Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY: Cross-stitch Paper Portrait Gift Tags (& ornaments!)

When I received the book, Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids, & was asked to craft up something on this blog, the first thought I had was: "This is an impossible task." The book is filled with SO many fun crafts & activities. (175 projects, to be exact.) The girls & I played with popsicle sticks & created a house like the one featured on page 73. I also used the instructions to make the Delta Wing paper airplane & stand, on page 128, for Zoey's recent "Get Air" birthday party.
But the projects I love the most in the book are the cross-stitch family portraits. Cross-stitching is the very first craft I remember getting my hands on as a kid. My mom taught me the how-to's. And I was immediately hooked! I even remember my first cross-stitch project: an ornament displaying a snowy church, & a holiday tree. I stitched up that little heart-shaped decoration in the backseat of the family car while traveling over the mountains to see family at Christmas.

The unique thing about these gift tags (which can also be easily removed from the gift & hung on a Christmas tree as an ornament, to be cherished forever & always) is that they are stitched on perforated paper. (Not sure if perforated cross-stitch paper is sold in craft stores. But you can look online & find it readily available.) 

Supplies you'll need for this project:
•perforated cross-stitch paper
(Click HERE for tips on using perforated paper)
•embroidery floss in desired colors
•graph paper
•colored pencils

Sketching out your designs is so much fun!! The book gives many great examples (including full body portraits & accessories) that you can use as the starting point for your design.
I chose to stitch Zoey & Pazely's heads only.

The designs I began with morphed into something different in the end. Firstly, Zoey's hair got a major makeover. (At least 5 inches chopped off!) And secondly, the design I originally stitched was too tiny, so I extended my stitches over 2 squares to make the design larger.

Once you have measured how big your pattern is (by counting the stitches horizontally & vertically), you'll need to cut the perforated paper to size. I always cut the paper a little bigger than my pattern, for some extra wiggle room. (And for plenty of space to add extra embellishments, etc.)

To begin cross-stitching, find the center square on your pattern & mark it with an "X". Next, find the center on your perforated paper & begin stitching. 

Once your design is stitched, trim the edges to your liking, by carefully snipping the paper with scissors. Add whatever embellishments you'd like. I also punched a hole in the corner of the finished tag. Slip a ribbon through the hole for wrapping around a gift, or for hanging as an ornament.
At Christmas, I think it'd be so much fun to have these as tags on gifts, instead of the typical "TO" & "FROM"---see if the cousins, or the grandkids or your own children can figure out which gift is theirs by the portraits on the prezzies.
(Stitch the year, or the name of the person featured in the cross-stitched portrait for a more personalized ornament.)

This project is great for young crafters. Zoey's even got some patterns sketched out on graph paper, ready for stitching. 
For an even MORE kid-friendly version, why not try stitching with yarn onto plastic canvas? I'm anxious to try this idea myself!


  1. That is such a personal way of finishing off a gift. I must remember this.

  2. I love your blog!!!! you are so creative


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