How to convert counted cross stitch into plastic canvas patterns

Written by katharine godbey
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Plastic canvas came into the world of crafting in the 1970s and soon gained in popularity. It was not long before manufacturers added different colours and stitch counts to the selection of canvas available. Because of the speed and ease with which projects can be completed, people of all ages enjoy stitching with plastic canvas. The grid of plastic canvas is similar to the grid used in cross-stitch patterns, which helps in converting cross-stitch patterns to plastic canvas patterns with a few alternations.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Cross-stitch pattern
  • 14-count plastic canvas
  • Washable marker
  • Embroidery floss
  • Cross-stitch or tapestry needle
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Measure the pattern's number of stitches onto the plastic canvas to determine the size of plastic canvas needed. Draw a line around the needed area with a washable marker. Some patterns note the finished size of a design using 14-count cloth, which makes it easier to determine the dimensions on the same count of plastic canvas.

  2. 2

    Cut out the measured area, allowing for one additional row outside the design. Wash the marker off the canvas with water then dry with a towel. The additional row will allow the design's edges to be finished with a border.

  3. 3

    Cut an 18-inch piece of floss. Separate the threads by 3s. Then realign 3 threads, and thread the needle leaving a tail of approximately 6 inches.

  4. 4

    Working from right to left, enter the plastic canvas from the back through the second hole from the right corner, and pull the thread until only a 1-inch tail is remaining at the back. Hold the tail down parallel with the row to be stitched, and put the needle through the hole diagonally to the upper right of the hole it is coming from. This creates a continental, or tent, stitch.

  5. 5

    Bring the needle from the back to the front and through the hole to the left of the first hole. Be sure that the stitch goes over the tail securing it. Future stitches will also go over this tail until it is hidden.

  6. 6

    Stitch the pattern with the continental stitch right to left across the pattern, switching threads as needed. When a thread is finished, finish it off on the back side by running the needle through the back of a few stitches and cutting off the remaining tail.

  7. 7

    After the design is complete, fill any areas left empty by blank areas in the patterns with a thread colour of choice. Stitch around the edge of the design coming out of each hole and wrapping around the edge horizontally.

Tips and warnings

  • If desired, stitch with a cross-stitch rather than the continental stitch.
  • When using 5-, 7- or 10-count plastic canvas, the design will come out larger. Use a four-ply worsted yarn in place of embroidery floss and #16 tapestry needle.

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