Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

September 16, 2013Allison Murray

Today we’re going to make a  cross stitch chart from photos for free!


I’ve long wanted to start a gigantic counted cross stitch and I’ve been keeping my eye out for a kit that I liked to get after it. But unfortunately I never saw anything that A. struck my fancy B. was in my price range. So after some time, I decided that it was in my best interest to make a cross stitch chart that was exactly what I wanted.

My first thought was that I want this to be something I can hang up on my wall like art. So I started mentally sifting through my favorite paintings trying to decide which one I wanted to turn into a stitched piece to adorn my walls. I decided a few things right then. First, it had to be something that I love, love enough that after working on this sucker for months or maybe even years I will not be so sick of it that I just toss it into the garage when it is finished. Secondly, it had to be something that wasn’t going to be a bazillion different colors of floss to keep on hand. A chart like that was going to intimidate me and require too much cost for the thread (because 200 skeins of floss, even at $0.35 each is still $70).

In the end, I decided to work with Jacqueline with Flowers by Pablo Picasso (which you might recognize from this post on making a tote bag with printable iron on transfers). This is a painting that I, quite simply, adore so I just got after it.

First you’ll need to find a good quality image (unless you’re using a personal picture, of course). A Google image search setting the quality to “high” will yield some good results.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

I made my chart at Pic 2 Pat.  Now, I didn’t just write up a blog post on how to make a chart at the first site I found online. I actually tested quite a few, including some that were not free. In the end, I felt like this gave the best results and you can’t beat the price (FREE!)

In the first step you’ll click “choose file” and browse your  computer until you find the image you want to turn into a pattern. Then hit “next”.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

Now we get to choose the type of floss, the stitches per inch and the size of the finished piece. I chose DMC because I’m totally a DMC floss snob, 14 stitches per inch because I had already purchased 14 count aida and 11.2 x 14.0 inch because I want this sucker to be massive.

Select your requirements and then click “next”.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

The next page is going to offer up a whole mess of different options using different numbers of colors and then telling you how many skeins you’ll need to buy. Here are some examples from one end of the spectrum to the next:

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

This chart uses the most colors with a whopping 75. It requires 82 skeins of floss which at $0.35/each would cost $28.70.

That’s too many colors for me to keep up with and a bit more than I was hoping to spend on the floss, to be honest.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

The least number of colors for this pattern was 6 and requiring 21 skeins of floss at a cost of $7.35. The lack of detail due to the small number of colors isn’t worth it, though.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

In the end, I chose one of the options nearer the middle. This chart requires 18 colors (which I feel I can keep up with without getting terribly confused) and 27 skeins for a cost of $9.45 which is not bad at all.

I chose which pattern by a highly scientific method… I scrolled to see each version on my monitor and then went across the hall into my bedroom to see which option looked the best from a distance. Since this bad boy is going to be hanging on the wall when complete, that’s the way it is going to be seen, anyway.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

Click on the pattern you choose and you will be able to download a PDF of it. The first page shows the pattern in full color.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

And the subsequent pages hold a portion of the chart.

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

You’ll need to trim the edges of each page and connect with tape to form your big pattern. Or you can work off of the individual pages. I’m afraid I’d be more likely to loose a bunch of loose pages and decided to make my big, connected gigantic chart.

I’m marking off the areas I’ve done as I go. As you can see, I haven’t gotten very far but man has it taken me some time to get there!

Pic 2 Pat - Make a Cross Stitch Chart From Photos for Free

The chart is really great. Nice and clean with symbols that are easy to decipher at a glance.

And, well, that’s about it. I’ve got my chart made up and I started stitching promptly after purchasing my floss. I’ve decided to only work leisurely on this project – this one is for fun, not work. Because while I love ALL of the projects I’ve done on my blog, some of them have turned into work. Which means I’ll work on them rather than doing something fun so that I can meet the deadline I’ve set for myself to post about it.

