The Ultimate Geeky Personalised Gift - Make a Cross Stitch QR Code




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).
- Scissors

- 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

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:

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.

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    I have decided to make one for some friends' wedding and put a link towards a video of the proposal, but my QR code is 29 x 29 squares and not 25 x 25. Do you know how I could modify the heart shape in order to make it fit? I do not dare to try and do something wild...


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi there, thanks for your comment - sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you.

    I was thinking perhaps the easiest way would be to remove the square decorative border... as the 29x29 would take up the same amount of space as the 25x25 QR code plus the 2x2 white border. And QR codes need a white border to function properly - so if you remove the decorative border that would provide the necessary additional white space.

    Alternatively you could remove the inner line of the heart and move everything inside upwards and outwards (and replacing the snowflakes with hearts would also give you more space) - but moving everything around would require a bit more work changing the pattern.

    Another option would be to use a URL shortener like TinyURL , bitly, or to make your link shorter and therefore a smaller QR code.

    By the way, I love your idea to link to the proposal - how sweet!

    Let me know how it goes and what you decide to do in the end! :)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much for your answer.

    Actually you solutions would have been soooo easier that what I went for!
    I was really eager to go on so I didn't wait too long and I adapted the heart shape to make it 2x bigger and a little larger (plus I find the decorative border really cute and wanted to keep it). Then I found it was too "pixelly" so I softened the edges a bit, and when I had stitched about 3/4 of the heart I realized there was a difference between my pattern and my embroidery, and I was really angry and depressed. I more or less managed to hide it by adding extra crosses here and there, but I know it's not right and it bugs me!

    Anyway, it's a gift and I'm sure I'll be the only one to notice the mistakes. I made it into a pillow and signed on a little label on the sign.

    Here are pictures! The link works just fine!


    Love this project! I wanted to do it for my husband for Valentine's Day but I ran into problems because the music I chose for the video is blocked for viewing on mobiles (althought not blocked for computers). I'm glad I found this out before I stitched the gift or I'd have been really cheesed off. Just wanted to warn other crafters to check that their video works on mobile devices or all their thoughtfulness and effort will fall flat.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your comment - and that is a very good point - I wasn't aware of this problem so thanks for pointing it out. I agree - it is definitely worth checking your code (with more than one mobile phone if possible) before stitching.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I can't wait to make one of these for my boyfriend, thank you so much!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment - I'm glad you like it :)