Plastic canvas is a lightweight mesh made to imitate embroidery canvas. Unlike fabric canvas, it is stiff, needs no embroidery hoop and is easier to use, making it useful for teaching children needlework. You can use plastic canvas for three-dimensional objects, such as boxes. You can find plastic canvas with different-sized holes; the number of holes per inch is known as the count. Plastic canvas also comes in different colours and shapes, making it conducive to some easy craft projects.
Craft lace and plastic canvas are a good choice for younger children as they are simple to use. Cut a circle-shaped piece of plastic canvas in half to make an arc. Embroider with rainbow colours, starting at the outer edge with red and finishing with purple. Cover the entire canvas. Add plastic pony beads to the ends of the craft lace. When you hang this in a window, the light will make the colours glow.
You can make decorative coasters using small squares or circles of plastic canvas. You can embroider them using craft lace or yarn; if you use yarn, make sure it is washable. You can find any number of patterns for coasters, and they make a quick and simple project. Try Kaboose.com's smiley face coasters (kaboose.com) or Kreinik's free bunny rabbit pattern (kreinik.com). The Craft Site Directory (craftsitedirectory.com) has links to many sites that have patterns for coasters.
Boxes and Holders
It's easy to make boxes from plastic canvas. Cut sections of plastic canvas and embroider them with a design of your choice, then stitch them together to make jewellery boxes, tissue boxes and holders for stationery or CDs. For a round box, use a round canvas and stitch a long strip of canvas around the edge of it. You can embroider the entire surface or just sections for a lacy effect.
Create decorative fridge magnets with plastic canvas. Use a canvas with a small count and embroider it with kitchen motifs, such as cooking utensils, fruits and vegetables or cookies. You can hot-glue a small magnet to the back; alternatively, use a stick-on magnetic sheet cut to the shape of your embroidered item.
Plastic Canvas Jewelry
You can make pins, cuffs and hair bands from plastic canvas. Embroider a small, round plastic canvas with rays or circles of colour or stitch a pattern onto a square of small count canvas. Use metallic yarns or glitter to make your jewellery sparkle. You can create a dimensional effect by embroidering shapes or figures on separate pieces of canvas, then fixing them onto an embroidered background.