A crazy-cute cross-stitch that makes a perfect holiday gift

We’re calling it: The go-to handcrafted present this year just might be the cross-stitch. These retro-chic projects are celebrity approved, after all, and super easy to personalize with a sweet message or image.

This DIY guides you through making a modern, gift-worthy cross-stitch, complete with a motto that tells someone special that they’re very important to you. And don’t worry if you’ve never cross-stitched before—it’s pretty easy to learn. It’s also pretty fun to make.


  • 6 1/2-inch wide plastic embroidery hoop
  • 14-count cross-stitch fabric
  • 1 skein black embroidery floss
  • 1 skein white embroidery floss
  • 1 skein pink embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • Piece of paper

Craft away:

  • Use the pencil to trace the inside of the embroidery hoop onto the paper.
  • Divide the circle into six horizontal bars of equal width. In the top segment, write “I”; leave the next segment blank. In the third segment, write “YOU”; in the fourth segment, write “MORE”; in the fifth segment, write “THAN.” Leave the last segment blank. Keep your letters about 1/2-inch tall, and blocky—this will make them easier to trace and stitch.
  • Draw a 1/2-inch tall heart in the gap between the “I” and the “YOU.”
  • Draw a 1 1/4-inch tall iPhone under “THAN.” This can just be a simple rectangle with rounded edges, with a smaller rectangle inside of it and a circle on the bottom.
  • Go over the pencil lines with the permanent marker.
  • Layer the cross-stitch fabric on top of the paper, and trace the pattern onto the fabric with the pencil. You might find it useful to tape the fabric and paper onto a window; the backlighting will help you see the letters more clearly.
  • Trim the cross-stitch fabric around your template, making it into a square that is larger than your embroidery hoop.
  • Place the fabric into the embroidery hoop. To do this, twist and loosen the screw at the top of the hoop. Separate the inner hoop from the outer hoop, and layer the fabric over the inner hoop. Press the outer hoop down on top of the fabric, and turn the screw to tighten the two hoops back together.
  • Cut a couple of feet of the black embroidery floss. Separate three strands from the floss, and thread the needle with them. Do not knot either end of the floss.
  • Stick the needle through the fabric, back to front, and pull the floss until a 1-inch tail remains. Hold the tail in place. As you make your stitches, loop them around the tail on the back of the fabric to keep your work from unraveling.
  • Fill in the letters on the fabric. To do this, make small, diagonal stitches along each row of the letters, from the lower left-hand corner of each square on the fabric to the upper right-hand corner. Once you reach the end of the row, stitch back the other way, moving from the lower right-hand corner of each square and crossing to the upper left-hand corner of each square to make little x’s. Complete each row before moving on to the next one.
  • To finish each word, or when you run out of floss, knot your work by slipping the needle under a stitch you just took on the back of the fabric. Pass the needle through the resulting loop and pull tight.
  • Once you’ve finished the letters, fill in the screen of the iPhone using the black floss as well.
  • Fill in the heart with three strands of the pink floss.
  • Fill in the iPhone with three strands of the white floss.
  • Outline the heart and the iPhone with three strands of the black floss. Use straight stitches rather than cross-stitches.
  • Stitch a small square at the base of the iPhone with the black floss. This will make the phone’s button.
  • Trim the excess fabric away from the embroidery hoop.
  • Wrap up your cute cross-stitch and give it as a gift!
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