Plastic Canvas Box Pattern
This box is small, 1 by 1 3/4 by 2 1/2 inches. It has a drawer
that pulls out like a matchbox for keeping special treasures.
It is made by stitching small separate pieces of plastic canvas
and then stitching the pieces together to make an outside box
cover and an inside drawer.
There are three ways to make this box. First,
you can stitch it all in one color (Variation 1). Second, you
can stitch the outside in one color and the inside drawer in
a complementary color (Variation 2). Third, you can stitch the
outside and the inside drawer in one color and bind it together
using a complementary color (Variation 3).
What you will need:
Watercolors Thread: either two skeins of one color, or two complementary
Scissors for cutting thread
Scissors for cutting plastic canvas
Plastic canvas: one sheet of 7-count (this is enough to make
more than one box)
Tapestry needle size 16
Step 1 - Cutting out the plastic canvas pieces
Cut the plastic canvas carefully into the following pieces using
your scissors. Don't use the same scissors for cutting the plastic
canvas that you will use to cut your threads. Cutting plastic
canvas is hard on your scissors and you want to save your stitching
scissors for cutting thread. After this, you can use your stitching
You should have nine pieces for each box. Be careful to trim
off the spikes so your pieces are pretty smooth.
Outside box cover
Top and bottom - cut two pieces 11 by 17 bars
Outside sides - cut two pieces 7 by 17 bars
Inside box drawer
Bottom - cut one piece 9 by 17 bars
Inside short sides - cut two pieces 5 by 9 bars
Inside long sides - cut two pieces 5 by 17 bars
Below are what the stitched pieces look like before you assemble them.
Step 2 - Making the top and bottom of the outside of the box
Decide on variation 1, 2 or 3. Stitch the separate pieces using
one strand of Caron Watercolors thread. If you follow the stitching
charts below, you will have a box that looks nice on the front
and the back also.
Thread one strand of Caron Watercolors thread into your size
16 tapestry needle. Use a piece of thread that is about 36 inches
long. Leave about four inches hanging on the short side and when
you pull the thread through the holes, hold the needle at the
eye where the thread is doubled so that the thread doesn't come
out of the needle.
To start a new thread the first time, count down to the third
hole from the top on the right edge of the piece of plastic canvas
you cut out for the top of the outside box. (See diagram A for
starting point) Bring your needle up in that hole. Look at the
diagram and notice that hole matches the diagram dot marked 1.
Pull the thread through the hole but leave a short piece of thread
(like an inch long) on the back side of the plastic canvas and
hold onto it with your other hand (the one that doesn't have
the needle in it). As you make the first four or five stitches,
make sure that the loose end you are holding with your other
hand on the back side is covered by your new stitches. Try to
cover all that loose end up with your new stitches.
Diagram A (click image for larger version)
You should have come up with your needle from underneath the
plastic canvas where the dot is numbered 1. Now, go down from
the front to the back where the arrow is numbered 2. Then come
up at 3 and go down at 4, and keep going until you have about
3 inches left of your thread or you are done with that piece
of plastic canvas. When you are done with a thread, make sure
your thread is now coming out of the back of the piece, and run
the thread underneath in the back about 6 or 7 stitches so that
it doesn't come loose later and then carefully cut off the extra
Don't pull too tightly when you stitch but pull tightly enough
so that the thread is not floppy loose on the front. You can
use the pointer finger of your other hand to hold onto the last
stitch you make so it doesn't get loose as you make the next
Notice that you always come up from the bottom at the odd numbers
on the diagram and you always go down from the top at the even
numbers on the diagram. Also notice that some stitches share
the same hole, like 10 and 12 and some holes are shared four
times, like the hole for stitches 6, 16, 85, and 95. See diagram
You are making a pattern of little squares of 5 stitches, each
square going in opposite directions from the one next to it.
This stitch is called the Alternating Scotch Stitch.
Try not to end a thread in the middle of a little square. Try
to end a thread after you finish a little square even if you
have a little extra thread left over. This makes your colors
come out nicer.
When you get to stitch 50, stitch 51 is below it on the next
line. To make the back look nicer, while your thread is on the
back of the plastic canvas, slip it under the two stitches you
must go by on your way to stitch 51. The same thing happens when
you get to stitch 100 and 101. See diagram A.
End your thread after your last stitch and then make another
piece just like this one.
Now you have the top and bottom of the outside of your box stitched.
Step 3 - Making the sides of the outside of the box
Follow the stitching diagram below and stitch two outside
sides. Start and stop your thread the same way as you did
before. See diagram B.
Diagram B (click image for larger version)
First stitch a row of Half Cross Stitches all the way
across the top of your piece.
Then, stitch a row of Alternating Scotch Stitches like
the ones on the top and bottom of the box cover that you just
Then stitch another row of Half Cross Stitches all the
way across the bottom of your piece.
You can make this row slant the same way as the row on the top
of your piece or in the other direction.
Step 4 - Making the sides of the inside box drawer
Next, stitch one inside short side and one inside long
side following Diagram C. If you are careful to follow the
diagram, you should be able to stitch one of each with 36 inches
of thread. Then stitch another long and short side so that you
have two of each.
For these sides, leave a longer tail and go through more stitches
in the back to make sure your beginning and ending thread won't
come loose later.
These are all stitched with slanted stitches and that stitch
is called the Slanted Gobelin Stitch.
