How to make awesome cross stitch!

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re either want to make a cross stitch pattern, or you’ve just make a killer cross stitch pattern, either way, you want to make it so awesome the internet skips a beat. Well is really isn’t that hard.
I’m going to start by splitting this guide straight down the center. Read on if you’ve not made the pattern, or skip ahead if you have a pattern already.

I just want it to be an awesome cross stitch!

I’m going to suggest three different ways of making a truly awesome pattern here, each of them are SUPER simple to do.

Remove stuff

The initial idea when trying to make an awesome cross stitch is to add something, but before we get there, think about removing something. The below storm trooper helmet cross stitch originally had a full outline which the designer decided to forgo. Its placement on a white aida hoop makes it really work, and as not many people think to remove bits, its rarely seen, making it more unusual.
stromtrooper helmet cross stitch

Add stuff

Ok, you can add things too. Sometimes its more detail, or an extra joke, but in the case of the below, one of a massive series, is an instagram sepia filter, making it moody and dark.
link detailed cross stitch

Combine stuff

I’ve shown off the work of Johan Ronstrom before, as he’s the true master of the craft, but you can always combine patterns to make something truly weird. The below image takes a sweet Breaking Bad reference and combines it with a kitsch flowery boarder to really make the evil face stand out. Perfect.
kiss the cook breaking bad cross stitch

I have a pattern, but I want to make it break the internet!

Now you have a pattern, the hard but is done for you. All the images below started off as standard patterns and have been edited in some way to really make them pop.
I actually devoted a whole post to making a cross stitch pop but that relied on you not making a pattern yet. The truth however is that you’re going to be doing the same things. In the below image, by replacing the suggested blue threads with a glow in the dark thread, the piece lights up ever so slightly in the day, giving it the illusion of real neon.
neon cross stitch

In addition is this pattern we’ve featured on our best Harry Potter cross stitch as its a brilliant example of pattern hacking.
The original pattern was entirely black, but by choosing to stitch the golden stitch gold, its taken a whole new edge to the piece. I imagine you could go further, stitching in a metallic thread, or even putting small silver details on the snitch.
Sampler Harry Potter Cross Stitch large

Got any other ways of making awesome cross stitch? Drop me a line below.

Clever tricks to make cross stitch patterns pop

We’ve posted a few times now about How to make a cross stitch pattern perfect, How comics help create cross stitch patterns and How to finish a cross stitch pattern, but that’s not where cross stitch patterns end. There’s a final, and easy to master, last step you might want to consider. What little thing will push it just a bit beyond?

glow in the dark fallout 3 cross stitch

Make it shine with Metallics

I’ve stated here metallics, however glow-in-the-dark works too, just look at the awesome Fallout 3 cross stitch above which utilized glow in the dark so that the screen glows, just like the game. Would it have worked in just green? Yes. But now it works that little bit more. Its something a little better.
This can be done to pretty much any cross stitch as no change in actual pattern is needed, just the thread. Try a blending filament on something that’s meant to be wet to give it that extra bit of shine.

Hidden Elements

You can hide things in cross stitch all over the place. One that I love to do is hide text in the backgrounds using font specific to the theme. You can also hide things using the above method, with glow in the darks, hiding a message, or even a totally different pattern within a block of white.
The advantage of this is that the main pattern is once again, completely unaltered, however as soon as dusk falls, your piece takes on a totally different feel.

Can you read it?

This actually covers a few things, however is one of the biggest issues you might have with a pattern; language.

Do you actually need that text?

Samplers are a staple of cross stitch, and whilst that will never change, it does close off that piece to non-native speakers. Now, there are some situations where the text is completely necessary, so don’t avoid it, but think of how you might want to adapt the piece so more people can enjoy it. For example many Pokemon are named differently all over the world, but the English translations are best known.

Distance

Chances are you’ve either made the pattern or you brought the pattern because you could read it. But can others? The best way to do this is to put up the pattern and take a 10 meter walk. Turn around, and ask yourself “can I read that WELL?” The most important thing here is ‘well’, as if a passerby can’t, they won’t bother trying.

So you’ve finished a pattern; but is it perfect?

We’ve made loads of guides on how to make cross stitch patterns, how to make video game cross stitch patterns and even how to make free pokemon cross stitch patterns, however we always stay away from what makes a pattern PERFECT.
Now, perfect is clearly in the eye of the beholder, and without a doubt you’ll have your own preferences, but there are a few things that will help you in making sure perfect is achievable for you.

fifth element perfect gif
More perfect that Milla Jovovich?

Story

Story. Story. Story. I can’t say it enough. Its the thing that changes the pattern the most. A standard sprite for example is a nice pattern, but to see the sprite interacting with a background, or posing the sprite in a special way; that’s what makes the difference.
The Pidgey’s below are both sprites from the first games, however the first has a custom background. Now, which looks best?
pidgey cross stitch patterns

Devil In The Detail

Details are important, and are normally the first thing people see when looking at a piece. In the below Portal pixel art patterns you can see small dots by the eyes. Whilst these could all be the same, the fact that each is detailed to that point goes to show how much more different they each are, and when placed next to each other really show up those differences.
portal companion spheres pixel art

Outside Line

In video game cross stitch in particular, the sprite is likely to come with a big black border. Now, whilst this is fine, and can be used as a feature, like most of my own work, the black line can detract from the sprite itself. Instead a very dark version of the color next to it can make a nice contrast to the sprite and make it pop more.
pikachu recolor

Shading

Somewhat connected to the outside lines, shading makes a massive difference to a piece. A heavily looked over area of pattern making is the color picking. Instead of choosing the standard sprite images, which were made to go on a white background, consider darkening them when putting them in a shaded area, or on black/dark aida. Pikachu in the example below is in a dark area, with a dark aida, so has his colors changed to suit.
pikachu darkened recolor

Top Stitch

Every good cross stitcher knows that you need to ensure the top stitch is always the same direction, so that the off stitch doesn’t stand out. Well, what if you WANT something to stand out? Now there are two ways to acheive this. The first is which orientation you want the top stitch; if you have something of interest in one corner then you want to have the top stitch oriented to point towards it (your eye naturally follows the top stitch).
The second way to utilize this is to change the orientation of the item of interest, and thus bring your eyes to it.
What I will say is this works so much better in person that through images, but its definitely something to consider.

Signature

Last of all, theres the signature. You may not sign your works, but if you do, consider its placement.
You see a lot of people adding the signture to the bottom right just outside of the peice, however every other kind of artist does it *inside* the corner. Why not follow suit?
Alternatively there is the Japanese approach of signing on the top corner, bringing attention to the well thought out signature of the artist.
Or what about an inverse colored name seal?

These are just a few ideas to help you make a pattern, a superb pattern.
Big thanks to our Pokemon & Portal friends for a helping hand.