How to Create Your Own Cross Stitch Patterns

    by Jessica Johnson

    About the Author

    Jessica Johnson began her writing career in 2010, writing for eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. She graduated from Savannah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She then earned a Bachelor of Science in health from Georgia State University and is now working on her Master of Science in public health from the University of Massachusetts.


    Having trouble finding the perfect counted cross-stitch pattern that suits your interests or personality? If so, try creating your own cross-stitch patterns that are uniquely you. If you are artistic, you can create your own designs by hand. If drawing is not your thing, you can purchase a computer program that will help you create your own unique designs. Cross-stitch software allows you to print the pattern from your computer and will also include your color key and corresponding floss colors. Either way, you will soon be cross-stitching designs that you will enjoy for years to come.

    Things You'll Need

    • Graph paper
    • Regular pencils
    • Color pencils
    • Image
    • Cross-stitch pattern program
    • Photocopier

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    Manual Cross-Stitch Pattern

    Find an image you want to make into a counted cross-stitch pattern. If you are new to pattern-making, choose a simple image with only a few colors, such as a flower.

    Enlarge or shrink your image to the size you want using a photocopier. The size of the photocopy isn’t necessarily the size your cross-stitch will be, but the image must be large enough to make symbols on the graph paper to represent different colors.

    Trace the image on to graph paper. The blocks on the graph paper represent the squares on your counted cross-stitch fabric. Most graph paper is thin enough to use for tracing, but if your graph paper is too thick, you can sketch the image directly on to the paper.

    Use the color pencils to fill in your design. Use from three to seven colors if this is your first design.

    Mark each block with a symbol to represent the color you will stitch there. Later, you will choose floss colors to match your symbols. For counted cross-stitch you do not transfer the image to the cross-stitch fabric.

    Cross-Stitch Software

    Use cross-stitch software for more complicated designs, or if you simply do not feel comfortable drawing. Hobbyware Pattern Maker Cross-Stitch software and PC Stitch are two user-friendly options.

    Choose a high-quality and focused image; this can be a photograph or image from a magazine, the internet, or from your own collection. Your software will come with some stock images as well. If you use your own image, you will need to scan it to your computer. If this is your first time designing your own cross-stitch pattern, choose an image with limited colors and with little or no background. Backgrounds can be tedious to try to stitch, especially if they are blurry or busy.

    Import your image to the software. If using your own scanned photo or an image from the internet, save it to your desktop and follow the instructions on your software for uploading the image.

    Choose how many colors you want to work with. Cross-stitch pattern programs show you what the design will look like with X number of colors. Experiment here; vary the number of colors until the design still looks pleasing, but is not too complex. Generally, you don’t want to go over 30 or 40 different colors; beginners should start with three to seven colors.

    Remove any areas from the photo you do not wish to include in your pattern using the eraser tools provided in your software program. Once your are satisfied with your image, follow the instructions on your software program to complete your pattern.

    Photo Credits