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How to transfer a printed cross stitch pattern onto fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

In the days before the modern marvels of computers, computer scanners, computer printers and iron-on, printable transfer paper, transferring a printed cross stitch pattern to fabric was a long and complicated process of tracing and counting. Today, all you have to do is scan the printed pattern, save the digital file and print the pattern onto iron-on transfer paper. You can turn almost any image into a counted cross stitch pattern with a little patience. Computers even allow you to adjust the size of the cross stitch pattern before you print it onto the transfer paper.

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  1. Place your printed cross stitch pattern onto the computer scanner and follow your scanner's directions for scanning the image. Save the digital image. Make any edits or size adjustments to your cross stitch pattern and save the edits.

  2. Load the computer printer iron-on transfer paper into the paper tray of your printer. Follow the process for your make and model of printer. Print the cross stitch pattern onto the transfer paper.

  3. Trim the cross stitch pattern printed onto the transfer paper. You do not want any excess transfer paper to be ironed onto the fabric to be cross stitched.

  4. Place the item to be cross stitched onto your ironing board. Arrange it so that it is smooth and wrinkle-free. Pin the edges of the transfer paper to the area you wish it to appear so that it does not move during the ironing process.

  5. Iron the cross stitch pattern onto the item to be stitched. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the brand and type of iron-on transfer paper you are using. There will be instructions on the box or envelope in which the transfer paper was purchased.

  6. Tip

    Some iron-on transfer paper brands call for a dishtowel or thin cloth to be placed between the transfer and the item to be cross stitched. Be sure to follow the instructions for the transfer paper. Do not assume that all printer iron-on transfer paper directions are exactly the same. Double-check your image before printing it onto the transfer paper. Some images scanned may need to be reversed to come out exactly how the pattern suggests.


    Use caution when operating irons to avoid burns and injuries.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cross stitch pattern
  • Computer
  • Scanner
  • Printer
  • Iron-on computer transfer paper
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Item to be cross stitched

About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.

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