The Best 3D Cross Stitch

Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

Xstitch Issue 6 Mistape featuring Lord Libidan It really shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone following my stitches that in the most recent Xstitch magazine, when allowed to “do anything” I chose something 3D. After all, a lot of people reading this know about me thanks to my 3D transforming cross stitch, and so for my companion piece this quarter, I thought I’d do something a little different. I thought I’d do a round up of the best 3D cross stitch out there (other than my own that is).

The best for play

I like to make 3D cross stitch for two main reasons; its complexity and its tactileness. As a result whenever I look at others 3D cross stitch, I think of actually using it. BlackMageHeart has taken this to another step all together though, with her minature Harvest Moon playset, created for a friend’s kid. It not only includes the barn (a staple for many 3D cross stitches) but the farmer, animals, and various crops at different stages of completion. To top the whole thing off its set within a frame with a cross stitched field. A fantastic playset regardless of being in stitches.

3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)
3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)

The most complicated

That second reason I like 3D cross stitch so much? It’s complexity. I’m far from the first to make a complex 3D stitch, and in fact, the most well known of 3D cross stitchers, The Nutmeg Company, beat me to the post by a whole year with their stunningly detailed 18 count Windsor Castle cross stitch for the Queen’s jubilee in 2002. Sadly despite its fantastic design, we don’t have any better pictures, but it comes complete with the entire grounds, to scale, with fun details like corgis running around the outside!

3D Windsor Castle Cross Stitch by The Nutmeg Company
3D Windsor Castle Cross Stitch by The Nutmeg Company (Source:

The unique

So what about something a little more exotic? I’ve been cross stitching for more than a decade now, and in that time I’ve always tried to push boundries, but when I think of impossible cross stitch, I always think of globes. Not only does a circle barely work in cross stitch, but making a globe is surely impossible, and how on Earth you’d cross stitch the sides to make up anything is beyond me. However, RobinsDesign has been doing the impossible all along. In fact, I recently had a go myself using her techniques to make my 3D Harry Potter Snitch cross stitch so I can give testiment to how hard it is, but RobinsDesigns carry off the impossible with such ease, making fantastic looking planets. They also do a series of amazing dolls and animals too!

Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)
Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

The obvious

I personally belive that plastic canvas can make anything, however somethings fit better than others. The most obvious though, is minecraft. With simple lines and easy movements minecraft is a perfect 3D cross stitch companion. There are boat load of 3D minecraft cross stitches out there as a result, but this recent stitch by BenBrookerB from reddit is amazing. Not only does it capture the design aesthetic perfecty, but the little steve has magnets hidden in him, meaning he can pick up tools just the game!

3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by BenBrookerB (Source: reddit)
3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by BenBrookerB (Source: reddit)

If you’re interested in stitching with plastic canvas to make 3D cross stitch, you might want to check out our post on the different types of plastic canvas and when to use them.

The Best Metallic, Glow-In-The-Dark and French Knot Cross Stitches

Wonder Woman Cross Stitch Closeup by The Crafting Geek (source:

Xstitch Issue 6 Mistape featuring Lord Libidan (Source:
Xstitch Issue 6 Mistape featuring Lord Libidan (Source:
For my companion piece for my article in this quarters XStitch Magazine I wanted to something a little different. Normally I write a blog about something related to the post which expands on its topic, but in this quarters article I talk about how cross stitch is what you make it, and something like a pattern is just a guide, allowing you, the stitcher to create something truly unique. As a result I wanted to go over my personal favorite glow-in-the-dark, metallic and french knot cross stitches to show you that sometimes just choosing a different thread can have a MASSIVE impact on your work.
I’ve had a few people ask me about how to use these threads, but fear not you can find out how to make using speciality threads easy in a previous blog I wrote.

The Best Metallic Cross Stitch

I’m a big fan of The Crafting Geek, however this collaboration with Spykles is one of her best. Not content with a great little pixel art Wonder Woman, The Crafting Geek incorporated metallic florrishes throughout the piece, on Wonder Woman’s sword, shield and headband. Small changes that just make it pop.

