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The best way to add a name or initials to your needlepoint canvas

You’ve decided to add a name or initial to your canvas, but don’t know how to begin. How large should the letters be? What style, what font?  Here’s a few tips on how to begin. 

royal stag christmas stocking Penguin with gifts christmas stocking
Royal Stag Christmas stocking          Penguin with gifts Christmas stocking

The first thing you need to do is determine your space. Are you personalizing a stocking, or adding an initial to the canvas? If you’re personalizing a stocking for DAN it will need much less space than that for ANASTASIA.

custom letter canvas

Custom Needlepoint Initials for beginners by Beth Gantz

Initials require less space and can be more ornate.  This one,custom painted by Beth Gantz, comes in several styles – Just click here and see them all. (Oops, this tutorial is supposed to tell you how to do it!)

If you’re going to do the customizing, measure the length and width of the space available.

Royal Stag Christmas stocking Royal stag Christmas stocking Royal stag Christmas stocking

Take the measurement where you’ll place the letters.  Don’t measure at the far edges which may be larger or smaller depending on the design (center picture).  You’ll also need some space on either end of the word and at the top & bottom. You do not want your letters going to the edge of the painted portion – the finisher needs a little space.

Your 13 mesh canvas is 13 lines per inch, 18 mesh is 18. So multiply the space by 13 or 18 to see how many spaces you have for your letters. Don’t forget to add 1-3 spaces in between each letter.

penguin with gifts Christmas stocking penguin with gifts Christmas stocking

The Penguin stocking by Alice Peterson has room at the top for a name. It measures 8.5 x 2.75 and is on 13 mesh. I want to leave about ½ inch at either end and ¼ on the top & bottom. That gives me 7.5 inches for letters that can be up to 2” high. Multiplied by 13, there are 97 spaces across, 26 high for the lettering. The next step is to determine the style of lettering. Is your canvas traditional or contemporary? Do you want straight lines or wavy?  You will want to try to match the style of the design with the font. And I mean try . . . letters with contemporary styling usually take less space, traditional letters can be ornate, thus taking more space. You may need to use straight block letters to get in a long name.  If you’re set on a style that just won’t fit – try using a nick name – PAT rather than Patricia.

alphabet   alphabet

Now we need to determine how to get the letters onto the canvas. We’ve already prepared a tutorial on needlepoint lettering. Just click here to find out your options.

If you decide to paint the letters onto the canvas, be very, very careful. Especially if you’ve started stitching. Use only acrylic paint, which you can find at any craft shop. Here’s a tutorial on needlepoint canvas painting.

Finally, pick the font and size. You can go on line to get the letter fonts -  just type the lettering you want and enlarge the image until it’s the size that fits the space on your canvas.   Trace the letters with pencil and stitch.


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the best way to add lettering to your needlepoint

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