Stamp size embroidery

The educational technology and digital learning wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Machine embroidery
Module: Computerized embroidery
See also


Stamp sized embroidery to define small-scale embroidery that roughly fits into a postage stamp area, i.e., between 3 x 2.5 cm and a bit larger.

embroidered Postage stamps

First embroidered stamp

Several countries now offer embroidered stamps. The first on was created by the Swiss Post in 2000. It was designed by Peter Hostettler, a textile designer from the Bischoff Textiles company in St Gallen. Austria published a series of flower-based designs.

"Stamps" in machine embroidery

The word "stamp" is sometimes used to design patterns used in embossed tatami fills, e.g. here

Stamp Size

Stamps come in various sizes, there is no standard size.

Typical postage stamp sizes

Cheap, standard series are usually smaller than more expensive "special" editions. A typical size is 2x3cm. Several countries allow designing custom stamps. These are typically larger, e.g., 42x35cm in Austria.


  • 21 x 30 mm, 44 x 26 mm, 27 x 33 mm, 35 x 35 mm, 55 x 33 mm
  • 42 x 28 mm Custom stamp


  • 42 x 35 mm (Customizable)

Stamp dimension is also defined by the number of teeth, typically 10 to 14 / 2 cm. According to Postage stamp separation, Wikipedia, “The standard for describing perforation is the number of holes (or the "teeth" or perfs of an individual stamp) in a 2-centimeter span. The finest gauge ever used is 18 on stamps of the Malay States in the early 1950s, and the coarsest is 2, seen on the 1891 stamps of Bhopal. Modern stamp perforations tend to range from 11 to 14.”

A10 Proposal for Embroidery Projects

We decided to adopt A10 format (portrait or landscape) in order to laser cut series of patches. The international A series (Wikipedia) is defined in the ISO 216 standard. According to Wikipedia, ISO paper sizes are all based on a single aspect ratio of the square root of 2, or approximately 1:1.41421, i.e.

This ratio has the unique property that when cut or folded in half widthways, the halves also have the same aspect ratio. Each ISO paper size is one half of the area of the next larger size in the same series. (Wikipedia). In addition to being practical (as noted by philosophers in the 18th century), the ratio is also quite pleasant to look at.

A10 is defined in landscape mode as 26×37 mm or 1.0 × 1.5 inches, but can be used in portrait mode, of course.

A10 portrait
A10 default
A 10 = 26×37 mm

Anatomy of a stamp-sized embroidery

Small size requires some adaptation:

  • Since handmade designs do have an interesting look, machine embroidery could use 12 and 30 threads, mostly working with line-based patterns.
  • Detailed designs could be created with fine W.t. 60 thread and needles (size 60)


InkStitch Propaganda

Since this type of project can be easily made with InkStitch, the free embroidery program, we provide an example that features InkStitch itself. The goal was to create a stamp-sized (A10) embroidery that includes a interesting border, some lettering and some "drawings".

Items and parameters for Version 2:

  • The positioning line is made for normal or 60 thread.
  • We used a standard small satin border. Ugly in the picture, because we did not pre-cut the patch tissue.
  • The lettering is done with a 60-Polyester thread from Gunold and a 60 universal needle from Schmetz. Density is about 6 lines/mm, i.e., 0.32 mm peak-to-peak distance in InkStitch.
  • The heart was done with normal Polyester 40.
  • The needle was also done with ordinary Polyester 60 thread.

The result showed a somewhat weak lettering, so we added some density in the next version. The next version also test real silk and replaced the border by something that looks more stamp-like

Items and parameters for Version 3:

  • The positioning line is made for normal or 60 thread.
  • To simulate a rough edge, we parameterized it with an "E" Stich using a thick thread (Decora 12 is easiest). Distance between peaks is 1.8mm
  • The lettering is done with a 60-Polyester thread from Gunold and a 60 universal needle from Schmetz. Density is 7 (V3) lines/mm, i.e., 0.28 mm peak-to-peak distance in InkStitch
  • The heart is done with Kanagawa silk thread #50 (similar to Rayon 40).
  • The needle is done with ordinary Polyester 40 thread, but the color was a bad choice.

The result is fairly close to what we intended, but there was a problem in the lettering, maybe we could reduce tension a bit or reorganize spaces between letters. Choice of needle color was clearly wrong, it should have been darker.

Items and parameters for Version 3:

  • Remade the needle. Its tip is now done with manual stitches
  • The borders are rung-less, i.e. both rails have an equal number of points. This allows for precision positioning.
  • E-stitch of the border now has a 2mm peak to peak distance.

Lettering is still a bit of problem. Probably the font should be redesigned for very small letters and 60 w.t. thread.


The following patch uses a classical border (easier to do).


  • Positioning line dimensions are 25.7 x 36.7, i.e. slightly smaller than the patch
  • Satin borders were defined without rungs since they inhibit precision positioning. Contour underlay with 0.3 border distance. Dimensions = 26.1 X 37.1 mm, i.e. very slightly bigger than the patch.
  • Density for the mouth is 0.3 peak-to-peak = 0.15 = 6.6 lines/mm, therefore quite dense.
  • Default density of 0.4 for the Font, but I manually simplified it, also a contour underlay with 0.3 distance from the border


The Sunflower is stitched in different ways, e.g. with a Decora 12 thread (about 4mm diameter) and 2.5mm distance between points.

Tatoo like stamp

This examples is done entirely with 12 w.t. threads.

Since InkStitch doesn't have any simple line font, we used a font to hearshy font transformation. This extensions can be found in the excellent FabLab Cheminitz mightlyscape bundle


Examples of stamp-sized embroidery

  • Stitched Miniatures A nice series of free machines embroideries by Gina Ferrari. Made with a sewing machine I believe. (2013, consulted March 2021). Size is less than 2x2'', i.e. 5 x 5 cm.

Examples of embroidered postage stamps

Examples of embroidered stamps

The word "stamp" does not only design postage stamps (printed) but also inked stamps, and these also can be embroidered ....