Introduction: Cross Stitch Emoticons

Upcycling used garments, this tutorial shows how to make your cross-stitch design, use the T-yarn to embroider and make the grid from lasercut used garments. Laser cut yarn from old T-shirts

Discover the link between pixel art and cross stitching.


T-yarn, some 4 different colors, used heavy garment(like sweat, trousers, jacket) big stump needle, heat transfer flexfoil for garments, heat transfer press, color pencils, lasercutter, desktop printer, print paper

Step 1: ​Designing Your Cross-stitch Figure on Paper

Choose your emoticon, or other figure you want to cross-stitch. Google for “pixel art” and “cross-stitch” you will be overwhelmed with the choice. We have opted for an emoticon, and the shape of the grid is adapted to it. The grid had 15 squares in width and length. Any pixelated object can be cross-stitched, as it is divided up in little squares, or pixels. Let’s start with a simple emoticon. We found a pixelated image. It is useful to draw the squares in pencil. Attached you find the grid for coloring.

Print the grid on print paper, try out the colors and options on paper first.This preparation is very important, reducing colors, adapting the design to the available squares in the grid.

Step 2: Cutting and Preparing the Fabric for Lasercutting, Grid and Lining.

We use an old sweatshirt for 16-year-old boy, you can cut some 6 cross-stitch grids. 2 out of front, 2 back,1 grid out of each sleeve. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture when cutting up the sweat. The grid measures 220x220 mm, so you need to cut out some 250x250 mm patch at least. You need 2 pieces per participant, 1 grid for the cross-stitch, and 1 with only the holes on the perimeter of the octagon for the lining.

To fix the holes and to give some extra strength to the fabric, we press some textile transfer foil on the back. Transparent or solid, any colour can do. Cut the piece of textile transfer also min 250x250 mm.

Press the transfer on the back of the fabric, at time, temperature and pressure according to the suppliers settings.

Let it cool down and peel off the paper/plastic layer.

Step 3: Lasercutting the Grid and the Lining

You are ready to start cutting the grid and the lining, see attached file and screenshot,showing the difference between lining and grid.Test te setting for the laser cutting, this depend on the weight off the fabric. We used power 10/ speed 100, 2 passes for cutting. We have been cutting with the flexfoil side up.

Step 4:

Select the yarn colors, take a big needle with a stump end, big enough to pass the T-yarn, and start embroidering. Never take too long ends to sew, I would advice ends of maximum of 50-60 cm at a time. Follow the count on your paper preparation.

On this emoticon, it is easiest to start the red tongue, then the mouth, followed by the eyes, and fill up with yellow all around. As you see, in lack of white T-yarn, I made twisted 2 ends of white knitting cotton together. You could also use the non-twisted ends for sewing.

Please check this nice YouTube tutorial from Mr X-stitch, and you will know how to make a cross -stitch.

Do not worry to make mistakes, you can “undo” any stitch, easy as a mouse-click. How to cross-stitch

Also check Mr X Stitches’ site and discover how inspiring needle work can be. Mr X Stitch

Do not worry if it takes a while to get the cross stitching in your fingers, it takes quite some exercise.

In the end it will look marvelous, and if it doens't, it is not the end. The back looks nasty, don’t worry, it will be covered up with the lining. Make sure all the loose ends of the start and the finishing are fixed.

Step 5: ​Sew Up the Front and the Back Together

Use the holes and pass the needle up and down, go around until you reach the starting point. You have sewn both parts together, but your seam is only half filled all around the Return the other way around, and make the stitch filled on both sides.

Ready. Should this be a wall hanger or a trivet?
The idea for laser cutting a grid for cross-stitching is possible in many shapes and on many materials, even non textile ones. You can also cut smaller holes and use normal knitting or embroidery yarn.

Endless possibilities, because you are not limited anymore to use pre-fabricated embroidering grid.