Your Guide to Affordable
Cross Stitch

Get Started for Under $20

Supplies needed for affordable cross stitch are relatively inexpensive compared with other crafts. Some, like scissors, will last a long time. Others, like floss and fabric, will be used up as you stitch.

The following list of supplies shows typical prices from Amazon:

  • These prices may vary, of course; I am including them so you will have some idea beforehand of the investment and ongoing expenses of the counted cross stitch craft.
  • Wherever possible, I will give substitutions in case you want to spread out the purchase of certain items.
  • Want to see if you are going to like cross stitch before investing a lot in supplies? Here's how you can find out for under $20.


  • inexpensive piece of 14-count Aida Cloth
  • package of blunt-tipped, size #24 or #26 tapestry needles  (prices vary based on needle size)
  • floss skeins as called for on your pattern ($.50 ea)
  • money left over? add needle threader

Find Free Around the House

One of the keys to affordable cross stitch is recycling. Scissors can be expensive, so look around your house to find two pairs of scissors and repurpose them for cross stitch:

  • first, a standard size scissors you might find in your craft supplies, office or even kitchen. Clean them thoroughly. You will use them to cut your fabric.
  • next, a smaller, more delicate pair that you will use to trim floss. Look in your manicure kits - it's a bonus if they have a curved tip.

Online Sources Makes Affordable Cross Stitch Possible

This is where the internet really shines. You no longer have to purchase expensive craft books or cross stitch patterns. Simply pick up your mouse, from the comfort of your home, and you can easily find

  • tutorials, videos and diagrams to teach you how to cross stitch
  • a design you want to cross stitch--a small free cross stitch pattern (figure how many floss colors you can use and still stay within your budget, then pick a pattern that's restricted to that number)

If you have no trouble threading needles unaided, eliminate the floss threader and add that money to your floss purchase.

If your eyesight is fine, or if you already wear glasses, this might not apply to you. But if you find yourself straining a bit to see smaller type, pick up a pair of reading glasses from a Dollar Store to use while stitching. If you find yourself enjoying this new craft, you may later want to switch to a magnifying device.

Smaller might be better, first time

If you have never completed a counted cross stitch project, experiment by going small.

  • It fits most budgets and you'll likely have fun in the process. That said, you may find that you do not enjoy counted cross stitch. You could encounter some physical reason that impairs your ability to enjoy this hobby (such as poor eyesight, limited dexterity, etc.)
  • You will also likely discover things "you didn't know that you didn't know."

For example, a few years ago a friend brought me a package with a nice-sized piece of cloth and multiple skeins of floss. She had very limited cross stitch exposure, but saw a beautiful design in a kit that she wanted to complete for her husband.

Unfortunately, she didn't realize that counted cross stitch fabric comes in different thread counts. This one contained 18-count fabric, stitched over a single thread. In a few short hours, she realized that she was unable to comfortably complete the tiny stitches.

The small kits she had purchased in the past all included 14-count fabric. She thought, erroneously, that a kit is a kit is a kit. This was an expensive lesson, but one we can also learn from.

In the beginning, experiment frugally. Avoid spending a lot of money for a counted cross stitch kit only because you like the picture on the package. On the flip side, you may discover a rewarding new hobby.

Click to see more detailed descriptions of the supplies that you will likely want to purchase at some point in your cross stitch journey.

Check out our cross stitch shopping list for a convenient way to keep track of your supply needs. And be sure to check online suppliers of affordable cross stitch supplies, such as Amazon.

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