Plastic Canvas Is Perfect For Fancy Needlepoint Stitch Samplers

Plastic Canvas

Truth! When I decided to join in on the Plastic Canvas Blog Hop hosted by Diane over at Craftypod, I had never in my life made one single stitch on plastic canvas. Tons of needlepoint and Bargello stitching yes, but never plastic canvas.

Watch for Plastic Canvas Blog Hop on Craftypod.

BUT because Diane is my daughter and she loves playing with plastic canvas, and because she is hosting a Plastic Canvas Blog Hop - I decided to join in, play around with plastic canvas a little and see if I could figure out what she sees in it!

Plastic Canvas Coasters in progress

Too much fun! That's what she sees in it! I get it now!

I can't begin to tell you how satisfying these little 4"x4" coaster samplers were to stitch.

Having spent childhood hours Â…and hours Â…and hours making teeny tiny tent stitches over and over and over, I did not intend to repeat THAT experience. Instead, I turned to much more interesting needlepoint stitches.

And at first it was all about the stitches! I had no idea what I would do with the samplers! Although they could be stitched into a box to be hung on a tree or positioned on one corner as a sculpture or even used as a paper weight, I settled on using them as coasters. Diane sees their potential as stunning wall hangings!

Plastic Canvas in progress

To make stitch sampler coasters, you will need plastic canvas and stash yarn; a blunt needle with an eye large enough to hold the yarn but not so large it won't fit through the holes; and a pair of scissors and a ruler. The plastic canvas I used - 7 holes per inch count size. This canvas is one of the largest available so some of the stitches have been adjusted to fit that size canvas. If you are planning to try these stitches using this tutorial, I suggest you use 7 hole per inch canvas. Some stitches (the Rice stitch for instance) have been modified for 7 hole canvas and will not work as described on canvas with 10 or more holes per inch.

Each coaster measures approximately 4" x 4". Cut your 7 holes per inch plastic canvas so that there are 25 holes in each direction. (26 holes is closer to an exact 4" but I found that by using 26 holes I always ended up with one row too many. (You no doubt have noticed my little filler rows on each coaster - learned that one the hard way.) Use 25 holes!

Most of the stash yarns used were worsted weight. Bulky weight can also be used with this canvas but for most stitches, I preferred using worsted yarn. All yarns used are acrylic fiber.

Because I am sharing 7 different stitches, I have opted to make this very image heavy and less "wordy" hoping to avoid making this any longer than necessary. I sincerely hope in so doing, I do not confuse anyone. Write me if you have a question!

Before sharing how to make all these pretty stitches, I thought a few basic tips for working these stitches on 7 holes per inch canvas would be helpful.

Plastic Canvas: Hungarian Stitch

Although the frequently used basic tent stitch provides great coverage with worsted weight yarns, the straight stitch - which is worked vertically or horizontally - does not provide good coverage and parts of the canvas will be left exposed and quite visible.

You can see this problem quite clearly in the image above. Solution: use two strands of worsted yarn when making each stitch (salmon yarn) or use a bulky weight yarn (green).

Plastic Canvas: Hungarian Stitch

If you are using worsted weight yarn, you might prefer to simply double the yarn and sew each stitch with the doubled yarn. However, I found that I liked the cleaner stitches resulting from sewing each stitch twice using one yarn.

Plastic Canvas: Hungarian Stitch

The stitches on the left were created by using one yarn and stitching each stitch twice being careful to place the yarns so they lay next to each other.

The stitches on the right were made using a doubled yarn in the needle. As you can see, the yarns tend to overlap which results in a less distinct stitch.

Hidding threads

Bury yarn ends into the back of the stitches as shown in this set of images. Especially at the beginning of a project, there are no previously made stitches where a yarn end can be secured, so I leave a 4" yarn tail, begin my stitching and then come back later, thread the tail into the needle and bury it as shown.

OR you can use Diane's MUCH BETTER technique - find it in this post!

Custom Block

Don't be afraid to mix things up and use several stitches together! This sampler coaster was created using the Rice Stitch, Tent Stitch and in the center a Cross Corner Cushion. Instructions for all appear below.

Plastic Canvas:

The sampler stitches - moving clockwise beginning at the upper left corner. Custom sampler - Cross Corner Cushion and Rice Stitches; Moorish Stitch; Hungarian Stitch; Brighton Stitch; Brick Filling Stitch; Scottish Diamond Stitch.