Diagram C (click image for larger version)
Step 5 - Making the bottom of the inside box drawer
Now follow Diagram C for the inside box drawer bottom.
You will stitch a row of Slanted Gobelin Stitch followed
by a row of Cross Stitch followed by another row of Slanted
Gobelin Stitch. Notice that the slanted stitches are in different
directions. This makes the inside box drawer bottom sort
of look like a rib cage.
Step 6 - Putting the pieces together
The box drawer has 5 pieces, a bottom, two long sides, and two
We are going to use overcasting to stitch the five pieces
together. Cut a 36 inch piece of thread and put it in your needle.
Now stop and think about your box. Each side has a good side
(the front) and a bad side (the back). Think about the finished
box and imagine pulling the drawer open. You will be looking
at the inside of the bottom of the drawer. So you want the good
side of the bottom piece to be inside the drawer. But imagine
holding the drawer in your hand and looking at it. Now you are
looking at the outside of the drawer. So in your drawer, you
want the front of your sides to be facing out but the front of
your bottom to be facing in.
So pick out one side of your drawer and put it over the bottom
of the drawer with both of the front sides on top of each other.
Line them up so that they are even and the holes on the edges
are also lined up. Bring your needle up at the end in between
the two pieces by only going through the top piece and leave
about an inch of thread in between the two pieces. Loop around
the outside of the edges and come up in the matching hole of
the piece underneath and through the same hole on the top piece
that you just started with. Keep moving down one hole at a time,
looping around the outside of the edges and going through both
pieces from the back to the front. Make sure that you include
the loose starting thread between your stitches so that is doesn't
come loose later. When you get to the end of the side, pick up
the next side and start attaching it but make that the right
side is facing out just like the other one. Keep going all the
way around the drawer until all four sides have been attached.
See Diagram D.
Now bring two sides together at the corner and start overcasting
over the top of one side until you get to the next corner. Bring
those two sides together and stitch them together. Come back
up to the top of the that side and keep overcasting until you
get to the next corner. Keep doing this until all the edges of
the drawer are covered with overcasting stitches. You might want
to add extra stitches through the holes at the bottoms of the
corners when you are there to cover more of the plastic canvas.
If you want to cover more of the plastic canvas, overcast through
each hole twice. Don't double your thread because it will get
too thick to work with.
When you run out of thread, bring it inside the drawer and run
it back through 4 or 5 overcast stitches to make it secure. Start
a new thread the same way as before and continue until the drawer
is completely overcast.
Try not to go through any of the other stitches you made on your
pieces, try to keep your thread only on the outside edges.
If you are having a problem starting a new thread with a tail
and burying it in the new stitches, instead try working your
thread through 5-6 nearby stitches so it doesn't come loose later.
Outside of Box
The outside of the box has four pieces, the top and bottom and
the two sides. You don't really see the inside of this box cover
so when you put these pieces together you want to make sure that
these pieces have their best sides facing out.
This can also be put together with the Overcast stitch.
But instead, you can use a Braided Binding Stitch. This
is a very nice stitch because it is very pretty and it covers
the plastic canvas better but it uses a lot more thread. In fact,
if you really like it, you could put the drawer together using
To use the Braided Binding Stitch, cut a 36 inch piece
of thread and put it in your needle. Start out exactly the same
as the Overcast stitch, by leaving a small tail in between
the two pieces of the box cover, starting in between the two
pieces, and overcasting the first three stitches. Make sure you
are covering your loose end in between your stitches.
After you come out of the third hole, count back two holes, and
loop backwards to the back of the first hole and come through
to the front again. Then swing forward three holes, which is
the next open hole, and come through again from the back to the
Keep going back two and forward three until you get to the last
hole of that piece. Then go backwards two as usual but this time
go forward only two and come out of the last hole again. Now
go back one and forward one and come out of the same hole for
the third time and then go through the last hole again from the
back to the front. This gives you an unbroken braided edge that
is very pretty.
Make sure this stitch is not too loose. Also notice that it goes
in one direction and try to always go in the same direction.
Don't forget to cover the open edge of the Box Cover with the
same Braided Binding or Overcast Stitches.
When you get the end of a side, finish off your thread. Get another
piece and bind it together. Bind each piece together and then
go all around the outside edges of the box cover on both sides.
When you get back to the beginning, continue braiding over the
first few stitches so the braided pattern looks the same throughout.
The Braided Binding Stitch is always worked from the back
to the front. It is easy to look at it and see if you have messed
up the braiding pattern. If you decide to redo any of it, don't
try to unsew it, take your thread off your needle, and undo your
stitching by using your needle as a pick to gently unwind it
from the outside one stitch at a time.
When you are done, the entire box cover should be covered with
Braided Binding or Overcast Stitches.
Ending and Beginning a thread in the Braided Binding Stitch
without breaking up the braiding pattern
When you come to the end of your thread, make sure you are in
the middle of a backwards loop. Come up on the inside and run
your thread through the back on the inside to make it secure
and cut off the extra thread. Start a new thread by leaving a
tail hanging to be covered as usual on the inside and coming
out from the inside at exactly the place you would have come
out next with the old thread. Continue your braiding pattern
and make sure you cover your loose thread with your new stitches
so that it doesn't come loose later.
Now slide your drawer into the cover and you are ready to keep
your treasures safe.