This is too big of a project for that, first of all, but I also want this to be something I create for myself. Of course, when I do finish it I’ll share the results with you, but don’t expect to be seeing this sucker any time soon! I’m hoping to complete it in a year, but if I don’t, well, I don’t.

Will you be making a cross stitch chart after reading this? What will you make? A painting? A picture of your pet? Or a picture of your kid? I’d love to know!

Head on over to Pic 2 Pat to make your own charts!



Comments (16)

  • Steph @ meet.make.laugh.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Wow! I have been really wanting to start cross stitching…. and though I should probably start with something smaller I will definitely keep this in mind! Good luck with it!

    1. Allison

      September 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      Thanks so much, Steph! I tend to bite off more than I can chew the vast majority of the time :)

  • Midsommarflicka

    September 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Oh, just yesterday I saw cross stitching on another blog as well and got inspired to start that again (last time was in school, in 5th grade!)… This is an awesome way to create a pattern! I will think about something I could stitch :)

    Have an awesome week!
    Love, Midsommarflicka

    1. Allison

      September 16, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      I’m so glad that you’re inspired, Mid! Stitching is like riding a bike so I’m sure it will be no problem to pick it back up!

      Hoping your week is spectacular, too, my friend!

  • Leslie

    September 17, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Wow! This is going to look amazing!

    1. Allison

      September 17, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      Thanks, Leslie! It will be a while before I know for sure :)

  • Ruth F.

    February 17, 2015 at 4:41 PM

    I have been wanting to do this for some time, but, all I could find were pay sites. Now this has got me thinking about it again. Now that both of my parents are gone (my mom 4 years, my dad 4 months) I’m thinking about a picture of the 2 together or maybe their Air Force pictures. Oh, what to do, what to do.

    1. Allison Murray

      February 17, 2015 at 9:03 PM

      I’m so sorry for your losses, Ruth. I think either would be equally wonderful :)

  • DJ Hernandez

    October 24, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    I just found your blog while looking for a way to graph the number ½. No luck on that but I did come away from this with a beautiful graph of my beloved cat Patches who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on 11 Aug 2010 after 18 ½ years together. I thank you so very much for this and I bookmarked the website so I can go back to it.

  • Wendie Cousins

    April 26, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Oh WOW you’re just who I’ve been looking for. I am an avid fan of counted cross stitch and have ‘crossed’ many pictures of dogs, horses, goats and people all from photos. Unfortunately the people that made my photos into ‘kits’ are no longer doing it, so here I am. Hopefully you will be able to sort this out for me when I get Rascal the Cat’s photo taken. Best wishes Wendie

  • Lindy Weber

    May 25, 2016 at 9:35 AM

    A friend posted a crazy heart art on my FB page (Embroiderers Guild of Vancouver, sharing Pat of gatherings100.blogspot) so I go to her blog, and find your blog on her favorites list, so I come here. You share about pic2pat, and I go there… See how the web sucks one in? What a fun morning I am having. Thank you for sharing this site!

    1. Allison Murray

      May 25, 2016 at 9:21 PM

      Yay! It sounds like a good day :)

  • Cindy Milligan

    June 10, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    I have used Pic 2 Pat a couple of times and it has worked fine but today and last night, I get all the way through and when it should create the picture for me it says file not found or something. This is after I enter all my info. Has the site been taken down or something?

    1. Allison Murray

      June 10, 2016 at 5:02 PM

      It just worked for me. Perhaps your image is larger than the limit?

  • Sara Musson

    July 17, 2016 at 2:58 PM

    I have just created a couple of charts using Pic 2Pat, but not started on them yet. How are you finding working from the charts – they look very busy when I look at them on my iPad.

    1. Allison Murray

      July 19, 2016 at 5:59 PM

      They can get super busy and really daunting. I had made a pattern but after getting headaches I put it on the back-burner. It was suggested that perhaps I should print them out larger to prevent that in the future. I just might give that a go when I decide to take my piece back up!

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