Wonder Woman Cross Stitch Closeup by The Crafting Geek (source:
Wonder Woman Cross Stitch Closeup by The Crafting Geek (source:

The Best Glow-In-The-Dark Cross Stitch

Glow in the dark thread is an odd thread. Not only is it a serious pain to use, but its always white. So you need to make sure whatever you’re doing, the color is white in the day. Most people, myself included, take this as a white element, with a hidden message. But StitchFight takes this to a whole new level. A seriously cool Iron Man cross stitch by day suddenly turns extra cool in the night.

Spiderman Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch by stitchFIGHT (source:
Spiderman Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch by stitchFIGHT (source:

The Best French Knot Cross Stitch

I want to be clear here; my french knots are terrible. However, I think my poor attempts make anyone that uses french knots infinitely more impressive. This example by Peakcock & Fig is a fantastic example of how french knots can add something special to a normal cross stitch. The plain black tree trunk is actually quite plain, but a series of pink and white french knots on the top need no explination. All of a sudden a plain cross stitch has been completely changed, and now invokes Japanese cherry tree blossoms.

Cherry Blossom Cross Ctitch by Peakcock & Fig (source:
Cherry Blossom Cross Ctitch by Peakcock & Fig (source:

There are different plastic canvases – and you’re probably using the wrong one.

The different types of plastic canvas cross stitch fabric (source:

Right now you probably have a quizical look on your face, afterall, you know what plastic canvas looks like, how can there be different types? Well, actually there are three different types, used for three different purposes, and most of the time, people use the wrong one. I stitch a lot of things in plastic canvas, and I’ve sold patterns and kits all over the world, however I regularly get asked about the type of plastic canvas. In reality, there is only one cross stitch plastic canvas.
This isn’t due to stupiditiy or anything, but more a case of cheap fakes. In fact, ever since 1973 when plastic canvas first came to market, people have been ripping it off. You see, plastic canvas is super easy to fake and as a result most stores hold ’14 count cross stitch plastic canvas’ which are actually, not cross stitch plastic canvas. Confused? Let me explain…

The different types of plastic canvas cross stitch fabric (source:
The different types of plastic canvas cross stitch fabric (source:

Needlepoint Plastic Canvas

Needlepoint Plastic Canvas - stiff (source:
Needlepoint Plastic Canvas – stiff (source:

The most common type of plastic canvas people see has small squares in it, similar to the above image, and mostly comes in 5, 7 and 10 count. I say mostly, as the most common producer, Darice, ONLY produces those sizes. The reason is that needle point yarn can’t go any lower than 10 or 12 count. But when fake canvas makers come in, they copy this style, and make it 14 count.
In itself, this isn’t massively problematic, however due to the shape of the cut-outs, your cross stitch will have holes in it where the stitches don’t fully meet. Instead, you should be looking for actual cross stitch plastic canvas, which is slightly different.

Cross Stitch Plastic Canvas

Cross Stitch Plastic Canvas - ultra stiff (source:
Cross Stitch Plastic Canvas – ultra stiff (source:

Cross stitch plastic canvas has one main difference; circular holes. It emulates aida and looks a lot like perforated card, and comes in loads of stiffnesses. This is the stuff that you should be cross stitching with as it makes sure your cross stitches lie in the correct way, filling the whole space without letting massive areas be uncovered. It also has shaped holes meaning your thread won’t catch, the count is actually 14 count, and unlike any fakes, comes in a variety of colors.

Perforated Plastic Canvas

Perforated Plastic Canvas (source:
Perforated Plastic Canvas (source:

If you want to get really fancy with your plastic canvas, you can also look into perforated plastic canvas. It works in exactly the same way as perforated card, however the varied types of plastic mean not only can you get a massive variance of stiffness, but you can also get custom shapes made. We’re not just talking about cirles here either, you can get a series of weird and wonderful shapes like purses and wallets.

Plastic Aida Canvas

14 count plastic aida (source:
14 count plastic aida (source:

There is also another type of plastic canvas. I mention this as its essentially aida, and sometimes sold as that, but NEVER use it as plastic canvas. Not only does it look like fabric, but acts like it too. if you want a waterproof aida, you can use it, but it won’t hold a shape and won’t work in any 3D projects.

