How to Make Cross Stitch Charts

Learning to make cross stitch charts is the next step for those who are ready to move beyond kits and patterns and start creating their own custom designs. It's actually quite easy to do. Just follow these simple steps, and you'll be stitching up your own original designs in no time.


  • Sketch paper
  • Graph paper with small squares
  • Pencil
  • Light box or sunny window
  • Colored pens or pencils

The first step in making your own cross stitch pattern is to come up with a design. Sketch out your ideas, until you come up with a final design. Alternatively, you can use another drawing or picture as your inspiration. If you choose this option, you might consider tracing or copying the picture, altering the design as desired to make it suitable for cross-stitching.

Once you've got your design finished, it's time to trace it onto graph paper. When choosing graph paper, consider the size of the squares on the paper compared to the size of the squares on the fabric you will be using for your project. For example, if you are using 16-count fabric, which has 16 squares per inch, and your graph paper is 8 squares per inch, your finished piece will be half the size of your chart.  

To transfer your drawing onto your graph paper, tape the graph paper over the drawing on a light box. If you do not have a light box, you can tape the paper onto a sunny window. Trace your design.

Next, you need to turn your drawing into a chart. Begin marking off the blocks and diagonals on your design. It's best to keep your eraser handy, as you may need to adjust as you go, especially when marking outlines and curved areas. If you wish, you can use colored pens or pencils to add color to your chart, which will help you determine with colors of embroidery floss you will need.

You will now have your very own original cross stitch pattern, ready to be stitched into a beautiful piece of cross stitch art. For your first attempt at this, choose a simple image or design with a couple of colors. This will help you master the trickier parts of blocking the design. Once you're confident, you'll find that almost anything can be the inspiration for a cross stitch project.

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