The how-to's below are arranged beginning with the easiest stitch and ending with those that present a bit of a challenge.


The Moorish stitch is the simplest because it is based on the tent stitch. And because it is a diagonal stitch, only one yarn is needed for good canvas coverage.

Moorish 1

1. Begin by making a tent stitch as shown above. If you are not familiar with needlepoint or working plastic canvas, notice that the stitch is made diagonally rather than vertically or horizontally.

Morish 2

2. Bring your yarn up through the hole directly below where you started the first stitch and back down to the right of where you returned to the back.


3. Make a third stitch as shown. Notice that the outside edges of the stitch are beginning to form a square. Also notice that the third stitch is the longest and involves four holes. (Yarn to the front, over two holes, yarn to the back.)

Moorish 3

4. Now complete the square by making two more stitches - ending with a tent stitch at the lower right corner of the square.

Plastic Canvas: Moorish stitch

See! A perfect square filled in with diagonal stitches!

Plastic Canvas: Moorish stitch

5. Continue working across the canvas. Notice in the image above that the single tent stitch is a "shared stitch". The last stitch in a "square" (or diamond) is also the first stitch in the next.  

By beginning your next stitch with this shared stitch, the pattern will automatically create a series of offset squares.

Morish 4

6. Now simply "trace" the zig zag outline of the completed stitches using a contrasting color yarn and a simple tent stitch.

7. "Trace" the outlined of the opposite side of the completed stitches using the same or a different color yarn.

7. Repeat until the entire canvas is filled with stitches!


Hungarian stitch is a very simple straight stitch worked vertically over the canvas holes.

Reminder: straight stitches do not cover the canvas as well as diagonal stitches, so be sure to make each stitch twice, use a double yarn or use a thick yarn.

Plastic Canvas: Hungarian Stitch

1. Bring the yarn up from the back of the canvas to the front and return to the back as shown. Notice that the stitch follows the canvas vertical bars and the first stitch skips over one hole.

Hungarian 1

2. Make a second stitch in the very same holes making sure the yarns lay next to each other. (If using a double yarn or heavy yarn, this step is not necessary.

Hungarian 2

3. Make the second and third stitches as shown above. Notice that the second stitch covers 5 holes - yarn to the front, over three holes and return to the back.

Hungarian 3

4. Continue making stitches across the width of the canvas. Notice that unlike the Moorish stitch, there are no shared stitches. Leave a space of one hole between sets of stitches as shown above. This space will be occupied by stitches (green) made above and below this row of stitches .

5. The next row of stitches are made exactly like the first. However, notice the placement of the stitches in relationship to the first row completed. The longest center stitch makes use of the space left between the previous stitches.

Plastic Canvas: Hungarian Stitch

Take a good look at the pattern and do a little practicing if needed.


The Brick Fill stitch is a straight stitch that is worked horizontally over the holes in the canvas. And just like the vertically worked Hungarian Stitch, it does not provide the best coverage. A couple "bricks" were worked using only one yarn to show the difference in coverage.

The stitch is quite simple. Stitches are placed in the canvas just as bricks are placed in a wall. The vertical joints are made more interesting with contrasting colored yarns.

Brick 1

1. Bricks are worked over five holes. Holes 1 and 5 are shared holes and become the joints.

2. Each brick is formed using two adjacent sets of five holes.

3. Once the first brick is formed, place the next brick as shown, beginning at the midpoint of the previous brick.

4. Work these two rows of bricks across the entire width of the canvas before beginning the next two rows.

Brick 2

5. To create the joints, select a contrasting yarn and make stitches over the joints as shown.

You can clearly see in the last image how important it is to use two yarns or a bulky yarn when making this stitch.


Another version of the straight stitch! I seem to be drawn to straight stitches - perhaps influenced by my infatuation with Bargello?

Again, part of the stitch was worked in a single yarn for reference. The orange yarn used as the outline stitches is a bulky weight yarn.

Plastic Canvas: Scottish Diamond

1.The first part of the stitch is very similar to the Hungarian stitch except that the longest stitch is made over 7 holes instead of five; and you will be making five stitches per square instead of three.

2. Work the diamonds across the width of the canvas.

Scottish Diamond

3. The outline is worked as shown above using vertical straight stitches in contrasting colored yarn following the outline of the pattern and meeting in the space left between the diamonds.