What are those dots on DMC thread labels?

Discontinued US only DMC threads (source:

In our deep dive into threads, we’ve covered two points, how DMC threads are made and why some DMC threads were discontinued. The reason we’ve covered those two points first, is the answer to this weeks query; what are those dots and marks after thread numbers?
You may have noticed when picking colors, or using them, that there are a variety of dots and marks before and after some cross stitch numbers. These are those marks if you’re unsure what we mean:

DMC threads with dots after numbers

Thanks to the new DMC color chart that came out thanks to the 35 new DMC threads, DMC make more of these dots, and if you have a keen eye, you’ll notice the pre-2018 color card has different dots to the pre-2018 color card.
So what are they? Basically, they’re changes in formula to avoid using nasty chemicals. In the EU dye usage is highly monitored and as a result they’ve required suppliers of threads to make sure they use only friendly dyes. This has happened in two stages; firstly in 1994 when a lot of greys were changed to fit in with new laws, and again in late 2017 when lots of the reds were affected.

Well that’s interesting, but why do I care?

I’m glad you asked. Dye lots. And its actually quite a problem. You see, they couldn’t just change the color fomulation and keep the colors perfect, and as a result we now need to monitor which version of the threads we’re using; old or new. An example of how different they can be is below on some of the 1994 color changes:

DMC 3861 dye lot differences (source: Cindi Csraze)
DMC 3861 dye lot differences (source: Cindi Csraze)

In fact, DMC even carry the warning on their color charts:

Do not mix with the original colours without the dot.

That’s just how serious this problem might be, so from now on, keep your eye out for those dots of colors 304, 321, 498, 815 and 816.
My thanks to DMC and Sidar who supplied information, along with Martha Beth.

The Perfect Amount Of Cross Stitch Patterns To Sell On Etsy?

Etsy Listings - Lord Libidan's Sarky Stitches (source: Etsy)

Our selling cross stitch patterns on Etsy series has gone over many of the key elements of HOW to sell, but I get one question far more than any other:

How much can I make?

Sadly, there isn’t a hard and fast rule for this, however over the last 2 years I’ve been compiling data to give you an idea on how much you can make.
The answer isn’t as obvious as you think either. Thanks to Etsy’s rating system, which replies on SEO, store ranking, title, and most importantly ‘freshness’ stores can have really varied success. As a result I set up a three new stores; all selling the same patterns, with the same descriptions, costs, names, and we gave the stores zero marketing. I used a series of $5 patterns (giving $3.80 profit per sale).

Store 1 – Set it and leave it

For our first store we created a batch of 10 patterns and put them up to sell. On average we sold 4 of each pattern across the whole year. This means we got $152 in profit.
For most stores starting out, this is exactly what happens. The initial idea of pattern creation seems OK but after the first ten, people give up and wait to ‘see what happens’. Sadly, due to the low return, most people give up at this point.

Store 2 – Set it and add a pattern a month

Much like the first store, we put up 10 initial cross stitch patterns, but we then added an additional pattern every month for the remaining 11 months of the year. This extra work (12 hours at our count) not only gained us a further $152 from the new patterns, but thanks to Etsy’s freshness rating increase each patterns sales to an average of 8 each. This means that our end of year total was $669 in profit.
Considering that it was only 12 hours work, the additional patterns basically allowed us to increase our profit by 440%. TOTALLY worth it.

Store 3 – Set it and add a pattern a week

But does this increase in work always pay off? For our third store we added an extra pattern every week. 52 extra patterns was actually rather time consuming, and the constant pressure was always on us. However, the increase in ‘freshness’ rating paid off to some extent. We increased our pattern sales average to 12 of each pattern. This means that we made a shocking $2827 in profit.

