Tapestry and needlepoint projects often have the design printed on the canvas for you but you can also find charts for canvas work in books and magazines. In this article we explain the difference between types of design so you can choose which you would prefer to use.
Printed canvas designs are really popular in tapestry and needlepoint kits. They 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 so they have 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.
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 doubt about which color is meant to be used at that intersection. Alternatively, hand-painted canvases can have areas where a thread intersection is not clearly stated meaning the stitcher will have to use their judgment about which color to use at 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.
Charted Designs are the most affordable and can be found in a multitude of tapestry and needlepoint books or monthly publications. 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 coloured canvas so it can be more challenging to cover the surface with your stitches Tapestry/needlepoint stitches that fully cover the canvas work best in charted designs.