How to Make a Cross Stitch Pattern With Graph Paper

Most novices don’t know how to make a cross stitch pattern with graph paper. It is either because they are yet to learn the style or think it is challenging to try.

Nevertheless, creating a custom cross stitch project needs you to have a pattern. You can also customize the pattern to your liking.

Get a design you prefer to use from a drawing or picture. It will be the first step of customizing your pattern.

How to Make a Cross Stitch Pattern With Graph Paper?

After identifying a design you like, you are ready to start the preparation process. You will need to trace your design onto the graph paper.

Carbon paper allows you to get many copies. To complete your pattern, you have to fill in the grids on the graph.

Making Cross Stitch Patterns Using Graph Papers

It can be challenging to design a cross stitch pattern using graphs, for starters. You could be shying away from the complicated designs that you have seen online.

Cross stitch pattern charts consist of symbols. These symbols represent every color on graph paper.

But others can look very complex. Thus, many pro designers hardly make their patterns.

Using graph paper is one of the ways to make your patterns. We hope this article can motivate you to try your own.

Making cross stitch patterns using graph papers should go by hand. It is pretty easy to do this as you can draw the image on graph paper.

Others choose to trace or use carbon paper to get copies of the same.

You can then fill the individual graph squares with color. Coloring represents every stitch.

There is an option to use felt or colored pencils. Those who want patterns with more details can use a large graph paper sheet or choose graph papers with more squares.

You will decide the complexity and size of your pattern. It is one advantage of designing your custom cross stitch pattern.

It will always be specific to your preference. If you are making cross stitch patterns with children, motivate them to draw.

They should draw their designs on graph paper. If they already have drawings elsewhere, they can transfer them to the graph papers.

In short, it improves their creativity, and they can use the stitched pieces for patching bags or as name tags. The challenge of customizing your cross stitch patterns is the limitation on color.

It can be challenging to try as many colors as you’d like. Thus, translating an existing image like a family picture to a pattern can be a problem.

You will also spend more time achieving a complex pattern. It is different in the draft than when using the software.

Step 1: Assemble All the Materials

You will need a design of your choice as a photograph or a printout. Have pencils, felt, color pencils, graph paper, and an eraser.

Moreover, buy carbon papers considering the number of pattern copies you need.

Step 2: Place Your Image on a Backlit Surface

Your surface should be as flat as possible. Light has to come through from the back. As a result, it makes tracing the image easier.

Use a suitable lightbox or hold your image right against a clean window if it is sunny. You will have to backlight your image.

Step 3: Position Your Graph Paper Over Your Image

Graph papers are great for creating cross-stitch patterns. They might not be perfect like grid papers, but they are functional.

Choose a piece of graph paper large enough to cover your image completely. Then, lay the graph paper over your image.

The design should be at the center of the graph paper. It is to achieve an almost equal distance from all the edges.

Step 4: Trace All the Edges

With a sharp pencil, trace all the edges of your design onto your graph paper. It would include the shapes if your design came with any.

Step 5: Outline Your Design’s Details

After tracing the design, trace the most delicate details. You can decide to leave it very basic or make it complex to your liking.

Step 6: Complete the Cross Stitch Pattern

Choose your colors. You can maintain the colors on the original image.

Fill the design with color while showing where the border is.

Some people choose to color-code their patterns.

However, if you don’t have colored pencils to do this, use a pencil to create symbols representing every color.

Also, make sure you show where special stitches should be.

How to Choose a Design for Cross Stitching a Pattern on Graph Paper?

You can cross-stitch almost anything. But, this will depend on your level of skill.

For starters, choosing the most straightforward designs to practice with is the best.

Before you can embark on a complex cross-stitching project, start on small ones. These will sharpen your skills.

Step 1: Choose a Photograph

You can go for a photograph of yourself or anything. It can be from your album or a magazine.

Use this to make your cross-stitching patterns. The picture should have lines with excellent definitions.

Moreover, there should be a great contrast in the color scheme. It will be easy to convert the photograph into a cross-stitching pattern.


You can use photos of flowers, trees, clouds, or any other more straightforward design.

After trying the basic designs, find something advanced. It could be a photograph of a landscape or a person.

It will be better if the photograph is of the size you desire for the cross stitch pattern. Sometimes, you can scan or photocopy the photo then resize it.

Step 2: You Can Draw Anything

Choose anything you prefer and draw it by hand. You can use paint programs on the computer.


If you are starting, draw a tree, a balloon, or simple flowers. For complex images, draw a sunset, a kitten, or a baby.

You can draw freehand and form words or letters for practice.

Step 3: Use Another Cross Stitch Pattern

It is for inspiration if you aren’t sure about drawn images. There are plenty of cross stitch pattern papers and books in craft stores.


Go for patterns of your level of skill.

Drawing Images for Cross Stitching Patterns on Graph Paper

Start simple when drawing images for cross stitching patterns on graph paper. Most pro designers do this too.

But, they have a higher level of skill than novices. It might seem complicated, but you don’t need to panic.

You can draw anything, draw a number or letter.

Step 1: Get an Idea

Comb your mind for a more superficial thing to draw. You can start with a flower with three leaves or a balloon.

Step 2: Gather All Materials

Assemble all the materials you need. Have a pencil, eraser, sharpener, color pencils, and graph paper.

You don’t want to keep erasing what you draw. So, have a rough drawing of your design on a separate piece of paper before anything.

Step 3: Place Your Graph Paper

Lay your graph paper on a very flat surface. You can use a clipboard underneath the paper to avoid bumps.

Step 4: Draw the Design

Take time to draw your design. Avoid making mistakes as we don’t want to keep erasing.

Also, graph papers aren’t as dense, and they can tear if you apply too much force to them. Ensure you are sure of the size of your image before starting.

Use sharp pencils. So, it will help you draw fine lines, curves, and edges.

Step 5: Complete the Details

Details add style to a cross-stitching pattern. Depending on the design you choose, add some details.

The details don’t have to be complex if you are a novice. It might scare you from finishing your project.

Start with essential details. Two or three will be enough.

Ensure that you add the details to the right area. It prevents you from frequent rubbing and undoing the steps.

Step 6: Color the Image

Choose the colors you want to get on your pattern. You can settle for a scheme or be random if you don’t mind.

Color pencils will do fine. If you don’t have color pencils, use felt.

Others use dustless chalk to try out color schemes. These, too, work well as they are straightforward to erase.

Those who don’t have the above can use a pencil to create symbols. Use a different symbol for each color.

You can draw diagonal, vertical, or horizontal lines. Others use shapes that work well too.

Which Graph Paper Should I Use for Cross Stitch Patterns?

If you are making your cross stitch pattern from scratch, use the ten-count grid graph papers. It is the same as when changing someone else’s pattern.

Qualities differ from brand to brand. Thus, ensure you pick a good quality graph paper.

What Do the Squares on Graph Paper for Cross Stitching Represent?

Every individual square on the graph paper will represent one stitch. It doesn’t change even if you are using graph papers with small or large squares.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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