Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.
Ready for fall? Check out this fall tree cross stitch that is easy enough to make in just a few days. In this tutorial, I also cover how I create my own cross stitch patterns and provide a free download for this pattern.
In the blog world, it seems pretty commonplace for DIYers to create things out of embroidery hoops. From decorative wreaths to wall hangings and terrariums and light fixtures — even spider webs! But what about actual cross stitch? I know I’m not alone in having a love for this craft, but I’ve only ever shared sneak peeks of my patterns in IG stories before. It wasn’t until a few people reached out about their own crafting that I thought, “hmm, maybe I should show people how I create my own!”. So, here I am with today’s tutorial after this little DIY fall tree cross stitch.
This post contains affiliate links — for the full disclosure policy, click here.
I first learned how to cross stitch from my Granny as a kid. She would spent hours and hours stitching gorgeous Lavender & Lace angels (those of you who are fans of cross stitch will know this manufacturer well… but those of you that don’t, here, here, and here are some great examples). She lovingly made one for each of the women in my family, including me and my younger sister Emily (or Em, as you’ve seen me mention her before). As a kid, I was fascinated with her craft and eager to learn how to do one myself. I picked out a very tiny pattern (with some beading, since I was ambitious as hell) and made my first angel out of a small kit (wow, I can’t believe I found that online too).
I made a few more, but during high school and college, I pretty much dropped it while I did lots of other crafts (painting, drawing, upholstery, scrapbooking, clay, etc.). Then seemingly random, I decided I wanted to start cross stitching again. I have an old kit from my Granny that I still use today, but when it comes to making patterns, I use a much more modern process!
How I Create My Own Cross Stitch Patterns From An Image
For creating my own cross stitch pattern, I use pic2pat.com. I’m not even sure how or when I found the site, but it works insanely well for such a complex process.
Step 1: Find and upload a photo or clipart
I find that vector or clipart images work great, but I’ve also done some photorealistic patterns as well. In this example, I found a free clipart of a fall tree (I’m not a lawyer obviously, but for copyright reasons, ONLY use images that you have created yourself or are “Creative Commons CC0” — Google images may seem like a good resource on its face, but a great deal of those are still under copyright protections… which means using them can get you into a lot of hot, expensive water… try a site like Pixabay for lots of good free-use options instead).
Step 2: Select settings
On the next screen, you’ll have multiple options to set your pattern, which are based on the type of floss used(which is just the name used by cross stitchers, but it’s just multi-strand thread), the number of stitches per inch (the more stitches per inch, the tighter and more detailed the image can look), and the actual size of the end design (the size of the finished product). The “floss” brand I use is
the best DMC. Most of the cross stitch fabric I pick up is size 14, but I also use 16 and 18 when I know I’m doing something more complex (the higher the size, the smaller the stitch… but that also means you can do more photorealistic patterns and not have to make the canvas HUGE to get enough detail).
The thing that also contributes to the overall quality of the pattern is the physical size of the pattern you want, which is the next selection on the drop-down menu. The dimensions will auto-generate based on the shape of the image uploaded, so if for example you want a square pattern, be sure to upload a square file. It will start at around 2 inches (which will greatly pixelate the image because it’s so small), and go up incrementally. Since I wanted this one to be relatively small and was fine with it looking more abstract, I picked an option just around 5×5 inches.
Step 3: Generate and download pattern
Once I click “next”, the pattern generates with multiple options. They go from the highest color variation (say, 70 colors) and on down, so you can choose how complex of a pattern you want to stitch. I usually settle in somewhere around 40 or so colors (when you hover with your mouse, it will indicate how many colors).
When you click on any of the options, it immediately downloads a PDF copy of your cross stitch pattern, along with a list of the colors you’ll need!
With the pattern printed out, I just start stitching. I don’t always have the colors I need, so I’ll sometimes match a thread that’s “close enough” and use it in the pattern as a substitute. For example, in my pattern, I didn’t have color 301 (Mahogany Medium), so I used a color 780 (Topaz Ultra Very Dark) instead. I just plain don’t like running out for other thread colors if I’m missing one, so this happens with my patterns pretty frequently.
For more photorealistic designs (I’ll show you guys those in the future, but they take MUCH longer to complete), I do even more than that. I often use both a printout of the actual picture and the generated pattern, side by side, to use as reference and get as close to the real thing as I can (there are plenty of colors in the DMC family, but sometimes you have to use your own eye to make sure house colors/flesh colors are accurate).
Fall Tree Cross Stitch Pattern – Free Download!
So that’s it! Any fellow cross-stitchers out there? Or anyone who has ever wanted to try? This is a great starter project because it’s all really simple x-stiches. For every thread you see pictured, I used 2 strands (the DMC thread comes with 6 intertwined, so you cut some of the floss, separate the individual threads to be 2 strands each, and then start stitching).
And bonus: subscribers get access to my pattern for free. All you have to do is click the image below and follow the prompts, and come back to that same page and enter your info again (it acts like
If for some reason that image doesn’t work, you can also get it here.
Other Patterns I Love
Note: Free cross stitch patterns are available for a limited time only based on publish date (right now the time limit is about 2 years and subject to change if this proves to be too difficult to maintain). They are then moved into the Membership Vault and accessible to Cross Stitch Club Members only. So, you may see some previously free patterns on this site that have now been moved to the vault. Please do not email me about your frustrations of not getting access to older free patterns; it’s partly because of the volume of emails that I needed to reevaluate and put some restrictions on the time commitment to continue providing patterns for free.