Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cross-Stitch with Washi Tape

I really liked this image of a painted cross-stitch style mural that I saw a while back. And then there are those washi tape deer heads that keep showing up all over the Internets. So those two ideas had a little party in my mind and this is what I came up with--a cross-stitch mural, but made with washi tape. Here's how I did it:

First, find a blank wall.

Choose a pattern. I started out looking at actual cross-stitch patterns, but they all had way too many stitches for my rather smallish area of wall. So I used one of these patterns for birds made from Hama beads--one bead = one "stitch." Much better.

Note that the center of the pattern is marked (with a circle) in the image above.

Now mark the center of your wall space.

Get out your washi tape. Mine is a pack called "Smoky Colors" from Pretty Tape on Etsy. I didn't have the same colors of washi tape that were specified in the Hama bead design, so I just changed things up a bit to fit the tape on hand and the color scheme of the room.

Tear off a piece of washi tape about 2.5 inches long. You can experiment with the length if you like, but I found that for my 1.5 cm-wide tape, this was a good length to get stitches with the right proportions.

And some more pieces of a similar length. You'll need two pieces of the same color for each x. Don't worry too much about getting pieces exactly 2.5 inches. Worst case scenario, you have to tear off a bit of excess, or cut a new piece if one is too short. A little bit of variation and raggedy ends is okay--it makes your stitches look painterly.

Now place the tape on the wall in "x"-es, around your center point. Especially if your wall is textured, make sure to rub each piece firmly so it sticks to the wall.

Work in a circular pattern out from the center. I found that this strategy both helped keep the design centered, and helped keep the rows and columns straight. You don't want it to get too wonky. But if it does, just peel the tape off and try again. This is a very forgiving medium.

Getting there. The whole process took little more than an hour, by the way.

Ta-da! A bird even the cats can live with.

I had a lot of fun with this, and can't wait to do another one. (Like daughter, like mother, I guess.) I have my eye on a very sad, bare, long and thin bit of wall above our kitchen window--I'm thinking some kind of folkloric border pattern.

I think this would be a great project if you rent--an easy way to make a big, colorful, but temporary wall decoration. It would be really fun in a nursery (a rabbit? a rhinoceros?). And I would love to try a really big one someday. Maybe if the writing doesn't work out, I can just make washi tape murals for a living. People would totally want to hire me to come and put tape all over their walls, right?


  1. love this idea! thank you for sharing Ü
    (discovered it via Pinterest)

  2. me encantó su proyecto, hoy le he enlazado en mi blog, espero que sea de su agrado. Muchas gracias : D

  3. Thanks, all of you! So glad you like it!

  4. Great idea, love it! Found it on Pinterst and shared it with my blogreaders

  5. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing

  6. I love your idea and am already thinking of which of my cross stitch books would have a simple pattern I can do. I have these very 70's-80's looking mirror walls and have been wanting to do something to at least one of them. I can't afford to take them down so this might be a good way to make them more bearable. Don't know if it will work but will definitely give it a try and if not there then on some other wall. Thank YOU for sharing your great idea. :-)

  7. Thanks again, everyone! Micki, I hope it does work on those mirrored doors (I can't think why it wouldn't--actually I expect washi tape would stick quite well to that smooth surface). Please report back if you try it out!