Plastic Canvas; Scottish Diamond

(sorry this one turned out a bit blurry)

4. Once the outline work on the first row of diamonds is completed, begin making the second row of diamonds.


The completed row will provide a guide for your stitches and as you work you will notice the diamonds are off-set from the previous row.


This stitch had to be modified a bit to be used successfully with 7 hole plastic canvas. If you happen to like cross stitch, you will love this stitch.

It does take a while to cover the canvas as you are making stitches on top of stitches, but is is quite pretty when done in contrasting colors.

Rice 1

1. Begin the cross stitch as shown

Plastic Canvas: Rice Stitch

2. See! A perfect little cross stitch!

Rice 2

3. Now make a bunch of them!!! Completely cover the area you wish to cover with little X's!

Rice 3

4. Select a contrasting color yarn and create a little diamond pattern on top of the cross stitch.

5. I think the best way to describe the stitch sequence for the little diamond is to imagine a clock and follow these steps.

a) Bring the needle from the back to the front at 3:00. Return to the back at 6:00.

b) Bring the needle from the back to the front at 12:00. Return to the back at 3:00.

c) Bring the needle from the back to the front at 9:00. Return to the back at 12:00.

d) Bring the needle from the back to the front at 6:00. Return to the back at 9:00.

Plactic Canvas: Rice stitch

6. Continue across the row in the same way.

Plastic Canvas: Rice stitch

7. When you reach the end of a row, you can return in the way shown or, start again at the beginning of the next row.


LOVE this stitch (and the next one!!)

Because it is worked diagonally, it does a pretty good job of coverage. I was pleased with the results using only one strand of worsted yarn.

It looks complicated but really is quite similar to the Moorish stitch. But don't dive in and start with this one!!! Practice the Moorish stitch first.

I found that once the first square (upper left) was in place, it was pretty easy to make the other three squares. But again, practice a bit first till you are comfortable with the pattern.

Cross Cushion: Brighton

The pattern can be worked in one color or several. I did not realize when I created this practice strip that once more rows of pattern were added there would be lovely little openings between the pattern segments to be filled with the criss cross stitch!

Brighton 1

1. The stitch is begun, as is the Moorish stitch, with a tent stitch.  However this time the first stitch is made using three holes instead of two. (Notice the hole hiding beneath the first stitch).

Plastic Canvas: Brighton

2. Create four diagonally stitched squares using the image above as a guide. Notice the shape resembles an octogon!

Brighton 2

3. Fill in the center with contrasting yarn. Begin by making a vertical stitch, then a horizontal stitch - you will have a +.

4. Over the little cross just completed, stitch an X.

Brighton stitch sampler

5. I prefer to fill the entire canvas with the large pattern and then go back and fill in the centers and the spaces where four squares join (blue).

I used a contrasting color yarn to fill in the openings where the corners of the blocks meet and then used the same color yarn to whip stitch the edges. This treatment helped the pattern to pop.


This stitch looks much more complicated than it really is. It is a variation of the Moorish stitch but is worked over six holes at it's widest part. I have worked the sample next to the Brighton stitch for comparison.

Plastic canvas; cross cushion

The Brighton (left) and Cross Corner Cushion (right). Take particular notice of the directions of the stitches that make up the four small square elements of both patterns. 

The stitches in the Cross Corner Cushion all seem to point toward the center.  The stitches in the Brighton Stitch seem to surround the center.

Plastic Canvas: cross cushion

1. Begin making the first square (upper left square of the Cross Corner Pattern) with a tent stitch and proceed making 4 more diagonal stitches, each stitch longer than the last to make a total of 5 stitches. The fifth stitch which will be at the center of the square and covers 6 holes.

Plastic Canvas:Cross Cushion

2. Once the fifth stitch is in place, begin making shorter stitches again to complete the square and end with a tent stitch.

Cross cushion 1

3. Complete three more squares. Notice that the long center stitch in each square begins at the outer corner and ends at the center.

Plastic Canvas:cross cushion

4. Overstitch a diamond in a contrasting color.

I found that it was much easier to place the yarns correctly if I began stitching at the outside of the diamond and worked toward the center.

In the image above you can see that I started stitching the diamond section on the right from the center.  I lost my way and had to remove stitches. 

Cross Cushion 2

It is much easier to follow the pattern if the diamond stitch is begun at the outside edge as you see above.

