What Do You See: Adding Dimension to Your Next Project

Paint, Beads and Stumpwork for Added Texture to Cross Stitch

Pam Pedersen

Is your cross stitch a little flat? Do you want to add some flare and depth to your next project?  Adding dimension to cross stitch doesn't have to be a scary process. There are many ways to add effects to your piece that will take it from ho-hum to spectacular. Painting the canvas, stitching up and out or even adding multimedia to your piece can bring extra flavor. You may even think of some techniques that others haven't tried yet. 

Painting your cross stitch canvas is probably the easiest way to add depth and dimension to your piece. There are several items to think about when painting. One of them is to use white canvas. The white canvas is just like a white piece of paper. It will not distort the color you are trying to achieve. You can use a couple types of paint.  Fabric paint, acrylic and watercolor are the most popular. If you are using fabric paint, you simply paint it directly onto the canvas, let dry and stitch over. It is easy peasy but fabric paint is expensive. If you want to use acrylic paint, you will need a medium to set the paint and not allow it to flake off the canvas. If you want a very light, airy effect, water colors would be the way to go. It is a great way to go for clouds, and background, not for a full bright effect. Just make sure that you don't wash the fabric after you paint. There are a lot of great tutorials on painting canvas out there. Two of my favorites are Wee Little Stitches and DMC.


Stumpwork is traditionally thought of in embroidery but you can also add dimension to your cross stitch project using the same concept. The best way to see an example of stumpwork with cross stitch is with flowers. The petals and stem are the actual cross stitch and the flower is your 3-D piece.There are many books that offer pattern and technique for this type of stitching. Many are out of print but you can still find them on E-bay, Etsy and through private dealers. It seems that the style was very popular and fell out of grace but is now making a comeback. You can see an example on Craftster.orgOne book that I really love and gives you not only information but patterns is A-Z of Stumpwork.  

Beading your cross stitch adds texture to your final project. It can make a piece pop without a lot of work. To add beads to your piece is time consuming but the dimension it gives is worth the effort. It is not exactly hard to do, just make sure you have some time set aside to work on it, especially if it is a bigger pattern. You don't have to stick to just plain seed beads either, adding charms and glass beads take it to another level. Also try using sequins to make your cross stitch sparkle. You can now also add lights to the project to really make the piece shine. Small LED lights can really brighten the cross stitch up! There are some great tutorials on how to add beads to your cross stitch on Youtube. It is nice to see an exact technique instead of getting frustrated with the process. 

Adding dimension to your next project is a great way to try new techniques and really push yourself to the next level. The styles mentioned above are just a few ways you can take your cross stitch to another level. You can combine these techniques to make one epic project. Why not think up your own way to add some pizzazz. The only thing holding you back is your imagination. Go for it! Lift those cross stitch projects to another level. Build them up! Bead them up! Paint them up! Make it yours!