How to make your own plastic canvas graphs

Written by mary davis
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How to make your own plastic canvas graphs
Use coloured pencils to create a plastic canvas graph. (coloured pencils - art image by Kirubeshwaran from

Anyone can craft with plastic canvas. From young children through elementary school ages, teens and adults are blessed by a myriad of crafts made with this easy-to-handle item. There are pattern books and online ideas to create a craft with few cuts and stitches as well as more intricate instructions for gifts, collectibles and useful items. Those crafters looking for a pattern that doesn't seem to exist, or those who don't want to buy a whole book for one idea, can create plastic canvas graphs to suit their needs. Armed with a picture or original idea, transparent graph paper and coloured pencils, crafters can create their own patterns.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Picture or idea
  • Plain paper
  • Pencil
  • Transparent graph paper
  • Coloured pencils
  • Paper clips (optional)
  • Clear tape (optional)

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  1. 1

    Choose a picture to use for your plastic canvas graph pattern. Consider a more simple picture to create a design more easily. Sketch your own picture, logo or design, if desired. Create drawings for all parts of a project if you want to make a 3-D object.

  2. 2

    Lay a piece of transparent parchment or plastic transparent grid sheet over the picture.

    Make a grid, if you don't have one, by placing a piece of graph paper with any sized grid on the "copy from" portion of a copy machine or printer. Place a transparent parchment or plastic sheet in the "paper" section of the machine. Push the copy or print button to copy the grid onto the transparent sheet.

  3. 3

    Place the transparent sheet over the pattern. Hold the two layers together with paper clips or tape along the edges.

  4. 4

    Create a stitching graph at the top of the pattern. Draw an "X," forward or backward slash, circle and other symbols that you will use in your graph pattern. Make a line or colour in a square to indicate each colour you will use in the graph. Print the name of the colour next to the colour mark to avoid confusion.

  5. 5

    Begin at the top of the picture and work downward to colour in grid squares or half-squares with desired colours to create the picture graph. Mark details such as eyes or other details by placing a dot or dash over the colour in the squares.

  6. 6

    Remove the tape or paper clips to separate the graph from the picture. Save the picture for a reference when you stitch your plastic canvas picture.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember that your graph paper grids may be smaller than the plastic canvas squares, which will make the completed project larger than it looks in the pattern. Adjust the size accordingly as you design your graph.
  • Be aware of copyrights on pictures and images you intend to turn into a plastic canvas graph. Branded images include Disney, Sesame Street, movie and cartoon characters, sports logos and any licensed (trademarked) image. Making a graph from a copyrighted image can cause problems, especially if you plan to sell the patterns or the completed plastic canvas crafts.

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