Learn about Needlepoint Designs


Learn about the different types of needlepoint patterns out there in the market from hand painted canvases to printed canvases.

Hand-Painted Canvas designs are individually hand painted on the canvas. Canvases may be stitch-painted, meaning each thread intersection is painstakingly painted so that the stitcher has no doubts about what color is meant to be used at that intersection. Alternately, hand-painted canvases can also have areas where a thread intersection is not clearly stated meaning the stitcher will have to use their judgment about what colors to use in that thread intersection. Stitchers often enjoy making these decisions along with choosing both the threads and stitches they will use on their hand-painted designs.

Printed Canvas designs are created by either silk-screening the colors onto the canvas or by using a processed heat transfer. Printing or transferring can be done on a commercial basis and thus has a lower price point than a Hand-Painted canvas. Printed designs are typically simpler in style because the color palettes are limited by these methods. A color block strip printed on the selvage of the canvas lists the colors printed in the design. This handy tool makes it easier to discern the colors used in the design.


Purchase only those designs that are printed squarely on the canvas.

Charted Designs are the most affordable and can be easily attained from a multitude of needlepoint books or monthly publications on the market. The design chart contains all the information you will need to stitch the design. Every square on the chart that requires a stitch will contain a symbol and the thread color key will show you the symbols that correspond to each color thread. Charted designs are stitched on white or colored canvas so it can be more challenging to cover the surface with your stitches. Needlepoint stitches that fully cover the canvas work best in charted designs.

Hand painted needlepoint canvases are the easiest to follow, but there are times when you just can’t find the one you’re looking for. If you’re considering designing a piece of your own or adapting a design you like, you might want to consider painting your own canvas. Painting a needlepoint canvas is a rewarding experience and is easy if you follow a few basic guidelines.