19 May 2016

Finishing Spree: Update #3~How to make a template

Most of the finishing shapes I use are pretty straightforward: rectangles, squares, circles, ovals. I've done a few unusual shapes, which you can see here and here, but even those aren't very challenging, just a little different. But sometimes you have a finish that calls for some extra creativity and effort. This is a design Mr. Wonderful picked out and I stitched for him last fall. It's from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Special Halloween Issue, and I did a brown conversion of the original (information on that is here). The outline of this design, the shape of the bat, is superb. Instead of just doing a rectangular finish, I wanted the finish to be the exact shape of the bat. That required me to make a special template. Here's how I did it.

If you're making a template for a symmetrical design, start here at the beginning. (If you're making a template for an asymmetrical design, start with the third photo and skip the folding stuff.) For a symmetrical design, the process is pretty much exactly like making Valentines out of construction paper, like you did when you were little. Remember folding your paper in half, drawing half of a heart, with the center of the heart on the fold, and then cutting it out to make a symmetrical heart? That's all I did. 

First, fold the design in half. Make sure the outlines of the design line up exactly (hold it up to the light), and pin the halves together to keep them from slipping out of place.

Next, place paper over the design and sketch the shape you want. I have a small light box for projects like this, but if you don't have one, you could probably carefully tape everything to the window and get the job done. Light boxes are great for all kinds of stuff, and as with the button shank remover I showed in yesterday's post, they're one of those things you may not use often, but when you need one, you need one. They start at less than $10 for a small plastic sketching surface with a bulb attached underneath (not really a box, but fine for projects like this). 

Make sure you sketch a center line so you'll know exactly where to fold the paper. Unpin the design and place it under the paper, lining it up with your sketch, to see if you need to make any adjustments to your sketch.

When you have it like you want it, fold your sketch in half down the center line and cut it out, just like cutting out a Valentine.

Place your template behind the design and hold it up to a light source to make sure you have the shape you want.

And there you have it... a custom template... and a one-of-a-kind finish!


  1. It turned out great, Honeybee! And thanks for the glue information from yesterday's post. You rock!

  2. Replies
    1. Y'all are making me blush! Thank you! :O)

  3. Thanks HB! I would've never thought to fold my stitching in half like that for odd shapes. I have an oval design that I've been gnashing my teeth over to finish!

    1. Shelly, scrapbooking templates are great for shapes like that. For rectangles I always just measure my own, but for circles and ovals I almost always use scrapbooking templates.

    2. I'll check those out! Thanks!

  4. Great piece! I love the colour choice, your DH has good taste.

  5. great tutorial thanks! Beautiful finish

  6. That is an awesome finish--can't wait to see more boot shaped? angel wings?

  7. You make it look so easy! This is a great finish. I'm definitely going to try this!