Affordable Needlepoint

I know I’ve been talking a lot about needlepoint lately. It’s bringing me so much joy personally and from the messages I’m getting, I know it’s helping a lot of people too. It’s a great distraction and honestly so easy that you don’t really need to think at all while doing it. (You can make it more of an art, but the basic stitches are super easy to do!) I’ve been curling up on the daybed in my office and listening to audiobooks or watching TV while I stitch.

A big issue for many is that it can be a super expensive hobby so I wanted to round up some more affordable needlepoint canvases. Many needlepoint canvases are hand painted which is why it can get so costly. Having stitched hand painted and printed canvases, I can assure you the hand painted ones are done so perfectly and you can see the difference in the final product. (Printed ones can have cross-sections that have two colors so you have to make a guess on which color thread to use whereas when someone is painting by hand, they’re painstakingly painting each cross section with one color so there’s no confusion.)

This is not an exhaustive list. Just wanted to share a few additional options in addition to what I shared earlier.


One option is to paint your own! I’d love to try my hand at this at some point. You can buy plain mesh canvas and simply paint your own design. You can freehand with paint or you can just go ahead and skip the paint and freehand with thread. Even if you’re not a super talented artist, you can choose simple designs like lettering and small motifs. Here’s a pretty straightforward video about how to paint a canvas, but again you could totally just paint on the canvas without tracing. A few of my friends have done this, particularly for custom gifts, and I absolutely love that you end up with something totally unique and personalized. Use acrylic paint, basic paintbrushes, and blank canvas and you’re on your way to making your own.


Ebay is also a really fun spot to treasure hunt for vintage canvases. Usually they’re more affordable, though I’ve seen some expensive works of art as well. This definitely takes a bit more patience and you may want to set alerts for Ebay to notify you when vintage canvases are listed.

The Rabbit

Vintage Flowers

Vintage Wildlife Animals


I’ve also seen a ton of fun options on Etsy. There are preexisting listings but some artists also allow you to reach out to them to have them create something from your own imagination. Again, this can be hit or miss in terms of price point, but I’ve found that since the artist is selling directly to the customer and not going through a middle man, the price is usually on the lower side. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites– and definitely think I need this Hoya Saxa pennant!

Chinoiserie Key Fob

Monogram Canvas

Heart Slippers


College Pennant

Get Stitching

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Thank you! I routinely refer back to your needlepoint posts when I’m looking for new canvases. I am so happy to picked this hobby up this winter (back up, actually, since I stitched as a kid), since it’s the perfect distraction right now.
Where would you recommend buying thread online? I almost almost through my kits at this point and will soon have canvases that don’t already have thread. Since I can’t go to a shop and pick thread out in person, what would you suggest? I don’t need anything fancy, just good color choices.
Thank you!

Kelly Scorsune

Thank you for all of your wonderful posts! I have recently started needlepointing., thinking it would be a great hobby to start while being home. I am a true beginner though. Could you recommend any sites to help me get started? I bought 2 canvases but don’t know how to even start! Be safe!

Marie M.C.

I haven’t done any needlepoint projects for decades but way back when what cost the most was having my canvas made into a pillow. (I only made pillows.) I was too chicken to take something I spent a long time making and try to do it myself.

Another was to save money is to make a pattern — like a Bargello. Just google “Bargello needlepoint pattern”. It doesn’t require a painted canvas.


This is great, Carly! There’s an Etsy shop called The Stranded Stitch that has the cutest canvases and patterns for a reasonable price! I’m currently doing the lime la croix one, and I bought the $4 pattern, and a $20 cross stitch starter kit on amazon with hoops, canvas, needles and lots of floss!! Worked out perfectly if anyone else wants an inexpensive project!!



Fibers can sometimes cost a lot of money too. I’ve had so much luck finding both fibers and canvases at rummage sales. My biggest score was an entire bag of Vineyard Silks – brand new – for $30 and I think there were at least 50 of them in the bag. So great to have things like this for when you only need a certain color for a small section. I also sort all of my floss fibers onto bobbins. Here’s the link for the ones I use.


Great info! But slight correction: being printed doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t precise, there are a few companies that have NAILED printing on canvas and are as precise as hand painted. In addition, hand painted doesn’t actually always mean stitch painted! Stitch painted is a type of hand painting and means every intersection is painted with the color meant to go on it, hand painted can have shading etc that make it a lot more the decision of the artist (think something like getting skin tones to not be flat or water or sunsets where there’s a million colors coming together but it can apply to really any type of canvas). If you look up “ painting with thread” you’ll see some INSANE canvases where artists are combining a bunch of different colors of thread to capture that depth). Just wanted to add because it’d be a bummer to find a gorgeous canvas on eBay and then realize it’s really challenging for a beginner because it’s not stitch painted

Kathy Polit

I have been practicing some of the more intricate stitches on a blank canvas using up my vast collection of left over threads.

Paige Plucker

current Georgetown student here missing the Hilltop 🙋‍♀️Hoya Saxa!


Thanks so much!! I’ve been wanting to get into this since you started posting and this was the exact barrier I was hitting. I think I’m going to try my hand at painting my own via that video!


Thanks for sharing this, Carly! Sorry if my post in the Facebook group about this seemed like whining! Going to order one of those precious pennants asap!


In the spirit of painting your own canvas – that can be intimidating! I have found it to be easy to plan simple projects in excel – one cell = 1 stitch! An easy way to make a roadmap in advance

Anne H.

Just count the design. Many counted cross patterns can be needlepointed. You may get lucky and find an old needlepoint book at a second hand store that has needlepoint grid patterns. I never buy painted canvases. Never. If you can count cross stitch, count the cross between the warp and the weft on the canvas for your stitch. It takes a minute to switch your brain to counting that way, but you will catch on quickly. Work the design, then fill in the background. Needlepoint has become a dying art and I blame the painted canvas. It is a huge cost barrier and totally unnecessary.

Heather Robertson

Hi Carly,
Thank you for sharing all your needlepoint tips. Can you share where you found the La Croix canvas. Looking of it and only finding cross stitch. Thank you so much.


I recently inquired about a hand painted canvas at a very well known needlepoint store. She told me that it was out of stock and needed to be ordered. I was fine with that. What I wasn’t fine with is that she went on to say it is being ordered from “the off shore painting service”.
So you think you are getting a hand painted canvas directly from the artist. In actuality you are getting one painted from some factory but, are still paying top dollar. Is this how ALL artist canvas are reproduced?


If they’re hand painted, they likely ARE hand painted just outsourced. Most artists create the piece and they’re converted into stitched pieces. Hand painted doesn’t necessarily mean they’re hand painted BY the artist, although in some cases they may be

George Rounsaville

I have had great success and enjoyment by using hobby stencils inked or painted on canvas. Alphabet stencils are a great help with motto canvasses or names. Also, for an old world or rustic feel, I like to work on burlap or jute fabric (Wal-Mart!).

Leslie Drew

I am so happy to see that needlepoint has become stylish again! I have been needle pointing for many years and thoroughly enjoy it, especially creating my own designs. After watching your video on how to paint a canvas, I am going to experiment! Thanks for the inspiration!