Once the diamond is complete, the stitch is done! Again, practice the Moorish stitch and then practice this stitch a couple times.


If you wish to use your samplers as coasters, simply whip stitch the edges in a matching or contrasting color. Glue or stitch a square of felt or wool felt or  felted wool sweater onto the back side.

Or make your samplers much bigger, mix up your stitches and create eye catching wall art like Diane's Plastic Canvas Wall Hanging!

If you are still here (and if you are I appreciate your patience and interest so very much) visit all the other brilliant plastic canvas artists that have participated in this hop!  You will find pictures and the links below!

 Each blog hop participant shares something new and clever to inspire you further. And all of them take plastic canvas to a whole new level!!!

Don't you agree?

Change up the colors, make

Change up the colors, make two of each. Sew them back to back with a braided cord for a hanger and TAH DAH you have holiday ornaments.

Starting a set right now!

Dear Denna, I am so happy to

Dear Denna, I am so happy to hear I have inspired!!!  I was inspired by Arne and Carlos as I was knitting their Christmas Balls to do something similar myself!  and

Would love to see yours when they are done!!

Wow I love how those came

Wow I love how those came out- and what a prefect intro project for the world of plastic canvas. You may have persuaded me to give some plastic canvas a whirl!
: )

Wow Pam! Epic and stunning

Wow Pam! Epic and stunning project and post. You've covered so much here. And made such beautiful and varied coasters. I agree that you could make this into a funky wall-hanging or plastic canvas art!

I think your samplers make

I think your samplers make beautiful coasters. Thanks for sharing how you did all those different stitches!

Hi Pam, my sister-in-law has

Hi Pam, my sister-in-law has plastic canvas coasters that she made with her grandmother that she uses and loves and know with your great tutorial I can make some for my home. The p.c. is a project that I feel I can do since I don't cross stich but I have your great step by step instruction it seems heidi proof. Thanks for sharing I'll let you know how mine turn out.

Your coasters are so colorful

Your coasters are so colorful and fun, Pam, and your tutorials are superb! Thanks for your gorgeous photographs and attention to detail, as always. The cross corner cushion is my favorite, but it was hard to choose!

This looks so much fun! And

This looks so much fun! And such lovely colours! I think I'm going to get some plastic canvas...!

Oh wow, Pam! These are

Oh wow, Pam! These are amazing! The colors are so yummy, and the patterns are divine. I am always drawn to needlepoint designs such as these in books, but I've still not tried them much, because the tutorials aren't very clear. Your fabulous pictures and great descriptions help SO much. I can follow exactly what you are doing! I love it!

I'm so glad Diane is doing the PC blog hop. I can't see Plastic Canvas without thinking of her, and I'm so glad she is such a champion for this useful medium. Can't wait to check out all the other projects! :)

Pam - These are so wonderful

Pam - These are so wonderful & such a great way to learn stitches.

Keep Stitching,

love your owns, beautiful

love your owns, beautiful made pictures and perfect the matches with the colours in the embroidery , well done girl!!!!
it's making me smile
By the way, tell Dianne she was fuetered by Daily Crafting with her plastic canvas.
You can be proud of your selfs and your daughter;-D
Thank you for the sharing and showing what you've made of this project.
And have a fun happy weekend;-D many duch kisses

How pretty! I've never seen

How pretty! I've never seen plastic canvas here. I'll have to look for it when I'm in a craft store. Thanks for sharing your lovely samplers!

Wow, Pam, those are gorgeous!

Wow, Pam, those are gorgeous! Love the colors and stitches you chose - they're so happy they make me smile! And thanks for the great detailed instructions!
Big hugs,

The possibilities are

The possibilities are endless! What fun designs you made, Pam! I've never tried a plastic canvas before, but this post is very enticing!! :)

Pam, I love the scottish

Pam, I love the scottish diamond! And the rice! And the Brighton!!!

I have some of these PC and I must get my yarn. I was going to do that last weekend?!? What dumb boring other thing was I doing?!!?!?

I hope I live a bit longer...

Wow, you are a master at

Wow, you are a master at these stitches! Thank you for all the work you put into teaching us these beautiful patterns.

Oh my goodness, those are

Oh my goodness, those are just darling! I never considered plastic canvas before. Who knew??? I'm definitely making these. Thanks for sharing, how fun and satisfying!!