How to cross stitch a QR code

Being somewhat of a geek, I have been so excited recently to start transforming QR Codes into cross stitch patterns.  The process is quite an easy one, but takes an eye for detail and a love of all things geometric!  So I’ve decided to share how it’s done and hope that you too can have a go at creating some eye-catching nerdy cross stitch… 

Desire Map QR Code

First of all you need to decide what you are going to say:  QR (Quick Response) Codes can encode plain text, a web address, email address, YouTube video, Facebook page, Twitter link, contact details, a map or just about anything else.  They allow anyone with a smartphone and QR app to read the code and see the original message, website, etc.  So, you could use this to send someone to your website or just to pass on a happy message.  For example, I created one code for a lady who stitches quilts for sick children and she now stitches her code onto each quilt so people can find out more about her charity.

I also created this code and stitched it onto a tote bag for myself. It provided a link to an amazing program I’m a fan of called The Desire Map that has changed the way I look at my life and the code is a talking point too.

You could also put your own message in plain text, such as “Happy Birthday” or “Have a stitchy day” – anything that makes you smile will work…

Next you need to create the code: So, once you’ve made the decision about what to link to, then you need to pop online and find a code generator website.  I use QRStuff.com because it is free and really simple to use.  You just follow the 4 steps on the site to create your own code to download as an image file.  Once you have the QR code image on your computer then the fun begins!

Charting a QR Code for cross stitchNow you need to chart your code: This step is the fiddly one really as accuracy counts!  If you have a cross stitch program on your PC then you can use that to chart the image, otherwise good old graph paper will do the trick just as well.  This is actually the bit my 6 year old likes the most as you can see… Here he is charting each pixel of the QR Code into its own box on the graph paper – and if he can do it then you can too.

You can also make the code larger (as I did for my tote bag) by charting four squares for every square of the QR code.  This will make a larger project but you can stick to one pixel = one cross if you want a smaller project.

Stitch your code: This is the bit you have been waiting for.  Follow your chart to stitch your QR code and add it to almost anything you like…  A tote, a card or even a t-shirt! Just remember to use dark colours if you can as they are more easily captured by your camera phone, tablet or ipad.

Check it works: I love this bit and can get slightly carried away checking that my codes work!  There are free barcode and QR code scanners available for Android, Windows and Apple platforms so just search your online store to find one.  Download it and scan away…

Happy stitching! H x

PS. If you don’t fancy all of the design steps then head over to my Etsy shop and purchase a bespoke QR Code.  At only £2.99 I do all the hard work for you x

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