspiration, here are a few others that are sharing their “sewing paper” experience:

Have you started yet? ;-)

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29 Responses to How to sew Strip Paper

  1. Kim Mailhot says:

    Oh this is great Hanna ! Perfect for the post cards too. How long a stitch do you use ? I have sewn and perforated the pages instead. Will try it out soon.
    Haven’t started yet ! I am getting very inspired by you and by Julie though…
    Have a cozy evening.

  2. Flassie says:

    Lovely and awesome!!

    I’ve sewn on paper before. Nothing fancy though
    like a dsil did one Christmas many years ago. She
    made a Christmas card with paper and material mixed.

    I have a vintage embroidery postcard that a dear friend
    gave it to me. He had some others all put into picture frames.

    God Bless You and Yours!!!

  3. lee says:

    I am going to try and so some of my scraps tommorow…..I have started my postcards got about 5 done.


  4. Elle says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing these! Now, I’m super inspired and pumped up for the postcard swap. :)

  5. Hey Hanna…I have to admit…sewing scraps of papers together is my new comfort food..less calories too. It;s the perfect stormy day activity! Can’t wait to swap ’em out.


  6. Zura says:

    I read this earlier tonight, and haven’t been able to get them off my mind. I must get Mister to carry my sewing machine to the studio so I can do some!! Thank you for always being here, with such new and exciting inspiration.

  7. Maria says:

    Det ?r roligt att sy i papper, det g?r jag ganska ofta p? mina kort.
    Dina kort blev l?ckra!

  8. Janet B. says:

    Thank you for sharing this inspiration, I love it when fibreart my first love combines with my new love of paperart.

  9. iHanna says:

    Thanks girls, sewing papers is fun, so glad you’re inspired too!

    Kim, I don’t know how long my sewing machine stitches are, I’m not very savvy on the machine… hehe. Maybe in the middle length I think worked, but the top stripe papers are cute sturdy so it won’t tear if you do it like this I hope! :-)

  10. This looks like so much fun, I have sewn into journals bu not made paper like this. Hmm Now I know what I will do today.

  11. Susan says:

    Hello Hanna,
    as said before that is a very inspiring post and so simple to do. Thanks for sharing. I like your blog a lot!
    A childhood experience came to my mind: The first thing my mother allowed me to sew on – with her rather old sewing machine – was our local newspaper :-)
    Gotta try this one very soon.

  12. Kendra says:

    I am absolutely in love with this! I don’t sew much, mostly do mixed media (painting and drawing) but the last few days I have gotten the itch to sew! I did some hand stitching on a journal cover last night and I think I will have to try this out tomorrow to go inside my new journal!
    Thanks so much for sharing!!

  13. Janet says:

    Thanks for the little tutorial. It looks like fun and a good way to use up scraps of paper. I’m going to try some of these.

  14. clarice says:

    This is very intersting, thank you for posting. Clarice

  15. Marie says:

    Love this idea. I had great fun sewing together a tag I made for a gift a while back.
    I stamped a crow on a piece of brown paper bag. Cut it out and stitched the square to another piece of brown paper bag. The look is fabulous. Addictive! : )

  16. Melissa says:

    What a neat idea! I’m going to have to try it.

  17. Godelieve says:

    Wonderful tutorial. Thanks :)

  18. LOVE LOVE LOVE! While I have all my sewing stuff out, I am off to do this today!

  19. Ruthie says:

    I love that idea! I may just have to try it at some point :D

  20. malin says:

    I really loved your sewn papers, and they?ve been in the back of my mind for a while. So when I had to decorate a cover for an art journal, I immediately came to think about them. Yesterday I finished my journal, and I have to say I?m very pleased with it, I?d really like to keep it, unfortunately I?m giving it away… :(. But I?ll be making more art journals, and will probably do some more sewing in paper too! Drop by and see what you think!

  21. B says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love this! Might just have to dig out my sewing machine. I’ve been threatening for a while… Found you through CED. B.

  22. Monique says:

    I did the same thing for the cover of a journal I made back in December, except I used ribbon:

    I have one more page left in my current art journal and then I can finally break out this one–can’t wait! :)

  23. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. The sheets are lovely! I will have to see if I can track down my old sewing machine. How fun!

  24. I absolutely love your striped paper!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi Hanna, Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring tutorial. I too have been intrigued by the idea of sewing on paper. I especially love sewing paper and cloth together. There is a lovely play of the textures and colors. Your blog is lovely and I hope to come back regularly.


  26. Ann says:

    Nice idea to use paper into pages that are different.
    Making the postcards has been very fun and keeping the
    ideas flowing.

  27. Nancy Ward says:


    Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

    I’d appreciate your letting me know if that’s OK.


    Nancy Ward

  28. Pingback: iHanna’s Blog » Blog Archive » Celebrating 2010 - My Creative Achivements List

  29. LaurelH says:

    Super snazzy way of using up all those old bits I’ve been lugging about over the years. I’ve decided to make some b&w versions and put b&w portraits on front, and then some colored ones, with colored portraits on those. Great inspiration thanks!

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