Store 4 – Set it and add a pattern every day

And we took it one step further. To top this whole experiment off, we added 2 patterns a week. Yes. We really tried this. We couldn’t keep it going however, and gave up after the 6 month point. However the results were clear. We made no additional sales per pattern within the year. In fact, the mass of patterns actually had the opposite effect; we sold LESS of each pattern.
We’re not sure if this was down to a posisbly decreased quality of patterns, however we think that the extra work just wasn’t worth it.
So what does this mean? Well as far as we can tell, uploading a new pattern every 1 month or 2 weeks is the best bet. It’ll get you the biggest return on your time, and increase sales all over. However, you really need to think about the timings here. We did a few shorter tests to see if you could add a block of 12 patterns at the start of the year went and its clear that you need to post regularly through the year to keep up your freshness rating.

Etsy Listings - Lord Libidan's Sarky Stitches (source: Etsy)
Etsy Listings – Lord Libidan’s Sarky Stitches (source: Etsy)

What about patterns that cost more than $5?

Yeh, we expected you to ask that. In fact, we did some research into exactly that. It appears that up to a point ($18 per pattern, as far as we can see) the decrease in purchases is equal to the increase in price. What that means if you’ll still make the same amount of profit, just on less pattern sales.
We’d like to thank the pattern creators that allowed us to test with their patterns. All profits were given back to the original pattern creators; Lord Libidan took none of the profits.
If you’re struggling to hit these figures, it might be worth checking out our guide on why your cross stitch patterns aren’t selling.

Why were those DMC threads discontinued?

dmc light effect threads (source:

A few weeks ago we looked at how cross stitch threads are made and surprisingly we were bombarded with comments about discontinuations of DMC threads. So I decided for our second look at threads, we’d look at discontinuations.
There are a few sets of discontinued threads from DMC and there looks like there is a load of confusion over them, so without further ado, here are the sets:

3880 replaced with 223
3881 replaced with 164
3882 replaced with 839
3883 replaced with 722
3884 replaced with 535
3885 replaced with 312
3886 replaced with 3685
3887 replaced with 208
3888 replaced with 3740
3889 replaced with 445
3890 replaced with 3766
3891 replaced with 995
3892 replaced with 740
3893 replaced with 542
3894 replaced with 907
3895 replaced with 646

The most recent additions from DMC come in the form of the 2013 3800 series. A lot is said about these particular threads due to how weird they were. Unlike any other thread sold by DMC these were only ever sold as a package; never alone. In addition they only released in the USA (but also made their way to Canada through resellers).
Most people suspect therefore that these had an issue being sold in the EU, and whilst that is partly true, most people are getting confused with the second set of threads.
You see, back in the 1990s DMC threads were made in two factories; in France and the USA. At the time US threads were considerably more expensive than they are now and one of the reasons was the dye cost, which was taxed heavily at the time. So the US factory came out with new dyes to replace the hard to get dyes. The set sold as a tester to see if they should change some other colors (see below), but poor sales of the packs, thanks to the fact that they were copies of colors already in the range, meant they were scrapped within a year. The factory was shut down not too long afterwards, and now DMC threads are quite cheap in the US.

Discontinued US only DMC threads (source:
Discontinued US only DMC threads (source:

504 replaced with 3813
731 replaced with 732
776 replaced with 3326
781 replaced with 782
971 replaced with 740
806 replaced with 3760
868 replaced with 801
3773 replaced with 407

Those other threads the US factory considered removing? Wasn’t officially discontinued until 2015, the most recent set of discontinuations. The new EU laws in 2000 stated that no new products could use dyes classes as harmful to the environment. DMC chose to alter the dyes of a whole set of their threads, but for some dyes, they just couldn’t get a good match. Whilst the threads were phased out of all EU stores (and removed from their thread cards), they hung around in the US for some time, who didn’t have the same dye laws. They were officially removed alongside some variegated threads (without alternatives) in 2015.

But what about the new DMC threads? Is this signs that we might be getting more discontinuations?

