How to use waste canvas

Waste canvas is great for adding cross stitch designs to all sorts of different fabrics – no aida needed! Here's how to use it

How to use waste canvas

So you thought you need needs aida or evenweave fabric to cross stitch? Think again! Waste canvas is a nifty little helper to have in your embroidery stash – it allows you to add cross stitch to absolutely any fabric, from T-shirts to bedding.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to working with it:


Step 1

Positioning the design

Cut a piece of waste canvas 5-10cm(2-4in) larger than the finished design will be. Position the canvas centrally in the area where the design is to be stitched. It is important to make sure the canvas threads are aligned with the straight grain of the fabric. Tack securely.

How to use waste canvas step 2

Step 2

Working the cross stitch

Begin in the centre of the canvas and work the cross stitch through the holes in the canvas and the fabric at the same time. Use a stabbing action when stitching, working each half cross stitch individually. Try to aim for the centre of each canvas square and work adjacent stitches into the same hole.

How to cross stitch with waste canvas step 3

Step 3

Tidying up

Continue working the cross stitch until the design has been completed. Check that all the stitches have been worked as evenly as possible – uneven stitches will be more visible when you have removed the canvas. Remove the tacking thread and trim the canvas to 2.5cm from the design.

How to stitch using waste canvas step 4

Step 4

Removing the canvas

Hold the waste canvas and move it around carefully to loosen the threads a little. Fray the canvas threads at one side to create a fringe and then pull the remaining threads out one at a time. Tweezers can be useful to pull the threads out. Finally, press the stitching on the wrong side.

How to use waste canvas step 5

Now you’ve removed all the waste canvas, you should see all that remains on the underlying fabric is your cross stitched design! Ta da! As if by magic, you can now stitch on to any fabric you like.