Illuminated letters were usually the first letter of a page or paragraph, with the letter greatly enlarged and decorated first using gold leaf, and then completed with coloured paints using a very fine brush. The term ‘illuminated’ comes from the use of the gold leaf, which reflected the light and made the letter appear to glow. Animals, plants and mythical beasts were used to decorate the letter. By the 7th Century, illuminated letters had become a highly respected art form, particularly in Ireland and England. Your chosen letter will be worked in stranded cotton and gold thread on a satin background and will therefore cover the techniques of surface embroidery and goldwork. The 'E' letter shown is 10cm high, by 11cm wide. The height of the other letters will also be 10cm, but the width will vary slightly depending on the letter chosen. ('I' is much narrower than an 'M' for example.) I have designed the entire alphabet, so there is sure to be a letter to suit you! Please specify which letter(s) you require when ordering. Suitable for all skill levels. All my kits are packaged using recyclable and/or biodegradable materials.

What's included in the price?

The embroidered illuminated letter kit includes all materials required - calico backing fabric, duchess satin in a beautiful antique ivory, three skeins of stranded cotton in dark green, purple & pink, Japanese gold thread, Gutermann's sewing thread, beeswax, an embroidery needle, a chenille needle with buttonhole thread for 'plunging' the gold threads, a stitch guide, a stitch diagram and comprehensive instructions.

What you will need

Scissors Hoop/frame optional.



Liz Tapper graduated from the Royal School of Needlework's apprenticeship in 1998. She now teaches a wide variety of hand embroidery techniques, designs her own range of embroidery kits, accepts commissions and gives talks around the country.

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Seniors
  • Teenagers
  • Wheelchair users
  • Hearing impaired
  • Suitable for beginners
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