Introduction: CNC Embroidery: Fabric Scrabble-like Board

About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (; now thinking about climate c…

A fabric Scrabble(-like) board is very portable. You can fold it up and put it in the bag with the letters! So I decided to make one with a CNC embroidery machine.

This tutorial is for the Singer Futura 250 (current model upgrades to this).

This is quite difficult. Before you begin, look at your life. Look at the choices which have brought you to this point. Look at the money in your wallet, and consider buying a real Scrabble board. Think about how easy this would be if you could use a bigger embroidery hoop on your machine. Consider just doing this with a ruler and a fabric pen.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to Materials.

Step 1: Materials

You need:
-fabric the size of your scrabble board
-a CNC embroidery machine
-thread in light blue, dark blue, pink, and red. If you want to be fancy, I guess you could add black and white.
-a vector image of a Scrabble board
-a LOT of patience

Step 2: Learn From My Mistakes

My final product was a bit of a disaster, despite hours of careful work. Perhaps you can avoid this in yours by reading this page. Perhaps you can at least laugh at the wreckage.

Things I Did That I Shouldn't Have
  • See the pictures.

Things I Should Have Done, but Didn't
  • Draw some reference lines on the fabric. Break out a pencil, give yourself something to line the hoop up with.
  • Tighten the screws on the sewing machine.
  • Pre-wind bobbins in all of the right colors.
  • Have plenty of thread in every color you need.

Step 3: Quarter Your Image

I found it was easiest to do this using the native cropping feature in the Autopunch wizard (in the Futura software).

They will not be exact quarters; the board is 15x15, and you'll want to make your center tiles in the same pass.
Actually, you might want to make it exact quarters. That's a decision you'll have to make on your own; maybe it will line up better that way.

Import into Autopunch.

Step 4: Line Up Your Fabric in the Hoop.

Sew your first quarter!

When you are lining up for the second quarter, measure the margins of your machine. This is very important!

Step 5: , Size, and Sew!

Let the machines do the work for you! Cry a little every time they don't work right.

Step 6: Enjoy Your Success/Failure!

See my Instructable for tiny paper Scrabble-like letter tiles! (you can see I scaled back my ambition a little)

SHIFT! made the tiny letter holders.

Play or attempt to play Tiny Scrabble-Like Game! (The rules should be slightly dissimilar to those of the copyrighted version.)

Make It Real Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Real Challenge