No. In fact, the new range fills in many of the gaps of the old range, and we think, thanks to the numbering, that we might be seeing a ‘renumbering’ of the old set soon.
Need a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
DMC shade color thread card chart with new DMC threads

How DMC Cross Stitch Threads Are Made

thread plastic rings (source: DMC)

A few months ago we looked into needles in some depth. We looked into why cross stitch needles have those weird numbers and we looked at how cross stitch needles were made.
But it turns out that threads are just as interesting. We found this ace video from DMC that not only shows you some of the factory, but gives some awesome tid-bits of info. Like, I never knew DMC were the ones who invented the 6 strand floss…

Looking for a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
DMC shade color thread card chart with new DMC threads

DMC Thread Inventory Spreadsheet

Discontinued US only DMC threads (source:

Everyone loves a good collection of threads, but unless you have the whole set of DMC threads you’re going to need a way to keep track of what you have, and haven’t got. That’s why we created this awesome colored spreadsheet of all standard 6 strand DMC threads, so you can keep track.
Just click the link or image and save the spreadsheet. You can access it on your computer, phone, or put it through googledocs!

DMC thread spreadsheet free download by Lord Libidan
DMC thread inventory sheet free download by Lord Libidan

Direct download link

Cross Stitch Christmas Gift Guide (Updated for 2018)

Charizard Needle Keeper by MyWifesAVelociraptor (source: Etsy)

Christmas is nearly upon us, and we all know how hard it is to buy gifts for hobbies we don’t know much about. So here’s an updated holiday gift guide on what to buy the cross stitcher in your life. They’re arranged by price lowest to highest.

Fun Needle Keeps – from $5

Charizard Needle Keeper by MyWifesAVelociraptor (source: Etsy)
Charizard Needle Keeper by MyWifesAVelociraptor (source: Etsy)

Christmas is mostly about fun gifts you might not buy yourself, and something many cross stitchers never buy is a fun needle keep. You can get them in thousands of different designs, and there are a lot of custom made ones out there like this 3D printed Pokemon charizard for $6 from Etsy. They’re a little bit fun, and you can combine other things together, so if their other favorite hobby is reading, get a book based one, etc.

ThreadHeaven Alternatives – from $5

Thread Magic (source:
Thread Magic (source:

Sadly this year we lost one of the most beloved cross stitch companies, ThreadHeaven. For those who don’t know, they produced a fantastic thread moisturiser that makes cross stitching MUCH easier. A great gift this season might be the last of the stock avaliable (if you can find it) or one of these ThreadHeaven alternatives.

ThreadCutterz – $12 to $15

Thread Cutterz (source:
Thread Cutterz (source:

Cross stitch takes time, and a great place to stitch is on planes and trains, however with security being tightened all over, ThreadCutterz have come to the rescue with a plane safe alternative to scissors.
They can only currently be brought from ThreadCutterz themselves.

Thread Shade Chart – $20

We have a copy of the DMC shade card on our site to see at any time, however on screen images aren’t always that reliable. As a result one of the best tools I’ve ever picked up is a cross stitch thread card. DMC (the most common thread company) do a version with thread samples ($20) including the new DMC threads, which is far superior. Think about getting a metallic shade card from Kreinik too ($36).

DMC complete thread card (small)
DMC complete thread card (small)

The Perfect Frame – $12 to $30

Easy Clip Cross Stitch Frame (source: amazon)
Easy Clip Cross Stitch Frame (source: amazon)

I know a lot of people thing cross stitch is a bit simple, but in reality RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is a real issue. The best way to solve this is a suitable cross stitch frame. The best one in my mind is a EasyClip frame ($20), but you can see a roundup of cross stitch frames on my recent post about the perfect cross stitch frame.

A Good Cross Stitch Book – $20 to $30

Criss crossing paris book by fiona sinclair and sallyanna hayes cover small (source: amazon)
Criss crossing paris book by fiona sinclair and sallyanna hayes cover small (source: amazon)

This year has seen some of the best cross stitch books ever published, and I would personally buy all of them. However, for the cross stitcher in your life books offer both patterns, and a fresh look at the hobby. We’d personally suggest Criss Crossing Paris ($22) but you can also check our run down of the best cross stitch books out on the market.
If you’re still struggling on what type of scissors to buy, check out our guide on picking the best cross stitch scissors.

