Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Joys of Plastic Canvas

I love plastic canvas.  It is amazing, magical, awesome stuff.

But best of all, it is firm.  It is self-enforcing.  It is 3-dimensional.  And you can't rip or tear it, unlike perforated paper.

If you haven't come across it before, plastic canvas most often looks looks like a sheet of thin plastic.  It's a clear, pliable plastic, full of regularly spaced holes.  I tend to work with the 14 count canvas - holes spaced out at 14 holes per inch, the same size as 14-count aida. 

It is also available in 7 or 10 count, with much larger holes, and can come in pre-cut shapes (circles, stars, crosses, dinosaurs).  Some places even sell it in different colours.

You can't stitch between the squares, which does mean that some patterns need to be adjusted to remove the half and quarter stitches.  On the plus side - no pesky quarter stitches!

Have I mentioned that I love plastic canvas?

Plastic canvas gave me my first experience of taking cross stitch off aida or evenweave and doing something else with it... something besides making wall hangings and cards.  I made a 3-dimensional nativity scene, with little figurines that had a front and a back side, and could be displayed anyway you like.  One year the shepherd might be standing on the left, the next year maybe he's hiding the camel.  The chance to change the design and layout of a cross stitch picture after it was finished was a new, eye-opening experience for me.  I was introduced to a whole new world of cross stitching opportunities.

Plastic canvas nativity scene.  Patterns from early issues of CrossStitcher magazine 

And what a world it is.  I have been blown away by the different things that people do with plastic canvas.  It is a great way of introducing kids to needlecraft and you can create so many different things:  tissue boxes, bags, ornaments, light boxes, toys for kids... the possibilities are endless!

Dolls furniture - picture from
A plastic canvas bug catcher - picture from

An amazing caravan light box in plastic canvas!  Need to find/make a pattern for this.
Picture from -
It's a plastic canvas TARDIS tissue box holder!!!
Picture from -

My adventures with plastic canvas haven't been as extreme as some of these, but they have been fun.

When I first came across Wee Little Stitches' designs, I decided I wanted to do something different with them.  I didn't want just another wall hanging.  (I also decided there weren't enough Potter or Doctor Who characters and that I needed to design my own, but that's another story)  Instead I decided to turn them into Christmas ornaments for the children of a friend of mine.  And for myself.  I now have over 60 characters to try and work out what to do with!

They work very well as Christmas tree ornaments.  One idea is to find an old branch, paint it silver and hang the decorations off it.  Or buy one of the oriental style trees - less greenery to obstruct the figures.

I've bought plastic playing stands to display them in and have used the figures as playing pieces for Monopoly and other boardgames.

Pattern available from
A good friend (and fellow Potter-head) has announced she is pregnant, so now my head is full of ideas of using the figures to create a very unique mobile for the cot!  I also have a plan for Potter-themed party, where I adjust the skin, hair and house colours of the student figures to match the guests - a unique idea for table decorations and place-cards all in one.

Pattern available from
For Christmas last year, I made myself a pair of Christmas-themed Tardis earings, using plastic canvas and jewellery hooks.  They were very cute, and much admired by others at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary exhibition in London, and the Doctor Who experience in Cardiff.

Tardis earrings - pattern available from

Plastic canvas - the possibilities are endless!

Enough for now - I'm off to design my own 3D TARDIS.

Happy Stitching!

P.S. Some other plastic canvas sites I found with some pretty cool patterns:
Free plastic canvas patterns


  1. great ideas. You have certainly taken things to a whole new level... but have to ask - where is our tardis tissue box????

  2. :) It's been added to the massive to do pile... as has the caravan light box.