Cross-stitch pattern in photoshop (with symbols!)

Picture of Cross-stitch pattern in photoshop (with symbols!)
This is how to make a cross-stitch pattern with symbols representing colors in photoshop!

First we will prepare your original image by lowering the resolution, so that one pixel represents one cross, and lower the number of colors so that you can use a limited number of yarns.

Next we apply the grid.

After that I will show you how to replace individual colors with symbols.

This is good because you can print the pattern in black and white, and also because you can see the difference between similar colors.

This technique can of course be used to make decorations and gifts for the holidays, and other occasions!

Update: Here are two examples. The mario image has 5x5px square size and my complete bird montage pattern has 20x20px square size ( full size color, full size symbols)
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Step 1: Resize the image

Picture of Resize the image
First, of course, you crop the image so that you have an original that you want to use. Auto-levels and auto-contrast is always nice as well, and best to do before downsampling.

One way to lower the resolution is to use the filter "Mosaic". This is fine, but I don't really like it because it limits my control over the size of the final pattern. A much better way is to just resize the image to the desired number of stiches you want the final result to be (that way you also limit the number of total resizes to the image).

Measure the fabric and count the number of stitches you want the result to be.
Resize the image to that number of pixels
Then, resize it up again with 500% (I use 5px per square). Remember to use the "Nearest Neighbour" setting to preserve the edges. We want those!

Update: When resizing down the image, the only thing you are interested in is how many stiches wide and high your final product should be. Just insert those numbers in the "Pixel dimensions" (if it's greyed out, check the "Resample image" box). The resolution and document size makes no difference here.
joujayi8 days ago
DaisyJ124 days ago

Hello, I do not understand how did you do the steps of grid pattern. it seems somewhat absensce process.

johanronstrom (author)  DaisyJ122 days ago

Hi! You can define any new document as a pattern, and then overlay it by filling a new layer in the original document with that pattern.

So the steps are:
* Create a new document with the size of the pattern (I use 25x25px)
* Draw the grid lines in that document
* "Define as pattern" on the menu
* Go back to original document
* Create new layer
* Fill the new layer with the pattern you just defined

Hope this helps!
/ JohanR

Hi there,

Sorry, I still don't understand.
How do you 'draw the grid lines in that document'?
With the pen tool? With the guide lines? What do you actually do?

Love the rest of the instructions til here, easy and awesome, thanks :) x

johanronstrom (author)  SamanthaDoll115 days ago

Yes, with the pen, what you want is an image that looks something
like the document in the first picture in this step, 5x5 lines on a
transparent background. Just try something and you'll see how it behaves when you make it into a pattern!

zuzu7218 days ago
twinklesocks10 months ago

Awesome Instructable, much more informative and customizable than other tutorials I've seen. I'm a little confused about the grid bit, and I'd like some advice. I plan on doing my chart on 16"x16" aida cloth with 14 stitches per inch, so my image size looks like 16 inches for height, 16 inches for width, and 14 pixels per inch. Working the resolution and colors down to a satisfactory image was fine, I'm just not sure what to do about the grid, because I think I'm working on a different scale than you are. What do you recommend for this? Because you used 25x25 for your 5 pixel grid, I used 196x196 for my 14 pixel grid, and drew on that. It did not work out. Any thoughts?

Kjata1013 made it!1 year ago

I just wanted to thank you. Because of this Instructable, I was able to make this tote for my Mom. My grandpa made a rug hooking for her in 1976 and she's cherished it. He passed away a couple of years ago, and she's been taking it hard. I wanted to duplicate his work on something portable to take with her while she's at chemo. Your structable helped me do just that. Thank you so, SO much!

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Anykey3 years ago
Thank you for this instructable

But i've got one question : how do you convert RGB to thread color ?
johanronstrom (author)  Anykey3 years ago
There are a few different types of thread color codes.. here are some ways:

When doing 8-bit stuff (often 8-16-32 colors) I just write down "bright red, dark blue" etc. and go to the store and select one that I like. Or print on color printer and ask at the store.
I created a color swatch with the DMC thread colors:

Hope it's helpful :-)
nita7973 years ago
when you are resizing your photo before adding the grid what resolution should it be set to? right now I have my resolution set to 100pixels per inch is this correct?
johanronstrom (author)  nita7973 years ago
I just updated the instructuble to clear that out. Basicly, the resolution does not matter.
Fafnir9563 years ago
How do you make one of these patterns? What tools do you have to use? I'm a bit of a novice, but am determined to make this cross-stitch pattern for my friend's wedding gift!
johanronstrom (author)  Fafnir9563 years ago
First I use photoshop, as in the steps provided, then I use thread and a needle on cross stitch fabric :-)

Good luck with your gift!
victimssun6 years ago
After I change it to Indexed Color, I can not do any more to it (such as add layers). I have to change it back to RGB to go to the next step, but then I loss my 100% indexed image. How do you do this?
johanronstrom (author)  victimssun6 years ago
You'll have to change back to RGB color to do the next changes. That is no problem though, since the "unwanted" extra colors have already been discarded. I will add that to the step!
Dev59946 years ago
you have a very nice typo there at the start of this step... you forgot to erase "Give a general description of the Step"
johanronstrom (author)  Dev59946 years ago
Thx! That's what happens when you're too fast to copy-paste.
iPodGuy6 years ago
My wife loves cross-stitch. Sometimes I make patterns for her, so this will help! Fav'd
marc.cryan6 years ago
that's really neat. Very clever. I love it when technology and old time crafts come together. I want to see a finished cross-stitch picture. This would work well for quilting patterns, knitting, crochet, etc.
8bit6 years ago