A Good Pair Of Scissors – $30

Cross Stitch Japanese Style Scissors (source: ebay)
Cross Stitch Japanese Style Scissors (source: ebay)

Scissors might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but you send a lot of time snipping things, and frankly, a poor pair of scissors get blunt quickly, fraying ends. Get a nice pair of Fiskars ‘snipping’ scissors, or ones like the image (a Japanese embroidery scissor), or another specific pair for embroidery/cross stitch or cutting fishing line and you’ll see the difference straight away.
You can even get a super awesome pair of frogging scissors, which solves the worst thing about cross stitch (frogging is incorrect stitches that need to be removed).
If you’re still struggling on what type of scissors to buy, check out our guide on picking the best cross stitch scissors.

Magazine Subscriptions – $20 to $60 a year

CrossStitcher Magazine Cover Issue 317 (source:
CrossStitcher Magazine Cover Issue 317 (source:

Magazines are fantastic for both giving you patterns, giving you inspiration, finding out about all the new products, and reading up on all the happenings of the cross stitch community. There are frankly a shocking amount out there, so its best to pick one or two you like the most, you can find our cross stitch magazine reviews here, and getting a subscription to those. Prices vary, $20-$60 a year.

Great Cross Stitch Software – $50 to $200

PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source:
PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source:

The natural progression for a stitcher is to go from kits, to patterns, to making their own patterns. Most choose online programs, but they all have their own limitations, so spend $20-$200 on the perfect one. I would personally suggest KG Chart or PC Stitcher for $35-50. Or you can check out our cross stitch pattern generator comparison page.

All The Threads!

Full set of DMC threads
My full set of DMC threads ordered by number

The only thing better than owning a thread shade card is owning the threads themselves. I always kept using the threads I had on hand, and until I got the whole set, I didn’t realise just how much I was making compromise; my colors have definitely got better. You can see how much a full set of DMC threads has helped us with our blog post about our journey to a complete set of cross stitch threads.
Not the cheapest thing in the world, wait until you can buy a whole set in one go on an offer. The price can drop from $450 to $200. Just don’t be tempted by those cheap Chinese deals to see on ebay.

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads (source:

It’s been a busy few months for the DMC thread company, with the addition of 35 new threads back in September, and now, a whole new set of specialist threads for October.
These 35 new threads dubbed the “DMC Mouline Etoile” (star mill) series are 35 new six strand threads with the slightest sparkle added to them. They still work in the standard way a 6 strand thread would, but they offer a smaller amount of interest than the standard threads. I’ve actually been able to get hands on with a small section and confirm they’re rather smooth and stitch well, something which speciality threads have struggled with in the past. They come in these standard colors:
(C)ECRU, (C)BLANC, C310, C318, C321, C415, C433, C436, C444, C471, C519, C550, C554, C600, C603, C666, C699, C725, C738, C740, C798, C814, C816, C820, C823, C840, C890, C900, C907, C915, C938, C972, C995, C3371, C3799

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box (source:
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box (source:

Unlike the 35 non-sparkly threads that came out in September, not much is being made of these new threads, which I personally find interesting. I think timing is probably one issue. I know that September and October is filled with stitching up Halloween and Christmas stitches, so they might have missed the boat slightly when it comes to timing. It’s clear that these threads probably won’t be used outside of specialist occassions, and Christmas and Halloween were the time to use them. Sadly, thanks to this I think the Mouline Etoile range might struggle to sell.
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads Compared (source:
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads Compared (source:

But there is a second, and slightly more interesting reason I think DMC have kept a bit quiet is due to competition, specifically with Anchor, DMC’s traditional rival. Anchor have a small set of Pearl Metallic threads which for all purposes are identical threads. Whilst Anhcor have no where near as many threads in the range as DMC do now (only 6), with cheaper Chinese brands such as CXC gaining traction, DMC are starting to feel the pinch, and they want to be seen as the one brand pushing thread boundries, the ‘top dog’. In fact, the Coloris range from DMC released in early 2018 was for exactly the same reason.
Its clear that this year DMC have gone out of their way to match and exceed Anchor’s threads, and now they have a larger set of classic threads, and speciality. However cheaper brands are really getting some steam at the moment, so I wouldn’t be suprised if 2019 had some new threads too.