Cross Stitch Graph Paper

We have cross stitch graph paper in counts ranging from 6ct to 32ct and even plain graph paper. If you have another size, just put in a request and we will get it up.

I have read all this before, just take me to the graph paper!

Even if you have never seen graph paper for cross stitch, if you have taken an art class, you probably learned how to accurately (sort of) duplicate a drawing by dividing it into squares. (Nowadays they teach it in first grade!)

Having these lines as a reference, you can more easily complete the drawing, one square at a time. What's that old joke? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

The same technique works for making alterations in a cross stitch design.

When she made the chart, the designer used cross stitch graph paper (or a software equivalent) to make pictures and letters on grids consisting of vertical and horizontal lines. Symbols in each square represent the stitch type, such as cross stitch, 3/4 stitch or French knot.

A legend or key tells you which floss color should be placed in the square indicated by each symbol. We refer to these grids as patterns, designs or charts.

Cross Stitch graph paper comes in many grid sizes (10 squares to the inch, 14 squares to the inch, etc.), and cross stitch fabric is available in many thread counts (9 count, 14 count, etc.).

So, you can see why, when I first started making simple design changes to existing patterns, I thought I should use a graph paper that would match my fabric count. I was wrong.

Why we use 10-square grid graph paper

I have yet to see a cross stitch pattern designed on anything but a 10-squares-to-the-inch grid, like the one you see here. It makes sense. No matter how large or small the squares, a bold or colored line subdivides your graph, in increments of 10, both horizontally and vertically.

This 10-grid standard makes it easy to glance at a pattern and quickly determine the design size. The eye can easily count by 10s both in length and width (as you can see above). Then this count will help you convert the design size to fabric with various thread counts.

(See "Convert Stitch Count to Finished Size in Inches" to see what to do with these numbers.)

For example, if the design is 60 wide (six inches on 10 count fabric), you can easily calculate its width in another fabric count. 60 counts on 14-count fabric will be about 4 1/4 inches. Calculate this by dividing the count (60) by the fabric count (14). The answer, 4.2857, is close enough to 4 1/4.

An easier way to do this is to use our handy Stitch Count Table. 

Ever want the graph paper and fabric count to match?

Sometimes, as I work on a new design, I try to determine how much of my available space an image will fill, or how much detail I can work into my image. In those cases, I choose cross stitch graph paper that is of the same stitch count as my fabric and draw an outline equal to the size I'll have to work with. Then, as I begin to draw my design, it helps me visualize how the finished piece will look, how large or small it will be, and how many details I can include.

So, let's say that you want to stitch a greeting card with a design that must fit in a 3" x 5" window. Your design can't be larger than 3 blocks by 5 blocks.

Here is what to do:

  1. Determine that on 9 count fabric/graph paper, you only have 27 stitches wide (multiply 3 x 9 ct = 27) and 45 (5 x 9 ct) stitches tall to work with. If you find that you can not stitch your design with so few stitches...
  2. Try 14-count fabric/graph paper, and find that you now have 42 stitches wide (3 x 14) and 70 stitches tall (5 x 14) available.
  3. Continue with other counts until you find the fabric count that gives you enough stitches to create your design.
Comparison of 3 Stitch Counts

Choosing the right cross stitch graph paper for the job

As you work with the graph paper, remember that even though your fabric is 14-count, for example, and you want to design on graph paper in 14-count, you would not want the squares on the graph paper to be to scale, 14 squares to the inch.

Why? Because 14-count graph paper printed so an inch on the paper equals exactly an inch on a ruler would have squares too small to easily work with.

Don't worry, if you work with graph paper that is the same count as your fabric, it will equal out in the end.

The above comparison of three stitch counts demonstrates three things:

  1. You can work many more details into the same one-inch square by using fabric with a higher stitch count. The trade-off is that you will be working much smaller stitches (get out that magnifier!)
  2. It shows how impractical it is to work on graph paper that is printed to scale in the higher stitch counts. Imagine filling in those tiny little squares on the 28-ct grid with floss symbols! Then imagine drawing in partials, like quarter stitches or petit stitches!
  3. Its better to print several sheets with enlarged squares and tape them together, if necessary--anything that makes this detailed work easier on the eyes.

All of the patterns on this site have been designed on a 10-count grid.

  • It is consistent with other designers.
  • It is easy to count.
  • The square size is large enough to work with.
  • Since my patterns are all 10-count, I don't have to convert between them.

Once you start altering designs and creating new ones, you will probably settle on a grid size that works best for you. Whether you chose 10-count or something else, I hope you find these cross stitch graph paper grids useful.

Remember: The squares on the graph paper grid are not as small as they are on the fabric. They would be too tiny to work with, as shown in the comparison above.

Thus, on the higher stitch counts you will likely need to print several sheets and tape them together.

Click on one of the links below for the count size of cross stitch graph paper that you want to print. A new window will open so you can continue browsing here.

Click here for a PDF to print 6-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 9-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 10-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 11-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 14-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 16-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 18-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 19-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 20-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 22-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 25-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 27-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 28-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print 32-count Graph Paper

Click here for a PDF to print generic Graph Paper

If you want to work on plain cross stitch graph paper (with all the little squares but no bold lines representing  the fabric count) print the Generic Graph Paper.

If you need to personalize your cross stitch project, see our collection of free alphabets and review our tips and techniques in Alphabet 123s.

Be sure to see our free cross stitch charts page. With about 80 patterns and new ones added often, you'll find both simple and very complex designs.

› Cross Stitch Graph Paper