how to cross stitch on a pumpkin

October 26th, 2010

This idea came about when Abbey from Aesthetic Outburst threw a fabulous birthday party with a “hand-stitched/granny chic theme” and as one of the decorations she painted a cross stitch design on a pumpkin.  The whole party was beautiful, but this idea was extra awesome and I thought maybe I could cross stitch for real on a fake pumpkin. The project turned out even better than I hoped and so I’m sharing it with you. I know there are only 5 days until Halloween, but this is a quick-ish project and the pumpkins will last forever.

How to Cross Stitch on a Pumpkin:


  • a fake pumpkin
  • thick yarn
  • a bamboo skewer (the ones you use for kebabs) or an ice pick or something similar
  • a yarn needle
  • a pencil


1.) First you need to choose a design. I found some great, simple Halloween cross stitch patterns here, but feel free to design your own. It’s easier than you think, I made a bat and a boo! by playing around with Xs in my sketch book (go ahead and copy mine if you like). Just remember, simple is better for this project and try not to put any of the design near the hole on the bottom of the pumpkin because it’s very hard to stitch there.

2.) Next, transfer the design to the pumpkin. To do this, I looked at the pattern and then with a pencil I made very light dots for where the ends of the Xs go (see photo above). I thought about coming up with some complicated way to get your pattern perfectly onto the pumpkin, but really I love the look of free hand cross stitch and I don’t think it needs to be perfect.  If you want, you can lightly draw all the Xs on the pumpkin because the yarn will cover them up anyway.

3.) Now you need to poke all those holes. Take the bamboo skewer and poke straight down into the pumpkin.

4.) Ok, time to cross stitch. All I know about cross stitch I learned five minutes before I started this project! Thread your yarn needle with a piece of yarn no longer than your arm, no need to tie a knot. Stick you hand in the pumpkin (if you hand doesn’t fit or it’s a squeeze, do yourself a favor and make the hole a little bigger) and insert your needle into one of the holes you’ve made.  It can be difficult to find the right hole. To help, take your skewer in your other hand (the one not holding the needle in the pumpkin) and stick it in the correct hole, then by feeling for the skewer on the inside you can find it and draw your needle through. I started sewing at the bottom of my design and Xed my way around until I was done. It’s fastest to sew with both hands: one staying in the pumpkin and one out.

And that’s it. I think this project could go so many ways. A ghost done on a black pumpkin with some super fuzzy white mohair would look super cool. You don’t need to stick with cross stitch–any simple embroidered design would work. Go crazy with it and if you do be sure to add it to the elsie marley flickr group so we can all see! Happy Halloween!

40 Responses to how to cross stitch on a pumpkin

  1. […] loved Meg’s idea of cross stitching on a fake pumpkin…a fun alternative to carving. {Elsie […]

  2. I linked to this in one of today’s posts…such a fresh idea!

  3. Ah, that is so very, very, VERY cool.

  4. Annette says:

    What a genius and fun idea!

  5. Just wait for the after Halloween sale and buy some for Thanksgiving decorations or for next year.
    I bought a bunch to decorate for our Annual County Libraries Meeting.
    I think I will look for a suitable “Give Thanks” type of pattern and make one of these.
    Step #1 Should have been to make the hole at the top of the pumpkin…..I kept looking for that instruction.
    Thanks for the super/great/fantastic idea.
    You Rock!!!

  6. […] 29, 2010 by Britex Fabrics Meg from has posted this handy tutorial on cross-stitching a faux citrouille. All you need is patience, creativity, a fake pumpkin, thick yarn, a bamboo skewer (the ones you […]

  7. Emily says:

    I love cross stitching it is my favorite thing to do to relax and I love this idea. Thank you for sharing this, I am so excited to try it!

  8. Stacy says:

    OMG this is to cute. I hope to purchase some pumpkins on clearance & Save for next year. Thanks for Shareing

  9. Terri says:

    Wow! I love this idea! I may have to try this for next Halloween.

  10. monkeemoomoo says:

    I have just discovered you beautiful blog. Lucky me!

    I love, love, love you rainbow party. I tried making the Martha Stewart tissue paper pom poms for my daughters birthday and they were a disaster. Yours look great.

    I’m might even cross stitch a pumpkin next year!

  11. molly says:

    okay, now THAT is clever. who knew…

  12. amy says:

    I did this – on a real pumkin! It did not look as yours – but it was so fun and relaxing!

  13. […] cross-stitched pumpkin is such a fun fall accessory (@ elsie […]