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Cross Stitch Painting

Last week I was chatting with my friend who pointed out that cross-stitch is kind of a dying art. These are the important things we contemplate.

“Maybe older women do cross-stitch a bunch?” I suggested as a feeble attempt to defend our beloved cross-stitch hobby.

“There’s lots of ‘hip’ cross-stitch art you can buy online I think?” she piped in.

The truth is, cross-stitch may not be our craft of choice when we think “hip”, “modern” or even relevant interior design. I refuse, however, to believe that cross-stitch doesn’t have something to offer when it comes to home decor.

I saw our little chat about cross-stitch as a challenge to be accepted! Here is what I came up with — (drumroll now) — A cross-stitch painting using a cross-stitch pattern! This tutorial will teach you how to take your old cross-stitch patterns and turn them into artwork for your home!

Cross-Stitch Painting


  • A canvas or backdrop for your painting. Don’t get intimidated by the word “canvas.” For my painting backdrop I used a piece of particle board wood that I painted white.
  • Paint in the color(s) of your choice. I wanted to go simple so I went with just one color; a tangerine color.
  • A paintbrush or sharp-ended tool (e.g. a toothpick or sharpened pencil)
  • A pencil for marking the wood
  • A tape measure
  • And finally, a cross-stitch pattern. I couldn’t find the perfect pattern so I created my own on my computer using THIS free silhouette of a deer.

Cross-Stitch Painting

Step one is all about getting “organized” for your project. Your goal is to transform a cross-stitch pattern onto a much larger piece of wood. First I counted how many squares (or “x”-stitch) wide and tall my cross-stitch pattern was. I established that each cross-stitch square should be 1/2″ square on my painted backdrop. Depending on the size of your backdrop or cross-stitch pattern you may want to figure your gird to be 1″ squares or 1/4″ squares.

Cross Stitch Painting

For step two it’s time to put all your organization to good work! Using a tape measure create pencil marks along all four boarders of your wood backdrop at 1/2″ spacing. In other words, I created a dash mark every 1/2″ around the boarder.

Cross Stitch Painting

Now for step three, using a straight edge item (I used a poster board), connect corresponding dashes. For example, I connected the first dash on the top of the board to the first dash on the bottom of the board creating lines running parallel to the left and right side of your board. After you have created grid lines all the way from top to bottom on your board it’s time to do the same across your board, tracing lines from the left to the right side of your board. This will create one large grid on your backdrop that matches the grid on your cross-stitch pattern.

Cross Stitch Painting

Time for a simple step! All you have to do for step four is count over on your cross-stitch pattern until you get to the first “x”-stitch. Then count over on your board, find the same corresponding square, and paint in your first “x”. This “x” will serve as a reference point for all the other “x”s you will paint following the cross-stitch pattern.

Cross Stitch Painting

For step five, and your final step, follow the cross-stitch pattern and paint in “x”s wherever there is an “x”-stitch on the pattern. If the pattern is colored you may want to use corresponding colored paints. As a tool for painting the “x” I used the end of a paintbrush to create clean lines. Let your paint dry for an hour or so and stick that thing on your mantel!

Cross Stitch Painting

Cross Stitch Painting

And that’s a wrap! You did it — transformed grandma’s cherished cross-stitch pattern of two pandas hugging into a fresh piece of art worthy to be hung above the fireplace.


DIY, Handmade

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  2. Elizabeth Hansen says:

    Golly, I don't think cross stitch is a dying art! Internet is full of blogs, designs, and sales of cross-stitch related items are continually going up! However, I really DO like your creative idea of "cross stitch painting! " It's so cool! Maybe you're on to something! Keep up the creativity, and I'll keep on cross-stitching! E. Hansen, Chester County, PA

    • Alix Adams says:

      Cross stitch groups! That sounds wonderful! Do share more info so I can get in the now with cross stitch!

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Alix AdamsAlix is a guest blogger for Design Happens. She is also a mom and a maker of important things like floral crowns. Her proclivity for glitter borders on the side...


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