C.R.A.F.T. #86: How to make a cross stitch pattern

Yesterday we talked waste canvas. It’s fun stuff that allows you to cross stitch any design onto any piece of fabric. My mom discovered waste canvas a long time ago. She has been cross stitching (like a manic) my entire life. I have lots of her work in my house (8 to be exact). The crazy women has stitched 20 Christmas stockings for her future grand kids and their families. Key word: FUTURE. She has 0 as of now! (none of us are even married) I suppose she decided 20 was enough,  and whipped out the waste canvas to start making her future grand kids clothes! I came home for the weekend and she was excited to show me waste canvas. She made sure to wait for me to get home before she finished her first one so I could take pictures of the process and blog about it. She refuses to learn how to upload her digital pictures. My mom still takes her camera to Wal Greens and prints out all her pictures. Totally crazy, I know. (My family just got caller ID 2 years ago. My parents share a cell phone and never have it turned on.) We started going through the pattern books she had, and I soon discovered the plethora of flowers, tea pots, and teddy bears we had to choose from. I called Annie and we decided to make our own pattern. We needed a dino. A polka dotted dino. An obvious first choice. We google imaged searched dinosaur and did our best to copy what we saw.  It took a few tries, but we finally ended up with this:

We printed off a free piece of graph paper from HERE.  It is best if your graph paper matches your waste canvas. For instance, we were working with 10 count waste canvas, so we used 10 lines per inch on our graph paper. You will have to change the GRID SPACING number to 10… like in the picture below.

how to make a cross stitch pattern 
Annie copied our notebook paper dinosaur onto the graph paper. We “researched” cross stitch pattern books to see how they made curves :) Then, we traced the original doodle dino on to the graph paper.
how to make a cross stitch pattern

We started with the dinos head and began shading in the boxes. Use a pencil, there is lots of erasing :) We created the pattern one vertical line at a time from left to right until we competed the dino. Remember, you can not use half boxes with waste canvas! After each vertical line, we shaded the original dino so we could keep track of where we were.  There is a lot of guess work involved in this part. Just use your best judgment. Up can always erase later!

Notice the original dinos front leg. That diagonal line wasn’t working. So we switched it up!

how to make a cross stitch pattern
And there you have it :) You can graph to your hearts content. My mom has graphed very complicated patterns in her day. You can graph ANYTHING you want. I suggest starting small…it can be a frustrating process!
how to make a cross stitch pattern

My mom’s monster stitched: 

how to make a cross stitch pattern

Annie and I made the dino. She went home and did all of these herself! She’s nice and shared her work with us.  Double click, save to the desktop, and print. 

how to make a cross stitch pattern

Cross stitch to a onesie or a bib and bam… baby gifts!  What is your favorite design? Are you cross stitcher? A needle pointer? I’d love to hear…


  1. Thanks for this- I have tried to make some cross stitch patterns in the past but get frustrated in the process. This should be very helpful. I love cross stitch- both the big designs and the small ones too.
    That is crazy about the Christmas Stockings!! I have made one for myself and my husband so far- they are fun to put up every year!

  2. I cross-stitched eons ago and then got involved with quilting. I am wanting to go back into cross-stitching and have a project I need to finish up! :-)

  3. I've never done cross stitching before but this looks fun!

  4. Felicitaciones Congratulations. Very well your work. I want to start cross stitching. Thanks your very much.

  5. I always wondered how to do this – thanks for the tutorial. And thanks for the site for the graph paper. After Christmas, I’ll have to get started on this!


  1. […] then stitch them up! This monster show here was done up using the tutorial! See how easy it can be. Check out the tutorial. You may also […]

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