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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback Flexibound
  • Publication: 31 January 2020
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782216520
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 600
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: £17.99
  • Series: RSN series
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RSN: Embroidered Boxes


Techniques, projects & pure inspiration by Heather Lewis

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Book Description

This beautiful, practical guide to creating and embellishing embroidered boxes is written by Heather Lewis, a tutor with the Royal School of Needlework. It contains a history of the embroidered box, from the seventeenth century to the present day, and features techniques and guidance for needleworkers wishing to apply their skills to a practical application of the craft.

There are three projects to try: a small treasure chest with a curved lid, embroidered dragonfly detail and a false floor; a hexagonal box with a beautiful embroidered lid depicting afternoon tea, and an intricate stumpwork casket with a mirror in the lid and a hidden drawer. Each has a template and extensive instructions for preparation, embroidery and construction.

Table of Contents

The Royal School of Needlework
Introduction to embroidered boxes
History of embroidered boxes
Materials and tools
Basic techniques
Embroidery stitches
Construction stitches

Constructing a basic box
Dragonfly Treasure Chest
Afternoon Tea Box
Stumpwork Casket
Further inspiration

About the Author

About Heather Lewis

Heather’s passion for embroidery began at a very young age; training at a fashion house in Yorkshire before graduating from the RSN Apprenticeship. Heather has taught embroidery for the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) at various locations in the UK and the United States. She currently teaches on the RSN Certificate, Diploma and on Day Classes.

Heather particularly enjoys Goldwork and ecclesiastical embroidery and after graduating she worked in the RSN Studio where she continues to assist on a variety of projects. There she has worked on a diverse range of commissions including a new altar frontal for The Royal Anglian Regimental Chapel in Essex and the Dover Castle hangings for the re-presentation of the Great Tower.


Thread Magazine

Embroidered Boxes is part of an exciting new series spearheaded by the Royal School of Needlework. Copies are available for sale in New Zealand, just Google the school and click on the book.

For about a year I had been exploring options to make my own casket using a cardboard frame, much like the English cottage houses Wairarapa Guild made a few years ago. I found some pictures online and showed our members; then Billie Simms found this great book and lo and behold, the book contains a detailed pattern the exact shape I was looking for. This forward-looking guide explores the intricate art of embroidering boxes for use as keepsakes and jewellery boxes.

Although the embroidery is a mixture of stumpwork and goldwork you can put your own stamp on the piece to make it unique. The step-by-step instructions are clear, even for a Luddite like me. Now, armed with this beautiful and reasonably priced book filled with brilliant ideas, some other members are fired up to take on the challenge of an intensive piece that will become a family heirloom.

Machine Knitting Monthly

Part of a new series by the Royal School of Needlework, this forward-looking guide explores the intricate art and history of embroidering boxes for keepsakes and jewellery. The three beautiful projects have templates and extensive instructions for preparation, embroidery and construction.


It is a well laid out book with many beautiful illustrations, as one would expect from the Royal School of Needlework. It includes a description of some contemporary and historical boxes, followed by a discussion of tools and materials for making boxes.
Various techniques are covered, including designing and planning your box. There are twenty or so pages on embroidery techniques. Then there are three lovely boxes with full instructions on how to make them. Each one has a full materials list and each one has an increase in complexity.

Finally there is a small gallery of box inspiration. The embroidery techniques alone are very in depth, the last box also going into raised and wired stumpwork techniques. The description of construction techniques would also be useful for anyone wanting to make plain fabric boxes.

I highly recommend this book to any embroiderer wanting to add to their repertoire of techniques.


Beautiful book, clearly written. Concise instructions and lovely to read some of the history of the art. Looking forward to working my way through this book.


It is a beautiful book with fantastic photos. In my opinion it's a book that a confident beginner could embrace while being challenging enough for the more advanced stitched.


This book is, as we've come to expect from the RSN, comprehensive, detailed, and packed with clear photographs and diagrams. Starting with the history of embroidered boxes, it goes on to list materials and tools, basic techniques, and how to plan the proportions of your box as well as the layout of the embroidery design.

Detailed instructions on a basic box are followed by three projects: a rectangular chest with a domed lid, a hexagonal box, and most ambitious of all a stumpwork casket with doors and drawers reminiscent of the costly boxes produced in the 17th century.

This is not a book for beginners, but anyone with patience, attention to detail, and a basic knowledge of embroidery should be able to work methodically through the book and create their own unique box.


Very clear instructions and as well as following the images shown in the book this has also given me inspiration and ideas for new projects. I have made one of these boxes already but will be making more to give as gifts. An excellent book.


This is a book of joy for embroidery fans.

The stunning embroidered boxes are exquisite. They are also accompanied with a history of the box, and from start to finish you are guided step by step to make your very own piece of art.

The boxes are usable, beautiful and the embroidery designs are just amazing.

There are design templates to copy, but I think it would be easy to design my own to make it more personal.

Every fan of embroidery would love this book, it is pretty, the photography of the boxes really show off the intricacy of each one and the boxes are achievable to make.

Needle 'n Thread

Ahhhh. Yes! It is a wonderful book if you are interested in constructing your own embroidered boxes!

Because it is an RSN book, the methods are all RSN methods. This doesnt mean there arent other ways to construct and finish boxes, but rather that, in a workshop setting, these are the construction methods they use to produce consistent results among their trained workers.

If you have a selection of different books on constructing boxes, youll discover other methods you can use that may save some time and still produce beautiful and perfectly acceptable results when constructing your own boxes.

This book, though, should be in your library! Its beautiful, its clear, its instructive on all sorts of levels, and it is inspiring! It is one of those books that will help you take the technique beyond the book and make it your own.

Click here to read the full review.


Store your jewellery (or anything else that requires a very special home) in these stunning embroidered boxes. Learn the skills to design your own and the stitches to make them beautiful in this impressive Royal School of Needlework book.

Ive had fun making boxes since I learned to make nets at school when I was about seven. If you like making functional items that make great gifts this book contains three such projects, as well as all you need to know to make your own designs up. Most of what you need consists of basic stationary items, fabric, and thread plus a few embellishments. There are a few extras such as mountboard and a special cutter for it, a good-sized floor standing slate frame for larger projects and some smaller items but nothing too expensive or unusual.

The middle section explains all the basics common to any box making project such as designing, working out construction, working with different frames, transferring designs, and choosing fabric. Learn the embroidery stitches used in the projects; these bring together several different styles of embroidery including freestyle, goldwork, ribbonwork and needle lace. As with everything in this book there are plenty of staged photographs with captions that take you through the processes for a smooth learning experience.

There are only three projects in here but each one will teach you a lot of useful things about box making and they are all beautiful. Choose from a treasure chest box with a simple dragonfly motif in crystal, an elegant square box with an afternoon tea picture on the lid and my favourite, the stunning 17th century stumpwork casket. Each project has quite a few pages detailing it all, including a list of what you need, all measurements given in imperial and metric, patterns to trace and transfer and lots of helpful photographs. I cant wait to get started! One of my favourite books this year to date as it makes a subject often considered complicated and obscure seem doable, fresh and exciting.

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