Introduction: The Ultimate Geeky Personalised Gift - Make a Cross Stitch QR Code
I made this as a gift for my sister this Christmas. The QR code, when scanned on a smartphone, leads to a video on YouTube - a slideshow of childhood Christmas photos.
It didn't take too long to make and she loved it, as it was something a bit more personal/sentimental.
I've included a cross-stitch pattern as a PDF file, translated from my original. Feel free to use/adapt as you wish.
The final cross stitch can be framed, hung, made into a small pillow, added to a greetings card, sewn into a small heart-shaped decoration for the Christmas tree, or anything else you can think of.
Step 1: You Will Need...
- Aida cross stitch fabric, white (I used 14 count 100% cotton). The pattern will end up around 115x115mm.
- An embroidery needle (shorter needles are easier to use. Make sure the eye is large enough to fit two strands of your embroidery thread)
- Embroidery thread, dark red (I used Anchor 1005). The background can also be filled with white stitches if you wish (try Anchor 2).
- A computer with access to the internet
- A simple video editing package (Windows Movie Maker is free to PC users and does the job)
- A printer is useful for printing off the QR code and cross stitch pattern
Step 2: Create the Video/QR Code
I created a quick video using Windows Movie Maker (WMM), with scanned photos and Christmas song soundtrack. WMM has a YouTube direct-upload feature, which can be useful. (Obviously your QR code doesn't have to lead to a video on YouTube, it could go to a website, a message hosted on a blog... etc.)
After finishing the video and uploading to YouTube, find the URL to the video (this can usually be found by pressing 'share') and copy it to the clipboard.
Paste the URL into a QR code generator. There are loads to choose from - try typing 'QR code generator' into Google. I used http://goqr.me/
You can choose the size and colour of the code, among other options - my cross stitch pattern allows for a 25x25 pixel square.
Download the code to your computer.
Step 3: The Cross Stitch Pattern
I've attached a PDF cross stitch pattern (a neatened-up version of the one I created for this project), with a gap for your QR code. If you're creating your own pattern or changing the detailing, try to ensure a white space around the code so it's easier to read (my pattern includes a two-'pixel' gap).
Simply use your downloaded QR code image as a pattern for the remaining section - I found it helps if you draw a grid over it, especially when you're counting stitches.
Within the PDF pattern, squares with an 'x' mean a red cross stitch and empty squares mean blank spaces or white stitches.
'x\' or '/x' means a red half-stitch: instead of stitching a full cross, one of the stitches only goes halfway (into the middle of the 'square'). x\ would mean the top-right 'spoke' of the cross is missing, and \x would mean the bottom-left 'spoke' is missing. As an example, take a look at the hearts in the pattern and compare them to the photo in the final step.
Sew using two strands of embroidery thread (see photo). I found it easier to cross off lines on the pattern when I'd sewn them.
Thankfully QR codes have a small inbuilt tolerance to mistakes/errors, meaning if you make one or two mistakes, the code should still be readable. (As an example, my final cross stitch has two mistakes and it's still readable by a QR scanner). More in-depth information on this can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code
Step 4: Creating the Final Product
My initial aim was to create a stuffed heart decoration for hanging on the Christmas tree. However I wanted to make more of a feature of the cross stitch and ended up making a simple card frame and hanging with garden twine for a 'rustic' look.
There are many other ways of presenting your QR code though, such as placing behind a window on a greetings card, sewing into a cushion or putting in an elaborate frame.
One final note:
If you're not going to be there when your gift is opened, it might be worth including a note telling them what to do with the code... otherwise the meaning of the gift might not be fully understood. QR scanner or barcode scanner apps can be downloaded to most smartphones with a camera.