I don’t know about you, but I just love all of the oversized cross-stitch project ideas scattered across Pinterest. Whether it’s on a large peg board or on a cane back chair, they just look amazing- and I’ve wanted to try my hand at it for a while now.
But I was plagued- how would I do this and be unique? You know me- I gotta be different!
I was bemoaning this very thing to my gal pal (who runs Bee Happy Vintage Market) while we were out junkin’ one day. And like a beacon from the upcycling deities, my eyes fell upon a beat-up vintage wooden tennis racket.
This! I could cross-stitch on the racket head! And it was cheap… less-than-a-bottle-of-water-at-the-gas-station cheap!
And when I needed more rackets, Down South Vintage hooked me up! Now I was set. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.
Since the tennis racket reminded me of oval picture frames, I decided to lop off the handles. Thankfully, I know a gal with a full wood shop, and she let me use her miter saw to cut them off. (We’ve since purchased our own since I fell in love with it!)
So I was ready to cross-stitch, but I had no patterns. I’m a complete novice when it comes to this kind of needlework, and I had no idea how to design my own pattern- particularly on my large-scale tennis grid. What’s a girl to do? Well, I turned to one of my blogging “Sheroes”, Bev from Flamingo Toes.
Talk about coming to my rescue…she created four different patterns for me to use, including this snowflake and Christmas tree. (Want to download the other two patterns? Head over to her blog post to get them!)
NOW I could get my cross-stitch on! First, I painted one of my racket heads midnight blue, and purchased some chunky yarn.
I used painter’s tape (like this kind!) on one end of the yarn (like an aglet on a shoelace) to help ease the yarn through the strings, and it worked like a charm!
I followed Bev’s awesome pattern and cross-stitched along. I stopped and started new yarn periodically so that there were no long stretches across the back (which could be seen through the strings). That kept it clean-looking, and I would weave the tails carefully through the back stitches (or use a dab of hot glue to keep it in place).
And then I was done with the snowflake- how FANTASTIC is that?? Super easy, super amazing, and I love that the racket acts like its own frame.
I went ahead and made a couple of others, including the tree I told you about earlier and a Poinsettia (one of the patterns on her page!).
Then it was time to display them! I cut the racket handles with that little “nub” on purpose- in case I wanted to add a D-ring or sawtooth picture hanger to the back. But for now, they’re just resting on our quirky-weird Christmas mantle.
Amazing, right? And super bonus- you can usually find vintage wooden tennis rackets at your local Goodwill or other thrift store. I won’t lie to you, I’m quite tickled at how they turned out. There were moments of worry and self-doubt, but Bev bolstered my spirit and kept me going. Thank goodness for bloggy friends!
Merry Christmas and Craft On!