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How to cross stitch on paper

How to cross stitch on paper - A tutorial by Stitched Modern

Stitching on paper opens up a world of options for decorative cross stitch pieces, and it's simple to do. Cross stitch on paper has a clean, modern look, and the technique described below can be used to create wall art, on journal covers, and  for special handmade cards. Best of all, it uses basic supplies you probably already own.

Materials needed to cross stitch on paper


Step 1: Prepare the paper

Download the free pattern and print it on good quality heavy paper. Use the guides in the template and a ruler and pencil to mark your trim lines and carefully cut the paper into a 4-by-4 inch square. There are also trim lines to make a 5-by-5 inch square if you would like additional white space around your design.

Free pattern and template for cross stitching on paper

It will be easier to stitch, and you will get neater results, if you perforate the paper in advance. Place the paper on a clean, padded surface. We used a thick piece of cork, but a folded hand or kitchen towel works well too. 

Use a crewel/embroidery needle, or a similar sharp-tipped needle, to poke holes in the spaces where the X’s meet, as well as at the corner of the X’s on the perimeter of the design. You can also poke the holes using an awl if you have one.

Cute house pattern modern cross stitch on paper

Step 2: Stitch

For this project, we stitched with two strands of cotton embroidery floss using a size 6 crewel needle. If you want a denser look, you can use up to 4 strands of embroidery floss. If you use more strands, you will want to use a bigger needle like a size 3 crewel needle.

Make cross stitches just like you would on fabric, following the design printed on the paper. For more detailed instructions, see our how to cross stitch guide.

Cross stitching on paper - free pattern and tutorial

Step 3: Finishing options

You can frame your piece in a 4 x 4 inch frame. A frame without glass will highlight the texture of your stitches. If you choose to use a frame with glass, a thick mat will keep the glass from squishing the stitches.

How to frame cross stitch on paper

If you are not framing the piece and want to finish the back, cut a piece of scrapbook or other paper to size and glue it to the back of the print to cover the reverse side of the stitches.

For more stitching on paper, check out our cross stitch art print kits that combine classic cross stitch motifs with modern typography.

How to cross stitch on paper