Retro Lacing Cards How-To

Do you remember 'learn-to-sew lacing cards'? They were so much fun. They are definitely a thing of the past, but there are a few companies currently making reproduction ones. But it's also easy to make your own... you can make them from any kind of image whether it's a photograph, illustration, or even printed text.

Materials needed are: your chosen image, cardboard, glue, scissors, a hole puncher, yarn, and a needle. I choose to print one of my photographs... I printed it on regular printer paper instead of photo paper, so that it would have a matte finish and look slightly older or more like a painting, but almost any type of paper is fine as long as it's not super fragile or super thick.

First, you will want to glue (using a glue stick) the paper photo onto a piece of cardboard (I used part of a cereal box), and trim the edges. Then, it's time to punch some holes. I purchased a 1/8" craft hole punch, which punches smaller holes than your typical hole punch. A regular one will work, you'll just want to use a larger image and thicker yarn.

Punch holes all the way around the main object in your image that will want to "sew". Holes can be placed anywhere in the image you like- there's no rules of spacing or number of holes needed. It is best however to punch along straight lines, and at corners or the edges of curves. You also want to try and not leave too big of a space in between holes so that your yarn covers part of your image that you don't want it to cover. Think about putting your holes in areas that you want to outline or accentuate.

Once you're done with punching the holes, you have two options- it can either be done, and given with some yarn and a needle as a gift or activity for someone else to sew, or you can go ahead and sew it yourself. I like to lace them and give them with gifts as the card. They make cute items to hang on the wall when completed!

As far as sewing goes, you'll want a larger needle than your typical sewing needle. The thicker, plastic kinds are best. You want it to be safer to use than one of the sharp metal ones, and have a big enough threading hole to get yarn through since you won't be using thin sewing thread.

Start at one end, leaving about an inch of the yarn hanging on the back (don't pull it all the way through but wait to knot it), and take turns weaving in and out of the holes. There are no rules for the sewing part either- just have fun with it. I typically like to alternate holes, and then go back after I'm finished and connect a few adjoining holes to add a little bit extra depth to some of the sewn lines.

Once you're finished, you will want to knot the two loose ends of yarn (your starting and ending ends) together and then trim the excess. Finally, you can leave the image as-is, slip it in a photo card (the kind that has a cut-out window like above), or frame it!