The Different Plastic Canvas Types for Cross Stitch

Right now you probably have a quizzical look on your face, after all, 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 stupidity 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:

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 needlepoint 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 an actual cross stitch plastic canvas, which is slightly different.

Cross Stitch Plastic Canvas

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, it comes in a variety of colors.

Perforated Plastic Canvas

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 circles here either, you can get a series of weird and wonderful shapes like purses and wallets.

Plastic Aida Canvas

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 it acts like it too. if you want a waterproof aida, you can use it, but it won’t hold shape and won’t work in any 3D projects.

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Rachele

    So happy to have found this article, but I’m struggling mightily to find the cross stitch plastic canvas in varying thickness, colors, or sizes. Everywhere I found has either white or clear from Darice or Cousin and no options for thickness. Do you have any recs on where to shop for more variety? I’ve already checked the usual suspects of Herrschners and 123Stitch but maybe I’m using the wrong search terms. Help!?

    1. LordLibidan

      It can be a little hard to find some of the colors! We’re based in the UK so we’re not 100% on places you can get them, but we get a lot of Darice canvas from eBay which sells all the crazy colors, counts and thicknesses!

  2. Sheetal Chundawat

    I want cross stich plastic canvas, in India it’s available ?

    1. LordLibidan

      Sorry, we’re not sure about Indian cross stitch stores. But plastic canvas has been around for a long time, so I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to find them.

  3. Nichola Russell

    Where can you buy the cross stitch plastic canvas in the UK? The only ones I can find have square holes.

  4. Amy

    What kind of Plastic canvas for crocheted bags ?

    1. LordLibidan

      If you’re planning to stitch on crocheted bags I would suggest not using plastic canvas at all! Instead, stretch the crochet out and stitch like its normal aida!

  5. Carol Grundvig

    Can plastic canvas be sold on a large roll or by the yard? Where can I buy this if so?

    1. LordLibidan

      Plastic canvas can’t be. It’s usually sold in A4 size sheets (even in the US).
      However, you can buy vinyl aida, which is very similar by the yard/on large rolls. They’re carried in fabric stores, but it’s very specialist, so you may have to ask around. You’re more likely to find them in fabric stores specializing in materials for blinds/curtains.