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I love to crochet! Two of my favorite items to make, I have already shared here at JOY with Purpose: My Aunt Ida Hat and a Baby Doll Blanket. I enjoy using different colors of yarn every time to keep it interesting. As each skein gets towards the end, they go into my scrap tote. I can use most of the larger pieces in my crochet projects and add a fun row of color. BUT sometimes the little bits left just aren’t long enough! Well today, I’ve got for you a wonderful stash-buster! Kathleen shared on my Facebook Page a fun craft she made and shared her easy DIY instructions for a Plastic Canvas Cross!
They are perfect for little bookmarks (add a tassel) or just as a memento. I’ve included them in my pencil cases for Operation Christmas Child, but you could tuck them into Easter, Birthday, Graduation, or Christmas cards. OR even include them in an encouragement card as well. Joy even suggested adding a long strip of yarn to make a necklace. That might be fun!
How to Make a Plastic Canvas Cross:
Plastic canvas crafts were all the rage in the 80s. There were patterns for tissue boxes, bookmarks, ornaments, and I even remember making our family a nativity set with it. The sheets of plastic are similar to cross-stitch linen only the holes for sewing are much much larger. It comes in a variety of colors: from an almost transparent white to opaque colors of purple, yellow, red, blue, green, white and black. They are relatively inexpensive. I usually pick up a few sheets at a time from Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics. They sell for between 70 cents to $1 each and you can always use a coupon to get a discount.
For needles, you need something with a blunt tip and a large eyehole. If you do any crafting you definitely need to pick up a few. I use them to weave in my knitting and crocheting ends and so many other things. They have them in metal like these and they also have these plastic ones.
Need supplies? – See if you can set up a donation box at church. Many women have extra yarn – and tons of plastic canvas they purchased but never used. They would be happy to donate.
Or check out my tips on how to get free (or really cheap) yarn.
“I received a bag of donated yarn. There were lots of smaller pieces, and I had some plastic canvas. I decided to combine them and make a plastic canvas cross to put in each of my Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. So far I I’ve made over 300. It’s such a great way to use up those bits of yarn.” – Kathleen
It is much less expensive to cut your own cross shapes from large sheets of plastic canvas. But you can also purchase already-cut cross shapes! EASY PEASY! Here is a 10 pack from Amazon. You might like to try that to see if you do enjoy the craft!
Take one sheet of plastic canvas. It is a rectangle. Cut it lengthwise into 3 sections, 22 squares by 90 squares. (not inches!) Once you cut – what is left on each side are little plastic “stems”. Trim them off so each side is relatively smooth.
Now take one of your long rectangles (22 x 90 squares) and cut into smaller rectangles that are 17 x 22. You can get 5 of these rectangles from each strip for a total of 15. Trim off any “stems” or connecting plastic bits.
Finally, take each of your smaller rectangles and cut out your cross shape. Follow the template directions below.
This process can get a little confusing. Once you have cut out your first cross, the rest is a little easier. Fortunately, Kathleen and her friend Marie developed a Youtube Video just for US! I think it is so much easier to learn while watching someone – don’t you? The video is very small to see the exact measurements. Keep my post bookmarked because after seeing the video you will want to come back to these measurement templates.
Stitching and Finishing:
For the actual stitching I have seen many different techniques but for me, the easiest is the one that Marie shared on the video.
Finally, a fun extra set it to add a decorative button in the center with hot glue! Such a simple thing, but how cute do they look? I used some scrap buttons here, but I love the buttons at Amazon and picked up a few packages for my next batch!
Craft groups could have fun with this– the men could cut the plastic, the women could wrap the yarn, the kids could glue on the buttons – so many possibilities to include lots of different groups in helping!
This could be a wonderful craft to engage seniors in adult living facilities. As I shared, plastic canvas crafting was very popular about 25-30 years ago, and many of the women might already possess the skills to make these.
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